Her mother’s voice burst into the room she shared with her younger sister and roused Ayanna St. John out of a deep slumber. She reached for her glasses on the bedside table and peered at the alarm clock.
With a groan, Ayanna flopped back down and pulled the covers over her head. 8am was too early to be waking up on a Saturday morning. She saw no reason to be up before 10am if she had no school to go to.
“AYANNA!! Ayanna, yuh nuh hear me a call you?!?” Ayanna’s mother stood in the doorway.
“Yes, Mommy,” Ayanna replied from under her covers.
“I need you to go into town and pick up some medication. Then drop it off by Grandma Cici, down Old Road side,” her mother instructed.
“Can’t I head out a little later?” pleaded Ayanna as she peeked out at her mother.
“No, you have to leave out soon, because I need you to get back early to look after your little brother and sister. I’m going out with Harold tonight. Now hurry up and get ready,” she then pulled the cover off Ayanna and walked out the room with it.
After having a quick breakfast, Ayanna threw on her red hoodie and grabbed her bag. The red hoodie was a gift from her daddy who now lived in the US. When she first got it she doubted she would need it down here in Antigua, but the mornings had gotten nippy and Ayanna found herself wearing it more and more. She wore it so much that her friends started calling her Little Red Hoodie.
Just as she was about to step out the door, her mother called out to her, reminding her that the money was on the kitchen counter. The money was rolled up in between two prescription slips. Ayanna tucked them in her bag, called that she was leaving and left the house. She walked up the road to the bus stop and before long she was on her way to St. John’s.
In town, Ayanna had managed to get both prescriptions filled, even though she had to go to two different pharmacies. Figuring it would be lunch time by the time she reached Old Road, Ayanna decided to pick up some fried chicken at the local franchise of an American fast food company. She would have bought pizza, but she knew her grandmother loved crispy fried chicken.
Having collected the medication and the fried chicken, Ayanna made her way to the West Bus Station to catch the bus to Old Road. On the way there she bought a newspaper to read on the way.
As the bus was not ready to leave the station, Ayanna waited outside an almost full bus and started to read her paper. The headline read “Rapist Strikes Again”, the story went on to read that there was an attempted rape the night before. This time the victim was a well known young man. The story went on to read that the rapist thought the victim was a woman and upon finding out he was in fact a man, he knocked the victim out and took off. Ayanna shook her head, as she suspected who the victim was and could understand how the rapist could have made such a mistake.
Ayanna continued to browse through the newspaper and came across the cartoon, which made her laugh out loud. The cartoon had a caricature of a man dressed as a woman talking into a television camera. The caption read “Hide yuh wife, hide yuh keep woman, hide yuh pickney, hide you husband! Dem raping eb’rybody!”
As Ayanna composed herself, wiping tears of laughter from her eyes. She was not aware that the had caught the attention of a Reginald De Wolf. Reggie, as his friends called him was a handsome charmer of a man, but people did not know that he was a deportee. Yes, he was born in Antigua, but he grew up in the Bronx, New York and had visited the little island only twice before Uncle Sam unceremoniously booted him out of the only home he knew.
He had been on island for six months and although he was still getting used to island life, he had found something to keep himself entertained. And over the last four months, he had kept himself busy “entertaining” himself.
He stood a few yards away from Ayanna, close enough to watch her every move, far enough for her not to notice him. When the bus was almost full, Reggie followed Ayanna into the bus and made a point of sitting right next to her. As the bus left the West Bus Station, Reggie struck up a conversation with the girl in the red hoodie. Before long he knew a lot about the teenager, including where whe was going and who she was visiting.
Just as the bus drove into the village of Old Road, Reggie asked Ayanna about her glasses. She explained that she was near-sighted and handed over her glasses to him when he asked to see them. As Reggie peered through the glasses, the bus drove through a pot hole and Ayanna’s glasses broke in his hands.
Reggie apologized profusely and when the bus reached Ayanna’s stop, he helped her make her way off the bus and paid his and her bus fares. At the bus stop, Reggie gave Ayanna a business card, telling her to call him in the week to arrange for him to buy her a new pair of glasses. He then took his leave, but as Ayanna’s vision was impaired she did not see that he had gone in the direction she was going. The journey to Grandma Cici’s house normally took half an hour, but now in her state, it was sure to take an hour.
As Mz. Little Red Hoodie gingerly made her way to her grandmother’s house, Reggie ran ahead of her, stopping only to get Grandma Cici’s phone number from information. Mrs. Cecilia Gomes, affectionately known as Mrs. Cici, lived way up in the bush. To say where she lived was isolated from the village of Old Road was an understatement. Yet the little house was wired for electricity, cable and had an antenna to receive broadband internet.
