Friday, October 28, 2011
UNDER A VOODOO MOON_Friday's Romantic Challenge
It is midnight by the bayou bordering my apartment. The tolling has died but for the echoes.
Lady Night whispers, "Little Lakota, you think you know. You do not.
The world is not what you believe nor what you wish.
Life has its hungers. So does Death."
Denise and Francine have given us the prompt, HAUNTING, for tonight's challenge.
My entry, UNDER A VOODOO MOON, is , not too surprisingly, from Victor's sequel - THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH : UNDER A VOODOO MOON.
(Victor and Alice have been flicked back to the year 1826 by the eerie supernatural entity, DayStar, like you or I would brush away knats) :
The blood moon leered down on Alice and me through thick, silent mists snaking above us. The mists were the only things silent across the grassy courtyard.
Drums beat wild rhythms as rocking black men chanted, their wide eyes glazed over. In the shadows of the huge bonfire, black dancers wheeled about, long machetes flashing in their fists.
I was so scared it felt like my skin was about to leap off me and do the Mambo with my skeleton. I knew where we were from pictures in that book on voodoo in early New Orleans :
Congo Square, across Rampart Street from the French Quarter. But a very primitive French Quarter. Place Congo was its name this far back in the past.
I reached out and took Alice’s ice-cold right hand. My heart calmed. With her at my side, I could take on monsters.
With the musk of sweat, alcohol, and hate heavy in the humid night air, Alice whispered in that odd British accent of hers, “Victor, we are in serious jeopardy here.”
Now, when a flesh-eating ghoul says she’s afraid, even a mongrel like me knows that life has just hit a new high in low-down.
The drums suddenly stopped. And every wild eye turned to us.
I winked at her. “You think?”
A tall woman, her black face glowing with deadly grace, spoke soft, yet it carried out across the dancers and slithering snakes on the grass.
But none of them equaled the boa across her shoulders.
“You two do not belong here.”
Alice murmured, “Look at Marie Laveau, Victor. She is such a striking woman.”
I grinned dry, “Even without the snake.”
A small, crooked old man limped to us. “She be right.”
He turned to Alice, his voice gaining an edge. “’Specially you, nzumbe.”
I stiffened. “That’s Myth Nzumbe to you, Fright Face.”
Alice lips got tight. “Is everything a jest to you, Victor?”
I gave her icy hand a squeeze.
“Never you, Alice. But you can’t let monsters see you sweat.”
Alice rose a prim and proper eyebrow. “I never sweat.”
The old man limped closer. “You be half-dead, now, Miss Nzumbe. Soon you be all dead.”
I shook my head. “Don’t count on it, Legba.”
He stepped back an inch. “You know me?”
“I know of you.”
“Then, you knows how powerful I be. I be the origin of life!”
I snorted. “Get real. That would be Elohim. And I’m pretty sure you’re not Him.”
Legba husked, “So sure are you?”
I nodded to the squirming reptiles on the grass.
“Pretty sure. He’s not real fond of snakes. He took their legs away, remember?”
He cackled, “But Erzulie be fond of dem, and she be right behind you, boy. Erzulie, loa of Love and Death.”
I turned to face the tall black woman with scars on her face and smiled,
“That’s a new look for you, Mother.”
“No, child. ‘Dis face be veeery old. And you be in bad trouble.”
I winked at her and copied her accent, “Dat be an veeery old story, Mother.”
Katrina sent shock waves through the economy of New Orleans that nearly submerged the city and its valiant citizens. I have donated 100% of the past two months profits of THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH to the New Orleans SALVATION ARMY.
Of every copy of LEGEND I sell from now on, 10% of the profit will go to them as well. So not only do you get an eerie, absorbing story, you help the hurting in New Orleans. How neat is that?