Guyana: Short Story: DARK  NIGHT  ENCOUNTER – By Ted Eric Matthews

By: Ted Eric Matthews

According to old West African traditions, some of which are still alive and evident in areas of West Coast Berbice, you should not stay out past mid-night on dark moonless nights. If you do, you are likely to encounter a baccoo, who/which might challenge you to a wrestling match, while imploring you not to throw him to the ground.

If you are bold enough to grapple with and engage in fisticuffs with a baccoo, his weak spot, his “Achilles heel” is his oversized head. If you somehow manage to throw him to the ground, he would find it very difficult to stand upright very quickly. At this stage you had better be running for your life!     

In truth, this invitation or challenge, and the exposure of a weakness, is a trap for those few brave ones who think they could defeat such a malevolent, evil being.

Baccoos are also known to be both impish and playful as part of their ability to exist, often unsuspectingly among humans.

Stories have been told of bold and ambitious individuals controlling a baccoo by keeping it locked up in a special heavily-curtained room in their home, or in a dark-coloured glass bottle by the sea shore or waterside. A staple diet fed to the captive creature was ripe bananas and cow’s milk. We are told that the imprisoned baccoo was used to help the person gain personal wealth, respect and influence in his or her community. These stories always end with the creature breaking free and wrecking havoc in the immediate neighborhood and with the jailor either “going out of his/her head” or committing suicide.

NOW THE STORY: Was a dark night! Dark night and vague starlight! No moon! Midnight jus’ pass. Las’ bus done gone! Was only about a mile from she house. An de visit was real good, an’ nice, nice. He was almost pass de burial ground when e’ hear a strange sound. De hair pon e’ neck behind stan up sudden! E’ walk lilmofass, pull up e’ shut collar an’ keep e’ head straight! Just when e’ pass de burial ground an e’ breathing mo easy, an e’ tink e’ in de clear, e’ spot a short, dark ting coming towards e’ , an’ it coming fass, fass! Yes, de ting coming quick, quick! But e’ keep e’ head, because e’ know is he an’ dis baccoo alone pon de road, an’ e’ remember wha de ole people seh. So e’ cross pon de adder side ah de road, keeping one eye pon de baccoo. Dis time is so e’ skin growing, an’ like e’ heart gon buss through e’ chest! E’ seh to e’self, “Oh God! Ah done wid!” By dis time de baccoo deh opposite e’ an e’ hear dis voice saying , “NOCKKU TO NOCKKU, BUNYA  PYAH PYAH! NOCKKU TO NOCKKU, BUNYA  PYAH PYAH! An e’ know de baccoo challenging e’ to “fight han’ to han’, but na throw down.” Right den’ is like e’ belly wan fo go off, but e’ hold strain, an start fo run no ground! E’ scoot, seying to e’ self, “foot doan deceive me!” E’ en stop running till e’ meet home, almost two miles away!!

But de joke is, some people seh, in de confusion and de way e’ so frighten e’ run in de neighbor yard , and to dis day deycaan fine de man!!

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  • Shaheed Abdool  On 11/04/2021 at 10:37 am

    Enjoyed article by Ted.
    Have any idea how I could get in touch with him?
    He taught me at South Georgetown Secondary School.
    Name Shaheed Azeem

  • Judy Blackman-Kobsar  On 11/05/2021 at 10:34 pm

    Thank you Lear. I really enjoyed this published article. Fantastic.

  • Uncle Francis  On 11/06/2021 at 2:14 pm

    Nice ole-time baccoo story. Mek meh ‘memba meh lil-bai days in McDoom an’ Agricola, when dem two communities was deep, deep country-side south ah Georgetown, an’ everybaddy livin’ like fambly. When we big people talk ‘;bout dem days, some people t’ink we tellin’ lie! But ah true-true story! Uncle Francis nah tell lie!

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