Just before knocking on the old widow’s door, Reggie dialed her number on his cell phone, and then slipped it in his pocket, keeping his finger over the call button. He then knocked on the door and waited for Mrs. Cici to open the door. The woman who opened the door was small in stature and there was no doubt in Reggie’s mind that this was Ayanna’s grandmother. As he introduced himself, he pressed the call button. In the depths of the small house, a phone started to ring. Mrs. Cici turned to go inside to answer the ringing phone.
Reggie followed the old woman and with her back to him, he struck her down with a bull bud he carried for just this purpose. He then lifted the unconscious woman and hid her in the clothes closet in her bedroom. Reggie then searched through Mrs. Cici’s possessions, finding a wig and a dressing gown, both of which he put on. He went back to the front door and ensured it was left unlocked. He then climbed into the old woman’s bed and waited for the teenager in the red hoodie.
At last Ayanna made it to her grandmother’s house. She almost didn’t make it, losing her footing twice and then taking the wrong turn off which made her lose a good ten minutes. As she entered the little house, she called out to her grandmother. Getting no answer, Ayana searched through the house looking for Grandma Cici, fearing the worst, hoping for the best. She let out a breath of relief when she saw her grandmother in bed.
“Grandma Cici, a wha do you? How come you still in bed?” Ayanna chided her favourite grandmother playfully.
“I woke up and didn’t feel too good, so thought I would stay in bed for a while,” spoke the woman under the covers, her voice rasping and not its usual strength.
“Well, see here, I brought your medication and some fried chicken for us to eat. I’m going to put the medication on top of the fridge in the kitchen and I’ll put the chicken on some plates.” Ayanna then made her way to the bedroom door.
“Hold on, baby, befor you go, just come and adjust this pillow behind my neck. I can’t get it in a comfortable position,” growled the old woman.
Ayanna rested the bags on the floor and walked over to her grandmother. At ten steps away from the bed, Ayanna exclaimed, “Grandma Cici, you need to keep out of the sun, you look darker than usual. When I come back this way, I’ll bring some crème to tone down your colour.”
At five steps away, she exclaimed again, “Granny, you buy some new dentures? You teeth looking bigger than usual.”
As Ayanna reached down to adjust the pillow, she took a good look at her grandmother, only to see it was not her grandmother. With the quickness, Reggie held on to the teen and started to undress her. He twisted her arm behind her and pinned her to the bed and started to undo his buckle. Ayanna screamed out, but the house was too far out for anyone in the village to hear her.
The screams roused Grandma Cici from her comatose state and she found herself in her bedroom closet. She peered through the slats of the closet door and saw a man wearing her favourite robe pinning down her favourite grandchild.
Now, most people believed that Mrs. Cecilia Gomes was a nice, little, old lady who liked her privacy and that could only be the reason she lived so far from the village. This was very much the truth, but the reason why would have shocked her neighbours and friends. You see Mrs. Cici grew marijuana in her backyard, and it was not that so called High Grade marijuana people raved about. Grandma Cici grew Premium marijuana, the kind of weed that got regular marijuana smokers high from the secondhand smoke. The last thing Mrs. Cici needed was neighbours snooping around her profitable cash crop.
About four years ago, two bad bwoys from Villa, up at the north of the island, searched her out, trying to cut into her business. They would have succeeded too, if it weren’t for her unrelenting desire to be the sole owner of her business and her late husband’s old hunting knife. Them boys from Villa were now buried in the hills behind her house. Since that day, Mrs. Cici had been stockpiling firearms and ammunition and had them hidden throughout the little house. She also had thousands of hours target practice behind her, and at long last an opportunity arose to put her practice to good use.
Just as Reggie pulled down his tighty whites, Grandma Cici kicked open the closet door. A Colt 45 grasped in her hands, held high like she had trained with a big city SWAT team. Hearing the unexpected sound, De Wolf spun around and found himself staring down the business end of a gun held by a very pissed off grandmother. It was the last thing Reginald De Wolf saw as a hollow point round pierced through the small space between his eyes. The round broken down after impact and quickly reduced Reggie’s brain to mush as the fragments ricochet against the walls of his skull. Mrs. Cici only stocked hollow points, if ever she had the need to take a person down, she wanted to make sure they stayed down.
The room was quiet for what felt like an eternity, but it was more like two minutes.
