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Monday, February 20, 2017

HAUNTED MARDI GRAS



The setting sun cast cold ghosts of gold across the bruised dark of the French Quarter alley.  

Were any ghosts awakening to haunt tonight’s Mardi Gras festivities?  

I scowled at myself.  

Alleys and houses were not haunted.


We are haunted, and regardless of the landscape on which we stand, our ghosts stay with us until we ourselves are ghosts.



I looked at the cracked store-backs and really didn't know who I was for about ten strange seconds. I wasn't scared.  

I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.  

I was behind the haunted Mardi Gras Den

which had once been a corrupt police station with innocents murdered in the cells. 

Then, I remembered who I was: 

Captain Samuel McCord, cursed guardian of New Orleans.

“At night, the dead come back to drink from the living,” I murmured.



And at my words, a ghostly parade of garishly painted wooden floats appeared before me, 

drawn by black skeletal horses.  Spectral riders wore iridescent blue masks over their gaunt faces.  

They looked down upon me … for permission to go down St. Charles Avenue. 

I nodded slowly.

“Drink from no innocent, and you may pass.”

They showered me with sparkling gold doubloons that passed right through my body, 

for the coins were bound to this cursed float for eternity. 

Ghosts were simply unfinished business.

Sadly, these insubstantial riders would not find those who had murdered them.  Some killers left the city right after the murders.

But all murderers were claimed immediately upon their deaths … some debts did not remain uncollected long after the final breath.

Murder was such a debt.

As the floats passed through me in icy tingles, I noted grimly that there were more of them than last year, packed with many more spectral riders.

I thought of my own ghosts:

The people you loved and lost became ghosts inside of you, and by cherishing them you kept them alive.

I turned and walked into the haunted night with only my ghosts for company.





4 comments:

  1. This is a wonderful poem or is it an excerpt from one of your novels? It's so true that we have ghosts within us.

    I wish I had seen this video on haunted NOLA before my visit last year. Frightening and fascinating.

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    1. Thank you so much for liking my story. It is Chapter 5 in my TALES TO BE TOLD AT MIDNIGHT.

      There's always a chance you will take another trip to New Orleans. Much of my Victor Standish series takes place in New Orleans, in the present and in 1834.

      Have a beautiful day, Roland

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  2. That was great. Enjoyed it immensely.

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    1. I am so happy you enjoyed this one, Dave. :-)

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