The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Letter from New Orleans
by Loren Rhoads
I took your advice and went out to St. Vincent de Paul to visit your friend Don Jose’s grave. I worried at first because my cab driver refused to let me out of the car alone at the cemetery’s gates. He told me he had a gun and we’d be safe. New Orleans is truly different than I’m used to.
I’d hoped the cemetery would have a map and I could use a pendulum to find your friend’s grave, but no such luck. We wandered until we came across the right mausoleum.
My driver, whose name is Jackson, opened the claret you suggested. He accepted a glass, then moved off to stand guard.
The other world seemed very close, as if the veil had thinned from repeated crossings. I put the bouquet of violets in the mausoleum’s vase, then sat on the step to read Don Jose your letter.
A gunshot interrupted me. Apparently, Jackson had drawn his handgun to protect me. Someone shot him in the arm.
Several men came out from behind the mausoleums. One told me that they only wanted my jewelry and bag. When I handed over my messenger bag, they immediately started going through it. Each item in my bag occasioned whispered comments. It would have been funny, if Jackson hadn’t been hurt.
I was taking off my necklaces when the thieves unwrapped the crystal bell I’d just bought on Royal Street.
The scent of Jackson’s blood hung heavily in the humid air, and the perfume from the violets, and the aroma of the wine. Still, things probably would have gone differently without the peal of the bell. The sound echoed all around us.
Don Jose stepped free of his mausoleum, sword drawn. Other men and women, children and old folk, materialized around us.
I stepped forward to take the bell back. The men returned my bag and all they’d taken from it. Don Jose and his associates chased them off into the maze of graves. Ghosts can be so sensitive about how people behave in their graveyards.
I helped Jackson back to his car and called for help. His lovely wife and daughter met us at the hospital. I couldn’t help but feel responsible for what had happened, but they wouldn’t hear of it. Marie invited me back to their home afterward. I think I am going to study with her. She is truly amazing.
As you promised, New Orleans is turning out to be an adventure. I wish you were here to share it with me.
All my love,
Fiction © Copyright Loren Rhoads
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Author Loren Rhoads:
Alondra handles a book that causes earthquakes, faces down the things that ghosts fear, and makes an enormous sacrifice to end a reign of terror in New Orleans.