“Well, don’t just lie there, letting him bleed all over my good sheets,” commanded Ayanna’s grandmother. “Cover his head with one of those plastic bags.
Grandma Cici then called Ayanna’s mother as she peeked through the window, checking if anyone was passing in the area, be it the boy who looks after the sheep or the man who had a couple race horses.
“Mona, I’m going to need Ayanna to stay the night by me at Old Road. Something came up and I’m going to need her help.” It was more like a statement than a question and Mona heard the tone in her mother’s voice that said not to question her mother.
“Ayanna, clean up yourself and go take a nap in the other bedroom. I’m going to need you alert tonight. Don’t worry about the body,” she said when she saw her granddaughter eyeing the body. You go on and do as I say.”
It was hard for Ayanna to fall asleep; she kept feeling hands groping her body. She kept hearing the loud explosion, followed by an endless silence. She eventually did fall asleep, and it was pitch black out when Grandma Cici, dressed in all black, roused Ayanna from her deep slumber.
I need you help putting the body in the trunk of Pappy’s car,” Mrs. Cici said nonchalantly, as if it was an everyday request. Ayanna wiped the sleep from her eyes and followed her grandmother into the kitchen. There she found the body laid out on the floor, but she could barely recognize the man who charmed her on the bus ride from town. His fingers were black like someone had held them over an open flame. His fave was the worst part.
“I took an eight pound sledge hammer to the face. Just in case his body gets found, no one would be able to identify him,” the old woman said as Ayanna gaped at De Wolf’s face. “Throw on this, then help me with the body.”
“Ayanna took the black overall her grandmother gave her and headed to the bathroom. In seven minutes, she was in the kitchen helping Mrs. Cici heft the body on a large sheet of plastic. Then they wrapped it up tight and hefted the body into the trunk of Ayanna’s dead grandfather’s car. Already in the trunk were two concrete blocks and two packages wrapped in black plastic and packing tape.
“What’s in the packages, grandma?”
“It so happen, I had a business meeting to attend out at sea. In the packages is marijuana, I grew it out back. It’s good thing I had this meeting set up tonight, we will be able to dispose of the body out at sea,” the grand mother stared into her grandchild’s eyes as she said this, gauging to see if the child could be trusted.
Ayanna just nodded and slipped into the passenger seat. This had been the craziest, most revealing 24 hours in the teenager’s life. She still needed time to absorb all that had transpired.
Mr. Gomes’ car slipped away from the house and drove down to the pier. There waiting was a boat the old woman had borrowed from one of her neighbours. In less than half an hour, Ayanna and Grandma Cici had transferred the body and were speeding to the rendezvous coordinates.
A few knots away from the agreed location, Mrs. Cici brought the boat to a stop and with Ayanna’s assistance she attached the two cement blocks to the body and pushed it overboard. The sea water gulped down the remains of De Wold and the two women secretly hoped the blood escaping the plasic would draw sharks and the great predators would do away with the body completely.
“Ayanna, what happened today, tonight must stay between us. No one and I mean no one must know what we did. Not your mother, not your father, not your siblings. NO ONE! Do you understand?!?” Grandma Cici’s voice was soothing, but Ayanna heard the command loud and clear.
In silence, they sped to the agreed meeting place of Grandma’s business meeting. The old woman had her grandchild stay out of sight as she did her transaction. In less than 45 minutes, they were on their way back to Antigua. On the way in, Ayanna cleaned down the boat, her grandmother wanted her neighbour to think that she never got around to taking the boat out.
On shore, they took off the overalls and burned them until all that remained was ash. Only when they were sure all the evidence was disposed of did they return to Grandma Cici’s house. They fell into their respective beds and slept most of Sunday away.
It was 3pm when Ayanna made her way home. She had put on her red hoodie and grabbed her bag, and as she said her goodbyes to her grandmother, she promised that their secret will be buried with her, she will tell no one. The old woman hugged the teen tightly and wished her a good journey home. The grandmother knew it would take some time for her granddaughter to get over and accept what happened, but she was a tough kid and she will fare well.
Days passed and then weeks. The two women fell back into their daily routines. Ayanna went to school and Grandma Cici continued growing and selling her Premium marijuana out at sea.
On the little island, the number of rapes committed had reduced dramatically. Some people said the police were doing their job and the rapist was in their custody. Some said he had left the island as he felt the police were getting to catching him. Only a few people thought that he must have crossed the wrong individual and was dead somewhere or another. Only two people really knew what happened to the rapist and to their knowledge, De Wolf was swimming with the fishes.