Chapter Four: Raconteur (To tell a Story)
Trying to find her way out of the numbing robotic feeling she had from detaching for answers, so easy to slice her wrists open and bleed them out, she was tired of begging for her life and to be free of it.
“You have poisoned me what good am I filled with venom, what’s worse is to understand them, a gift from god that I wouldn’t wish to my worst enemy”.
She then saw a baby wearing little pink jammies, that made her feel something sweet inside, relief had come to ease some of the pain, “oh, you’re good, the sweet spot right for the jugular”, Julia’s lack of love and emotions towards her, someone sent her a kind love feeling that made her finally able to cry.
She rarely cried and when she did there were so many tears she would save them in a perfume bottle, she got up out of the tub and over to the vanity for the purple bottle of tears and added more and more until the heaviness lifted from her chest then bottled them up again.
She spent the rest of the day going through all the old trunks and boxes of photo albums from the attic it had taken her a while to organize everything since the house is large and has many secrets, as she would come to find out when she found memoirs of her great-great grandmothers; mixed in with journals of orders and deliveries made.
Some of them, the oldest ones were falling apart but there were a few that were leather bound and her initials on them AVR. There were other personal items, trinkets, clothing and old schedules from the riverboats, travelling up and down the Mississippi River to the” Cote’ des’ Allemandes” or “Bayou des Allemandes”, the German Coast or German’s Bayou from St. John the Baptist parish to the French Quarter.
She started her memoirs in 1853, with the yellow fever outbreak that nearly killed her brother who was eleven years old at the time. She described the settlement she lived in as a mix of German, Italian and Irish families alongside the newly populated immigrants from Nova Scotia, this was the very beginnings of Cajun Culture along the banks of the Mississippi. She was thrilled to learn details of the family business that Anya eventually took control of as sole owner and grew it into the largest bakery operating in New Orleans; she worked alongside her brothers and father by making deliveries and selling bread and pastry in the French Market.
“The Fever is rampant along the bayou, people are dying sometimes three or four a day and Sascha is not getting better, mother cries every day and poppa brought a doctor to our house he said Sascha had a few days left and mother refused to listen she took the ferry with me into town today, she said she was going to seek help and would meet me after the market closed to take the ferry home. I sold all the bread and strudel and mother took all the money, she said she needed it for Sascha”.
The next day’s entry Anya wrote was about a Creole nurse, a medicine woman along with three other creole women that arrived to the house; “Poppa took the horses out early in the morning and got the wagon to bring them here from the ferryboat, this is where mother went yesterday and why she took the day’s money.
I heard mother speaking German with her and she spoke in French to the other women, she told me to stay outside the house until they were finished and closed all the shudders and doors, I sat on the porch finishing my quilt and poppa took the horses and left.”
Julia found many of Anya’s quilts, Tante Elsa saved everything, and her favorite one had a beautiful dark blue pattern like the night sky with stars sewn into it, a moon in the center and the words “Sweet Dreams” hand sewn on bottom.
She had the best sleep and dreams of talking to the man in the moon who would tell her fairytales, this same pattern of fabric was placed between the pages; “This is the same quilt”.
Touching the fabric with her fingers made her feel how fragile life is and how she teeters between life and death at the hands of “People” and how they can tear you to pieces for no reason at all or for something completely unknown to you.
All things, all situations churning through her thoughts, their faces, mannerisms and the joy it brought and still brings to them in spitting lies like projectiles, defending oneself for a reason any reason to understand why you must fight for your purpose instead of theirs, all this vitriol, a pattern, just like this fabric, this brought Julia to tears, first off there wasn’t a reason good enough and how small that is of someone, it does nothing at all except the abuse thrill it would derive, there is no real power splitting hairs with a pit viper one can create by doing such things and certainly never taken into consideration, then of course what the sweet, kind, wonderful little things in life are, sewn together memories like this quilt for warmth, comfort and understanding.
She continued reading; “Mother and the nurse were praying all afternoon and I could hear the other ladies speaking French at other times” The sun went down there was noise coming from Sascha’s bedroom on the opposite side of the porch the shudders had now been opened but a black cloth curtain was hanging there so you could not see inside.
