The One Thing She Won't Talk About.....

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The One Thing She Won't Talk About.....

Post by DoS Archive » Thu Mar 03, 2005 6:40 pm

From: (Kaja Adair)
Date: 24 Dec 2003 10:59:39 EST

((This is a really long post... hope you enjoy!))

Excerpt from
"Tragedy in Dulac: The Adair Murders,"
by Pulitzer Prize Winner Julie McKinney
Coming Spring 2004

The old man laughed wistfully and grinned his toothless grin as he reached back in his memory for the answer to the question I’d asked him. I’d been in the swamps near Dulac, Louisiana for a week now, trying to find clues to the massacre that had occurred there less than a year ago, and I was near the end of my patience when the old man called to me.

Now I found myself sharing his easy serenity, accepting the bugs and the overpoweringly natural smell of the wilderness as it is: everlasting and everchanging. The old man spoke firmly, his filmy gray eyes eerily bright in his ebony face. That face alone told more stories than his mouth ever could.

“Ah do ‘membah dem der girls—prettiest li’l thangs ah evah did see, yessah. Dem was like daughtahs ta me. Shame wha’ ‘appened ta dem—da Lawd’s blessins’ come down on mah soul, ‘twas a shame.”

“What happened to them,” I asked. The old man snorted, scowling at me.

“Ah gotta start at t’beginnin’, missy—ya not gon’ know nothin’ ‘bout wha’ ah tell ya if’n ya don’ listen ta da whole story. Ya gon’ miss da reason why dem sweet li’l girls done wha’ dey done.

"You be patient, now—ol’ Claude gon’ tell ya e’ery thang if’n ya gon’ lissen. “

“Do you mind if I record this?”

“Ya gon’ ‘aveta record this, missy, fer ya not gon’ ‘membah e’ery thang ah tells ya… not like ah ‘ave, anyway. “

I took out my recorder, rewound the tape as far as I could, over the tidbits of information I’d collected from the local parish residents. Mostly rumors and speculation, none of them seemed to even remotely know the Adair family, what had happened at their palatially modest swampland home, or where the twin daughters had gone, except this old man, who lived close enough and and long enough to have seen them grow, and perhaps far longer.

I nodded to him to begin his story, and as he took a deep, cleansing breath, he began in his ancient’s voice.

“T’was two beautiful li’l girls, born o’ two beautiful people, a fambly o’ delicate n’ ‘ardy swamp lilies ‘mong da weeds an’ terrors o’ da barrens out ‘ere.

Ah met da mamma foist—she was ‘avin’ trouble wit’ ‘er skiff ‘bout a mile from where we standin’. She’d run ‘ground up dere, where da break is, an’ ah ‘eard ‘er callin’ while ah was fishin’.

So ah went dere in dat direction, an’ aftah a li’l while strugglin’ wi’ dat skiff—t’was caught sumthin’ terr’ble—ah ‘elped ‘er git on watah ‘gin.

“She offahed me money n’ such, but ah dinna take it ‘cause out ‘ere, thangs run diffr’nt. We trade fer wha’ we got—money don’ mean much ‘ere ‘cause ain’t nowhere ta spend it.

Ah tol’ ‘er da Lawd ‘ould gi’ me mah ‘ward whenst ah git ta ‘Eaven fer ‘elpin’ ‘er—she should jes’ run ‘long, an’ git back ta ‘er man ‘fo it gits dark an’ dem dere gaters git ‘ungry. She ‘greed an’ got on ‘er way.”

“Did she come back?” I asked. The old man was silent for a long time, as if to punish me for my question.

“Ah’m gittin’ ta dat—ya city girls jes’ don’ lissen, do yas? Ah said ah’s gon’ tell ya da story, so lemme tell da story!” He snorted again, but it rapidly degenerated into a series of hacking coughs that made me fear for the old man’s health.

I moved from the rickety old chair I’d been sitting in across from him to the relative cleanliness of the floor, folding my legs beneath me Indian style, and looking up at him as a child would to one of her elders. As I thought, this put the old man at ease, and he relaxed again.

“Are you alright?” I asked. Ignoring me, he continued with the story.

“She come back da nex’ day, right up ta mah door, wi’ ‘er man wi’ ‘er, and a basket o’ muffins in ‘er ‘and. Da man ax me if’n ‘e can come in, an’ ah say ‘e can.

‘E an’ da lady sit down on da chair ya jes’ lef’ ovah dere”—he gestures to the chair on the other side of the table—“an’ dey sit.”

