Wednesday, January 6, 2010
“Billy Ray, relax. Quit fighting against Angelique.” Hazel jumped up from the bed and hurried into position so that Billy Ray could see her. Her arms extended, she was making a downward motion toward the floor as if to help lower the tension in the room. Hank propped himself up on his left elbow his mouth agape in awe.
“Get her away from me!” Billy Ray was in full panic. The only part of his body that he seemed to be able to move was his head. It was thrashing from side to side, trying to evict the scenario from his confused mind. His voice was more of pleading than asking. The blue neon lights reflected in the glistening beads of sweat that had formed on his forehead and face. Angelique appeared to have lost all rhythm and had gone into an uncontrolled convulsion.
As if falling from a cliff, Angelique crashed to the floor. The echo resounded though out the sparsely furnished efficiency room. Just as suddenly, the drums stopped. The buzzing of the transformers powering the gas filled neon light tubes hanging on the side of the building hummed a lament to the evening. The horn of a disgruntled driver chimed in as a lone hound yelped from some nearby adjoining alley.
Cautiously, Hank and Hazel moved toward Billy Ray. Angelique was lying across Billy Ray’s lower legs. The imaginary magnetic force was gone from where he was sprawled on the floor and instinctively he pulled his feet from under her body and pushed her away from him as he catapulted himself to a standing position.
“Look man, I think she just put a hex on me. Back home my cousin says that sometimes the only way you can get away from it is to kill the person that hexed you. I don’t think I want to kill no lady, but I ain’t gonna go around all hexed up, ‘sepcially not knowing what I’m hexed with.” Billy Ray couldn’t seem to stop running his hands down both arms. The wiping motion, as if he was knocking off some unseen being, seemed to sooth the panic the pouncing tigress had planted in his body.
“I don’t think so Billy Ray. Just Relax. Angelique does not mess with black magic or evil spells. Just settle down. She seems to be waking up.” Angelique opened her eyes. The cat like pupils were gone. The blue hue in the room mixed well with here green eyes. They appeared to be opals reflecting in the dim glow. Angelique looked as confused as the others. She scooted back toward the front door and sat up straight as she crossed her legs. She folded her arms across her chest and if she was trying to wrap a shell around herself. Hank thought he saw a slight quiver in her chin.
Hazel spoke first. “Angelique, are you ok?” Her voice could barely be heard but Angelique jerked her head in her direction as if she had been unaware that they were in the room together. “What was that all about? These two guys got me out of a scrape earlier today and we were just having a couple of beers. We had just dozed off and we woke up to this, this ceremony of sorts, and we are all a little confused.”
Angelique slowly turned her gaze from Hazel to Hank. The puzzled looked remained on her face. It was obvious she was trying to piece together the incident herself. She then looked at Billy Ray as the other two could see a look of deep concern come over Angelique. She took in a quick shallow breath and exhaled, then another.
“You ain’t fixing to start in on me again are you?” Billy Ray got up and started toward the door.
“Wait. I am sorry if I startled you and caused you to worry.” Angelique held out her hands, palms out and fingers pointed up. The mixture of French and Jamaican accent was something new to the two strangers. Billy Ray stopped but kept looking at her hands, waiting to see what else she might do with them. “I came in from working my shift at the club and saw that you all had already settled in for the evening. As I walked past where you had reclined on the floor, a dark and heavy weight shifted into my mind. There was a feeling of an unexplained dread. I just stood near you and waited to see if other elements would establish the reasoning for these mysterious feelings.”
“You are on a journey that you may not have complete control of. There will be many dark and winding roads that you will travel. Once you go these paths, the only return will be on these same roads, but they will have changed and you will not recognize them from you earlier travel. I do not know when this journey will start nor end, nor do I know where it will take you. You sir, know this not either. Papa Legba is the keeper of the gate and the crossroads. My efforts were to call upon his help in allowing the forces to guide and protect you on your quest. This success I am not sure of. I hope truly that your being to be safe, but caution and care must be your companion from this point forward. My intent was not to cause you alarm or worry, but to bind you with strength and good judgment. This I hope you take to heart and enjoy it as truth.”
Angelique dropped her hands to her knees and calm veiled itself across her being. The green eyes dimed to a warm flicker where once fire had danced. Billy Ray walked toward the sofa and as he passed Angelique, a gentle touch and squeeze to her shoulder brought only a sliver of comfort to his anxiety for his future. The others began to ease from their tension. Billy Ray sat gently on the sofa ready to ponder the words of the newly acquainted tigress.
Hank reached and picked up the damp paper bag that still contained a few bottles of luke-cool beer. “Anyone…..” He never got to finish his question.
Splinters and broken glass sprayed forth in a geyser of debris. The nine glass panes and the paneled door that had been used to safeguard from outside intruders ripped from its hinges and crashed on top of Angelique. A heavy combat type boot stomped a final blow that sent the last remnants of the wooden gate showering onto floor. Red blood flowed into her green eyes. Angelique slumped forward as a black silhouette filled the open doorway.