“I used one of my sewing needles to tear a hole through the cloth and saw the three women standing in a circle, one beating a drum the others were chanting and the medicine woman in the middle reciting something, I understood certain words because they were mixed with French, she was asking someone to help but I don’t know who.”
She watched her eyes roll back in her head; “The medicine woman was standing over Sascha holding a chicken’s foot wrapped in feathers and beads, and was dripping blood over his chest with it”.
There was blood on the floor trailing to the middle of the three women where a chicken lied dead on the floor, it was completely ripped open its heart had been torn out.
She stopped reciting and collapsed on Sascha’s chest, the other women ran to the window and took down the black cloth, the nurse arose, slowly walking over to it, her eyes were completely blackened and from her forehead a black substance flowing out like ink clearing up her eyes until you can see they were brown again, then a rush of air flew out of her mouth past Anya and into the open air this took the shape of a rat scampering away and disappeared.
“The shudders slammed shut and I nearly fell down the stairs, I was without words at what I saw and questioning if all this was happening at all.
Another hour went by until the door opened and mother walked out on the porch, the nurse and the other women were talking quietly.
When I saw the medicine woman closer I knew who she was, the pretty creole hairdresser from the French quarter. I make deliveries to her house where rich men are always there playing cards or billiards, fresh croissants on Saturday mornings”.
“Quel est Votre Nom”? “Anya”, she answered shakily as the lady lit a small cigar, “Your mam’aw says you’d see to it we have pastries and petit fors along with our croissant’s every weekend from now on, so I guess I’ll be seeing you on Sundays too, your little brother will be fine he will rest and be better in a few days”. She never saw a woman smoke a cigar and she extended her hand to hers with black lace fingerless gloves on, “I’m Marie.”
The women gathered their things and Anya’s father pulled the wagon around the front of the house to take them to the riverboat, “Mother told me never to mention this to anyone and that Marie is a Nurse who helps only certain families in the quarter and we were lucky to have her help us and never to take down the cloth handmade doll she placed above Sascha’s door that it was a blessing and a gift from her, within a day Sascha was out of bed walking around and with papa at the bakery”.
As she read on through her journals, Anya wrote about a boyfriend she had named Josef who worked in the bakery as well, he was the son of her father’s friend whom also lived in the German Coast and at the time this was a tight knit group of people, all hard working and preserving as much of their culture as they could, family was important to them.
She shared a lot of feelings in her writing, how she felt absent from this relationship, and almost removed from her life completely, realizing she wasn’t happy with him and that she would wake up and just make it through the day complacent. Through her Journeys in the Quarter she realized she wanted a different life, her dreams were to move into the city and open a larger Boulangerie and café, she was becoming more independent and her conversations with mam’oiselle Marie were changing her point of view as a woman completely, she did not have any female friends and the only girl in the family, she felt more confident and able to hold her head up instead of hiding who she was the world had become a much brighter place for Anya.
“Exciting to feel I have a place in this world and to converse with interesting people” she wrote those words after the first weekend she made the delivery on Saturday as requested with extra pastries added from her mam’aw.
This time the kitchen help asked her to wait in the parlor; mam’oiselle wanted to speak with her.
The room was sparsely decorated, very neat with fine furniture and draperies.
She sat on a blue velvet settee adjacent to a deep red plush chair and coffee table she could tell it was hand carved in Cyprus like the table her father had, an oil lamp was placed in the middle with a stained-glass shade etched with dragonflies. “I could hear voices of men coming and going through the front door outside the parlor, I heard mam’oiselle greeting a gentleman and speaking quietly with him then closed the parlor doors.”
There was a hidden courtyard through the side window the prettiest she had ever seen in the Quarter, just like the lampshade there were dragonflies flying outside the window and made her smile, they looked as if they were dancing and just as they flew away she noticed a man sitting at one of the Bistro tables smoking a cigarette, His back was turned and she could not see his face, he was tall, well-dressed his legs were crossed with his arm to the side of him flicking the ashes to the ground.