I open my mouth to ask the question that will perhaps get me kicked out of the old man’s shanty, but it’s caught in my throat as I see him tilted back in his seat, with his eyes closed, lost in his memory.

There is a smile on his face, and he seems to glow somewhat. I close my mouth, holding my breath until he continues in that dreamy voice of his.

“Ah can feel da power comin’ off da both o’ ‘em, like dey angels come ta bring me ta Jeezus. Den da man talks, voice deep like ah ‘magine God’s ta be.

‘E says ‘is name is Andrew Alistair Adair, jus’ like dat, all three names like it was jes’ one o’ em, an’ dat da lady is ‘is wife, an’ ‘er name is Anissa Ayanna. She tilted ‘er ‘ead at me, and push da basket o’ muffins t’wards me.

“Ah’s skeered ta touch ‘em at foist—da muffins, dat is… ah woulda died ‘fo ah touch dem two—thought dey might be ‘chanted o’ sumthin’.

Da man is def’nitely a voodoo papa… ah seen ‘nuff o’ dem come thru ‘ere ta know dat fer sure…p’raps ‘e Papa Legba da gatekeepah ‘imself!

Dey sit dere wit’ dem eyes—dem GREEN eyes in dat choc’lit brown skin, both o’ dem—an’ dem stare at me ‘til ah pick up a muffin an’ eat a piece, dem sayin’ nothin’ ‘til ah do.

“When ah eat, ah feel good—good ‘bout dem an’ good ‘bout me—ah think ‘dere WAS some ‘chantment in dem muffins-- an ah ain’t skeered o’ dem no mo’. Dem jes’ ordin’ry, tho’ pretty, folks o’ da swamp.

Den da man speak agin, an’ ‘is voice don’ soun’ like God’s no mo’—jes’ low an’ strong, da way a man’s voice s’pose ta be.”

The old man pauses, visibly shaken even by the memory, reaches for his tea, sips and resumes the tilt on the back of his chair. I say nothing to him, only making sure the tape is running and taking notes as I hear him talk.

I know that the floor should be uncomfortable for me, but it isn’t, as I am all tied up in listening to the story, as much as he is in telling it. I nod for him to continue.

“So, da man says ‘e wants ta ask a favor o’ me. ‘E says dat dangerous days‘re ahead, an’ ‘e ain’t sure tha ‘is fambly is gon’ be safe gittin’ thru ‘em. ‘E wants mah li’l place ‘ere ta be a safe place fer ‘is daughters if’n dey get separated or somethin’.

Ah cain’t understand why, since ‘e’s strong, an’ not jes’ body-wise. E’en through whatevah calmin’ was in dose muffins, ah could still feel somethin’ special ‘bout ‘im. So ah says okay, an’ dey take theah leave, wit’ Andrew sayin’ ‘e’ll bring da girls by latah ta meet me.”

I pause him a moment to flip the tape over, paranoid that I’ll miss any part of what he will say. My hands are shaking a little, just from the sheer strangeness of the story—both my reasons for coming here, and the background on the Adair twins.

“Ah don’ ‘ear from ‘em fer a week. Ah thinks dat Andrew mighta changed ‘is mind, but theah they are, a week latah ta da day… ‘ell, da minute, e’en.

An ‘e brings these beautiful, brown-eyed, café au lait girls in--ah think they mighta been five at da time—and tells ‘em ah’m Mista Claude. Problem is, ah don’ ‘membah tellin’ tha man mah name.

“Annaway, tha lil’ girls hold out der ‘ands ta me ta shake. Tha one on tha right puts out ‘er right ‘and, an’ da one on da left puts out ‘er left.

So, dat’s da way ah tells ‘em apart, ‘cause dey identical twins, ya know. Righty’s name is Arezka Annalisa, whom ya call Rez, an’ Lefty’s name is Akasha Annabella, whom ya call Kaja.

“Ah don’ ‘spect that they’ll be ‘round much in da beginnin’, and dey ain’t. For da foist five years, ah don’ see da girls ‘tall. Dey don’ come ovah, an’ dey don’t play outside, so ah figgered Mr. Adair done changed ‘is mind again.

But, turns out dat dey been ‘omeschooled fer da foist few grades, and now dat dey goin’ ta school wit’ da othah boys an’ girls, dey need a place ta stay while dey waitin’ fer dey mammy an’ pappy ta git ‘ome. So, dey stays right ‘ere.”

He gestures to the expanse of the shanty as if it is a palatial home, and to him, it probably is.

