“Douen Calling” by Brandon Mc Ivor
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.
This week, Brandon Mc Ivor gives in to superstitions in Arima, Trinidad.
by Brandon Mc Ivor
Arima, Trinidad; Douen
I gave you my own name, and we shared it for fourteen days.
They say that you shouldn’t speak your name in the forest because the douens listen. And if they know your name, they’ll call you from deep in the woods and, like sirens, they’ll lure you in.
And after that—who knows?
I’m not superstitious, but on the day you would have been baptised, I sat on the stump before the woods and I must have said our name a thousand times.
It was just like before. Saying, “Mia, Mia, Mia, Mia, Mia, Mia, Mia,” but you were only still, like our mango tree on a windless night.
BRANDON MC IVOR is a Trinidadian author living in Yawatahama, Japan. With his sister, he is the cofounder of People’s Republic of Writing, a populist writing group. His fiction published in The Caribbean Writer, Existere, The Corner Club Press, Buffalo Almanack, and elsewhere.
—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should be set in a Caribbean location and incorporate some aspect of folklore, whether centrally or tangentially.
—Include the location and the referenced folk tale or figure of the story with your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—Please include a short bio with your submission.
—Accepted submissions to Duppy Thursday are typically posted 2–4 months after the notification date, and will be edited for cohesion and to conform to our house style.
—E-mail your submission to [email protected]. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.
Posted: Aug 25, 2016
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