Who Do That Voodoo? Apparently I do.
Speaking of scary…I have to admit that before I started writing about voodoo, people being ridden by spirits and the ghosts of New Orleans-voodoo freaked me out. My only references were movies like Serpent and the Rainbow, stories about killing chickens and voodoo dolls, hexes and zombies-oh my. The Day of the Dead, when the ancestors and loa roamed freely about…well let’s just say dressing up as a naughty nurse and collecting candy sounded a hell of a lot safer.
Then I saw it through Bone Daddy, the main character throughout my three novella anthology Possess Me‘s eyes, and everything changed.
He is very persuasive
In writing the book he taught me that it is the mystery that makes a thing frightening. The whispers. The shadows. That nothing is what it seems when seen clearly, with humor and light. But speaking of shadows…did I mention Gabriel? He is the hero in the book’s sequel Tempt Me-which comes out November 1st of this year. (YAY)
If Bone Daddy introduced me to the Mamas, the love and light that is a part of the voodoo religion, Gabriel Toussaint Giodarno reminded me that there was still some darkness to be afraid of. Still some places where it is almost impossible for the light to shine. Mysteries we’re not yet ready to solve. Luckily, when you have love on your side–and an attractive but irritatingly melancholy guardian angel–nothing is too difficult to overcome.
Neither of these stories could have happened anywhere but New Orleans, with the spirit of mambos past looking on in approval. Magic is everywhere there, never more so in the graveyards, at the grave of a voodoo queen, close to All Saint’s Day. Halloween.
Just don’t go looking for a certain cemetery…or it will come looking for you. So I’m told.
Possess Me excerpt-All Saint’s Day:
He was in the St. Louis Cemetery near Basin Street. Drawn before the first rays of the dawn, compelled to this place, though he wasn’t sure why. He’d arrived in time to witness the departure of the teenagers in ghoulish masks who’d dared each other to brave Halloween beside the mausoleums and grave sites.
Luckily for them, the Ghede looked after foolish children. In his experience, when humans looked for trouble, they usually found it.
He reached a beautiful marble mausoleum, smaller than the others. The profile of a lovely woman’s face was carved into the doorway like a heartbreaking cameo, just above the image of a small boy at play. She looked young. Had she died in childbirth? He searched for a name but there was non. No family name, nor the years she’d lived and died. Why would someone go to all this trouble to make a remembrance so lovely, only to keep the dead’s identity secret?
That was his idea of hell. To be unremembered and unsung.
Bone Daddy whirled around but saw only shadows. Still, he knew the old man’s voice.
“I am. I though All Saints’ didn’t require me to possess a body. Please don’t tell me I must pry open a grave and take over a corpse.” He shuddered. “I would not enjoy my last day on earth in a state of decay.”
The laughter wrapped around him like an embrace, making him smile.
“No, son. You’ll have a body all your own, fresh and living, as promised, for the day. I’ll tell you why you’re here, but first I have to warn you to be careful. You’ll be human. No powers. No magnetism other than your own natural charm. You’ll feel hot and cold, suffer pangs you never felt, ever when you rode Rousseau. And you’ll feel strong emotions, just as humans do. And just as with humans, there will be repercussions for your actions. If you step too far out of line, you may not like the consequences.”
Bone Daddy rubbed his hands together in excitement. His mentor was always so ominous. He really needed to lighten up. “Sounds like fun, old man. Want to join me? I know a few spots down the road that you would love.”
The deep sigh was a breeze in the damp morning air. “Some of us have to stay behind, to keep the home fires burning. It’s time, BD. Time for you to have your day. Use it well. Try not to waste a moment.”
“Why aren’t the others here? You said you’d tell me why I had to come to this cemetery.”
“One journey begins where the last met its end.”
He knew the old man was gone, he could feel it. “A riddle. Lovely.”
Bone Daddy didn’t care. The dawn was coming. The sky had lightened, setting the stage for the new day. His day. He would seek out his friends, have as much food as he could fit in his stomach and take as many lovers as he could. Maybe he could convince Rousseau to put the past behind them. He’d grown fond of the boy.
He’d grown rather attached to all of them. Michelle and Ben, Allegra. He’d come to the conclusion over the last few days that the other Loa were right. He’d lost his perspective. He was no family ghost. No pet. He was supposed to help. To guide humans as the others did toward a better life. Or in his case, a better sex life.
Attachment was not wise.
Soft morning light hit the graying stones and monuments around him, and he began to feel it. A shimmer. A tingle. Little ants on his skin.
He looked down and saw himself change. Slowly. With every second it hurt more. Everything hurt. Heaviness, like lead in his limbs, dropped him to his knees.
What was going on? The ants on his skin had become a vicious mass of fangs and stingers, piercing him, sending fire racing through his veins. Blood. Blood pumped by a heart beating far too fast to be natural.
Something was wrong. This couldn’t be right. Would he be given life just to die? Surely the others didn’t willingly go through this year after year. Was this part of his punishment for staying so long?
Dizziness swamped him, and bile rose in his throat as he smelled the stench of grabage and death. Smelled the staleness of sweat. His own?
He gagged, but nothing came out. His stomach began to spasm and he looked up wildly, seeking purchase, balance, in a world gone sideways.
And saw her. The carving in marble. She looked so serene. So lovely.
Why did she look familiar?
He collapsed, looking down in surprise to see a wound carving itself into his side. He cried out, but before the blood could flow the wound healed, a scar forming before hi eyes. A raised, ugly slash.
It felt as though he’d been gutted. His hands closed into fists, body curling into a fetal position as the pain overcame him.
This was not what he’d been expecting.
The last thought he had before he fell into unconsciousness was of her. The woman in the carving. At least he’d be lying beside her as he died.
The thought was comforting.
Tell me your favorite thing about New Orleans and have a chance to win your choice of 1. a signed print copy of Possess Me 2. a signed print copy of Tempt Me 3. a $15.00 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card