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Parts Obeah Storyteller

30th Installment of Obeah

Akosua, Kwao, Lassette and the two warriors were cutting their way through the jungle. Kwao was not his talkative self. He sulked all the way from where they had spent the night. Lassette walked alongside Akosua,

“What is his problem today?” She asked. Akosua hesitated for a second.

“Just being his usual self,” she replied. Lassette walked for a second as if trying to figure out what to say next.

“How much further to your village?” she asked trying to keep up with Akosua.

“About a day’s walk form here,” Akosua said,

“A whole day?” Lassette said as she took a deep breath. Akosua smiled and looked at her,

“We will stop for a rest soon.” She said still smiling.

“Did you learn your religion from your mother?” Lassette asked.

“Yes, our parents took advantage of our freedom and taught us about our homeland. That is how we learned about Obeah. Most of us kids were born in the New World. We were raised worshipping the plantation owner’s god. You said you have seen one of our services?” Akosua asked. Lassette smiled glad that Akosua had spoken to her.

“Yes on the island before the rebellion I witnessed a service. I was a curious child. One night I snuck out of the house and followed the sound of the drums. I saw the slaves chanting and dancing. I was spellbound by what I saw and heard. The beat of the drums made my heart beat faster, the share intensity of the slaves as they prayed. I was intrigued. I attended several services without my parents finding out. But they soon did, that is why they disowned me. They took me to their church so the priest can pray for me I spent many of days in confessionals, but I still went to the services. My father said I was a disgrace to the family they tried to send me back to the Old Country so I ran away. Those Obeah services are what sent me on the path to trying to help free the slaves.” She looked ahead; Kwao had stopped and stood with his index finger to his lips. They listened, the leaves rustled in the wind, the flapping of wings echoed overhead. A duck quaked and waddled through the bushes next to them. When Kwao was satisfied there was no danger he started walking without saying a word. Akosua looked at Lasette; she had a puzzled expression on her face. They started walking, Lassette continued talking,

“Why did you not tell me this last night?” Akosua asked. Lassette looked into the jungle,

“Because I get the reaction that Kwao gave whenever I mention fighting for the slaves’ freedom or attending Obeah services” she said and they were silent for a second. Before Akosua could say anything, Lassette turned to her and looked her in the eye for the first time since the night before.

“If you are the leader of your village, then who is in charge while you are gone?” she asked, more for conversation than wanting to know.

“Adofo,” Akosua said smiling. Lassette reached out and patted Akosua on her arm.

“You are in love,” she said, Akosua looked down to the ground embarrassed.

“I can use butterflies to fly, I can change some people from evil to good, but nothing feels like when am around him.” She said,

“Tell me about him,” Lassette said walking alongside Akosua. Akosua started to talk about Adofo when Kwao abruptly stopped. A large snake hung from a tree branch in front of him. The boy swung his machete cutting the snake in half. He picked up the body of the severed snake and turned to Akosua and Lassette,

“If you two girls were not jabbering I would have seen it sooner and would not have had to kill it.” He said angrily. Akosua took a step towards him,

“Do not forget who is in charge Kwao,” she said. Kwao stared at her like he was about to say something. The two boys stepped up behind Akosua and Lassette. Kwao looked at them still contemplating if he should say something.

“You don’t have to listen to us just pay attention to what you are doing.” Akosua said. Kwoa hesitated, but turned stepped over the dead snake and walked off. Akosua Lassette and the warriors followed.

“Jealousy is a dangerous thing,” she said whispering.

Akosua did not say anything she stared into the jungle, a faraway look in her eyes. A parrot squawked in the trees as they walked.

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Good Marning Village

Ahhh Look at the village, look at how peaceful it is nah man. I could hear the birds and them singing like crazy, that melody sweet for so, just l like an old time calypso. Now the rooster join in with a powerful solo. I tell you what, this symphony sound better than Sunday marning church singing.  Oh wait, here comes the back rhythm section as the wind sweep through the bamboo in the back yard.  Oh yes, let me stand here and close me eyes for a second, yes, that is it, let that early marning breeze tickle me skin, ahhhh, nice and cool. Ok, that good, let me sit down here and look out at the hills and them, watch them turn from first light gray to tropical green. Yes man, the best way to start me weekend, right here looking out at the village.

