“La haine de la diablesse” by Rajendra Shepherd
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, Rajendra Shepherd explores the dark side of rural life.
We never give up being wanted . . .
Jagroo did some god-awful things—but raping the “cow whore” wasn’t one of them. Yes, they bulled. They must have. But without that horror, where would I be?
I wouldn’t be bound by my feet, on the edge of this cane field, head inches from the black grass. The tree itself is actually quite dramatic. Full of fireflies. I like it; I think it bears fruit in its season.
Look at you, fat, disgusting. You’re a disgrace to women. In this light you look like a cunt.
I’ve no idea why your kind think a hoof doesn’t hurt bound like this, especially where the ropes cut. Disgusting. You ignore animal suffering on account that you eat them; even Hindus who should know better do it.
You know this dress was pretty once: Jagroo got it for me as a surprise. But when I first wore it, it hung like a giant bag. Now that I’m watching this hem close up, I can see how well made it is. It’s a good thing I put on sexy panties—it might make a difference in the morning.
Maybe one of the bastards will have an aching hard-on. Don’t mind the hoof; if their eyes catch my thighs it’s all over for them. I’m nineteen. My skin’s still firm, you nasty arse. What is it with country boys and farm animals?
Go ahead, bitch, spit on me; it doesn’t change a thing. Your man will be first in line.
Don’t mind that I’m a virgin. I’ll know what to do with him, and I’ll love it. He will too.
They weren’t expecting all this woman when they came for me. They stank of rum. I could smell their sour stink from miles away: Jagroo’s slobbering puncheon talk. Serves him right. I’m tired of calling, “Dad, dad,” to no response.
The chop across the side of his neck probably took him. I wish he would close his eyes, but I know he can’t help it—not now.
I can hear him braying: “Oh, the pussy was so good,” but he loved her really. At her funeral he couldn’t let the casket go.
My mother was a good woman. All you people saw was an old, prim Negro lady in a church dress. No one saw the foot. I only saw it once when I was six, as a comforter; she needed to show me that I wasn’t the only one.
It’ll be light soon. I’m already hearing the hum of highway traffic. It’s funny how even traffic can be beautiful, especially its in final chorus. So much for me being famous.
How can you stand to be around them? They cuss and reek of nasty man-sweat. You deserve better. Yes—spit, girl, only because you know it’s true.
How could you see me here, like this? As a woman. You’re a fucking disgrace. You think I ‘fraid that cutlass! You know why they put you here? They don’t trust each other—and who might take me first.
At least they want to fuck me.
RAJENDRA SHEPHERD is a writer, journalist, and artist who works at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. His writing often focuses on issues of the self, sense of place, and layers to identity. His book Tilt – the gaze that changes everything: 90 ways to rule your world is a transformative work on language of the self and is available on Amazon.com for Kindle and in all major bookstores in Trinidad & Tobago.
Posted: Nov 6, 2015
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