Sharon had been crying for weeks. Her mother had died and it hurt so much.
“Mummy,” she cried, her voice hoarse as she buried her face in her tear stained pillow. Her life held no meaning for her anymore, she felt as if she wanted to die. They had planned a shopping trip to New York and then they would go off to Disney World. Sharon was 23 years old and the only child for both of her parents. Aunty Maureen had no children and she took Sharon as her own also. Their family was strong and they all got along well.
Sharon wondered if it was her fault that her mother died. The thought crossed her mind because Cecile had died suddenly after Sharon had gotten better.
Did the poco people transfer her sickness to Cecile, was that why she died?
Sharon grieved and held her belly. The pain of losing her mother was too much. They had so many plans, they had talks together as real mother and daughter, and she was not afraid to talk to her mom about anything, nor aunty Maureen for that matter.
“God, where are you in all of this?” wondered Sharon. ” Have you no compassion? Why did she have to go? Why do we have to born and then die? This makes no sense God, unless you are just cruel!”
Sharon became angry at God and had began to doubt it’s existence after her tragedy.
“All ah dem sup’m yah ah mek up story, nutten nuh go suh, bout love Jacob and hate Esau,” Sharon hissed her teeth. “Ah promote love wid one breath and hate wid another, mi nuh care if yuh vex wid mi, mek yuh tek mi mumma from mi!!” cried Sharon. “Mek yuh do mi dat!”
Sharon’s Guardian angels were in the room with her. She could not see them or even feel them. They sighed at the plight of humans, the physical vehicles they wore made them useless in the way of understanding things they cannot see. They were cut off from themselves, their true selves, and here she was cursing a force that was within her, not knowing that the force was she. They looked at each other, and decided to allow her to pass through.
It was night time. The moon was out and shined through her window. The stars were brilliant and the air was cool as it blew into the room and onto Sharon’s wet face, creating a sweet cool sensation Sharon could not enjoy. She dried her face with her hands, but tears still flowed as they had everyday since her mother passed. She had challenged God and her belief, but she felt she had a right to. If he was a good God or even existed, then he should know how she felt.
Sheila growled and Sharon looked through the window at her to see her looking up from where she lied. Sharon saw her from her window’s view, but then Sheila quieted with a small whimper and wagged her tail, as she usually did when she saw a familiar face. A wisp of white hovered over Sheila, like rising smoke, and Sharon, blinked and rubbed her eyes to remove the water as they felt glazed. The smoke-like apparition floated upward and Sharon wiped her eyes again, perhaps she was hallucinating. The smoke expanded a little and floated in her direction. Sharon rubbed her eyes again and when she opened them, there right before her was her mother.
Sharon’s heart pounded in her chest and she pinched herself to see if she was dreaming, she wasn’t.
“Mama?” she said, shocked. Cecile smiled at her.
“Mummy?” she said again. She was now on her knees facing the window.
“Mummy come! Come inside,” said a joyful Sharon as tears poured from her eyes. She held out her hands through the window to her beloved mom, waiting for her to take it. Cecile looked at her frightened daughter, she had begged a pass to come and see her, it wasn’t time for her to visit as yet and although she had been given permission she could not stay long. The girl’s tears were powerful and it pulled Cecile, she had to come.
“No darling,” Cecile transmitted her thoughts to her daughter who heard it as if she had spoken aloud,. “Don’t touch me, I do not want you stained, and I can not come in, at least not yet. I am here with you, you will never be without me, but I had to go or else all of us would go, and you are not ready for the trip. The journey is long and a little rough. I have not gone far, and will come whenever you need me. From now, learn to keep things to yuh self, mi baby, never show yuh hand to everybody,” and with that she disappeared.
Sandra tossed and turned in her bed as she tried to scream. She felt as if she was suffocating, and while she struggled, she felt paralyzed as if she could not move. She heard children playing and singing “room for rent apply within, when I come out then you run in.” Then it changed loudly to “London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down, London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady,” she struggled to remember the 23rd psalms but couldn’t and she heard laughter of children and something pinched her skin, short stubby hands, like that of a child.
