I gave you my own name, and we shared it for fourteen days . . .
Category: Duppy Thursday
Akashic Books is proud to introduce a new flash fiction series, Duppy Thursday. Though we’re based in Brooklyn, our location envy of the Caribbean is evident throughout our catalog. One aspect of Caribbean literature that appeals to us is the integration of folklore into contemporary stories—a perfect example being Jamaican author Marlon James’s debut novel John Crow’s Devil, which we published to great critical acclaim in 2005. Whether it be the spider Anansi, the devil woman La Diablesse, the Soucouyant, Mama Dlo, or Papa Bois, these mythical beings have injected life (and death) into the literature of the region. As with our other flash fiction series, we challenge you to tell your story in 750 words or less.
The Mayfair was over, the lights turned off, the bran tub emptied, the decorations taken down and locked in cupboards safely. The bouncy castle stood still, awaiting the workmen who would remove it tomorrow. The gates to the schoolyard were shut, and the sentry assumed duty. No one saw the boy in black . . .
My son saw women peel their skin from their bones and burn their bodies out like cane fire before bed . . .
Naga raced across the floor. She knew if she crawled, the pebbles would dig into her skin and make her sore. She made for the nearest pole and climbed to the highest rafter, where she curled up and watched the man on the crocus-sack mattress, grunting and writhing . . .
Gus sipped lemongrass tea from a foam cup. It was still dark. His secondhand truck idled outside the market as four men clambered into its tray. This was where he picked up workers for the day—mostly men who came to the island at night in quiet boats. The men clutched grease-stained paper bags and chattered loudly between bites of johnnycakes and various patties. Four men got into the truck’s tray. Gus was expecting five . . .
The rain stops now and I shake my head to fling the last drop off my big straw hat. It have a freezing trickle of water running down my arm, a silver ball escaping down to the tip of my finger. Forest rain does be like that: cold in the humidity, shining like hell when the light touch it . . .
It was hard to resist the lure of Miss Chantal. Her silky-smooth waist-length hair was as dark as her haunting round eyes, set a little too far apart in her heart-shaped face . . .
The Woodsman takes a nip of rum and stares out from under the brim of his battered ball cap. “Fucking Green Hell,” he mutters under his breath . . .
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