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Voodoo- Becoming Adya Part I

A Melanie Black Mini-series

· Voodoo - A Melanie Black Mini series

I went into secrecy a mere caterpillar and came out a bountiful Goddess to the moths. In my private, unseeable world, I watched my body blossom from a slender Voodoo tween into a curvaceous Voodoo Queen. Sticks and stones no longer break these bones and if they tried, I'd just grind them into powder for the vials hanging from my gris-gris. I've been storing bits and pieces of my frienemies and foes; they never saw it coming. How could they? We’ve technically never met. I've been watching them for at least three years already. But they wouldn’t be able to recognize me to save their life and trust me, some have tried. 

There's so much more I understand about them; knowing them deeper than even the mothers that birthed them between their squatting legs and screaming vocal chords. I am watching them even when Bondye, himself, breaks away to slumber. I am listening; learning who is who and deciphering those that will empower me and those who are a threat. Time and time again, I witness their fears turn to lust, betrayal, or hatred. No human nor God has ever walked the face of the earth that was not scorned by one man or another; I know it foolish to try to escape criticism. So I stopped and slit their doubting, voiceless, throats instead. 

It's a raw world and I come to put salt in its wounds. They sent me here to reign over these foreigners and show them the world of blackness they so desperately are trying to be a part of. One can get so easily lost in the dark, so ready to take hold of any hand reaching out; foolishly they entrap themselves into a life of indentured servitude. The best part… they’ll think we, I, saved their life from the engulfing blackness by bringing them back... into slave labor. Americans are vile little swamp rats that don’t know the difference between swimming and drowning. But they will work hard for their Queen, or else live a long tragic death filled with disease and disfigurement. 

In my years of nondisclosure, those that I surrounded myself with were always talking black magic this, black magic that. But no Boko has come, no offer to bargain in Kalfou has happened... not yet. Within me I carry the darkest of them all; Maman Brigitte, has consumed my mind as of late. She whispers how things shall align and through whom in order to get her, our, servants back in working order. But first, I must show myself to them and rotate possession of Erzulie and Oshun. Both of these beautiful temptresses entice men and women alike to join whatever we call them to do. Those with an ounce of taste for life and all of its edges and angles will adore us. The darkness will come along for the ride and eventually spread, taking over whatever light I couldn't snuff out before its arrival. 

Maman Brigitte has plans for the two of us and who am I to get in her way? In turn, she promises me a lavish lifestyle filled with all the trinkets I could ever want but it's the power that my new role and inhabitant offers that I truly desire. Bobbles and bling are great things for any petty, vapid tint of a woman but power, proper control over life and all of its inhabitants, that's not something for the faint of heart. Only the masters like us will achieve such greatness in our lifetime and I plan on living forever - becoming a spiritual goddess or at least a lwa after my earthly body betrays me.

I sit here now, looking at that temporary holding cell in the mirror. There are colorful ribbons thoughtfully woven through my wild mane of uninhibited beauty, my milk chocolate skin glistens against the moonlight peering in at me through the attic window. Yes, of all the places I could have chosen to reside, I chose a well-aged storage space just above one of the most intriguingly elaborate historical homes tucked preciously away in the French Quarters. Dammit I am good. I’ve learned so much of the culture, the language, the history about this place without technically living amongst the empty tombs sloshing their way through the streets. Alcoholism and illegal drug use are rampant here; fools and trots think their intoxication is the way of Voodoo. Well, for some at least. They alter their minds to try and commune with the lwas and more often the Bokos; for the others, they are simply having the party of their life. Little do they know they'll never again match this high and will instead lead disastrous lives  cursed by their ignorance of the bottle and the pill.

I have timed my reveal perfectly; the owners of the home below have passed and I have forged enough documentation to show that I was a long-term tenant that had been added to their will, oh say, about three years ago. The will clearly states that I, Adya Amant, am the inherited owner of the estate in the event of the oddly fitted couple's passing. Their death was of "natural causes" that were expedited by yours truly. Their thirty-something year old daughter will be devastated by the news and utterly perplexed by my existence. I am not afraid of her or what she'll try to accomplish; I've already made it to Kalfou to strike a deal in return for clemency... how else do you think I met eyes with the great Maman Brigitte. A deal is a deal and I think I’m coming out winning hand over fist with this one.

