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News & Features » October 2019 » “The First Lagahoo” by Junior McIntyre

“The First Lagahoo” by Junior McIntyre

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, a dark prophecy makes its way to a small village in Trinidad . . .

The First Lagahoo
by Junior McIntyre
Lagahoo, village of Layma in Icacos, Trinidad 

The moon rose this night as it had done in the days, months, and years before, as it would tomorrow and the night after that if life remained, but this night was different.  It rose with a passion; it rose with a fury; it rose with a burning akin to the sun with an insatiable appetite for water and tides and apathy for anything lush and full of substance on God’s now dry Earth. It gleamed down like an angry serpent tenaciously insistent on pain, suffering, and death, slicing with its rays and biting with its moonlight, overpowering any and all water that remained in the small farming village of Layma in Icacos, Trinidad.   

Kiamo slowly opened his night-soaked eyes, the fierce stab of the full moon piercing through his eyelashes as he lay in the chief’s hut under a roof of dry palm and walls made of sticks embellished with light. The long night had come and with it the promise of death for the naysayer and promise of hope for the optimist.

Kiamo, his six-foot tall frame, majestically towering over his wife, gazing softly into her eyes said, “This morning, I saw Rima the shaman. The prophecy will be fulfilled tonight. As the shamans of ancient times have said, when the big canoe shall arrive in the southwest, darkness shall descend upon us and an eternal wolf shall arise with anguish, turning the night and moon into blood. The great drought shall come to an end if the darkness is defeated; if not, our people shall be no more.”

His wife Kalina’s eyes, now wide awake with concern and her heart pulsating said, “Sure, we have heard the legend from our first breath: Kiamo, you will be our savior; you will stop the darkness and the reign of the wolf. It is our only way to survive. You shall go with fury, go brave.”

Kiamo picked up the staff that Rima, the shaman had given him; a staff immersed in the holy water of Nihara Waterfall and soaked in sacred coconut oil for nine days.  

The shadow of darkness began to cast its unsettling image on most of the land. As the sliver clad moonlight receded into vivid scarlet tones, Kiamo grabbed his staff and set off on his journey. He would make his way to the great canoe which the shaman referred to as “Vaquenos.” In the distance, he could hear horse hooves making their way towards him. As the hooves increased their pace, so did Kiamo, his pulse racing and sharp eyes wide open. Suddenly, the hooves stopped. He could hear deep breaths and a sinister growling uproar close by. As he raised his eyes to the western sky, he gazed at a startling figure before him: half-horse, half-man with piercing red eyes and a mouth filled with froth. Kiamo drew back, swinging his staff with all of his might in an attempt to strike the beastly creature. The centaur dodged to the right, but Kiamo’s staff did not miss it, piercing through the ghastly animal’s left leg. A twisted shriek escaped its mouth and his shape began to unexpectedly change, the horse frame contorting into a grotesque figure of a barbaric werewolf.

“What are you?” Kiamo shouted, firmly grabbing his staff.

“I am the darkness; I am the changeling; I am the howling of a thousand deaths; I am a Lagahoo,” gnarled the wolf.

Kiamo dashed into to the air, his staff lashing at the Lagahoo’s face. The monster grabbed Kiamo’s neck and bit his shoulder, sucking on his blood like a leech. Kiamo dropped his staff in shock and yelled at the top of his lungs.

“I came from Spain for you!” said the Lagahoo. “My name is Christopher Columbus and the new world will be ruled by the Lagahoo.” 

***

JUNIOR McINTYRE is from Trinidad and Tobago and is an aspiring author, poet and songwriter. He is presently working on a poetry manuscript and hopes to portray the resilience of the human spirit in the face of obstacles. He is currently in a group of writers and filmmakers who come together regularly in south Trinidad to read their stories or show their short movies. The name of the group is Cool Your Head—Open Mic and Film.

***

Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Duppy Thursday flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:

—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 info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Oct 17, 2019

Category: Original Fiction, Duppy Thursday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



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