Someone in the room spoke. “Mummy, mek yuh dash mi whey?”
And a chorus of laughter joined in. Sandra’s heart palpitated and she could feel the heat of the hot Jamaican sun streaming threw her window, and hear the horns of cars outside, but she just could not wake up. In her mind she called out for her mother, she tried her voice but her ears only heard a sound of a slurred speech while her mouth and tongue felt numb, she felt as if she wouldn’t survive this. In her mind she cried on the blood of Jesus and as she did, so did the chorus of children’s voice, as if to mock her. “Jesus!” They would say and giggle. Sandra continued to struggle, trying hard to kick her feet out so that she could jerk herself awake, it was during this that she began to feel bites all over her skin; teeth, sharp teeth were sinking deep into her flesh, she tried to scream, but couldn’t, she was being tortured. “Oh God almighty,” she thought in her head. “Please help me!”
Fatty was in her bed this Sunday morning experiencing the very same thing Sandra was going through. She fought to wake up but couldn’t. As a matter of fact she couldn’t move. This all began as she was sleeping and a woman she had known when she was a small girl, who was like a mother to her, came to her. The woman was just standing there in a purple frock, the same one she had been buried in and a wide purple church hat, it was her favourite hat when she was a alive. Behind her was a young man who only peeped over her shoulder shyly.
“Sista Pearlita?” said Fatty. That was what Fatty and the community called the woman.
Sister Pearlita only shook her head, with an angry look on her face. “Ah betta yuh did keep dah one yah behine mi, but mi glad yuh neva did, mi have him now, guh repent!” and with that she walked away.
They were in a huge field. It was dark and some lights shone from somewhere, and as she walked away Fatty grabbed her arm.
“Sista Pearl, help mi,” she said desperately. The woman turned around and bit Fatty’s arm. The pain was so excruciating that Fatty fought to get away, to wake up, but she couldn’t. She heard the scream in her head, but she had no voice and she could not move or wake up. She felt as if she was suffocating with children playing and singing in her ears. Fatty struggled for a long time, until she felt something touch her legs, and her eyes flew open as she screamed.
Fatty jumped off the bed as she heard a muffled sound coming from Sandra’s room and ran inside to see her struggling. She went over to her quickly.
“Sandra, Sandra!” she said hurriedly in between hitting Sandra’s legs. “Sandra, wake up!”
Fatty, worried that Sandra was still fighting and not responding to her, began shaking her frantically.
“Sandra!” But still she was not waking up!
Fatty ran outside to the kitchen for some water and it was when she came back and splashed the water on Sandra that she woke up screaming as Fatty had done.
“Mamaaaaaa!!!” screamed Sandra who was soaking wet. When she came to reality and saw her mother, she began to cry. Fatty joined her as well.
Maureen sat with Sharon at the breakfast table and watched her. She was on her second cup of tea, which was a major improvement because she had become a wisp of herself since the death of her mother. She pushed around the liver and callaloo that was in her plate, Maureen had even made some fried dumplings (her favourite) in hopes of enticing her to eat, she had eaten half, but the two cups of tea was an improvement and Maureen poured a glass of orange juice so that when she finished the tea, the orange juice would entice her to stay around the table and perhaps eat a little. She had said as much to the girl and she had taken three fork fulls of the liver and Callaoo together. Mr. Henry had gone back to work after being home for some time after Cecile’s death.
“Aunty,” began Sharon.
“Yes, dear heart” answered Maureen.
“Mi si mummy last night…” Sharon looked up from under hooded eyes, trying to catch a glimpse of Maureen’s reaction.
Maureen was not surprised to hear this, she too had seen Cecile last night, but she said nothing, not yet.
“Really, how? Inna yuh dream?”
