The Soucouyant – Folklore From Trinidad & Tobago

The next horror story I’m going to write is called “From A Blessing To A Curse.” It’s actually an idea I had for a script many moons ago but I think that, as a short story, it should work. (I did the same thing for “Little Hammer,” a short story whose life began as a film treatment). “Blessing” will be the 2nd story in my upcoming book that is based on Trinidad & Tobago folklore. The first was “Red Sand” and the legend in that one is the “La Diablesse,” a mythical woman in an ankle-length white dress, wide-brimmed hat and one cloven hoof for a foot who seduces and lures men to their dooms in the forest. “Blessing” will have two other T&T legends – the obeah woman and the soucouyant. Obeah is witchery. A soucouyant is an old woman who sheds her skin to reveal the flying fireball within. She can enter your house by sliding through the thinnest of niches to suck your blood. If she doesn’t suck your blood for whatever reason she’ll just cuff (punch) you and leave a bruise. There’s also a malevolent spirit that exists in T&T folklore called a “jumbie.” Maybe I’ll introduce him in a 3rd story. We’ll see.

Gov’t’s Response To The Opiod Epidemic Is A Failure.

The number of people abusing and overdosing on opiods is alarmingly high. Back in the 70’s, when black people were OD’ing left and right, the press wasn’t too concerned. Now that the epidemic has infiltrated white America, the press is very interested. Race aside, there seems to be very little being done to help the addict on the street.

I was reading about the gov’t’s money-wasting response and their idea for combatting this epidemic is to educate people about the dangers of opiods. Educate? Duh! EVERYBODY already knows that drugs are bad. Sheesh! What the country needs is more treatment centers in every state. Right now, if I was struggling with an addiction and decided I want to get help, I’d have to jump through some ridiculously insurmountable hoops for a bed. This could take three weeks or more. By then I probably wouldn’t want a cure – if I was still alive, that is. When people want a cure, they don’t want it tomorrow.

Gov’t, here’s the plan: Build. More. Treatment. Centers. Period.

Back in 1992, in the throes of my own addiction, I was suicidal. When I called the hospitals for help they said, “We’ll put your name on the wait list. You should have a bed in three weeks or so.” After I hanged up the phone I said “fuck it” and attempted suicide anyway. That was 25 years ago, and guess what? Nothing. Has. Changed. The U.S. simply continues to fail addicts in this regard. Amazing. They may as well legalize hard drugs.  Can’t be no worse.

Sigh. Add Diabetes To My List Of Illnesses.

Yes. I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes mellitus with complication, without long-term use of insulin (E11.8) two weeks ago. The MD knew this because my A1C was 7.2%. Now that I’m diabetic, I’ve made some changes. For one, I stopped drinking alcohol. That was two weeks ago. So far I’ve lost 3 lbs. I’ve also started walking more. I consider this diagnosis life changing because my grandfather and my father both died from complications of diabetes. Given I also have gout like they did, and was also an alcoholic/drug addict like them, I am basically in line to go just like they did, therefore, it behooves me to change my life around for the better if I want to continue living.

I turned 55 on 7/10. This makes me eligible for senior housing. Typically, for senior housing, you have to be 62, but in some buildings, just being 55 with a disability qualifies you as long as you have the money and no eviction history. I’m still holding out for Forks, though. I’m hoping to be there this fall or winter.

My new book, a collection of short stories I plan to call Obey the Darkness: Horror Short Stories is coming along nicely. The story I’m writing now, based in fairy tale format, is called Lamp Black. It’s about a childless couple who find a blacker than black child in a stream and decide to raise her as their own. She grows up to be quite beautiful and precocious and gets along with everyone…or so it seems. Eventually, Snow White and Rose Red conspire to exile her because of jealousy. They convince six young men from the village to drop her off in a forest very far from the village, claiming that she didn’t belong with the others because of her black skin. Lamp Black makes friends with three woodland animals, then the water witch, who teaches her how to change her skin color as well as manipulate water. Eventually, Lamp Black returns to the village to see her parents, but when she finds out they were burned alive in a fire by the same people who exiled her, she uses her newfound powers to exact her revenge on them. Not bad, huh? It’s supposed to be a horror story but I don’t know how graphic to make it because, well, it’s still a fairy tale. I guess it might turn out to be like those extremely graphic expurgated tales the Brothers’ Grimm recorded. We’ll see.