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 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 . . .
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 . . .