Very few people saw the strange light the first time because it all started happening very late at night. Those who saw it said what looked like a flashlight suddenly appeared in the sky up north in the direction of Vielle Case. It bobbed up and down couple of times and like a shooting star it shot it way rapidly across the sky and came to rest on Ma John’s mango tree. No one remember what happened next because the witnesses to the mysterious light were suddenly overwhelmed by deep sleep and had to retire immediately to bed.
So night after night different people witnessed the same phenomena and no one seems to understand what was really going on.
Then around the time these things began happening people started to see a difference in Ma John. Ma John she used to a be jovial person, who cracked jokes with people, laughed at her own jokes and would never refuse a good shot of spice rum. “It good for your belly eh,” she would always say. On Sundays she would sit under the mango tree with her best friend Madonn and gossip everyone around while they both emitted shrill bursts of laughter.
But all this changed and Ma John turned suddenly hostile and unfriendly. She no longer ran to the shop for a shot of spice rum, she refused to greet people on the road and most importantly, to Madonn’s chagrin, the Sunday afternoon gossip sessions came to an abrupt end.
People were baffled by this but what was even more baffling was the day Ma John ran into Madonn by the river and boldly told her former friend that she was using her favorite washing stone. And within the blink of an eye the two flew at each other with flailing hands. Those who were at the river dropped whatever they were doing and rush to the spot shouting, “Woman fighting. Action. Action. Kung fu movie.”
The news of the fight between the two former best friends spread through the area like a wildfire and people began to wonder more and more what was really happening to Ma John.
And then many things began happening in the area. First of all people noticed that students began performing poorly at school. Either they were not interested in their school work, would be sleepy all the time or would have a general laissez-faire attitude. Many complain of being tired all the time and then strange dark spots began appearing all over their bodies.
But that was just the beginning. One very dark night Calamee was just about to fall asleep when he heard a loud raucous in the fowl house. Always on a look out for snakes, which occasionally preyed on his chicken, he grabbed his flashlight and flung open the window. And in the yard he saw a hen, followed by about five chicks, clucking along merrily.
Calamee was very puzzled by this since he knew chickens and darkness don’t mix but thinking it probably belonged to a neighbor (he knew the hen did not belong to him because he has never seen it before), he grabbed some clothes and rushed outside with the intention of keeping it and its brood till morning and then he would locate its owner.
But in the yard the hen and the chicks were nowhere to be found. Calamee searched under the house, in the kitchen, even in the outhouse but it was to no avail. When he went to the fowl house every single chicken were fast asleep and no sign of recent disturbance was evident.
Then Calamee felt suddenly weak, his head felt as it was growing rapidly and his legs turned to rubber. Holding on to the fowl house for support he felt shivers running up and down his spine and he was unexplainably cold. Thinking that he was probably having a heart attack, he tried to scream but his tongue was heavy in his mouth and only a squeak emanated from it.
It was then he saw the orange glow coming from the direction of Ma John’s house. He watched in fascination as the glow grew bright, became weak, grew bright again and continued the cycle over and over again.
Calamee was not sure how long he stood there but slowly he felt energy flowing through his legs again and despite the lingering fear in him, he was overwhelmed by curiosity and he decided to investigate the source of the orange glow as best as he could.
From the vantage point in his yard he gasped in disbelieve at what he saw. On the mango tree in Ma John’s yard was someone holding what looked like a larger than life kerosene torch of brousai. From where he was Calamee could not recognize who the person was but the flame from the brousai leapt here and there, casting eerie shadows all over the yard. Then he saw someone looking like Ma John running from the mango tree to the house.
The brousai on the mango tree abruptly dimmed and turned to what looked like the light of a flashlight and the person holding it appeared to be climbing higher into the tree. Suddenly whoever it was stop the ascent and Calamee felt a wave of fear swept over him. He dropped the flashlight turned and ran to his house. But he did not get far for his legs turned to rubber again and he fainted.
