Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Voodoo Alley


  1. I snuck out the back; my face threatened to break into a million pieces. I could still hear his words - You sucked. I needed space – a place to breathe.

    Why did I continue to do this to myself? Dissecting his every jarring word; making believe he was only being artsy and it was nothing personal. Truth was I was in love with him - or at least the thought of him. Derrick was everything I wanted; tall, dark and brooding. Almost frightening sometimes, but in a good way. Too bad he included Jerk in his attribute profile.

    The show was a disaster. Torrential rains kept most of the ticket holders away and stage fright kept me chained in one spot; forgetting my lines; robotic acting. It was no wonder Derrick tore into me afterwards. He’d told the others I wasn’t ready for such an important role, but no – I had to beg and promise I wouldn’t let them down. You can’t promise what you never had I thought.

    I leaned against the bricks and put my head in my hands. I’d never be able to show my face again to this crowd. All I’d wanted was to fit in – be a part – have someone that could relate to me. But I’d blown it. It wasn’t just his words – it was the way they all glared at me . . . vicious disappointment with smug smiles.

    I glanced around the darkened alley. Shadows crept up the brick walls. Rain glistened on the cobblestones. This place was New Orleans at its finest – dark, wet and creepy. At one end of the alley was the entrance to Bourbon Street, but that meant people. I didn’t want to see anyone just yet. At the other end was a closed wrought iron gate with a sign on it.

    I walked toward the gate, squinting into the darkness trying to see what was beyond the gate. Grabbing the handle on the gate, I yanked. It was locked. I looked up at the sign and read Voodoo Garden.

    “Just great,” I mumbled shaking my head, “This place is Voodoo crazy.” I’d only been here a few months, but I’d been approached twice by some weird, toothless, old lady trying to give me a gris-gris. She told me I needed the protection. From what? Maybe the next time I saw her, I’d take it – obviously I needed protection from myself.

    I shook the gate one more time and started to turn around, but something caught my eye. It was a statue in the garden; a life size angel – no, actually larger than life. He face was cast down and his wings were wrapped around him like a blanket. It looked like stone, but real at the same time. The level of detail was incredible. I had to wonder why a stone angel would be in a voodoo garden. It really didn’t make a lot of sense.

    I took one last look at the angel and turned around. A large white feather floated past my face and I watched it fall to the ground. Strange. I took one step, but something compelled me to look back. There he was standing at the gate; wings outspread. His face was serene and beautiful. I couldn’t move – I couldn’t breathe.

    “Oh no; oh hell no,” I said stepping backwards. He sighed and the sound filtered past my ears like a caress.

    “You can’t run from me,” he said in a soft, comforting voice. “I was sent for you.”

    “Excuse me?” I asked. My whole body trembled.

    “I’ve come to take you home. You’re about to be murdered.”

    I whipped around and there he was – Derrick with a sickly sweet smile on his face.

    “I’ve been looking for you Tara,” he said. “You ruined my night and we need to have a little talk.”

    I glanced back. The angel was still there; a lone tear tracing down his cheek.

  2. I don’t know about you, but there are some days when my feet are slipping down the wet cobble of an alley way and my eyes are squinting at the run while peering into the shadows and I feel all closed in on both sides, and I just want to die. Just die.

    Nothing fancy. I don’t want no crazy newspaper story about me. I don’t wanna have my family have to have some closed casket nonsense of a funeral where they can’t see me proper. I don’t need to be that guy. But dying. Sometimes that seems alright.

    My feet hurt right now, and my eyes are tired. I feel the world around me like it’s squeezing. Like my soul can’t take anymore before it breaks. Right now, I just want to die. Just pffflt. Be done with it all. No mess, no fuss, just no more of it.

    No more waking up to go work for somebody who spends more money on takin’ care of his dogs than he spends on payin’ me. No more body aching, mind hurting, heart busting for sixteen hours so I can have eight hours of a dream about a life I can never have. No more of it. No more.

    It was wet outside and the bricks was cold but the air was hot and thick. There was shadows in the corners and the sun glared in the sky and flashed off the puddles. The walls was so high I couldn’t see God over them. And I was tired of lookin’ for him. So I died. I just died.

  3. lodjohnson, the atmosphere you created was fantastic! I'd love to see a complete story on this one.

    Nevets, The walls was so high I couldn't see God over them. great line. You conveyed that hopeless feeling so well.

  4. Thanks, Deb. I liked that one a lot myself. I don't usually re-post my flash in my blog, but that one I did.

    Lod, I love the sense of place you captured in yours. It was evocative without being digressiony. Just how I likes it. :)