She couldn’t take her eyes from him, hypnotized by his movements; “It was as if he had secrets to tell me and would know all of mine” then Mam’oiselle appeared, startling her, she commented that she never heard the parlor door open.
“She materialized out of thin air, smoking one of her hand rolled skinny cigars that smelled of sweet tobacco and she herself of fine French perfumes”.
“Bon Jour Anya, how’s your little brother? Is he feeling better?” Anya, silent for a moment, she felt intimidated no one spoke quite like Marie she then replied that he was fine and in great spirits, “He is back too normal as if nothing happened”.
She also asked her if she preferred to speak French or German. “Ich spreche deutsche, just a little though enough for casual conversation”.
Anya preferred to speak English but told her in German that English was fine and caught herself smiling, quickly stopping before Marie could see her.
“It was too late Mam’oiselle saw me” Marie looking concerned raising her eyebrows her facial expression was as if she was outraged with so much to say at one moment, she raised her hand shaking her head her eyes filled with tears, “I’m sorry Mam”.
She shook her head again trying to clear it from what she was feeling and poured them tea, “no, no, no, not here, its normal to smile Anya, what is hidden is not hidden and what is unseen can be seen, they have no power over you, you hold all the power.
That’s the whole point to take away everything you have for what they need, this is unattainable so be as bold, happy, strong, feel what you need to react if you have to and you must! because you are Anya a unique being, different, full of beautiful things and light inside of you, so creative and smart, don’t let them use it and replace it with shadows because they have no gifts of soul or spirit, they are eaters of this world afraid of being exposed for being common, no personality, and for whatever they are lacking, when you do not need to think like this at all.”
She knew Mam’oiselle was aware of her secret bringing tears to her eyes, “Is it that obvious?”, “No, I just know these things, and just by discussing it those shadowy things sent your way start to leave you, it exposes them, that’s what I saw trying to attach to you, when people hurt you or need to use you for a story to tell or to gain something, especially of a personal nature, then turn it around on you for being left confused and hurt in the first place, the impact is similar to an accident of some sort, an injury that you cannot express and this form of wound is something a doctor or a church cannot fix, therefore the most dangerous thing to do to someone”.
Anya, feeling transparent in front of Marie but relieved to be acknowledged at all, they spoke about the French market and the small bakery she had amongst all the other fruit stands and peddlers, Anya made most local deliveries in the quarter from there, and her family was starting to establish a larger bakery in the Irish channel.
She told Mam’oiselle since her cousin passed away she made the deliveries “I sell out every day and the money helped us buy the new bakery”, “Your cousin was stealing the money?” She felt comfortable around Marie enough to answer because she understood her and healed Sascha, “Yes he was”.
Mam’oiselle knew a lot about people she was unafraid, it comforted Anya who was looking for this kind of confidence in herself.
“There are extra guests staying for the evening would you mind dropping off some more extra pastries and petit fors a bit earlier than usual?”, “Yes, I can make you my first delivery”, “That man you keep looking over your shoulder at outside smoking his cigarette, his name is Jonathon Lapointe, one of the wealthiest men in New Orleans he has a plantation up the river all sugar money, ain’t he sweet?” Embarrassed and dizzied by this she was starting to blush.
“Monsieur Lapointe’s Grand Daddy was one of the two plantation owners killed during the slave rebellion some years ago, they took those very slaves and hung them in the Place d’ Armes and the men that killed those white men were be-headed and displayed right at the cities gates, now that would make one think you’re entering through the very gates of hell itself”.
They were both looking out the window, Anya’s breathing was heavier she was somehow being pulled into him and could feel him breathing with her, she wanted him to turn around so she can see his face. Marie, watching them as if she already knew what was to transpire, “Monsieur Jonathon inherited everything after his Mother and great grandfather passed away old Didi Lapointe out lived them all he was ninety-three when he died, Monsieur Lapointe is married and has children, his wife is part of all the Ladies social clubs her family is also rich they own cotton fields up the river but she is plain and dull, that is why he sits here every weekend and plays cards and Monsieur loves to drink”. Marie pointed out the adjacent room with a card table in it, “Monsieur Lapointe will sit for hours playing cards drinking ale and Sazerac, might even fight every now and then, he is very charming, spirited, smart, and very handsome”.
