It was rumored that Miss Neela’s spirit roams through the village in the dead of the night with her fetus wrapped in her arms . . .
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.
Daddy Bats lives with you in a one-bedroom flat in Belmont—until today. This morning, Daddy Bats flicks the cold from the corners of your eyes, and just after Radio Trinidad announces the day’s deaths, he marches you between lively trucks and horn-blowing super saloons up the hill to the orphanage.
“Don’t worry, son,” Daddy Bats says as he kneels before you. “Is only for a few days. Then I will save you . . .”
It was all because of the squeal of the windshield wiper. Not the rumbling racket it made as it stammered back along the pane. No, that wasn’t so bad. But the squeal on the way down—shrill, insistent, bleak. Who could stand that shit? . . .
When the First People found her sparse remains, Karinya’s body had already entered the Eternal Circle of Life, her spirit as free as the corbeaux circling overhead.
Wait. It’s chilly here. Let me get more comfortable . . .
When the young soucouyant first realised there was a baby growing in her, she held the thought in her head tightly, boxing it in the same way you might wrap a pastelle: fold one side over and seal before folding the other side . . .
Everyone knew. My mother never tried to hide who she was . . .
Hurricane Charlie was hurtling down on Jamaica, but instead of cutting their yearly vacation short, Winnie’s parents packed her off to her Grandma’s place in the countryside, a tiny town called Change-Your-Life . . .
My grandmother Fefita sits for la cena while my great-grandmother Maria Antonia cautions her on the caprices of obstetrics. Fefita is six months pregnant with her first child, my aunt Juana.
“The crying is horrible,” Doña Maria Antonia counsels her fresh-faced daughter-in-law, “but the silence is far worse.”