A short story by Isnel Othello
Three sisters were walking home from school. Dark clouds appeared in the sky, the rain quickly followed so the sisters ran. Oga, who was the middle child and had been a magnet for getting the rest of the girls in trouble, said she had enough of getting drenched and decided to seek shelter. She sprinted to an old house off the side of the muddy road. The other sisters forbade Oga to do so but ran behind her after she did not listen. Oga knocked on the door, no one answered so they got in through a side window. Upon entering the home, Chantal began to urge them to leave. She sensed an evil spirit was living in the house. As the oldest, Chantal was always sharing warnings of imminent danger.
Oga did not listen. She went in and out of every room searching for a dry towel, something to occupy herself while they waited for the rain to stop. It was Magda who noticed the vévé on the living room floor. She showed it to Chantal, the sight of the vévé caused her heart to beat rapidly. It was the first time they seen a real life drawing of one. The vévé was a figurine of a long cross with four eyes drawn at the corner of the four angles. At the end of each line was a group of four wave lengths. The vévé’s exotic design momentarily distracted them. Magda and Chantal almost forgot how scared they were until they heard Oga scream from the back of the house. They called out to Oga but she did not respond. They called out again. Nothing. Finally Oga burst out another scream. As they ran to the back of the house the girls fought against the cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and by the time they reached the end of the hallway their arms were covered in dusty particles. They saw Oga lying on the floor. There were three men sitting behind her, each gripping Djembe drums between their thighs. The men were topless, sweat dripped from their foreheads down to their chests. Magda and Chantal saw the Mambo standing above Oga. The Mambo wore a pretty white dress. She was also perspiring with sweat. The girls could have easily mistaken the three men and the woman as another group of dark skinned Haitians celebrating their African roots but the Mambo had on what looked like to be the skull of a goat tied to the top of her head. There was another vévé drawn out on the floor. This one did not have any distinctive shape or form, just a bunch of lines jolting out at every direction. Lying on the vévé were three chickens with their feet bound in a knot. The chickens twitched as blood leaked out of their mouths.
Neither the men nor the woman seemed startled by Magda and Chantal’s presence. Their facial expression seemed to acknowledge that they were expecting the girls. Chantal ran to Oga, grabbed her by the arm and pulled her to her feet. Oga and Magda jumped behind Chantal. The Mambo looked at the girls. The men looked at the Mambo. The Mambo looked back at the men, signaling them to begin playing their drums. Then the Mambo picked up a bottle of rum from the floor, took a sip and spat some out of her mouth and into the air. The heat turned the liquor into a cloud of steam. The Mambo began to dance. She seemed possessed by the rhythm coming from the drums, dancing in circles around the girls, waving her arms like she was trying to swat flies away from her body.
The drumming started slow but gradually, it erupted into a volcano. Oga tapped Magda on the shoulders then Magda tapped Chantal; the girls seen enough and wanted to leave. But as the sisters backed away, the Mambo came closer. Magda cried out to Chantal to do something. Chantal ran up to the Mambo, called her a voodoo bitch then kicked her in the stomach. The girls did not wait for the Mambo to react. They ran out of that house as fast as they could. Outside, the rain continued to pour. As they raced home, the dusty particles that had covered Magda and Chantal’s arms washed away. Lightning flashed across the sky, a thunderous roar echoed above them. The girls glanced at each other with nervous laughter. Soon enough, they forgot what they were running away from.