Wife! Wife! Yuh playing yuh ent hearing me. Ah go sen dem chirren back whey dey come from yuh know.
What is this man complaining about now? I am fed-up of him and if he doesn’t watch out I sending him back where he came from. Forever complaining complaining. Ah Chut man!
Norma slapped her leg so hard it hurt. She let out a big fat steups which her husband heard. He disapproved of such like stuff so much she knew he was coming at her with hellfire and doomsday preaching. She prepared for him this time by grabbing a piece of wood from the fire place and swinging it like a pro she got him where it hurt most.
“Ahhhhh! Wife! What yuh doing? Yuh want to kill all meh descendants? Yuh ent know if yuh destroy dat yuh kill a city?”
“De same city yuh want to sen dem back whey dey come from?”
My parents incessant squabbles were really getting out of hand. Everyday was the same thing. He threatening to send us back where we came from and she defending us with a lash from a firestick to his groin. But this time she hit him a second time. We were shocked. Looks like she’d had enough. Twelve years of marriage and five children with no electricity and no indoor plumbing I suppose will do that to anyone who’d been to the city and seen another way of life.
Ms Claudine chose that time to turn up. We heard her shout from under the house where we took refuge should missiles start flying between our parents. I being the eldest went out to meet her. We’d heard the stories about her being our fathers’ girlfriend but since our mother never said anything to us except ‘respect a persons’ grey hairs’ we treated her kindly. But I was sure in my gut that she was the reason my parents were always quarreling.
“Hello Ms Claudine.” I greeted her with a warm smile. “Mom and Dad are having a serious conversation right now. Can you come back later please?”
She looked at me cross-eyed and with a steups she turned her back on me and answered. “Alright.” And she was gone, her hips swaying. She heard me giggle and swayed a bit more. She knew that I knew she came for food.
My mother would never refuse her a plate of food because she has to teach her own children to share. Back under the house Jonah my twelve year old brother was missing.
“Where’s Jonah?” I asked looking around for him.
“I don’t know. He was just here.”
“My goodness. He’s gone after Ms Claudine.” I was almost out the entrance when Lizzie stopped me.
“Wait Lucy. Take this.” My sister handed me the length of chain that our father kept under the market basket should any intruder pay us a visit. And he showed us how to use it.
“Why Lizzie. I’m just going to get Jonah.”
“Mom says be always prepared. You never know what could happen.”
“I looked at the wisdom in her eyes, the one our mother always called the smart one and accepted the chain.
The quarreling had subsided a bit and there’d now be some groans and they wouldn’t be coming to us any time soon.
“Jonah!” I called him as soon as I saw him right where I expected to. “Are you going to do what I think you’re about to do?”
“Yes. She’s a bother Lucy. Our house always on fire because of her.”
“Yes I know but we have to be innovative and careful to deal with someone like Ms Claudine.”
“Well we know she doesn’t age. Let’s see if we could find out why.”
“How we doing that?”
“Good ole pastime. We peep. Come on.”
We tip-toed around to the back of the small two-bedroom board house and peeped through a crack. What we saw dropped Jonah flat on his back from shock.
Seven golden dolls propped on an altar with sticks, stones and dollar notes. Photos of our entire family adorned the walls above the altar. Closer inspection revealed more photos of families from the area long dead. She’d killed them all and received their properties by last will and testament.
“Lucy?” I shushed Jonah before he got too loud.
“We have to be careful how we handle this situation.”
“Yes. Desperate situations call for desperate measures.”
I took his arm and led him away from there.
“We can’t let her hear us,”
“You know what we have to do.”
“I think so. Yes. You know I always listen when the elders are speaking and they chase the children away. I did learn a few things.”
“And you expected them to come in handy someday.”
“This is the day, We need some sea sand.”
“What good will that do? And where are we getting sea sand? We’re miles away from the nearest beach.”
“You go back home and bring me the blue bag from under the bench that Father sits on. I’ll gather the other stuff from the brush. Hurry. She’s doing her oblations now.”
Jonah was back in a jiffy and Lucy set to work while he watched in amazement. He didn’t know his sister had that kind of knowledge.
“Close your mouth Jonah, or you’ll catch some of Ms Claudine’s flies. Jonah promptly shut his mouth.
Lucy mixed all the stuff together while mumbling something unintelligible. Then positioned Jonah out of the line of fire as it were, She threw the sand towards the altar to contaminate it. Hearing a scream she knew she succeeded. Then with the other stuff she hustled to block both front and back doors, trapping Ms Claudine inside.
During lunch the next day she heard her father tell her mother that Ms Claudine had vanished during the night. Or so said the neighbors. But he himself doesn’t know.
Lucy and Jonah exchanged furtive glances.