So you can read my books

Thursday, October 28, 2010


My entry for Madeleine's blogfest is from my urban fantasy, FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE.

The man with death in his veins, Samuel McCord, and his best friend, the vampire priest, Renfield, have just walked from behind McCord's jazz club onto the flooded street the night after Katrina :

Renfield stiffened as we walked out onto the submerged sidewalk. “Dear God, Sam, did you ever think we’d see our city like this?”

I looked at the battered club fronts, the boarded windows, the two-by-four’s driven like crude knives into the very mortar of the buildings, and the crumpled remains of people’s lives floating down the flooded streets.

It was eerie. The utter blackness of a once bright street. The deep quiet of a mortally wounded city.

I looked about at the shattered world around and within me. Withered leaves of my soul seemed to fall away from me in the dark breeze of this night.

Shadows flowed through my veins. The night and eternity mocked me. They seemed to whisper : “This is all your struggling achieves -- Life runs, falls, and spindles slowly into the abyss.”

Renfield and I were standing on the threshold of something that befell every person, every civilization, but with each at a different cost.

I moved through the moments but was far them. And as the night descended, it felt as if I were leaving home.

I was swept up in a sense of the missed opportunity, the lost chance, the closed door. In my mind, I heard Bette Midler singing “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today.”

“Broken windows and empty hallways,

A pale dead moon in a sky streaked with grey.

Human kindness is overflowing,

And I think it’s going to rain today.”

I sighed, “It’s like looking at the hell in the streets of London after the first Nazi bombing in ‘40.

The sheer quiet that follows a whole city being gutted, that stillness that comes right before it screams.”

He bent down and picked up a floating child’s doll, its false hair soaked and hanging. Its glassy eyes eerily reminded me of too many human corpses I had seen floating down this same street.

Renfield stroked the plastic cheek softly as if it had been the flesh of the girl who had lost her doll. Closing his eyes, he dropped the doll with a splash that sounded much too loud.

Renfield looked my way with eyes that clawed at me and smiled as if it were a wound.

"Perhaps that doll will find the spirit of the child who lost it."

"You and I have seen stranger things, Padre."

He nodded. "Yes. Yes, we have. I will choose to think the child's ghost reunited with her doll."

The thought seemed to give Renfield some small measure of peace. I think Lincoln had it right : we have the peace we choose to have.



  1. Great story & writing! A little too scary for a 'wimp' like me though! LOL
    ~ Coreen

  2. Coreen : I lived through Katrina and Rita, and I was the King of the Wimps. Glad you liked my story and writing.

  3. This piece was rather moving. Thanks for joining in my blogfest :O)

  4. Evocative! "I was swept up in a sense of the missed opportunity..." This entire line was wonderful and my favorite.

    Ya done good!!

  5. As always, very nicely written Roland. Evocative definitely, atmospheric absolutely. I felt like I was walking along with them. And this may sound wierd but I wish I had a Vampire Priest for a friend. ;)

  6. A sad, sad time in a historic city. Beautifully captured here, Roland.

    Southern City Mysteries

  7. I would not have liked seeing the aftermath up close and personal. It tears at my heart to think of it and your writing relates the horror and does it honor with the beauty you infuse in your words.

  8. Well written, Roland. My imaginings do not come close to the reality of that disaster, but your writing certainly brings it closer to home.

  9. Wow, that is a really haunting scene, and you've got a lot of beautiful imagery in there. Also an interesting slant on the lost and found theme.
    Well done :-)

  10. ROLAND ~
    I well remember the scenes and the mood of Los Angeles during the Rodney King riots, but that was nothing compared to your living through Katrina.

    A friend of mine lost his house in that disaster, so I can relate to it on some more personal level even though I myself (fortunately) did not experience it.

    Your writing plays like a film noir movie. Good work, Bro!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  11. Roland,

    I can't begin to tell you how glad I am that I found your site. Your use of words is an inspiration to all of us.

    One amazing and haunting story.


  12. I enjoyed reading your story. A bit sad though. I love your writing style, so vivid.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your kind comment :-)