…he fled down the airstrip, chased by a woman’s screaming head. He fled towards Kamarang Point where the airstrip ended and the forest began. And as he reached the forest, Shirleen’s headless ghost stepped out from the gloom of the trees.
She caught the head that had been chasing him; placed it crookedly on the ragged stump of her neck.
The head smiled, revealing a row of bloodstained teeth.
“Eeeeevil,” she said. “Eeeeevil has come to Kamarang.”
She stretched out her arms, and they cart-wheeled in the air like brown cricket stumps before swooping straight at him.
He reached frantically beneath his vest for the beads that Perez had given him. He would hold them and be safe; but they weren’t there; someone had stolen them the way they had stolen Shirleen’s crucifix.
One of the hands gripped his throat, while Shirleen’s head, which had tumbled to the ground, screeched accusingly, “Where are the beeeads, Vibert Sealey? Where are the beeeeadss?”
But he hardly felt the hand on his throat because he was thinking of the beads…the beads…he had forgotten something about the beads…
Sealey blinked at sunlight streaming through the open logie door. He licked his lips; grimaced at the taste of stale booze on his tongue.
He’d been dreaming. Something about Shirleen…blood. Was she really dead? He clutched at his chest, felt the beads there, and felt a wave of sadness. Shirleen’s death was no dream, and they were burying her today and Perez thought that something evil had killed her, and the old man had given him a bina for himself and one for—.
He sat upright, suddenly cold sober. He glanced around the logie. Bap Reggie still lay snoring on the floor. Jerry Mentore, true to his word, had gotten drunk and was asleep at the Jaguar’s Den.
But Leon’s hammock was empty.
He had last seen Leon playing a game of dominoes at the Jaguar’s Den. He had not seen him leave. Come to think of it, hadn’t the boy’s hammock been empty when he, Vibert Sealey, had returned?
Leon had not gone to bathe at the river. His dry towel hung on a nail near his hammock. His soap-dish was there also.
The boy had not come home.
Sealey staggered to his feet, ignoring a momentary spell of dizziness. He went to the drum of rain-water outside, hastily washed his face, and, for the second time in three days, headed for the houses where the prostitutes stayed.
He walked past the house where Shirleen had lived until he reached the one which the girl had rented.
Again, the windows were shut; again, there was no padlock on the door.
But something was different this time. The door was slightly ajar.
He took a deep breath and rapped.
He rapped again. “Leon?” he said, feeling slightly foolish. “Leon?”
He was about to call again but then stopped. Accidentally, he had pushed the door further open, and, despite the gloom, he could see clearly inside. He stood staring into the room for a moment, then pushed the door further and stepped in.
Leon lay sprawled on the bed in a corner of the tiny room. He was naked. His lips were curled back like a dog’s. One of his arms dangled over the side of the bed. The other hand gripped the coconut mattress, but when Sealey stepped closer, he saw that Leon’s eyes were open, but with the blank stare of the dead.
KAMARANG is an excerpt from a soon to be completed supernatural novel. It combines aspects of Amerindian and African folklore.
Most of the scenes occur in Kamarang and 1970s Georgetown.
I would welcome any comments that you may have about this story and about the Kaieteur News Creative Corner.
You can contact me on my email address firstname.lastname@example.org