Relieved at her aunt’s reaction, Sharon lifted her head and sighed heavily as tears stung her eyes again. She began to recount what she saw last night and what her mother told her.
Maureen listened intently to Sharon, and recalled in her mind her own encounter with Cecile, only she was asleep and dreaming…
She dreamed that they were younger and Cecile was pulling away Maureen’s doll, crying that the doll belonged to her. The two began to have a tug of war with the doll until Sandra, Fatty’s daughter, came as how she looked in real life and pulled the doll away from both of them and shouted that the doll was hers. Cecile saw her and ran to hide under the house cellar, while Maureen picked up a stone and flung it at her. Fatty came from no where and hugged Maureen, trying to hold her back from fighting her daughter, but in the dream Maureen was so angry at Sandra for scaring her sister more than taking the doll that she charged her in the dream and began to bite her, tearing her flesh like a mad dog. Fatty began to scream, and so did Sandra, Maureen herself woke up sweating. It was a nightmare although it happened when the sun was already up, but it had seemed so real. This was a revelation she had thought, and it had been on her mind all morning, because the experience brought her back to something Bugsy had told her during their discussion, which she had dismissed.
“Mi interested inna de last part Sharon, when yuh sey yuh madda tell yuh sey fi keep things to yuhself, yuh know wha she talking bout?” asked Maureen quizzically.
“No aunty,” said Sharon. “Yuh know mi nuh chatty mout and plus mi nuh have no secret.”
But Sharon began to cry all over again. “Aunty, wha mek she haffi dead?”
Maureen got up from the table and went to hug her niece. “Only God knows, mi baby, but if it natural then har time did come, and if it unnatural den whoever behind it have hell fi pay.”
Fatty and Sandra sat waiting for Madda Charles to come in. They were shown to her office by her assistant who went to get her. Fatty had known Madda Charles for a while but had not seen her for a very long time now. However, she felt this trip was important especially with what both she and Sandra had experienced this morning and the many bites Sandra woke up with all over her body. A strong voice came from the door as Madda Charles walked in. She was a very fat woman with huge hips and a huge bottom no doctor could construct. She was a pretty woman, with pleasant features. As she came into the room and sat down, she smiled with both women.
“Fatty long time, man. Howdy – lawd ah who dis? Yuh daughter? After mi nuh know har, ah long time mi nuh si yuh enuh,” said Madda Charles.
Fatty smiled although it was a strain to. “Yes Madda, ah mi one pickney, she name Sandra.”
“Sandra,” said Madda Charles while studying the girl who held her head down, even after hearing her name.
“Sandra…” repeated Madda Charles more to herself than the young girl.
Suddenly, Madda Charles got up and opened the window in her office and called out “Bellyfull, wet up de yawd wid de hose deh fi mi, wet it up throughly, guh dweet now and salt de gate, just de gate. Send Dorothy go ah bredda Michael shop guh get ah dozen cuknat deh fi mi, mek sure dem dry.”
Madda Charles whirled around to the women in her office. “Sandra get up and spin roun to yuh left three times.”
Sandra looked at her mother and Madda Charles voice rose. “Don’t try mi enuh gal pickney get up and do as mi tell yuh or come outta mi rass yawd!”
Sandra hurriedly stood and began to spin, but she not only spun left, she spun right out of fright.
“Fatty, is wah kine ah crosses dis yuh bring come ah mi door? Why duppy pickney ah play innna mi yawd? Is wha kind ah crosses dis!” shouted Madda Charles. “Oonuh do di deed and waan mi correck it, baby duppy ah haunt yuh and fi good reason caws oonuh guilty!”
Fatty began to sweat and twist her hands. Sandra felt faint and had to sit down.
“Come outta mi yawd! Whey mi swivel Jack deh?”
As large as she was Madda Charles ran to a corner in her office for something that looked like a cane and began to beat the walls of her office and then she hit Sandra across the back with it. Sandra screamed loudly.
