Her grandmother kneeled beside her and gathered up the
article in a neat stack. She stood extended her hand, and helped the
dazed young woman to her feet then pressed the papers against
Grandmere Angelique gently touched her check. “Be vigilant,
ma petite, they are coming.”
She vanished. Simone was now staring at another intern,
Cynthia, gazing at her with look of concern.
Wordlessly, Simone nodded and watched her walk away.
Michelle finished typing her education assignment, saved it
and shut her laptop down. She and her sister both attended Xavier.
But Michelle was only a sophomore and it would be two more years
before she could begin student teaching.
She could barely wait. She had a special way of breaking
through the learning barriers of even the worst so called “bad
children.” They were after all, only children. And in today’s school
system “bad” or learning disabled usually meant Black-–especially
Black and male.
“You’ll learn,” her adviser had told her dryly. “Optimism is
great, just as long as you understand you can’t save everybody.”
Michelle pushed back from her desk, and took her sweater
off the chair. She pulled it on and walked through her living room.
The apartment was too expensive. But she’d had gotten it just for
the French doors and balcony. She stepped outside and leaned
against the railing.
She thought about her visit from Papa Legba and wondered
if she should have mentioned it to Simone. It’s probably better that I
didn’t. I don’t want her thinking I’ve gone crazy.
There was already too big of a rift between them. The sisters
had grown apart over the years; so much that was precious to
Michelle had been discarded by her sister.
The young woman closed her eyes, letting the cool breezes
wash over her. In the distance someone was playing a guitar, and
she could hear snatches of a Creole melody being sung in
She smiled. You gotta love New Orleans.
The singing changed… slowly at first and then with a growing
intensity it became a screeching inhuman wail… punctuated by a
drumbeat. She opened her eyes, and drew her breath in sharply.
Beneath her, a diaphanous sheet of cloth floated past a tree.
Only it didn’t look like cloth.
It looked like skin.
Someone was in the apartment. Paul had spied blue cloth
drifting past the door to his living room. He cursed himself for not
buying a gun like he’d first wanted to.
Simone had talked him out of it, quoting the statistics on
handgun accidents. He hated guns too, and had let her talk him out
of it. But now…
Paul slid out of bed as quietly as he could, and scanned the
room frantically for something-–anything-–he could used as a
weapon. He spied his monkey palm stick leaning against the closet,
and breathed a sign of relief. He’d found at a second hand store.
The hand carved walking stick went so well with the rest of his
African art collection he’d had to buy it.
He hefted it in his hand, liking the heavy feel of it, then
picked up his cell phone dialed 911, and crept through the living
room into the kitchen.
At the sight of her, the stick and phone fell with a clatter to
the floor. She was as tall as he with mahogany skin, and black hair
piled into a ball atop her hand, and braided in a loop around her
neck to her back. Her eyes were luminous pools, glowing in
the dark kitchen, and she had a long face with high cheekbones, a
wide nose and thick lips.
The blue scarf he’d glimpsed earlier was her only clothing;
and now it flowed back from her body in breeze. It was so
transparent he could see her breasts with thick purple nipples and
her wide hips that curved outward from her waist.
The kitchen vanished. A lush jungle of flowing plants and
fruit sprang up to replace the counters and stove, and to his right a
“Come Paul,” her voice resonated both around him and
inside his head. “Come…”
He stepped into her arms. She stroked his erection and it
bulged still bigger. The creature smiled revealing razor sharp fangs,
and brushed her lips gently against his.
Simone appeared at his left. With a howl she swung the
walking stick–-beating the loup-garou about her head and shoulders.
The creature screamed a cry unlike anything human-–her
face now twisted and ugly–-and disappeared.
Paul’s eyes focused, and he shook his head like a man
emerging from a dream. “Simone! Baby I’m sorry, I-–!”
She put her fingers to his lips. “It’s OK.”
“How did-–? What was that?!”
“That was a loup-garou-–a vampire,” she held up the stick,
“and this is a monkey palm stick used to ward off evil!”
Are those drums?
Yes, Michelle could hear the unmistakable sound of a
staccato drumbeat in the distance. And now the temperature shifted
from 50 degrees to 90 degrees, the grass below growing long and
wild covering the sidewalk.
Below her a Mapou tree appeared: tall with a twisted thick
trunk and roots clutching the soil like fingers. She cried out softly,
as a memory thrust its way into her mind.
“It is bad, ma petite,” Angelique had whispered, “a tree
where all manner of evil gathers. Never ever fall asleep under it.”
In the next instant, a huge white dog appeared beside the
tree gazing up at Michelle. She realized that her hands were shaking,
and she’d broken out in a sweat.
She backed away from the railing, and the dog vanished in a
push of smoke. In the next instant the smoke blurred onto the
balcony and the dog reappeared.
Michelle screamed a long cry of terror, as the loup-garou
blocked her path. She could see now his red eyes that glowed like a
cats. She tried to dodge past him and with ghastly speed he shot in
front of her and advanced growling.
Suddenly, a heavy presence filled Michelle, and a gossamer
specter squeezed from her body to stand between her and the loup-garou.
The creature spoke in a sibilant, hoarse voice: “Stop your
meddling Angelique, and stay out of matters that don’t concern you
–-if you value their lives!”
Copyright 2010, 2013 Valjeanne Jeffers, Valjeanne Jeffers-Thompson,
Cover art and design Quinton Veal 2010 all rights reserved.
Contact Authors Valjeanne Jeffersand Quinton Veal at http://www.vjeffersandqveal.com
This story has been published in Specular Mythseed and Genesis Science Fiction Magazine
An excerpt was also featured on Black Tribbles Radio Show: Octavia City