[2004 Young Explorer Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Honourable Mention]
I spent some part of every summer at my grandmother’s until I was around fourteen years old. The times I spent there were full of excitement and great wonder.
My grandmother lived on the most beautiful island in the Caribbean. A place where clear water ran from mountains and hills, where fruits grew, Hot Springs formed and big green forest dominated. These natural beauties are short-lived. When the night came and all was still, that was the time to fear most. That was the time evil would show its ugly face.
I can still remember the solemn twilight, the mysteries of the nature island, the earthy smells mixed with the faint odours of wild flowers, growing somewhere in the forest behind the house, often drifted through my room window. I could hear the far-off howling of a dog and the nearby hissing of a snake, which sent shivers down my spine. From my room window, I saw only the snapshot glimpses of disturbed creatures scurrying through the tall grass and splashing through the nearby river that ran down from the back of our garden.
It so happened that one particular night, my grandmother and I had gone to bed early. This was to get an early start on the garden. It was about 4 a.m. and I had just been awakened by my grandmother so that we could leave, since we had such a long way to travel, around three miles. The cold morning air encircled me as if to lift me off of the ground. Grandma and I were both dressed in long jeans, boots and a big tee-shirt. Hugging myself tightly, I walked on behind grandma. Although it was freezing, grandma walked on strongly as if she felt nothing, but then again, I guess she really felt nothing. The big dirt road, which grandma and I walked along, was lined with huge trees, which seemed to be reaching down to grab. The place held a deafening silence, which was only broken by the continuous dragging of our feet. Even the clouds deserted the black sky, walking with the stars and leaving the moon as the only source of light. Something about the way the moon shone and its huge size sent chills down my spine. This was the time for evil.
As we continued walking, grandma told jokes and we sang songs to lessen the mile. As we neared the garden, granny inquired, to herself, about the readiness of the yams. The garden we had intended to raid of its provision belonged to one of grannie’s friends, Mr. Mandie, who had given her permission to dig yams.
As we reached to a part where the road branched off to the left, a funny feeling, which I still cannot explain, came over me. Granny and I turned left and then right. As we made our way along the narrow path that lead to the garden, a bright light suddenly appeared before us.
It was told that Mr. Mandie was a dealing man, a man who left his skin at night and travelled through the air in bright lights looking for blood. As I looked upon the light, I froze suddenly in my position. The light seemed hypnotic. I felt a force upon me, holding me and pinning me to the ground. My head became heavy, the hair on my back, neck and hands all stood up and my body felt as if it wasn’t mine because of the weight which had seized it.
As I looked on, the light seemed to be coming down the hill towards us but still it couldn’t seem to reach. All the time, my head became heavier and it became more impossible for me to move. My granny was at my side saying something, talking to the light. The more she talked, the faster the light came towards us but never quite reaching. I heard granny speaking but it was as if she spoke another language, since I couldn’t understand a single [word] she uttered. I heard her call my name but I wondered whose name it was. I wanted to scream but nothing came from my mouth. I then felt myself being drawn backwards, further from the light until I was upon the road.
Granny had turned her clothes onto the other side and had lead me out of the garden backwards. She said that if we had turned our backs upon the light, we would have surely died. As we quietly hurried home, we heard the cock crow.
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