“[…] With her metallic chains clinking against her bulging, scaly skin, Mama Dlo suddenly skidded into the heart of the crowd. Panic sent everyone hurtling in different directions, leaving the venue nearly deserted.
“Kes and his stunned band stood rooted to the spot; it was up to me. I seized a decaying silk cotton tree branch and hurled it at the monstrous Mama Dlo…”
Our shortlist for ‘The day I met my local hero’ is complete, but our judges gave other fictional essays ‘honourable mention’ and made them eligible for additional prizes in the 11-15 category. Our third and final essay comes from 12-year-old Fatima College student Josse Franco:
The setting sun, heavy as a golden medallion in the blotchy, colourful sky, hid behind the towering verdant mountains of Chaguaramas. A lone, sorrowful jumbie bird let out a piercing shriek from inside the enchanted forest surrounding O2 Park.
Colourful beams of light shot like bullets this way and that into the looming darkness. Boom! Boisterous bass lines pervaded the rumbling atmosphere.
“Hello, hello, hello, hello!” hollered Kes as he strutted onto the stage, welcomed by a sea of magical glow sticks and almost deafening cheers from the crowd.
Without warning, melodious soca music sent goosebumps down everyone’s spines. As my almond eyes scanned past the jubilant revellers to catch a glimpse of my favourite soca star in concert, it seemed like nothing could possibly go wrong. I pulsated left and right as the captivating calypso music transported me to a realm of fantastic freedom…
But for a certain slimy serpent, the evening was anything but exhilarating.
“I will not stand for this!” Mama Dlo screeched as she helplessly watched the forest animals tremble in fear of the thundering noise levels.
Deftly darting through the dense woods, the ground rumbled the closer she drew to the stage. Even the mightiest of trees quivered as red howler monkeys roared her arrival. Pandemonium broke out among the astonished concert-goers.
With her metallic chains clinking against her bulging, scaly skin, Mama Dlo suddenly skidded into the heart of the crowd. Panic sent everyone hurtling in different directions, leaving the venue nearly deserted. Kes and his stunned band stood rooted to the spot; it was up to me. I seized a decaying silk cotton tree branch and hurled it at the monstrous Mama Dlo.
“So you think you is a big man!” she mocked, slithering towards me as she shook off the agonising blow.
I dodged to the right, evading her attack. She slammed into the scaffolding holding up the lighting, sending it careening towards Kes, who rolled away just in time. As the serpent launched herself at him, I strode towards her like a Moko Jumbie and grasped her spiralling tail.
She shook like a wet dog, here and there, but her mad meandering only made me grip tighter. A bullet train of pain hit me as she coiled herself around my torso and thumped me onto the hard ground like a rag doll.
“Who big now?” Mama Dlo cackled. “Coming in the bush to have all yuh fetes, upsetting all the forest creatures!”
I was paralysed with fear. Gasping for breath, I glanced over at Kes. Seeing the distress washing over his usually cool countenance gave me a surge of courage.
As Mama Dlo’s jaundiced fangs hovered dangerously close to my shaking body, my trembling hand pulled out a glowing wand from the abyss of my pocket, hoping it would tempt her. Mama Dlo’s eyes widened.
“Take it,” I offered, “but you have to let us go.”
She snatched the glow stick with the tip of her tail, examining it curiously, but all it did was gleam limply in the dark.
“Where’s the magic?” she demanded.
“In the music!” Kes blared.
Mama Dlo’s blazing eyes narrowed as she whipped around to face him. I immediately knew what I had to do.
Signalling Kes to start up his band, I raced over to the mixing board, sliding down the audio levels as he crooned, “If yuh know yeah, then yuh know yeah…”
A mystical light, soft as fireflies’ glow, began to fill the gaps between the trees, while the notes pinged gently through the air. The crowd was returning bit by bit, synchronously swaying their glow sticks. Mama Dlo’s spirit seemed to have been raised up by the strength of the crowd. Nodding her head in time to the sweet soca music, she was entranced by the movement of the glow sticks and the joyous atmosphere.
“Yuh done good, boy!” she exclaimed, retreating into the woods.
Not only had I saved us all from the wrath of Mama Dlo, but the wildlife was safe and sound, and the concert was back on track!
Clapping my clammy hands to the music’s beat, I was startled to see Kes inviting me to join him on stage. Adrenaline coursed through my veins as he proudly praised my heroism. But little did he know I was the one in awe—I had met my local hero!
As he grabbed my hand and waved it wildly around, congratulating me on my stunning victory, I felt sure that somewhere deep inside those mystical woods, Mama Dlo and the forest animals were soothingly jamming to the sacred song.
Editor’s Note: Wired868 will announce the winners of the inaugural Write Start competition on 13 December 2021. The first place winner will get TT$6,000, a six-month mobile plan from bmobile, and two complimentary movie tickets to CinemaONE.
Click HERE for more information on the Wired868 Write Start prize structure and do share your favourite essays!