“Saved by the Supernatural League” by Vindhar Suraj
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, supernatural beings are keeping the streets safe in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
Tina knew she shouldn’t have gone to that party with Robert. She barely knew the guy, but she had agreed to accompany him to a house party. Now, Robert had deserted her, leaving Tina to find her way home after midnight through the streets of Port of Spain.
Obviously it wasn’t safe to be in the capital city this late. But against her better judgment, Tina had to get home, because she wasn’t sleeping in any stranger’s house! Tina prayed as she never had before. The party had been close to the Savannah. Tina wasn’t familiar with the city’s layout, but she knew if she continued in a southerly direction, she would eventually reach City Gate, right?
A growling sound startled her. She swung around and saw a large dog outside the glow of a streetlight. It was big, almost tigerlike. The growl chilled her to the bone. With a cry, she turned and began running down the deserted street. Her breaths quickened, her feet pounded, her arms pumped, all to escape her canine pursuer. It followed, barking madly.
She tripped and fell painfully on her stomach. A large weight dropped onto her. Tina felt hot puffs of air on her neck. She screamed, thinking this was her last moment. Suddenly, from the corner of her vision, she saw a flash of red.
The dog yelped and Tina no longer felt weight on her. She eased onto her back and propped herself on her elbows. The creature was snapping its jaws at a fireball flying around its head. Tina couldn’t believe her eyes. She was being rescued by the Supernatural League! That had to be the soucouyant, Fire Girl.
The fireball pressed against the dog’s side and it squealed, stepping back to avoid the heat.
“Keep him busy, Fire Girl!”
Tina recognized that voice as Devilia, the La Diablesse member of the League. The canine continued to jump away from Fire Girl, but sometimes it would spring up to try to clamp its jaws onto her scorching form. Dog and fireball dodged and attacked each other in a crazy dance.
A swirl of color materialized close to the creature. It was Devilia, in a brilliant multicolored gown. She raised her cloven hoof and gave the dog a solid kick in its side. The force slammed it into a wall more than ten feet away. Tina thought she heard bones snap and the dog bawled, sounding like a wolf’s howl.
But it wasn’t done yet. It jumped up and bounded for the heroes. Devilia was ready. She launched herself into the air, hitting the creature with a spinning kick worthy of a Chinese karate movie. Once again, the dog smashed into the wall, and fell on the ground, unconscious.
As Tina observed in awe, it transformed into a half-naked dark-skinned man. Devilia held out a small glass jar with a writhing brown mass inside. She opened it and the mass jumped onto Fire Girl. The brown mud swirled around the flame, and Tina realized it was the soucouyant’s skin.
The flesh expanded, the fire went out, and Fire Girl was now human, dressed in tights and a training bra. “Yes!” she exclaimed, “I’m so glad we catch this lagahoo. You know how long we looking for him?!”
Devilia laughed, “Yes girl, it’s true. Oh!” she turned to Tina, “We forgetting we manners. You okay, ma’am? He hurt you?”
They were talking to her! Tina shook her head. “No . . . I okay . . . I think.”
Devilia nodded, “You seem normal. Don’t worry, I’ll take you home now. Fire Girl, get that lagahoo lock up in headquarters, right?”
The soucouyant agreed, and Devilia approached Tina and helped her up. Tina couldn’t think. The La Diablesse asked her where she lived. It took her a few moments to respond, “Um . . . Princes Town.”
“So far! Okay, no worries.” She directed Tina so that they were holding each other’s shoulders.
“Now close your eyes and think about your house.” Tina tried her best to focus with Devilia in such close proximity. She closed her eyes and smelled smoke. It felt like they were spinning but also stationary. “Good, we reach.” Tina’s eyes flew open.
They were in front of her door! “You sure you good?” Tina nodded, feeling like a dumbstruck fangirl.
“Cool, keep safe, okay?” And just like that, the La Diablesse disappeared in a flash of color.
Tina realized she had forgotten her manners. “Thank you,” she said into the night.
VINDHAR SURAJ is a proud citizen of the twin-island state Trinidad and Tobago. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. He is working on his final manuscript for the MFA, which he hopes to turn into his first published novel. He is a lover and writer of fiction, especially fantasy.
—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: Jan 12, 2017
Category: Duppy Thursday | Tags: Trinidad, Trinidad & Tobago, flash fiction, short story, short fiction, Duppy Thursday, soucouyant, La Diablesse, Lagahoo, Vindhar Suraj, Saved by the Supernatural Leage, Tobago