“ Dey’s beautiful girls growin’ up, but they rough an’ tumble, too, an’ love each othah like dere ain’t no one else in da worl’. Kaja olda by a minute an’ a ‘alf, so she take great pains ta protec’ Rez, but Rez mean like a cottonmouth.

Ah always thought ‘t shoulda been Rez protectin’ Kaj, but it was wha’ it was. Kaj was smarter an’ mo’ patient, tho’, and would plot agains’ people, bringin’ ‘bout ‘arm, an’ no one woulda known it was ‘er.

“Once, some boy an’ ‘is friends caught Rez alone walkin’ aftah school… ah think Kaja was sick an’ stayed ‘ome tha’ day. Dem boys aim ta pin Rezzie down an’ ‘ave theah way wit’ ‘er, but Rezzie fought, boy, ‘ard.

Took five o’ em ta finally knock ‘er down an’ keep ‘er theah, but ‘twas long enuff fer Kaja ta sense somethin’, ‘cause ah seen ‘er tearin’ down tha street in front o’ mah ‘ouse tha’ day, rollin’ up ‘er sleeves, runnin’ like ‘er ‘air was on fyah. Goin’ ta battle.

Between the two o’ em, they took down 10 outta 15 boys dat day, strong 17 an’ 18 yeah-olds. Put five o’ em in tha ‘ospital wit internal injuries, five with broken arms an’ legs, and tha five tha’ ‘scaped had welts and blackeyes galore. They ain’t mess with Kaja an’ Rezzie aftah dat, an’ ‘twas fine wit tha girls.”

“How old were they, Claude?”

“Aw… they weren’t much younger… ‘bout 16 or so. Old ‘nuff ta ‘ave thangs dat boys wanna touch, if’n ya know what ah mean. But they made up o’ da stuff they parents made of, jes’ dat no muffins in da worl’ woulda toned dat down.

‘S like they aliens, but good ‘uns.. like angels. Good, nice angels, but deadly if’n dey need ta be.”

“So… it was just two years later when the massacre occurred?”

“Yeah. On tha twins’ 18th boithday. Ah ‘membah like ‘twas mah own foist name.”

“In your own words, Claude… can you tell me about it?” I switched the tape, grateful that I’d remember to bring extras. This was going to be the story of my life. My Pulitzer, about to come out of this old man’s mouth. He sighed deeply, then leaned towards me.

“Promise me somethin’ foist, missy.”

“Sure, Claude.. anything.”

“Promise me ye’ll tell me wha’ appened to ‘em when they took ‘em away. Tell me dey’re not dead or annathin'."

“I can tell you that now, Claude.” I ruffled through some of my papers, finding what I considered to be common knowledge of the Adair twins.

“They’re not dead, not that we know of, but they’re gone. Akasha Adair was convicted as an adult of 20 counts of 1st degree murder and sent to death row. She surrendered to divert attention from Arezka Adair, who is still at large.

I heard that Kaja was a model prisoner, quiet, but took no shit off anyone. She picked up an additional assault charge her 2nd year there, but it was later dropped for self-defense.

She spent most of the 2 years she was there crocheting—a leftover from her anger management classes that surprisingly she enjoyed-- and when her sentence was commuted to life in prison they sent her to minimum security, citing that she was a low flight risk.

They even let her run around the grounds unattended, no longer believing she was anywhere capable of doing what she’d done, and assumed that Rez was the main mastermind.

“One day, while running, Kaja just disappeared. There was no evidence to say that she’d escaped prison or had been killed…no one saw or heard anything, and there’s been no trace of her in the towns surrounding the prison. No body has been found.

Her cell was the same it always was… neat and clean. It didn’t look like she planned an escape. She was just gone. No one’s ever found Rez Adair either. She just vanished off the face of the earth, just like her sister.”

The old man sighed deeply, tilting back in his chair again. “Dat’s good ta know. Dem girls were jes’ defendin’ demselves. Dey dinna wanna kill no one… dey pushed ‘em.

But, ol’ Unca Sam was right. Kaja planned tha’ ol’ thang, down t’ tha las’ dead body.”
I clicked on the recorder again, and listened.

“Andrew and Ayanna Adair were black folk, good black folk in the backwoods o’ Luz’ana. An’ dey did well fer demselves… from what ‘Drew tol’ me, farmin’ was doin’ well fer ‘em, despite wha’ tha hacks say—no ‘fense, ma’am.

An’ dey ‘ad pretty black babies, who nevah wanted fer annathin’. They played in da swamp an’ nevah ‘ad a care in da worl’.

