MY NEXT VICTIM THIS HALLOWEEN!
He sent a 2000 word story that I think you'll find quit intriguing.
WALTER P. HONSINGER
WALTER P. HONSINGER
Sadie, Godiva and I had hitchhiked to New Orleans in the late winter of 1975. We’d just attended a concert at The Warehouse and I’d somehow lost Godiva in the crowd. I left with Sadie and we took a bus back toward the motel we were staying at. It was already past midnight.
“I’m worried about Godiva, do you think she’ll make it home okay?” I asked.
“She knows that you’re with me, she took a cab back about an hour ago.”
“Then we’re heading back to the motel too right?”
“We need to make one more stop yet tonight,” Sadie said.
“Can’t we just go home!” I pleaded.
“Please just one quick stop?” she pleaded. “Just assume that you’ll live out your wildest fantasy.”
We got on a city bus and rode it into the worst neighborhood I’d seen since leaving Detroit. The city was filled with decrepit and collapsing frame houses covered in poison ivy. The bus stopped and Sadie said that we had to get out.
“Here?” I said, “We’ll get killed.”
“We’ll be okay as long as we keep moving,” she said. We walked past burned out houses and overgrown lots, me in my gas station outfit, her dressed in her black satin dress. Surprisingly we found the street all but deserted but I knew that eyes were watching us.
The area ahead of us was devoid of street lights and we walked on to find huge granite and marble columns appear before us in the darkness. Sadie grasped my hand and pulled me into the hulks just as I heard voices behind us.
“I’m telling you that I saw a fine foxy bitch and some guy walking,” the voice said.
“Where they at then?” another voice boomed out. I looked back and in the light of the last street light I saw a gang appear on the corner. Sadie pulled me further into the granite slabs. I reached out to feel words carved into them. Graves. Above ground graves. Massive mausoleums and boxes carved out of stone. Sadie had led me to a graveyard in the middle of the worst ghetto in New Orleans at nearly one in the morning. She led me through a maze of the above ground graves further and further back into the cemetery.
“Where we going?” I asked.
“Try and keep quiet,” she whispered back.
I looked back toward the light and saw that the gang had grown, now at least twenty forms were outlined and at least a few were walking into the darkness looking for us.
“They won’t come into the graveyard,” Sadie whispered to me and I think she was right because two guys reemerged from the darkness a few moments later. “Do you have your knife?” she asked.
“A Barlow knife won’t do any good against those clowns,” I said.
“Give it to me.” She led me further into the graveyard and we found ourselves in what seemed like a tiny courtyard. A flat slab of granite lay on the ground surrounded by above ground tombs that hid us from sight. Sadie knelt and produced my knife. She pushed my knife into a crevice in one of the granite slabs and twisted it.
“I got it!” she said. She held up a small sliver of something.
“What is it?” I asked.
“A chard of her tombstone,” she said.
“WHAT?” I said aloud.
“Shut up!” she whispered.
“I heard somethin’,” one of the gang members said. We sat silent and waited for things to calm down. A moment later we heard shouting and I saw that two of the guys were in a fight. I sat down on the slab to try and figure out what we were going to do.
“Unlace me,” she said.
“Unlace my dress.”
“Those guys will be out there for the rest of the night which means that we’ll have to stay here.”
“I’m not sleeping in my dress, so yes unlace me!” I untied her dress and watched as she rolled it up on the granite slab. “Give me your jeans,” she asked, “I need them for a pillow.”
“I’m not spending the night sleeping on someone’s grave in the middle of New Orleans,” I said.
“Okay just go, explain that to those guys and leave,” she said. I looked over toward the light and tried to see if I had any options.
“You’re sure we’re safe here?”
“Absolutely!” I slid out of my jeans and handed them to her. She lay down on the slab and I lay next to her. The moon broke out of the clouds almost as soon as I lay down. It’s light shown on the tombstones like tiny twinkling diamonds. The moon also shown strangely on Sadie, giving her skin a phosphorescent glow.