She stood up to say goodbye to Mam’oiselle Marie whose daughter came running into the room over to her, she was fussing over her dress that had gotten dirty from playing outside she glanced out the window at him again and he also stood up. He was taller than she expected, he turned to her looking away at first like he dismissed it, then back to her never taking his eyes off her, an odd moment that made her look down but she was trying to remember his facial features he was as handsome as Marie said he was.
“See you in the mornin’ Anya” she took another drag of her cigar and told one of her helpers to change her daughters dress, then walked down the hall to incoming guests. It wasn’t until later, a few weeks more into her Journal she had another private visit with Mam’oiselle Marie Laveau.
Told to enter the parlor and wait for Mam’oiselle, she sat on the blue velvet settee again there was a haze in the air of cigar smoke, and she could hear voices in the other room the one where the men have their card games, the sliding doors were open just enough for her to see inside, there were four men at the table one of them was Jonathon.
The men were well dressed but looked like they had been at it all night playing cards and drinking there were stacks of money and coins on the table, she thought they must be Local business-men or politicians, Marie always had prominent visitors. Jonathon had his Jacket off and his shirt unbuttoned a Gold pocket watch with the chain attached to his vest pocket glistening with tiny diamonds.
She studied every little detail about him, his hair was graying a bit she could see the silver stubble peeking out on his face, feeling herself disconnect from the world around her and getting lost in her way of seeing everything.
One of the men stood up shouting at him, “I will not lose another hand to this man! He is a cheat! You are switching the cards!” Jonathon stood up and was at least four to five inches taller “I’m a cheat?” He laughed, “You bought a place at this table and into a game with experienced card players and you have not been able to look me in the eye once, which tells me you are inexperienced hiding something and a terrible liar.”
The man lunged forward over the table at him, Jonathon did not jump or move he laughed it off saying “Sir, this is a gentleman’s game” the other men tried to control the situation and sat him back down in his chair.
Jonathon walked over to him and spoke in a deeper tone of voice a bit raspy from smoking and drinking.
“Now, looks like I did win all that money there” pointing to the stacks of money on the table: “And it does belong to me.” Listening to his every breath, heavy and forceful, she wrote in detail about hearing his voice.
“His southern accent was remarkable to hear not like the German, French or British or anything else around the city, his words grabbed me waiting to hear the next and the next”.
The man took a sip of his drink, Jonathon watching him intently pulling the energy of the room into him almost euphoric with anticipation, something brewing beneath the surface of the moment and he was welcoming every second.
She wrote of how he was like a mad man to her, his power was intriguing as the man said “You are right that is all the money I have this was my last chance and my wife will have my head propped up in the square if I return with nothing, she remarked on how she can tell this man came from the north by the way he spoke.
“Where you from ‘gain New York City?” Jonathon began walking around the table, the man replied yes to him, “I’m not sure what they do in New York City but here if you lose a game you so willfully participated in, you man up to it n‘walk away like gentlemen”. He walked over to his chair facing the player and picked up his drink.
“After all, it is a game we all sat here and created did we not? this ain’t one of my river boats” jokingly saying to the others, “Hell the man should be proud he’s still left with his britches on in here, A lady can sit on your lap whispering in your ear with one hand in your pocket the other on your zipper and before you know it exposing the biggest egos with the smallest manhood”.
Grabbing between his legs, “Like a horse you should always be aware of your surroundings which is why I haven’t lost a hand yet” he then sat down. She watched him as he lit a cigarette out of a gold cigarette case, the air was changing it was motionless and still, “You a huntin’ man? They go by way of huntin’ up there in New York City much?” The man said no, and that where he lived there was no hunting and got up and hit his fist to the table, “I don’t see what this has to do with you being a cheat I saw you switching cards! That’s why you are the richest man in the city”, He turned to the other players, trying to reason with them pleading that he saw him switch the cards,
“Are you just going to let him cheat and outright steal?” They ignored him sitting still as if they knew something was about to happen.