Then many things began happening to Calamee. First he noticed that he was weak and without energy in the mornings. He felt lazy throughout the day and his garden suffered tremendously. Then he began hearing strange shuffling sounds under his house and a bizarre scrape on the roof every night around midnight. And there were the dark-bluish spots all over his body which he rubbed with Iodex and then later Canada Water. In order to battle the weakness he was feeling, someone told him to drink Ferrol and Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil but none of these helped. He even took baths of Glory Cedar, Pachouli and Bay Leaf and that too did not help.
And then he began having a very strange dream. In it he was falling through a bottomless abyss and it always was Ma John who had pushed him in. He always woke up on the floor, sweating profusely and without realizing he had fallen from his bed.
So one day he related his whole experience to his friend Poong and to his great surprise they shared similar experiences. Poong showed him the dark-bluish spot on his body and told of the constant fatigue he felt. And Poong said many people in the area were experiencing the same thing. Eventually the conversation turned to Ma John and Poong said he too had seen the strange glow coming from her yard but he had not thought much of it since he thought much of it since he thought Ma John was burning leaves.
Ma John‘s behavior got worse and was on everyone’s lips. But what left people in the area searching for answers was the incident at church. Ma John was a devout Catholic and went to church every Sunday and holy days of obligation. That particular Sunday she was in the line for communion but when she approached the priest, the chalice flew out of his hands as if slapped violently by someone. The little white hosts flew in a thousand directions. A look of terror appeared over the priest’s face and he shouted, “Evil, evil is in the house of the Lord.” Mass ended abruptly that day and no one really knew what to make of this peculiar incident.
But Calamee was convinced that Ma John had become a soukouyan and something had to be done about it. He spoke to Poong of his conviction and told of his plan to visit the gardeh in Castle Bruce for instructions. That day they made a pact between them that they would get rid of whatever had become of Ma John.
About a week later, on a dark moonless night, Calamee and Poong were lying flat on their stomachs in the banana field next to Ma John’s house. Both men wore their clothes inside out and back to front with rosaries and pedants of St. Mark the Lion around their necks. Poong held a fish gun with a spear of stainless steel that had been rubbed with garlic, alkalee and horse urine. Calamee held an ancient rifle and a small bag filled with bullets that has also been rubbed with the same things as the spear.
Upon Calalmee’s signal Poong crept from their hiding place and made his way to Ma John’s kitchen, which was a galvanize shack separate from the house. He groped his way through the thick darkness and entered the kitchen which had an eve ndarker interior. With his heart beating loudly he placed a jar of sand next to the pillon (mortar) that was in the kitchen. Soukouyans normally placed their skins in a pillon for the night while they go on their expeditions but a jar of sand nearby normally tempt them to count all the sand before putting their skins back on. While the soukouyan was distracted by its sand counting, Calamee and Poong agreed they would strike.
Poong was about to head back to their hiding place to await the return of the soukouyan when without warning bright yellow light filled the yard, shattering the darkness. Poong panicked and broke into a run but he felt a sharp pain behind his head and he fell into a heap.
From their hiding place Calamee was suddenly surprised by a sudden burst of light. The soukouyan had returned without warning and he feared for Poong. Grabbing the rifle he burst from their hiding place and ran in the direction of the kitchen. When he turned the corner around the house, what Calamee saw filled him horror.
On the ground lay Poong. Standing over him was what looked like a giant human torch, with flames leaping all over the place. Standing in the middle of the flames was someone who looked like Ma John, except that she was red all over, as if someone had peeled her skin off. In her hand she held a broom. She raised the broom in order to strike the limp body on the ground.
“Poong, Poong” Calamee heard himself screaming.
The creature froze with the broom suspended in mid-air. Then it turned around and began walking towards Calamee, slowly and deliberately, flames dancing in its wake. It covered the short ground that separated them in no time.
As the soukouyan drew closer, Calamee could see its face and it was not the face of Ma John. The face was skinless, with small amounts of blood oozing out, from spot here and there. The eyes were like the eyes of a snake, except it was red and blood shot and it glowed slightly, like the light of a weak flashlight. The whole countenance of the face was the countenance of evil, and there was a sneer on it. It was a sneer that sent shivers down his spine.