“No madda! Wha yuh ah do!” shouted Fatty.
Bellyfull and others had run into the office. Madda Charles was no joke and could not be restrained when the spirit came over her.
“Oonuh waan draw mi, Sonny one dawta, dung ah hell wid oonuh?”
Madda Charles shouted as she swung the swivel Jack and hit Fatty and Sandra together.
WAP! WAP! The swivel jack sounded. “Oonuh come out ah mi yawd!”
Both women ran. The cane had torn Fatty’s flesh and it began to bleed.
“Devil!” Shouted Madda Charles. “Satan helpa oonuh come out, oonuh wicked set ah dranco!”
Madda Charles shouted as she ran behind them, light as a feather. They made it through the gate but madda Charles was behind them, the fast Shelly Ann Fraser of Madda ooman in Jamaica and all about, there was no way a woman of her girth could run so fast and so light, she chased them out shouting.
“Oonuh ah murdera! Oonuh tek mi fi fool, ah God mi serve!”
Devil!!!, shouted Madda Charles breathlessly as she ran behind the two women flogging them, while sweating!
Someone gave her the coconuts and she sailed them with bellyfull in tow. Fatty and Sandra could hear the Bow! Bow! behind them.
“Beat them Fadda!” she shouted. “Beat dem!” “Wickedness, Obeah wukka!!, she shouted and she sailed the coconuts at running women!
Fatty and Sandra ran down the street. Sandra lost one foot of her slippers as she ran, crowd had begun to gather and some small children were throwing stones at the running figures. Fatty felt as if she was going to die, her heart was beating so fast. She and Sandra were now on a small lane hiding behind a car. They had left the crowd behind and was trying to catch their breath. When Sandra was able to, she turned to her mother and said scornfully.
“Why God did haffi gi mi yuh as ah madda? Yuh si wha yuh ah put mi tru?” And with that, she left Fatty where she was.
Fatty managed to make it home. She wondered if the mango tree would hold her weight if she put a rope around it. This was too much.
“Imagine what dis ungrateful gal sey to mi, and den leff mi. Suppose de people dem did find mi and beat mi?”
Fatty cried. Life was no longer sweet, she wanted out, she couldn’t manage.
“Why Sharon did haffi open har mout to Sandra,” said Fatty, hissing her teeth. “Ah it caws dis problem, and now de greedy dawg lose dem bone.”
Shame penetrated Fatty’s whole being in remembrance of being chased by Madda Charles, bellyfull and more.
“Is wha mi come to God?” she lamented.
Fatty remembered their trip to Killfuss after all was revealed to Sandra by Sharon. If Mr. Henry or any of his family died, wife or child, then all of his properties would go to his sister Fatty and his niece Sandra. They were related by their father, but Fatty was brought up into an orphanage. Fatty was a product of an outside affair Mr. Henry’s father had with the maid. He was a prominent person in his community and so he denied the woman, fired her when his wife found her and denied Fatty.
Rafael Henriques was hard when he was younger, but before he died he had confessed all to his one son Carlos, and made him promise to find the girl and look after her. Carlos Henriques had researched with the help of Sharon and had found out that the mother had died and the child was brought up in an orphanage. He had hired professionals to find her, and when he did, she was living in deep poverty. He had quickly given them a small house that had belonged to his grandmother which she had rented out, in a decent neighbourhood and had bought her a bar which she requested. He had brought them into his family who had accepted them and they all became family. But Mr Henry had made the mistake in changing his will and including them and Sharon had been present when the lawyer had come to the house. She was so happy to have discovered a cousin so close to her age and they had become close. It was Sharon’s joy of having an extended family and her happiness of what her dad had done coupled with her naivety that had allowed her to confide in Sandra.