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Saturday Marning Ritual

Ahhh yes, sitting on the verandah overlooking the village. Listening to the birds chirp in the trees at the side of the house. Hear the voices of children playing somewhere in a yard. The bray of a donkey, the encouragement of a farmer as he tries to get the animal to keep going. Take a ship from the glass of orange juice, listen to the clinging of the ice that floated in it. Shiver a little as the early morning breeze whistles through the house. The trees sounding like the ocean washing ashore as the gust sweeps through them. Watch the ice glisten in the glass as the sun seeps through the thick leaves of the mango tree, just for a second. Close your eyes, but there is no darkness as the sun beats down on your face. Its the weekend, another tropical weekend, Nothing to do but lay back and enjoy.

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Sunday Afternoon Cricket Match

“Umpireeeeeeee!” That was the scream that echoed through the small village nestled between two lush green hills. Yeah man, it was the regular Sunday cricket match in full swing. Boys used to come from other villages just to play. i mean bragging rights was big round here. This was no official cricket match, noooo, nobody wore white spotless uniforms, I mean look at Dexter, his shorts was ripped and one hole was right where his bamsi was, he would not have to pull down his pants to do a number two. Most of us were bare footed, our toes caked with dry dirt. The wickets were pieces of galvanize with a stick behind them to prop them up. The cricket bats were homemade, some of the boys and them took great pride in who could make the best bat. The ball was a tennis ball, that damn ball would swing in heavy wind, bounce unpredictably off the pitch, and the pitch, let’s talk about the pitch. It was a path that led up to the houses, it was cracked and had what looked like small craters on it. It was on the part of the path that had a slight incline to it. The faster bowlers would always want to bowl from the top side. Oh how them boys and them used to love running up to the wicket and flinging that damn ball at the batsman. Many of us got plunked in the head, I know, i know, you saying, how can a tennis ball hurt, trust me, you get hit in the head with one of them and then come tell me it does not hurt.

This Sunday was no exception. A group of like twenty boys were gathered playing. Thar was when the happy, peaceful Sunday afternoon was interrupted with the shout,

“Umpireeeeeeeeeee! The bowler, Ricky, was insistent that the ball hit the wicket, the batsman, Randy protested,

Nah mon, no way that ball din hit de wicket atall atall!”

“Boi, you is tiefing, dat ball hit the damn wicket.” Ricky shouted back, tell him Tall boi,”

“Ok ok,” Randy said. ” If de ball hit de wicket, how come we doh hear no sound?”

Ricky stood speechless, I mean Randy had a point.

“It don matter, yuh out man, give Tall Boi de bat.”

“Bomboclat, I eh giving him notton, I tell yuh I doh out atall!”

Ricky walked up to Randy. I never knew what anybody let that boy play with them. He always cheating and starting fights.

“Give him de bat or I go tek it from you.” He said reaching out and grabbing the bat. Randy refused to let go. They started pulling the bat. All the boys and them started making a circle around them. Soon they were on the ground rolling around, dirt was flying everywhere, curse words pepped the air.  Out of the crown comes Batto, the village drunk. He tried to break up the fight but only managed to end up rolling around on the ground with the two boys. Ricky let out a loud grunt then jumped up, the bat held over his head as he screamed in triumph,

“I have it, i have it!” That is when it happen, in his moment of victory, his worrier like scream echoing through the valley. His pants dropped to his ankle. At first it did not seem to bother him because he was wearing under pants. But that underpants was old so the elastic in the waist lose and slowly it also dropped to his ankles. There he stood, his scream trailing off and was now replaced by a roar of laughter. He looked around, as if trying to see if anyone noticed. He looked down at his exposed penis and did the strangest thing. Instead of dropping the bat and pulling up his pants, he started to run. He tripped on his fallen garments, bamsi high in the sky, and dropped face first on his face. The bat flew into the air landing at Randy’s feet. He picked it up and stood over Ricky.

“Boi, you bamsi stink for so, you wash up.”  That Sunday the laughter echoed through the valley, to other villages causing dogs to howl, chickens to cluck and  pigs to squeal.

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Parts Obeah Storyteller

18th installment of Obeah

CHAPTER 9

Akosua and her warriors were herded into a small hut and a guard was placed at the door.

“Watch that witch like your life depended on it,” the leader said and walked off into the night. Kwao paced the mud floor of the hut,

“I say we leave this place right now. I don’t see why we need the help of these animals,” he said. Akosua did not look at him when she spoke,

“Yemaya said we needed them, I am not leaving until I talk to them,” she said and sat in a chair next to the door. Kwao kept on pacing,

“Well I for one will not let them sacrifice and eat me that’s for sure.” Kwao said,

“Remember they used to be Hougans, good priests, I will use that to get them to help us, plus, we have the same enemy, that has to count for something,” she said and closed her eyes and was silent. Kwao paced in a circle in the middle of the hut,

“Sit down Kwao,” she said without looking at him. He stopped and looked over at the two warriors.

