Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Okan Buru

In the moonless night Devoux looked out from the watchtower to the sea. Some nights on the island when not even the stars were out you could not tell when the darkness of the night sky ended and the blackness of the sea began. Devoux looked again and he saw what looked like a ship; not just any ship but the “Reine mère“. Commandant told him and the rest of the men that she disappeared a month ago.

“Commandant!, Commandant!” Devoux said as he grabbed the nearest torch and raced down from the watch tower.”

“Commandant!” Devoux said seeing The Commandant at the bottom of the steps

“Get a hold of yourself Devoux.”

“Commandant…” Devoux gasping trying to catch his breath “The Reine mere, she is coming ashore.”

“Devoux you’ve been in the rum again. The Reine mère was lost weeks ago. Whatever it is that you saw it was whatever that lay at the bottom of your bottle.”

“No Commandant she is coming ashore. I be not drunk I tell thee truth come.”

The Commandant and Devoux went out onto the beach. The night still in its midlife and the swooshing of the waves against the rocks always calmed the Commandant. The slave rebels had just captured another plantation three months ago. The Commandant sent word asking for more troops to protect the outpost. The Reine mere was to have another fifty men with fifty guns, canons, sixty barrels of powder, rum, and new two hundred salves. Tonight the sea air offered no ease to The Commandant. The Reine mere was coming ashore but there was no captain, no crew, the mast and sail were torn and no lights below cold be seen. The only sound that could be heard was the creaking of the ship’s hull and it made its way to the island.

“Devoux go back and get all the men that you can find tell them to grab all their weapons. This could be another rebel trick.” The Commandant said to Devoux. “If this is another attempt then they shall be put back in chains where they belong. Now go and hurry”

Devoux ran off and The Commandant pulled his pistol and readied it to fire as he backed away. If it was a rebel trick why haven’t they landed yet? They were close enough to dock and make siege so why wait? It was the folly of the planters. They underestimated the intelligence of the slaves. They only saw them as beasts of burden, lower forms of ape that could speak. Their err was the reason they are gone. Their lives forfeit because they respect not the intelligence of others even if they be slave or ape. This night however The Commandant told himself he shall not make the same mistake, he told himself he would not let his men, his country fail as he retreated back waving Devoux’s torch.

The ship had made its way to the dock. Devoux had rallied all of the men and they were armed and ready for anything that the rebels bring.

Some of the men spoutted nonsense of it being a ghost ship. They said that the spirits of the dead guided the ship to the island and wanted nothing to do with it. The Commandant told those men if they were scared then they would be sent home to suckle at their mothers breasts. If they were men then they should grab their guns and come.

The men and the Commandant took four small boats to The Reine mere. The Commandant sensing that his men still had fear boarded the ship first. The smell entered his nose before his eyes were able to register that slave and crew where dead. Some looked as if they had been dead for weeks others where bloated and others looked fresh. The peculiarity of it was they looked as if they had been ravaged by some beast. The Commandant had seen what a pack of wild dogs could do and this looked the same. How could wild dogs be aboard the ship?

“Check below if you are not too coward.” He said to the men as they boarded and beheld the sight. Devoux being the youngest and never even seeing a battle or a dead body for that matter threw up over the side. “Ill forgive you this once Devoux be see to it that it never happens again. Now come with me. The rest of you spread out and look for survivors. This could still be a rebel trap.”

The Commandant and Devoux made their way to the captain’s quarters the captain’s log should tell him something of what’s going on. All the men, The Commandant and Devoux went stepping over bloated bodies and skeletons alike. Devoux trying to swallow back what was making its way up.

“Devoux you stand guard of the door let no one in, understand.”

“oui mon commandant.”

In the capain’s quarters the log lay open to blank pages The Commandant turned and the first entries were typical and standard protocol nothing that would explain or give any hint to the sites that he saw just outside. The captain’s private log was on the bed covered in dry blood he picked that up and began to read

“All these beasts seem to be scared of that one monkey they call “Okan Buru.” One of my crew that has learned their heathen monkey babble says that it mean “Bad One” They wont’ even be chained next to him. At first I would find all the ones that I chained around him dead in the morning so I moved him to the lower decks with the supplies. I was weary at first I though it was a trick of his to get food but for some reason this one, this “Okan Buru” does not eat yet does not suffer sickness. The more for the crew then.”

“This monkey Okan Buru is becoming a problem I think that he has eaten the rats on the boat. No good captain will admit that they have sea rats (that are not crew members) but we all do. Now they are gone; what’s more is that we have murder of ravens that have actually nested in the crows nest. There is a disease running through the monkeys as well that I think this Okan has given them. One day they are fine then the next day they are dead. Some look as if attacked by wild dogs Bisco tells me that the monkeys think that Okan has something to do with.”

“More slaves have died and it has only been a week. Im ten down now and it does not make sense there are no dogs on board and we have feed the ravens rotten meat with poison so they are gone. I am wondering if by chance this “Okan” monkey could be doing something. I had Bisco tell me his story. In their land he was apparently some powerful witchdoctor to the most powerful king in the land. They said that the king owed all his power and might to this “Okan” but one day he had a vision that the king would lose if he went into battle with another kingdom. The king saw this as treason and had Okan buried in the jungle with only his head sticking out. The story goes that Okan being a powerful witchdoctor had direct contact with the spirit world and sold his soul to what we call the devil. In exchane for his soul he recived great magic and immortality the catch is that he spends the rest of his days in hunger for blood and flesh. Okan then put a curse on the king and the village and after sickness came to the village so did the white men.

Obviously this is more monkey nonsense. If this Okan was so powerful then how come he was captured like the rest of the monkeys? If these monkeys want fear then I will show them fear.”

The Commandant turned and could barely make out the last entry

“To anyone who finds this the crew and all the slaves are dead I.”

There the log stops. The Commandant not being one to give way to fear notice that he had not heard any noises save the ship’s hull creaking. He though that he should at least hear the men going about. He went outside and stepped over the bodies to see Devoux leaning over the side of the ship again.

“I told you the next time I saw that Devoux….”

Before he could complete his sentence a hand with long talon like nails grasped his neck. A man that was more beast looked upon him. His teeth were long and all razor sharp and its breath had the stench of blood on it His eyes had no whites only black his ears were more that of a bat or dog than man and his hair gone instead he had a flame that did not burn him. The Commandant fired his pistol but it did nothing. The beast bit into The Commandants face leaving only eyes and the top of his head, still alive The Commandant watched at the beast turned into a raven and flew ashore.

©Christopher F. Brown 2009


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