Jonathon reached under the table and brought out a pistol and calmly laid it in front of him on the table.
The man was trembling slowly sitting down in his chair, “I grew up huntin’ I remember grand-daddy takin me down the river to shoot and trap some furs in my youth, I was taught early how to be a good shot especially when the Injuns’ come ‘round or as you say in the north, Indians.
Savages is what they are really, they will kill women, children, families, hell your old dog even, scalp em, then might could even eat em for all we know,” Anya wrote that Jonathon, although very animated when speaking didn’t take his eyes off the player, who remained speechless and turned pale.
“I am an honest man and take that accusation quite seriously” slamming his fist to the table “And I am willing to defend my honor here sir” at that moment the other men also drew their pistols and laid them on the table.
“There are two ways out of this you can walk out of here with nothing because you lost this game with your hat on and head held high or you can continue this as an accuser of mine, a serious infraction of my character here in the great city of New Orleans as a cheat at a little ol’ card game”.
Jonathon then raising his voice, “You callin me a Liar?” The player went from trembling to shaking in his seat; he did not answer Jonathon, whom said to the silent players, “I am greatly offended at this Yankee’s forked tongue and foul lips, to settle this little mishap like men we can have ourselves a Duel, this pistol was a gift from Napoleon himself to my great- granddaddy.
They were friends because great granddaddy richer than the whole state of Louisiana at the time bought the land that I now own from France before we were overtaken by the Spanish and had the great fire that burned up the city which we Lapointe’s contributed a lot of money to help rebuild”.
Anya, paying attention to everything he did and listening to him speak thought to herself while comprehending her feelings to the situation and how she felt inside “He is the handsomest man I have ever seen” her heart sank at the realization when he looked up and saw her through the half open doors.
Their eyes met and she turned away, he paused for a second, “This state was sold by the great Napoleon who signed the Louisiana Purchase with the very same hand that gave this pistol to my great-grandfather”.
She noticed the huge painting over the fireplace of Napoleon as if it was revealed by his words, Jonathon, still serious and not bothered in the least at possibly shooting this man right there in front of her, all this was petty and entertaining to him.
“I am rooted in this land sir, I am Louisiana you see, not a cheat at a simple little card game”, the man then stood up apologetically stating, “I meant no harm Mr. Lapointe, it’s just that I lost everything here and have no way to get home, I have no money, I came here to win some money and I have a child on the way and about to lose my business.”
Jonathon asked him what sort of business he owned. “Dry goods,” the man replied, “I have owned a few stores in Massachusetts but they failed when the mills closed I lost everything and came to New Orleans for an opportunity to meet with an investor to open a store in New York but he backed out of the deal and said he would have a better chance of making money gambling rather than throwing his money away, he brought me here to stay the night and I bought into this game thinking I could win.”
Jonathon shook his head you can see the wheels turning whilst he was thinking, “Here is your one chance for redemption, perhaps I can help you with your business I have several connections in the North and own some land up there”. Jonathon leaned forward focused on the player, Anya was drawn in with him lost in his world waiting for the next words to be spoken.
“Invisibility, fate, the unseen, the hand of god” He was holding all the money he won; “This was your first real game in life” drinking some more whisky looking up to the ceiling.
She was studying his facial expression, his mannerisms, consumed by it; “I was seeing the sky above instead of the ceiling, imagining I could walk through those doors flowing, unbound from life to him”.
As she was waiting for him to react, thinking of all the wasted efforts of people and dreams stolen from circumstance, and all their struggles and turmoil’s.
“Who would have known this man was so desperate?” She thought of her own mortality and struggles of how people can displace you, snuffing out your light to give to someone else and casting you out of your own dreams, in this case it was money. “The sky had begun to close above us, to a single pinprick of light and I was drifting back to his words” she was listening almost giddy and mad under his spell.