Calamee wanted to turn and run, but he found no energy to do such thing. He felt weak in the legs and he began backing away from the advancing soukouyant mechanically, more by instinct than anything else. He wanted to scream to Poong, but he could not find his voice either. The more he backed up, the more the thing in front of him got closer.
Suddenly his foot hit something. It was the stump of wood and he found himself stumbling backwards. He rolled over and over again.
“Poong, Poong,” the words flew out of his throat as if by magic. “Poong, Poong.”
Poong lay on the ground and he felt as if he was in a dream, as if he was floating in outer space. He heard someone calling his name, but it sounded far away. Who could it be? It sounded urgent, like someone in great distress.
Slowly, ever so slowly Poong’s senses began returning and the sound of his name sounded louder and louder. A flood of memories flashed in front of him: Calamee; the banana field; the soukouyan. Then he suddenly remembered. He sat up and found it hard to do so. He felt weak and drowsy as if he had been drinking rum all day. He looked in the direction where his name was being called, and what he saw made shivers run up and down his spine.
Calamee lay on the ground screaming his name. The soukouyant stood over him, raining blows with the broom stick. Occasionally a kick was added. There were occasional grunts as the blows found their mark.
Poong found the energy flowing into him again. He saw the fish gun leaning against the house, exactly where he had left it. He found himself thinking that he should get them and end what was happening. Slowly he got to his feet, the sound of his name and the grunts of Calamee loud in his ears. He found himself staggering and he felt weak, but he kept going, concentrating on the gun, brightly illuminated by the light of the soukouyan.
Poong grabbed the gun. Frantically he pulled on the rubber that would set the gun and sent the spear flying to its target. The rubber was harder than ever and he realized he was shaking. He firmly placed the butt of the gun on his belly and continued pulling the rubber. He was concentrating so much on what he was doing; he did not realize that Calamee had stopped screaming. When he looked up, he saw the soukouyan coming in his direction, leaving a trail of dancing flame in its wake. He pulled the rubber even harder. Then it clicked into place.
Poong raised the gun and the soukouyan froze. A brief moment of deathly silence followed. In the silence, he could hear the wild thumping of his heart and the groans of Calamee on the ground. The two faced each other, like two adversaries in a fighting match. Both looked at each other intently. Poong never felt so scared in all his life, but he kept the gun pointed at the heart of the soukouyan, just as was instructed. He pressed the trigger and there was a loud twang, as the pressure of the rubber was released and the spear sped towards the soukuyan.
The spear hit the soukouyan slightly below the heart, instantly shattering three ribs and puncturing the lungs before being stopped by the vertebral column. Dark red blood began flowing out, pouring around the flames, but not extinguishing it, covering the ground around the soukouyan. The soukouyan did not move. It just stood there, looking down at the spear protruding from its body, as if in a state of bewilderment. Suddenly it released a scream, a blood curling, piercing scream. The scream rang and rang in the ears of Poong. It lifted itself from the ground and flew to the mango tree, leaving a trail of blood and flames (which had turned blue), behind it.
Poong ran towards Calamee and grabbed the rifle and took aim. He felt braver than ever. Although he knew the soukouyan was some distant away from him, he knew he would hit it. He pressed the trigger, and a loud explosion followed. The recoil of the rifle sent him flying and he landed on his back with a loud grunt. The soucouyan screamed again, this time weaker, with a gurgling sound.
The soukouyan lifted itself into the air, and flew away, bobbing up and down. Darkness covered everything, like a thick blanket, and silence followed. Poong crept towards Calamee who still laid groaning on the ground.
Together they struggled to the banana field and collapsed.
The next day Ma John was found dead by the river. She had two, what the police described as stab wounds. Her death was eventually ruled a suicide.
But only Calamee and Poong knew what really happened and when they told the story many, many years later, everyone knew that they were the only ones who had fought and killed a soukouyan and lived.
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