I take a quick jaunt downstairs to the perished lady of the home's closet and find a dress to wear  for my debut walk around the quarters and Bourbon Street. She was a fat old trump of a woman, entirely repugnant, but with careful pinning and intricately knotted ties I bolster it in the arms and manage a nice bounce around the hip while crafting a cotton-knit corset around my center. 

I look medieval. Perhaps just evil. The right corner of my mouth curls into a tawdry smirk. I’ll lasso their hearts and take over their minds. 

Just before leaving the room, as I was reaching out to flick the light switch, I noticed an overflowing box of chains and beads just pining for me to take a gander. I layered earth tone necklaces around my throat and covered my arms in bangles. Back in Haiti, I hadn't reached the age to be pierced before the bastards exiled me but I yearned to wear the sparkling hoops and plunging gemstones that I found. My eyes danced around the room to scavenge for one last pin. I could have taken one out of my tightly bound attire and risked having to start over but I found something better. Something bigger. Something that would more than likely make me bleed - a lot. But I'm not afraid of getting a little blood on my hands. I’ve been preparing myself my whole life for moments like these.  

I walked across the room and grabbed the pair of knitting needles from the top of the half-broken basket they were so carelessly shoved into and without looking, felt along my earlobes. With eyes wide open I watched my left hand fly across my face almost meeting the right one that was holding my intended target and stab the metal rod through. My hand dropped to my mouth as I stifled my screams; blood started slowly at first but then came gushing through and around the needle still embedded in my lobe. The droplets became a steady stream raining down on my new black dress. Clenching my jaw and forcing my eyes shut, I grabbed the end and pulled it the rest of the way through. I, Adya, knew I needed to consume and become my pain. This time my right hand was the one seering through the air and penetrating through my left ear. Grabbing a pair of earrings from the box I shoved them through the holes, sobbing as I did, and pulled myself up to stand again,

Wiping the tears streaming down the sides of my face, I knew that was just a practice run for the torment that was yet to come. My elders always warned that injury of the heart hurts a thousand times worse than any physical mutilation but I think after this I would beg to differ. There's no more time for melancholy internal dialogue. 

I'm Adya Amant now and I am leaving my invisible world to play nice with others.

Running back up to the attic I find my gris gris with one hand and place a birch branch between my teeth with the other. I had practiced leaving and re-entering this realm many times over the past years...always in my secret sanctuary. There’s a jolt as you perpetuate through the dimensions; a shock strong enough to make you bite your tongue off if you're not careful. And Bondye himself knew better than anyone, I needed my precious tongue to twist tales and take lives; hence, the stick.

A blood offering was always necessary but it had to be recent, almost with a pulse, recent. Though my earlobes still palpitated I knew I couldn't risk getting stuck in the middle of transference so I made a fresh wound. With my pocket knife I carved a line along the side of my thumb and squeezed the warmness out with my mouth. The tiny swallows of liquid iron was enough to awaken the Boko trapped inside- the one that kept me in hiding in return for hiding him. He knew this day was coming and I was ready for a fight, or at least a bargaining plea. I would hear him out, like always, but he was coming out no matter what.

The attic whirled around me and I heard my head clunk against the old wood floorboards. I could feel him retching, fighting the urge to leave. I could see him in my mind's eye now. He was a ghastly looking Boko with dark face paint and a rotting tophat. Along the sides of his black cloak were bones from his earthly kills - each one perfectly spaced from the last to represent his consistency of the hunt.

I am not afraid of him, nor is he of me, but one of us is going to have to budge. 

He pleads with me; he'll have nowhere to be shielded from the lwa that was seeking him out. What will it take to house him for just a few more years? 

Nothing, it will cost him nothing because I have made up my mind - it's now or never. 

But... there may be a way for us both to be victorious here. There is a body downstairs. Two of them to be exact. The previous estate owners hadn't been discovered yet so there they lay waiting to be missed. My original plan was to say I had been away on travel and came home to my quarters to find them dead as a doornail. I  was shook to my core... blah, blah, blah...

Offer in hand and bodies to choose from the Boko made a wise choice by exiting.

And in the end, having only one body to bring to the morgue would make my story all the more believable. 

*For Voodoo lingo and descriptions of the Gods, reference the VOODOO VOCAB blog