A true adventure story based on five years of my sister's and my childhood.
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Suzanne, my ten-year-old rambunctious sister and me, a seven-year-old worry wart, are set on this stormy course by our newly-widowed father, after he marries a woman who does not want to raise us young girls.
When my father's and stemother's castaway plan fails, a series of harsh and sometimes comical confrontations ensue between us and our parents. Away in West Africa, we are without allies, so we have to contend with a gaslight routine of abuse. We cope by using our childish resourcefulness as a means of defense.
Suzanne spoke first. "How do we know this stuff really works?"
Joe hissed with disappointment. "Why you say that, Missy? You no trust me?"
The voodoo man chanted in a foreign tongue as he closed his eyes. His body began to stiffen and move in a rocking motion. Suddenly a flash of fire ignited from his fingers. Suzanne and I grabbed each other and screamed, not guessing the flame was probably just flash paper. When he began dancing around with a completely different facial expression, we became instant believers.
"Tell him to stop. We believe him," we said. Joe assured us he would come out of it in a few minutes. Then he laughed at us for doubting the power of voodoo.
We watched in fear as the man started coming out of his trance. His body slowed to a standstill, and then he opened his eyes. "Do you believe the spirit was here?"
Silenced by our fear, we nodded.
Suzanne asked the man if she could talk to me in private. She put her arm around me and led me away from them.
I don't know if we should mess around with this kind of power." She wiped her brow. "It scares the hell out of me. I can just imagine what it's doing to you. Did you pee your pants?"
"Almost." I sighed. "Ask him if the curse could backfire."