“This is crazy, she doesn’t know if this is going to work, “he barked, Akosua turned to him, the bamboo chair creaked as she did.

“Have faith Kwao,” she said, the boy plopped down in the dirt sending a small dust cloud into the air. Akosua got up and peeped out the door. The guard looked at her, his red and blue face pronounced in the light from the torch in front of the door. Everyone in the village was wearing red and blue and their faces were painted the same. Some carried food, while others carried wood for a bonfire in the middle of the village.

“Help me,” a woman screamed as she reached her arms out to Akosua. Akosua turned to her warriors,

“Let’s go” she said and walked out the door. The guard turned to block her, but she reached out and touched his shoulder, and his resolve seemed to melt, and the spear hung loosely at his side. She pushed past him and followed the screaming woman. Kwao and the two warriors followed her. The blond woman managed to escape and the Bokor chased after her and grabbed her by the hair. She fought back, but to no avail.

They walked to the middle of the village. The woman was being tied to a pole next to the bonfire. She was crying and screaming, but her pleas fell on deaf ears. Two Bokors stood next to her wearing red and blue robes. The bonfire popped and cracked sending sparks everywhere. The Bokors were busy preparing for the nights sacrifice. Akosua stopped in front of the woman. The woman looked at her, tears rolled down her sun tanned face, her blue eyes pleading. The Bokors tighten vines around her. Akosua took a step towards the woman just as the drummers began playing. The Bokors began to congregate, their faces expressionless, their eyes not moving. Their leader walked in from the darkness. He too wore a red and blue robe but with a hood on it. The bottom of the robe touched the dirt giving the illusion that he floated across the uneven ground. Akosua started to walk towards him but Kwao grabbed her arm. The Bokor leader stopped in front of the crying woman. The Bokor congregation became silent.

“To the great Pedro Loa we bring this sacrifice. We implore him to wreak vengeance on those who seek to destroy us,” he said. The drummers played faster whipping the Bokors into a frenzy of dance. The leader danced over to one of the guards and took a machete from him. He danced towards the woman; the hood on his robe covered most of his face giving the impression that he was faceless.

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The Village Drunk

I never saw crack-heads on the island. Mainly drunks, some people love their fire water, but if you ask me, they are just as stupid and equally as dangerous. I was on the beach chilling, watching some kids play football – soccer to some of you. I saw a drunk in ragged old shorts and no shirt. That man was the skinniest person I ever seen. He looked like the rum was drying him up. He was using a cutlass to open a green coconut, but he was swinging it recklessly, becoming a danger to those closest to him. One of his friends tried to take the cutlass away from him and he became belligerent. More of his friends tried to reason with him, but he began swinging the weapon wildly.

Call Babylon!” someone shouted, and the melee escalated. The drunk was not swinging at anybody who came close to him. He was screaming something about the devil and evil angels.

The police arrived but even they could not control the raging drunk. They shuffled around as if doing some kind of voodoo dance, then the drunk broke free and ran for the ocean. He splashed into the emerald-colored water, still holding the cutlass. He swam or waded until he could not stand, and then he started sinking. The police had no choice but to go after him. They reached him, grabbed the cutlasss and dragged him back to shore. When they got to the shore and laid him on the sand, laughter erupted when the people on the beach realized that he had lost his pants in the struggle. His little Dexter was exposed for all to see. That made the drunk furious. He started to fight again. He broke free and began running down the beach with the policemen in hot pursuit, followed by the crowd, laughing and shouting. They finally caught up with him when one of the policemen dropped him with a perfect football slide. But now that they had him down, they hesitated, not wanting to touch his naked body. They finally had to when he tried to get back up. You have never heard such cursing and screaming in your life as they carried him off the beach and to the police station.  

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Oil Down

This me friends would be a most excellent supper. What with the sweet potatoes, green figs (bananas), okros, (okras), maybe some eddoes, dumplings and whatever meat you like, simmered down in some coconut milk with just a taste of pepper to tickle the pallets. You can sit on your porch as the sun sets and 2atch the village drunk stumble into his girlfriends house, listen to the reggae music playing in the club on the other side of the hill. Ahhh yes, nothing was ever better than a hot plate of oil down, chased down with a tall glass of passion fruit while you watch the golden day turn into a silver moon lit night.

