An arrogant outsider encounters a Louisiana native on a mission.
|The muzzle flash and blast from a single gunshot starts Myla running through darkness toward its source. As she nears her new neighbor’s shanty, the sight of Mr. Suggs tossing a short-barreled rifle through the rusted-out screen door slows her pace.
Three cautious steps later, Myla trips over something lying upon the cold, dark ground. As she turns to investigate the source of her stumble, a horrified look spreads across her face.
“Oh, God! What have you done, Mr. Suggs?”
“It's nothing, Myla. I just killed the stray dog that's been terrorizing my chickens.”
The cavalier tenor of Mr. Suggs' words tells Myla he doesn’t grasp the severity of his situation. Myla weeps as the crimson pool of Yellow Dog’s blood spreads across the packed oyster shell pavement.
“I don’t understand… Why are you so upset over a dead stray dog?”
“Mr. Suggs, you're new to Butte-à-la-Rose, so you won’t understand,” Myla scolds. “You didn’t kill a stray. You killed Marissa Moses' dog; and now she’s coming to town.”
“Myla, I don't know Marissa; but her dog was on my property and chasing my chickens. I had every right to kill it!”
“You don't understand, sir! Marissa is the most powerful witch in the Atchafalaya Swamp; and you just killed one of the two things she loves. She won’t let you live. You’ll pay for what you’ve done.”
“I don’t believe in witchcraft, Myla; so, I couldn’t care less if Marissa comes to town.”
“Please be careful, Mr. Suggs. I’ve lived here forty years; and, each time Marissa comes to town, the people who’ve wronged her die by her curse.”
“Thanks again… I’ll be careful, Myla.”
As Myla departs and disappears into the darkness, Marissa whispers to Myla from behind a gnarled tree. “Good evening, child.”
“Hello, mother. He’s waiting.”