“Should I ask whose grave I’m lying on?”
“It’s Maria Labonne’s, she was an infamous Priestess here.”
“Perfect not only do we desecrate a grave but it’s some Voodoo chick. You said that if I came with you tonight that I could live out my wildest fantasy.”
“Yes, I did.”
“This ain’t it.”
“Maybe it will be.”
I awoke shortly after dawn and stared out at the sight before me. Ancient crumbling crypts and stained above ground tombs lay all around. Sadie and I lay on a flat gray marble slab. I’d felt unusually tense and didn’t want to stay the night before, but we’d had a wild night.
I’d awoken after having a dream right out of a Tarzan movie. In my dream drums pounded out in a beat and African women danced and sang in some ancient ritual. I was awake now, but the drumbeat still pounded in my brain.
Well, it was morning and I felt bad. She’d done everything she could and I’d been callous toward her. I’d been worried that we’d be attacked, or that we’d get eaten alive by bugs or that we’d freeze on the cold marble tomb. But now it was morning and everything had gone perfectly and I wasn’t ready to leave yet. I slid over to my side and pulled Sadie close to me again. She moaned slightly and turned her head enough so that I could see I was wrong on one count, she had a splotch of blood on her forehead where she’d obviously swat a mosquito. Maybe she’d have had more problems but her dress had protected her. Her dress? Yes, she now wore her black dress which made no sense since I would have had to retie it in back as it laces like a corset and she can’t do it herself. I tried to think of earlier in the night because making love in her black dress is a total taboo and I was sure she hadn’t worn it. She turned her head fully toward me, kissed me and slowly opened her eyes.
“AHHHH!!!” she said pulling back.
“IIIIIII!” I said doing the same. She stared at me like I was a Vampire or something. I sat blinking my eyes trying to decide if I was seeing correctly. Someone had dipped their thumb in blood and written a cross on her forehead. My heart pounded so loudly that it hurt my ears. The drums that I’d dreamt about began pounding in my brain again. She wiped one finger across her forehead and saw the blood on her finger.
“Ethan don’t panic,” she said, but she was too late. Between the dress and the bloody cross, I was gone. I turned the other way and saw new horrors. All the tombs around us were covered small red crosses drawn in crayon, magic marker and nail polish. Some of the crosses were upright, but several were pointed down. The two crosses closest to us were made in large swatches of dripping blood.
I felt burning hot now and realized it was the sun upon me. I glanced up at it and saw it stark against a giant metal cross that sat overtop the graveyard. I closed my eyes for a moment and when I reopened them the sun was perfectly centered on the cross. Its light burned me like a torch. I closed my eyes again and when I opened them, the cross appeared to be molten, dripping metal.
To avoid the sun's burning rays I turned onto my stomach and I looked at the ground. I saw what appeared at first to be a bundle of white and red cotton balls sitting on the ground. The bundle made no sense until I spotted something sitting next to it, a chicken’s head. The mass of red and white was what was left of a chicken that had been alive less than an hour or two ago.
“Don’t get scared,” Sadie said. I turned toward her and watched her creeping toward me on all fours, catlike, her black dress pulled up past her hips. I remembered now that she had worn her dress last night during our previous session.
“What the Hell did you lead me into?”
I’d had enough; I needed to clear out of this city and fast. I pulled my jeans, shirt and boots on and began weaving my way out of the cemetery.
“Ethan calm down…wait!” she’d called. I wasn’t waiting for anything. I could still hear the drums from my dream pounding in my head and it was only outdone by the pounding of my heart.
I made it to the bus stop without coming upon any of the local people. Sadie walked up just as it arrived.
“Will you stop!” she said. I said nothing to her I just climbed aboard and walked to the back of the deserted bus. Sadie sat in the seat across from me.
Yesterday Sadie, Godiva and I had walked the streets of New Orleans and no one seemed to give us any mind. Now as each person stepped onto the bus they looked at us like we were demons or something. Several women made the sign of the cross when they saw us and two African American women raised three fingers into a crow’s foot and pointed them at us chanting something.
