The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Silence of the Bayou
by Chelle Storey-Daniel
I have lived in the Louisiana bayou all my life, and I knew there was modern medicine and something else, something you paid a darker price for.
A little old woman in a shack that smelled of death told me about Désirée d’levy. No, that’s not a person. That’s a place. Desired Levy. See, all I ever wanted was a daughter. She didn’t have to be perfect. She didn’t have to be beautiful. Just mine. And after emptying my bank account on modern medicine and endlessly crying in doctor’s offices, I decided that the darker price I mentioned would be worth it.
So, I went to Désirée d’levy and bartered my pound of flesh so I could have a little girl to call my own. The demons there (no better word exists to describe the beings that levy and extract tolls on that spiritual plane) made it sound like I’d have a bouncing baby in my arms in no time. They made it seem as if my offering was worthy. Promises. So many promises.
I returned home and waited. I peed on countless sticks and kept telling myself that it would happen any day.
And then I saw her.
I was hanging clothes on the line when the billowing of her skirt caught my eye. Oh, she was beautiful. I heard the word “Mama” carried on the wind, and I raced toward her.
I raced through her.
The more I tried to hold her the less visible she became. I backed off and stared at her, and she stared back at me with my own eyes.
At Désirée d’levy, I had agreed to exchange my hearing for my daughter, and the last sound I ever heard was her sweet whisper of “Mama.” But I still see her. She exists on the outskirts of my life. She’s never been indoors, but any time I pass a window I see her there.
I desired a daughter and the demons didn’t lie to me. They delivered a daughter. And I’ve damned myself and her for all eternity because she will forever be mine, and we are inescapably part of the things born in the darkest pits of the bayou.
Fiction © Copyright Chelle Storey-Daniel
Image courtesy of Christina Sng
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