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Food Storyteller

Rainy Day Stew

Somewhere on the island, as rain pours down on the galvanized roof, and the drops create music on the windows and the chickens stand under the mango tree trying to get shelter, and kids are running up and down the mud path jumping into puddles, their laughter echoing through the village. Coming out of the neighbor’s kitchen is the most intoxicating smell of a lobster stew. Ahhh yes, I can almost taste it, the chives, the thyme, the pepper, and yes the fresh lobster. If heaven was food, this would be it.

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The Morning Walk

The Morning Walk

Walk in the rain down a path, feel the mud hug you toes, hear the suction of the mud against your feet. Feel the rain hit the top of your head sending a waterfall of coolness down your shoulder. Walk until the path becomes rocky, and you can see your footprints on the rock’s surface, and the darkness of the forest turns to the gray light of a cloudy morning. Here you stand, looking past the village, the beaches, the ships in the harbor, you look out to see. Here is where you will stand waiting for the next storm to form over the ocean.

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Parts Obeah Storyteller

From The Novel Obeah

Night descended on the island and the drummers began to play. The villagersdanced around the bonfire. Henry joined them and danced until his legs began to ache. The fire popped and cracked, and some of the children chased the sparks that floated into the air. Their voices echoed into the jungle, dogs howled and barked, some chasing the children that ran around the fire. Akosua and Adofo had disappeared to their special place on the small beach. Kwao was missing too. Henry knew that he was somewhere spying on the two lovers. It was late when he went back to his hut and flopped down on his bed. The events of the day played out in his head like a living dream. This was the most fun he had had since his mother died. He thought of his sister and said out loud,

“I am coming to rescue you,” his voice interrupting the crickets outside the hut. He fell asleep to images of him and his sister playing in the field behind their home in the Old Country.

He was asleep just a short time when he was woken up by Ampah. He got up and followed the boy outside. Several of the villagers carried torches and were screaming a name. Henry walked over to Ampah. He stood next to some of the boys giving them instructions.

“Whats going on?” Henry asked and Ampah turned to him.

“Adwoa is missing,” Ampah said.

“Grab a touch, we are going to look for her,” Ampah said. Henry walked over to one of the huts and got one of the torches that sat in front of it. He walked back to Ampah and lit it with the one that Ampah held.

“Adwao!” they shouted. The jungle was dark except for the torches that seemed to float through the air between the bushes. Rodents rustled in the underbrush, owls hooted in the trees, bats screeched and flew off into the night. They searched for hours, combing the underbrush until someone shouted,

“Over here!” footsteps sped up as they rushed to the voice. Henry got to where the voice came from and looked down into a grove of small trees. The little girl lay under a hibiscus tree motionless. Akosua was on her knees next to her.

“She is gone,” she said as she caressed the child’s face. The jungle was silent except for the cracking of the fire from the torches. They stood, their faces illuminated by with shadows. Akosua picked up the girls lifeless body and carried her back to one of the huts next to her own.

The Villagers stood, some cried, while the older ones tried to console them. Henry and Ampah stood there for a while then walked back to Henry’s hut.

“She looked like all the blood was drawn from her body,” Ampah said, his face a mere shadow in the pale yellow light.

“I did not hear the Ligaroos attack,” Henry said.

“There must be one among us,” Ampah said and they sat in the chairs outside Henry’s hut for a second listening to the jungle.

I can’t wait to get my hands on a Ligaroo,” Henry said. Ampah was silent for a moment looking into the dark jungle.

“So do I, I will spill blood for every person who died at their hands,” he said. The sound of frogs croaking filled the silence, crying could be heard in the hut next door.

“I knew something was up, the other night, while I slept, I felt someone next to me, their breath was awful, but when I woke up, there was no one there,” Ampah said.

“The same thing happened to me,” Henry said. Ampah looked over at him and said nonchalantly.

“You should sleep with one eye open, and your machete near my friend,” and got up and walked away. Henry got up and walked into his hut. He stopped at the doorway and held the torch out in front of him. When he was satisfied that no one else was in there he walked in. He took the unlit torch from its holder and placed the lit one in it. He walked over to the chair where the machete lay, picked it up and went to his bed. A dog howled and he lifted his head and looked around. Whenever the wind blew shadows rushed at him, then retreated when the wind dissipated He rested his head back down and closed his eye. The image of the Adwao imprinted in his mind. He felt himself falling asleep and jerked awake, then felt around in the bed next to him for the machete. He hugged the weapon and soon fell asleep.