We were almost at our hotel when Sadie pulled me out of the bus. An Old Catholic Church stood before us and I turned to go back to our room.
“We need to go to the church!” she said.
“I need to get the Hell out of this town, the sooner, the better,” I said.
“Fine but you need to go into the church first!” she said.
“What, have sex on the altar and desecrate it like we did to that woman’s tomb?” I said.
I broke from her and ran to our hotel. I must have looked a sight because everyone glared at me when I walked in. Godiva opened the door when I pounded on it.
“Oh thank God it’s you, I was worried, where’s Sadie….what happened to you!” she said repelling backward. She covered her face with her hands.
“Why is everyone looking at me like I’m a zombie or something?” I asked.
“Go and look in the mirror,” she said. I walked into the bathroom and turned toward the mirror before gasping out in horror myself. A bloody cross lay on my face too, but mine extended from my hair down to my Adam’s apple and across, ear to ear.
“What happened to you two?”
“What do you want me to say; we spent a night having sex on some priestess’s grave. A total act of debauchery in a church cemetery. Sadie can explain the rest ‘cause I don’t know. All I do know is that I’m done and heading home,” I said.
I found my pack and slid it over my shoulder. I found a wet washcloth in the sink.
“No Ethan don’t!” she screamed as I used it to wash my face.
“You in on this too?” I asked as I turned the door handle.
After I had made it out onto the street, I asked around to find out where the bus station lay. An old man gave me directions and I had no problem finding it. I was about to walk in when Sadie appeared out of nowhere and grabbed my arm.
“Will you please calm down!” she asked. I said nothing I just sat staring at the ground. Godiva came up and we sat down on a bench.
“Do you want to talk about this?” she asked. I really didn’t want to talk about anything.
“Please say something?” Sadie asked.
“Things like faith and rules and…things mean something to me,” I said.
“And us,” Godiva said. I turned to look at her and felt my heart squeeze in my chest. I just felt empty and hollow and….almost dead.
“And me,” Sadie said. “I didn’t plan anything that happened last night and I’m not really sure what did happen.”
“What happened was, gee let me guess, oh I don’t know if it was a black mass we participated in, a total demonization of a woman’s grave, some kind of voodoo ritual or just some satanic cultish thing. All I know is that I woke up surrounded by hand painted crosses, my forehead smeared with blood, oh and a dead, mutilated chicken at my side. Oh and then you wanted me to go to a church and, what have sex on the altar?”
“Ethan, I understand you were frightened, but that’s not my fault. I wanted you to come into the church so you could wash the blood off with holy water.”
“That’s what I was trying to tell you in our room,” Godiva said. “Only holy water can take away the blood.”
“So what do I do?”
“We rinse the washcloth you used in holy water and we rinse your face off with it too,” Sadie said.
“I still don’t feel right about the blood, the chicken, and the voodoo.”
“If it matters to you, it wasn’t what you think,” Godiva said. “Whoever anointed you with blood did it to protect you. It wasn’t Voodoo it was Santeria.”
“Oh, I feel better now. I don’t want to stay here another minute, I want to be gone. I want to climb on board a bus and head home now!”
“We have one more day here and then we all go back together,” Godiva said. “You don’t want to spend one more night with us?”
One more night in New Orleans, what would take bring? Would we sacrifice a virgin or behead goats or something. One more night.
“Yes, I’ll stay,” I said.
Walt is an avid hunter, angler, and gatherer who has journeyed to the remotest regions of the country. He began traveling around the country at the age of fourteen, often hitchhiking to his destinations.
Walt’s travels, encounters, and memories are often the inspiration for his writing. His novels THE BEACHCOMBER and THE CABIN relate to portions of his life.
Walt lives in Lancaster, PA with his wife and two children. He still loves to travel and spends his free time hunting, fishing, and writing.
All books are available at Amazon
Thanks, Walt, loved it!
Well folks, would you have stayed
or gone home?