At the last moment, one near lost soul remembered to honor a promise.
|Writers Cramp contest daily win prompt - doll in the making, which turns out to be quite a (nasty) character.
“It doesn’t look like him.”
“I am still working on it, dearie. Did you bring what I require?”
Hand touched hand. Palm caressed palm. A satisfied sigh escaped into All Hallow’s Eve. The jars of goat’s eyes stared down from the hut’s shelves overhead. The smell of strange herbs and spices from the surrounding swamp loaned a strange breath to the air. Madame Armour, Voodoo priestess, continued building the doll, sewing the contents inside.
“I feel him here. A scrap of hair, cut end of fingernails, sweat from hat brim, you have done well.”
The young girl standing at the moonlit doorway braced herself against its frame. Her fingers twisted and curled her long brown hair into a rope dangling, tugged down from the back of her neck. “John Townsend is strangling my life. The only way I could get away was to use the potion you gave me crumbled into his wine glass. I pray he sleeps still.”
The hooded eyes of the old hag glared and flashed a moment in the cloudless night. A lizard tongue darted between dry cracked lips before forming the words Marie Deufont yearned to hear. “It may not look like much now but the seeds are there. Take it.”
Once again hand touched hand. Palm eased silently as a prayer against its older companion. The voodoo doll of rich, greedy, controlling doctor John Townsend rolled face-up. Its stitched on mouth and eyes lay like fallen graveyard crosses on barren, lifeless soil. “Thank you. I’ll bury it at midnight tonight with drops of my blood to feed and awaken it. I can’t wait to be free of his curse.”
“Remember your promise of payment, child. Do not be late with it.”
But the words flung out into empty space. Marie Deufont had fled with the doll clutched to her heaving breast. She danced with it in the rose garden outside John Townsend’s mansion. “Oh, you lovely, lovely piece of magic. What fun it will be to see him grow moldy, fight for lost breath, become buried by the pain he gives me, wither and die in its grasp.”
Tears of joy rained down into the hole she dug with the claws of her bare hands. She kissed the doll before resting it in the fertile space, placing a flat garden rock over the hole made its grave. Daylight shivered into a bleeding sunrise as she finished the morbid task. “My last day under his rule.”
Her punishment for being his niece had begun with her parent’s death. Where the world saw only his riches bestowed upon her, paraded in public events. She knew the switch raising welts on her back for every imagined infraction of ever-changing rules at his whim. His cruelty knew no bounds. “You beast.”
The spoiled brat and only child given birth and raised by loving parents, Marie Deufont was no match for the guile of her abusive uncle.
“It’s not working.”
Day bled into night into day again with nothing changed. Unseen was the result of each new whiplash hiding on her flesh. Marie Deufont had forgotten her part of the bargain. Payment had not been forthcoming.
The little Voodoo doll in the garden felt each blow, twitched and changed, knocked from one evil prayerful wish to another. In among the roses, poisoned threads spread worm-like tendrils out from the doll’s grave. Flowers withered and died. The gardener was found with his spade sunk into the earth by his body. The look on his face spoke of nightmare etched there in the last moments of his passing on.
One thing was missing when the garden was razed, replanted and a new gardener hired. The gravestone over the Voodoo doll was disturbed. The small enchanted figure was gone. It had taken all day to transplant that part of the estate. Darkness warned of a coming storm.
“Debts must be paid.” Madame Armour mumbled to herself, closing her eyes, letting those of her goat balls see beyond to where the mansion was lit with lightning fire and gloom of darkening cloud.
John Townsend was restless, couldn’t sleep. The beating he had given Marie Deufont was fresh in his pulse and on his mind. The small tapping on his bedroom window announcing his Voodoo doll went unnoticed among that of naked branches scratching against the pane.
Marie Deufont’s quest for peace lay far afield. “Is it too late?” The beating had brought the lost memory of her payment to mind. “I promised. Tonight I will deliver twice what I offered if you will grant my need.”
She walked almost in a daze towards her master’s room, paused at his door, listened to his heaving breath and entered. Storm winds knocking and rattling at his window broke the latch. A lashing rain beat into the room with a roll of thunder, followed by the tumbling figure of the Voodoo doll.
“You. Come for more?” John Townsand’s hungry glare focused on the girl.
Her eyes flickered towards the open window. “We have a guest, uncle.” she moved to close the two panes, pressing her weight against them to keep them shut. Her back was turned as her uncle walked towards her, whip in hand.
Before it could strike, a strangeness happened. John Townsand found himself unable to breathe or curse a command. From the edge of the window sill, the Voodoo doll leaped, filled his mouth with its graveyard mold and dirt stuffed down the man’s throat.
In the next roll of thunder was heard the cackling aftermath of laughter from Madame Armour. At daylight she brought her belongings and moved in as new governess. As last living relative, Marie Deufont received all his wealth. He lay buried with a faded doll moldering under the new rose bushes, guarding against evil thought and deed from beyond the pale.
Marie Deufont met her pledge, offering half her fortune and herself as the Voodoo Priestess’ new acolyte of the black arts.