“I will give all my winnings here in effort to save your soul and your new child’s, a man who has nothing but willing to bet it all then accuse me of stealing it which could have been the very last words he ever said” He walked over to him and coldly laid the money on the table “Here is what I expect from you, a quick return of my money with interest and a percentage of your business and I will double that stack of money, I have the perfect spot for you if you’re interested.” The player, still shaking began to cry.
“Thank you Mr. Lapointe, I won’t let you down,” “I’d imagine you wouldn’t.” Putting his pistol away: “This is how we do business in the south, it may not be what you Yankee’s like but it sure brought ya down here and our dirty money spends like any other, hell, maybe someday you’ll be in every state and this game is what created it.”
Jonathon shook hands with him and walked him to a room off to the side, “My lawyers will draw up some papers for you and then you can have your dignity back a man should always have power over his dignity and his families”.
This comment struck Anya, this was worse than being shot, she thought as Jonathon politely stole his soul and life, this man’s deal was worse than death he will always have to pay Jonathon Lapointe and never be free of him.
She wrote the other players began gathering their hats and jackets and Jonathon was talking quietly with the new business partner he made from this poker game.
“I simply cannot believe the things I have seen and heard over the past few weeks, now this, I want to feel this man”, he intrigued her and such thoughts were frowned upon in Victorian times, but Anya found herself not caring anymore at all.
She felt the air move away from her and a hand grab her shoulder, startled to see this was Mam’oiselle Marie “I am sorry to keep you waiting”, her tone of voice sounded as if she knew what just happened was supposed to happen, as if she had been there the whole time.
“Did the Men have an argument? Yes, the man from the last time we spoke they were arguing over money” Mam’oiselle smiled; “That is what men do, they argue over money and cards” and motioned to her to follow and sit again by the window overlooking the courtyard, one of the ladies from the kitchen brought in tea for them.
Mam’oiselle began to tell her about her background, that she was of mixed blood; “White men moved to Saint Domingue for a chance at the white gold, sugar cane, this is where my mother was from and my father was also mixed blood, I was born free, I’m what is known as a Quadroon, when men came to my mother’s country to harvest sugar it was not unheard of to marry or have children with a woman of color, It’s only here where it became mathematics a quarter of this and half of that, guess that makes it more acceptable where they don’t feel as dirty or guilty by making mixed blood into some sort of science for keeping secrets and to sleep with women behind their wives’ backs and not violate the Code Noir, The “Placage”, Anya, do you know what this word means?”.
“No” she replied and felt embarrassingly naïve, “It’s all part of the masquerade, for white men to choose a Quadroon for a mistress, some are treated very well and go on living this way and have children and other entitlements that is what happens in New Orleans”.
Anya had never heard this kind of talk, these things that were hushed or ignored around town, Mam’oiselle seemed to have reasons behind explaining this to her “Hush your nerves girl, I can hear you and feel the vibrations, there is nothing to worry about don’t be afraid” Anya unstiffened a bit, this putting her mind at ease.
Mam’oiselle to her was fearless, a powerful sexy woman, she saw women of the promenade before during the day they wore cotton dresses and tigon’s, and sometimes at night she saw them dressed up walking through the quarter with rich white men at their sides, beautiful exotic looking women showing their long curled locks twisted or braided with plumes and flowers and wearing dresses in vibrant color’s made from fine silks, wearing jewels and diamonds and matching jeweled heel shoes made from satin and lace as they were hurried into their carriages with the curtains drawn so as not to see inside and be accused of trifling by a white woman or man, which by city ordinance can have a Quadroon arrested and whipped at the Calabozo slave prison, she heard that some of the wives of the men would attempt to have this done only to have it stopped by their husband’s, she knew this was strange behavior and never asked questions, now she knew why and this whole experience was to be her first taste of corruption, and also learning of Marie’s special powers.
“Voodoo” Marie said to Anya as if she was reading her thoughts, the room fell silent as this word held her, focusing on her, suddenly she became more aware of herself, her breathing, her demeanor, her hair, her body, everything lifted from her as if the essence of the word itself spoke through Mam’oiselle and spoke to her as well.
