An intense mingling of bloodlust and hatred mix with the aroma from my jasmine tea to create a scent that is almost suffocating. The sound of the rain calms my nerves to the inevitability that is about to creep its way into my dojo this evening. I finish the tea left at the bottom of my cup.
A sudden bolt of lightning robs me of my sight. As my vision returns, a large man sits before me. He is shimmering in an all black uniform with protective plating on his chest and forearms. Wild dreadlocks emerge out of a charred woven hemp mask placed over his head. His icy white eyes glare out at me from misshapen holes in the mask as if to pry into my soul. His stare invokes a type of fear that I haven’t felt in a very long time.
Is this it?
“I would call it rude to enter an old woman's house unannounced, yet seeing that I leave all my doors open during these summer months, one might say I was asking for visitors. So, what brings you to my home this evening?” I ask as I set my cup on the small table in front of me.
“I am Obeah. Here for yu’ death. Unfortunately
How I die?
“You must be Yin's new apprentice. I'm sorry to inform you that my mantel has already been passed to another. He will be arriving shortly. You are more than welcome to wait for him. May I offer you some tea?”
He nods and I pour him a cup. There is something else behind his mask. But what is it?
While death and hatred loom all around him, I am able to peer into his spirit through those icy eyes. I can see this man is not innately evil. Someone coerced him into doing terrible things for every right reason....to him at least. To this man nothing could be more evil. Nothing more dark, than the tainted path he is now meant to walk. I can see he now does so with tears and carries the weight of this burden upon his shoulders.
Lightning blinds me again. This time when my sight returns the same man sits before me, but different now. His eyes shine brighter and the sadness from before has disappeared. Sitting up straighter now, Obeah lifts his mask just enough to uncover his mouth. “Mmmmm,” follows his drink and his accent disappears, “I apologize for our intrusion. My other half has become clouded.”
“Mhmm, well I hope you’re enjoying the tea,” I say as I try to read the new presence in front of me.
“It is delightful. Thank you. But we better be going. I’ll be sure to keep him on track.” Obeah stands up, lifts his cup to finish the drink, but stops right before he gets it to his mouth. Frustration and anger fill the room and this short pause makes it hard to breathe. The man suddenly falls to the floor dropping his cup.
“No! Stay in your place!” The man screams to himself. He buries his head in his arms and his legs fold up into his chest. “Nah! We finish. We kill!” The broken dialect is back. The struggle for power in this man is hard to watch. He rolls side to side across the floor. I lose track of which part of him is in control.
As the lightning bolt strikes I simultaneously get to my feet as quickly as I can. I can feel my old bones creak as I ready my stance. When my sight returns, Obeah stands before me with blades drawn, angry, tired, and sad.
I anticipate his move, as he does mine, and I barely escape his swords.
I can feel the tips of my hair break off as he gets closer with each swing. It seems as if each of his moves are synchronized with the fierce lightning illuminating the mountain this dojo sits on top of.
This really is…