Sandra had come home to Fatty and shared the news, but Fatty had kissed her teeth and said
“Dats nice, but no body nah dead fi now, so mi nuh business bout dah one deh and him can change him mind if him feel like. Memba him just find we three years now enuh.” But Sandra had other plans and had shared them with Fatty who was at first was unwilling, but when Sandra pointed out to her the bad life she had as opposed to Mr.Henry’s privileged life, Fatty reconsidered. Her name was Delores Brown, her own mother’s last name, a woman who was a maid and had been treated unfairly when the Boss who impregnated her had realized his mistake. The mother had poisoned herself because of shame and confusion, after she had tried to pass off the child to her then boyfriend, but Fatty had come out brown skinned with curly hair and it was clearly not the mans child. He had beaten Mildred, Fatty’s mother, publicly when he saw the Jacket she had given him and she was so distraught she had taken her own life. The baby was given to an orphanage, where she stayed until she was eighteen.
The memory the day of her life story and that of her scorned mother had sealed Mr. Henry and his family’s fate by going to seek out an Obeah man to kill off the new found family. She qualified her actions as good, because of all the suffering her mother must have gone through and she herself. It was painful for Fatty, but she couldn’t help the memories that flooded her mind.
Someone had told her that people thought St. Thomas had the best Obeah men and after that was St. Mary, but Westmoreland was whey de wicked one dem deh. Something bout dah place deh, de smaddy had said. They had also mentioned KillFuss, so Fatty and Sandra did some searching and found one of the greatest in all of Jamaica. They had gone into Killfuss yard which had a look and feel of Hope gardens. It had lots of trees, and high walls. The compound was clean and house was far into the compound and behind it were more trees. The land was vast and there seemed to be an eerieness about it that people felt rather than saw.
Killfuss was impressive to look at, although he wore a straw hat and walked with a cane. The straw hat was pulled down over his face so you could barely see it and his voice was deep. He had a huge dimple on his right cheek and was slender and seemed to be in good shape with lilly white teeth, which only showed when he spoke, because he never smiled. They had told him that these people had taken their inheritance, they wanted the whole family dead. Killfuss had named his price and told them seven days, he had not questioned them. He had told them to come back in three days, which they had, and he gave them some things to go to the house and throw. They complained that it was risky, but he assured them that all would be well if they were careful. When they were about to leave, he had called out to them.
“The ongle ting sure in this life ah death. Everybody haffi go, but know sey anuh every body death like fi visit, and some people have dem time when dem waan leave, so no matta how yuh shoot dem, dem nah dead, nuh come yah come bawl if this ah one ah de case. An memba sey de story wha oonuh tell mi is a lie, so nuh timk oonuh can trick me, but seven days… seven days,” and with that he walked away from them, allowing them to see their way out.
Fatty knew that what hapened today was not “just suh, ah Cecile duppy come back come haunt dem. If yuh si how she bite up de one Sandra, and now Madda Charles disgrace dem inna public.”
Fatty willed herself to have the courage to take the pills that were in her hands but she was afraid. “Death,” she thought to her self. “No more stew peas or peppa pot soup or de young and de restless.” Fatty was afraid and confused.
Sandra stepped through the gate of her house, she was tired and stressed. She was very afraid and yet her anger was more than her fear. She would go to Westmoreland tomorrow, and “dah fat gal deh affi come wid mi, caws dis dutty man Killfuss aguh get a piece ah mi tongue. Mi ah mek sure bring two gun man wid mi, awoah,” she thought as she swung the gate shut loudly.
Killfuss was napping beneath his mango tree when he saw a large woman walk up to him and say, “Ah me Sonny one dawta. Mi leff de job fi yuh, mi nuh touch it at all, so nuh trouble mi, mi and yuh anuh enemy!”
Killfuss opened his eyes with the image of the fat woman still in his mind, but she had shown him a snapshot of something, of a familiar large woman and a slim one running, with Baby G and her friends throwing stones. Killfuss threw back his head and roared with laughter. Bunny and Mary who were around the back working looked at each other in surprise.
“Come!” he said in between laughs. “Yuh an yuh mumma, oonuh come man!”