“A mixture of spirits, the dead, our personal powers, through the “Loa”, those between our world and Bon Dieu, no different than saints or angels as Bon Dieu is to God.
Except where my mother was from and as most are here, Slaves, our “magic” as they call it, is from the fields, from the shackles from the chains” she brought a small doll out of her left pocket.
“This is my own “Hoodoo” from New Orleans, the nature here, the alligators, the snakes the Spanish moss, the swampland, there are things that exist only here that’s what makes it special, all the secrets.
Only a priestess can do these things and there are a few here you can easily find whom practice their “magic” openly, no longer in secret and proclaiming themselves the Queen, you see New Orleans Voodoo has many Queens but only one throne”.
Anya, looking at her blood red velvet chair noticed the arms and legs were carved with skulls, something she missed from their other visit.
“They come to me for a matchmaker searching for a soulmate or as a healer or something they wish to have, money, or to remove a negative spirit attachment, for emotional freedom, to restore the balance of the power of feelings that were taken so these feelings stop turning into other thought forms and keep those wheels from spinning in opposite directions stirring up all that madness, very easy for people to move forward and for you to move backwards when things like this come grab at you, I will uncross a hex, a psychic link, or your sexual powers being abused, whatever someone uses to try and harm or control you with especially if they are trying desperately to get away with it or hide who they truly are by twisting facts or saying nothing at all, the worse kind of cowardice is to leave someone carrying emotional pains and suffering and to be completely aware of it, it’s the awareness of the unseen I call upon through the Loa for Bon Dieu to destroy their thought forms, exposing them and stopping all games, double talk, all confusion left behind attacking your mind, thoughts, body, soul, and anything else good about the origin of why this person set out to hurt you in the first place, this is where I find the foolhardy, the perverse, egotism, greed, and finally stupidity and fear that drives them into making these decisions to destroy someone”.
Anya was frightened of her power and tears were flowing down her face, she was impassioned with Marie’s eloquence and the easiness of explanation to help others with the most personal things, “I’m the Queen of New Orleans, of its secrets and dreams.”
“I was born from the blood of the “Les Sirene’s” from Saint Domingue, my mother, a Sirene was part of these unique women who were bred with the French or Spanish aristocrats, the Sirene’s were the first women to ever practice Voodoo.
I was just a young girl a teenager when she passed away, and already having visits with French royalty to see what a real Voodoo Queen can do, the De Marigny’s bringing at the time an exiled prince and his brother, their father, Philippe the Duc D’Orleans and King of France was a supporter of the Revolution and like Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette he was killed by Guillotine, I knew he would be King it was all around him, those unseen forces at work, now let us see how long he reigns, dry your eyes girl and let’s breathe together take a deep breath and open our minds it’s a wonderful day”
Anya calming down and breathing with Marie, she was experiencing joy at these stories that made her shake her head in disbelief that someone would acknowledge her, let alone the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.
“Everyone has their own magic Anya so do you and it wants to be set free, Jonathon’s spirit spoke to me in a dream but it was you he was speaking to”, “What did he say?”, “That he wants to take the pain away so you don’t hurt anymore”.
“I don’t even know him, how could he know any of this, and I’m fine I’m not looking for anything from anyone I keep to myself, I don’t look at anyone, I don’t speak to anyone, I try to be invisible as best I can”.
Marie, overwhelmed by these comments felt a rush of pain and anguish through her, and breathed it out, “Girl, you just hit me in the stomach” she was out of breath, “Anya, it’s a set-up, a trapdoor” still trying to catch her breath she drank from a flask in the pocket of her purse.
“Your magic can set you free, you are hurt inside because there are no answers or acknowledgment for suffering their beating hearts, while you are left violated, and by the way apparently my dear, being Invisible to them made you visible to him the most powerful man in city and the whole of the south, his money funds every politician from mayor to governor even the theater here, everyone goes to him.”