“Aftah dat incident wit’ Rez in da woods, tho’, tha local white people were mad—mad ‘cause their boy children got whipped by a pair o’ black girls, an’ dat dem black girls’ parents were doin’ bettah than ‘em, wit’ that big ‘ouse in da swamp.

‘Dat’s too good fer Negroes, dey said.” The old man started to shake, the anger in his tone almost tangible. “Dey said, ‘Dem Negroes need ta be put in they place.’”

“Dey’d been ‘arrasin’ tha girls fer a while, but dey ‘andled it demselves. Dey dinna tell ‘Drew an’ ‘Yana nothin’.

But Kaja used ta say ta me “Somethin’ wicked this way comes, Unca Claude. Ah’m scared, mon pére, but ah ain’t backin’ down.”

“Early in da mornin’ o’ May 23, the girls’ 18th boithday, dat somethin’ wicked this way came, missy. Klansmen, ‘bout 50 o’ em, came an’ stormed tha Adair ‘ouse.

Dey went fer ‘Drew an’ ‘Yana first, killin’ Yana in ‘er sleep. ‘Drew woke up an’ put up a horrific fight, takin’ 10 of ‘em out by ‘imself wi’ ‘is shotgun, but ‘e took a shot ta tha chest right in front o’ tha girls, who ‘eard tha commotion and came to investigate.

Tha mob went after them, but Kaja ‘ad put aside some weaponry jes’ fer tha two of ‘em, her an’ Rez thinkin’, like a child, that she could protect her parents. Now that she’d failed, she intended ta make ‘em pay dearly fer it.

“Machetes, grenades, pipe bombs, blow darts… ya name it, Kaja made ‘em an’ ‘ad ‘em. Together, she an’ Rez fought them out of tha ‘ouse.

Mah brotha, who says ‘e seen tha ‘ole thang, says ‘e saw tha twins, Kaja wit’ twin machetes, and Rez wi’ darts, guns an’ bombs, put ‘bout 20 full grown men outta tha ‘ouse, rippin’ and tearin’, an’ blowin’ shit up.

“Tha crazy thang ‘bout it all, missy… the twins chased ‘em down. Aftah gettin’ run up outta da house, da Kluxers tried ta retreat, but the girls wouldna stop… they followed ‘em inta tha woods.

Rez called fer Kaja ta come back, but she wouldn’t stop… you could ‘ear ‘er in tha woods, mah brotha said, grown men’s screams cut off wit’ a swing, or Kaja yellin’, tauntin’ ‘em…...tha scaries’ thang ‘e evah ‘eard, ‘e said. Sounded like a lion’s roar, o’ somethin’.

Rez, scared ta death fer Kaja, ran in theah, swingin’ an throwin’ too, until the men were all gone. Mah brotha Pierre said ‘e seen ‘em come outta tha woods back inta the Adair yard, spattered with blood, carryin’ tha blades, Kaja transformed by this wild gaze and bloody grin.

‘E ran then, ‘e said… ‘e dinna want ‘er comin’ aftah ‘im either.

“Police came some time aftahwards… surrounded tha ‘ouse, which the twins ‘adn’t come out of fer hours. Rezzie tol’ me latah that tha girls took off through a secret passageway inta da woods, and after runnin’ like tha wind for 3 miles, they were surrounded again.

Kaja tol’ Rez ta go west tawards Texas, and she was goin’ north. Said dey would meet again.”

My breath caught in my throat. “You saw Rez Adair after the massacre?”

“Yep… she was scared somethin’ terr’ble…said she ‘eard Kaja yellin’ in tha woods, thought she was gonna take on tha police like she did tha Klan, but as ya tol’ me, she was jes’ leadin’ ‘em away from Rez.

She said she was gonna go west as Kaja tol’ ‘er, but she wanted me ta ‘elp Kaj, if’n ah could.”

The old man sighed heavily, looking down at his feet, the pain evident in his face.

“’S nothin’ ah could do fer them li’l girls.. dey were all ‘lone now dat ‘Drew an’ ‘Yana were gone, an’ dem def’nitely weaker apart den they is tagethah.

Rezzie lef’ me tha’ night, an’ ah ain’t seen ‘er since. Ah went ta see Kaja aftah ‘er conviction, an’ she tol’ me e’erythin’ was okay, but she was scared, ah could see it. ‘Wicked came, Unca Claude,’ she said, “an’ ah kicked it’s ass. Ah love ya, ol’ man.’

Wit dat, she was gone. She dinna accept mah visits aftah dat. ‘S like she was dyin’ inside wit’out Rez. Jes’ wiltin’ an’ dyin’. “

Nothing has been heard of Akasha or Arezka Adair since.