Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Blood is Thicker than Water; Voodoo

Samuel Forte hated the swamp. It was not a place he felt where a gentleman of his intellectual caliber should spend time. He felt his boots squelch one more time in the muck and realized that no one could ever pay him enough to go monster stomping again. He didn’t want to get bit by a slimy swamp monster or a vampire. Undead and swamp critters had the same pointy teeth. And Forte hated the way the swamp didn’t bother Marie LaVeau, who had gone on solo to scout out Lake Ponchartrain, or how Chip Hyland swaggered through the much beside him in a tough hombre manner. “I don’t see how anyone could find the critters of the supernatural in this place,” Forte complained. “Couldn’t tell the difference between ectoplasm and swamp goo.”

“Yup,” said Hyland, “but just as long as we can find Miss Raintree before they bit her, that’s all I care about. I don’t think I want Abby de-aging like Aunt Polly did.”

“Me neither,” Forte commented. “It did wonders for Aunt Polly though. Too bad I’ll have to plug her when this is over with.”

Hyland shook his head. “You aren’t plugging nobody.”

“It’s my job. That’s what they hired me for. To kill undead. Aunt Polly’s a vampire, and like all vampires, she’ll go bad. I’ll have to put her down. It’s as simple as that.”

“Abby’s not going to like that.”

“Maybe not, but when Miss Raintree and I are married, I don’t want visits from a maiden aunt who may suck out all my vital juices.” Forte pulled out the small box that clicked when he neared the supernatural. “Something mean and occult about to go on here soon,” the self-labeled scientific spiritualist announced.

“Fine and dandy,” Hyland said. “Soon as we find Abby, we’ll take care of it. Although,” he said, rubbing his hands, “I do wish I’d remembered some brass knuckles. Punching vampires is kind of rough on a man.”

Forte looked at Hyland incredulously, shaking his head in disbelief. The two of them continued to slog through the swamp.


The voodoos were waiting. The new mambo was no woman they knew, but Shalimar disguised herself among them. Her bolt of black hair shimmered down her back. Her cocoa complexion told them she was partly one of their own. Rumor had it that Marie LaVeau was dead, killed by this woman. This woman had reputedly absorbed all of Marie’s power. Now, just as the sun dipped into Lake Ponchartrain, Shalimar stood in front of them, dressed in white, with the blue mambo cord around her waist, and they knew it was true. They belonged to this woman.

“Children,” she yelled above the beat of the drums, “it is time.”

The crowd silenced. The voodoo doctor behind her played his drums, slowly, seductively, and as Shalimar danced, the voodoos danced with her. She swayed, took small steps, and gyrated her hips. Once again the crowd copied her movements. They danced faster and faster. Then someone in the crowd handed Shalimar a black rooster. The rooster flapped wildly. She held its feet and raised the bird above her head for all the voodoos to see. It spread its wings and squawked. Shalimar posed with the bird, triumphant, and then with a smooth twist she wrenched its neck and pulled its head out. The crowd frenzied.

The headless chicken flapped wildly. Shalimar tilted it as though it were a glass, drinking the blood that gushed from its neck. Then she threw the body on the ground and continued to dance. The voodoos, tense, swayed.

In the crowd, vampires began feeding on the voodoos. One of them grabbed a nearby woman and bit. The crowd went wild. Shalimar admired her handiwork. When the voodoos rose in three days, they would be hers. The city belonged to the night, and the city would spread across the land a little at a time.

Marie LaVeau watched the small fires far away. “Once again, I cannot stop it,” she said.

“We can stop it,” said Benjamin Stewart from the shadows behind her. “You have more allies now. I will do everything in my power to prevent this. And so will you.”
Marie turned to see him. He had slipped back into the night, and she was left alone with the fires and the screams.

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