The Awakening – by Peter Halder

The Awakening – by Peter Halder

Emil Seon lived at Malali in a cottage which he built on a sand hill overlooking a series of rapids in the Demerara River below. It was 6.30 p.m. and he was busily engaged in getting dressed to attend a traditional Easter Saturday family Party across the river.

The family usually spent Easter Saturday night singing native Amerindian songs, drinking sleepy tonic made from sweet potatoes, and eating boiled cassava, yams and smoked labba. The Party ended at 11.30 and Emil hurried to return to his home. Frightening tales were many about strange happenings in the dense forest area that surrounded the Malali Settlement on both sides of the river.  

Paddling as fast as he could, he reached the other bank of the river, pulled his canoe ashore as far as he could and set out for his home.

He perspired as he walked up the narrow sandy pathway. It was a hot tropical rainforest night. A bright light suddenly lit up the forest on his left. He peered at it and stopped dead in his tracks. The golden ray shone from the sky on a tall eucalyptus tree. His attention was attracted to the pale white trunk of the tree on which he saw something moving along it, downwards. He stepped away from the open sand path and walked closer to the centre of his attention. He spotted a clump of thick bushes and stopped behind it.

He brushed away a large fly as he stared at the tree. The moving object was a long, fat snake. It was taking its time as it moved along the tree trunk to the ground.

It reached the bushy ground and slithered along it. Emil looked at his wrist watch. It was midnight. The golden ray of light changed to red as it covered the body of the snake. Emil’s eyes nearly popped out of his head when he beheld a transformation the creature was undergoing within the red ray of light. Slowly but surely, the snake took the shape of a beautiful Amerindian woman. She stood to her full height and stretched. She was completely naked. The colour of the ray of light changed back to its original golden colour.

A noise to the left of where the woman stood drew his attention. He saw a deer emerge from behind the trees and walked slowly to the woman. It walked into the golden light, raised his head upwards and allowed its body to be completely covered by the magic light. It suddenly changed into a man. He walked to the woman and they embraced and lowered themselves to the ground, making love.

Out of a nearby mahogany tree flew a large black jumbee bird. It landed not far from the couple on the ground. The golden light disappeared as the jumbee bird changed into a strange creature. It’s head was that of a goat with blood red eyes, its body that of a a large monkey and its feet were those of a jaguar. It uttered a loud roar of agony and ran to the couple.

The man and woman, engaged in their love act as they were, failed to notice the demon. As it neared the, a bolt of lightning came from the sky and hit its neck. Its head fell to the ground and began rolling towards the river. The rest of the body imploded and disappeared. The head rolled and rolled and rolled, roaring in pain through its mouth, into the river. No sooner had it splashed into the river that a school of pirana rushed to it and devoured all except the bone skull in no time at all. The skull was carried away by a strong current. There was another explosion and all the piranas which ate the flesh from the head of the demon exploded into the air and the pieces fell on the rocks along the rapids and turned into large white worms which then wriggled into the river.

Emil’s attention now turned to the man and the woman. They were nowhere to be seen. He looked to the eucalyptus tree and saw the same snake he saw before crawling up it. Looking to the forest, he saw the same deer he saw before running further into it.

Emil ran to his home and could not sleep. What he saw was an awakening. He decided to leave Malali. He waited until morning, broke down the house and threw the pieces into the river below. He took his few belongings, put them in his canoe and paddled to Zion Hill, some distance away down river. There he made his new home, never to return to Malali again.

END

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