“What magic can I possibly have, I’m a poor girl, the baker’s daughter”
“The sort of magic women wield, we are creatures of great mystery, I know Monsieur Lapointe from the Quadroon Balls where rich white men come to see us dance and he is no stranger to the ways of the Quadroon, however, your souls speak and the spirits are at an unrest around you and stirring up things that you have no idea are happening and cannot see through my eyes.”
She then hands a small bag to her tied with twine and a little wooden bead attached to it; “Take this I made it for you in appreciation of all you and your Mam ’aw do, this is a Gris-Gris for luck and protection with your unrest.” Anya wrote how she was a bit shocked that Marie knew all this and that she had a longing for Jonathon that she kept secret.
“Do not worry about those feelings you can’t hide from them, not around here anyway” she smirked at her. Jonathon walked out of the room then over to Mam’oiselle and kissed her hand “Good morning Mam’oiselle”, “Good morning, will you be taking breakfast in the courtyard this morning?” He was looking out the open window and taking in a deep breath.
“Indeed, I will it is a glorious morning I love to hear the birds singing it’s like heaven itself today! Mother Nature in all her glory and sunlight shining on all life’s little creatures” he looked Anya up and down.
She panicked inside and could feel herself cracking, shyly looking away she felt an energy from him that began to fuse with hers, pulling her into him. “The wisteria is in bloom, a scent so sweet and slight, like a hidden beauty, such a lovely flower”.
“I could almost feel him reaching for me as he said this, he was under my skin all over me like millions of heartbeats” she was never so open and exposed, he was stealing her away from the world around them, her eyes glistened and healed instead of being hollowed and dark.
Shocked to read this; Julia could see that her battle was similar, his words became keys unlocking parts of her, revealing all these deceptions mixed within her truths that up until that moment were disregarded, like her body, her mind, the sacred parts of her. Her world as she knew it had become a perverse and absurd one, he had opened her soul breathing life into her with just a few kind words.
She was captivated and in tears as she read on, his presence and words were speaking directly to her thieves, “I was unraveling into petals and forming into this flower he spoke of and no longer feeling naive to life’s games and tricks”. “Always so charming Monsieur Lapointe” Marie said to him, he glanced over at Anya who was completely nervous, “I tried not to shake but my teacup was rattling slightly”.
“Monsieur Lapointe let me introduce you to Miss Anya von Rothgabor, her family owns a few bakeries she has the quaint little patisserie in the French market.”
“Pleased to meet you Anya”, “Likewise, nice to meet your acquaintance” she stood up to shake his hand, he looked at her every movement as she put the teacup down and every motion in between, then looking at each other he reached for her hand and kissed it, “German?”, “Yes, I am German”.
A servant brought his breakfast outside, he smelled the air commenting; “hot grits” then looked at Anya, “I can only think of one thing better to eat on this glorious morning”.
She was feeling hot and experiencing shortness of breath, she was nervous but tried her hardest to stay confident, they locked eyes with each other: “This moment would last an eternity.”
“Ladies the best breakfast in town awaits me and I am starved for her, I assure you both will have a lovely day” and walked out the doors to a table in the courtyard. Marie told her; “Jonathon Lapointe has no Mistresses he is a charmer, a favored guest here and amongst the rest of the city, I will see you again next week”.
Anya left Mam’oiselle’s that day feeling different, she was happy, she was blooming, she had forgotten everything trying to take her life Jonathon destroyed all of it, “I smiled for the first time after a very long time”.
By Liesalette Sarelli
Voodoo, Vampires, Werewolves, this story travels back in time from Chicago to New Orleans on a supernatural odyssey with Julia, an artist and a clairvoyant who has fought through the rough streets of Chicago as a tough as nails street fighter while keeping her gift a secret. She is haunted by her family’s past in New Orleans as she inherits the house she remembers visiting as a child and the source of intrigue in her life as well the City of New Orleans. She begins to unravel the mystery of her great-great grandmother’s disappearance and discovers her sinister past, while encountering the Legends of Antebellum Louisiana, she meets the mysterious Aristide Pierson a man who changes her life, in this Southern Gothic tale of a woman’s descent into darkness.