A continuation of the Mr Moonlight story.
|The dressing table was old, dark wood, made darker with age. Sierra's grandfather had told her that it was made by his grandfather for his grandmother. Sierra didn't much care about that. What she liked was that it had three mirrors, thus presenting three views of her undoubtedly beautiful face. She smiled, and her reflection joined her, black lipstick stark against skin the colour of rich dark copper.
Sierra favoured a Gothic look. Her hair was braided in long strands, punctuated with clusters of rings, and silver fetishes, skulls, dice, crossed bones and the like. Two large hoop earrings hung down to the thick black collar she wore around her neck. A thin black cord held a bright crucifix at her breast, which was encased in a silk bustier. She looked really good, and she knew it.
In front of her were arrayed a collection of objects brought together with one aim, and that was to call upon Papa Legba. Sierra had persuaded her elder cousin to get her a bottle of Captain Morgan's Rum, and cadged a pouch of tobacco from a sympathetic Gramma Lucy. Gramma was an old lady who lived next door, and had done so all Sierra's life. As an adopted grandmother, it was Gramma who had told Sierra all about Voodoo, the Gods and the Loa.
There was a large floppy straw hat, some candy in a bowl, and several candles, which were already lit, except for the largest, which was made of beeswax and scented with warm spices. Sierra had bought it from Yankee Candle especially for her rite. She hoped it would please the God.
She took a quick look around her room. Above her bed was a concert poster for Screaming Jay Hawkins, she loved his music and his panache. There were pictures of Rachel True, and of Rihanna. Prominently displayed was a depiction of Papa Legba that Sierra had created herself. It echoed Screaming Jay, and was decidedly and very prominently male. She'd have to take it down again when she was done. Her mother would freak if she saw it, and Sierra didn't want to answer awkward questions from her little sister Aaliyah.
Getting up, Sierra checked once more that her door was locked. Seating and composing herself she lit the large candle then stared at the central mirror.
"Papa Legba, open the gate for me.
Papa Legba, open the gate for me,
Open the gate for me Papa Legba
That I may pass
When I return, I will thank the Loa."
Sierra chanted softly, repeating the phrase over and over.
"Papa Legba, open the gate for me..."
The smell from the candle was sickly sweet, Sierra began to wish she had chosen another, or even better an unscented one. She realised that her attention was wavering, and brought herself back to the chant.
I brought all these things for you, she thought, please, please open the gate Papa.
Nothing was happening. Sierra kept the chant going half-heartedly, telling herself that she'd chant it three more times and then she'd stop, then when that was done, maybe just three more.
She stopped. Disappointment was plainly written on her face. Leaning forwards she blew out the large candle.
At least I won't have to breath that any more.
Sitting up, she stared morosely at her reflection through the spiralling smoke. The candle wick had not quite gone out yet. Idly she picked up the straw hat and put it on. The effect was so incongruent that she burst out laughing. In the mirror her image laughed too, but it somehow looked blurred. The smoke from the candle seemed to spread.
Sierra could hear male laughter, yet somehow she knew that she was only hearing it inside her head. As she watched, her face in the mirror changed, became broader, older, and masculine.
"And who are you...."
The face moved forwards as the man peered at Sierra through the mirror.
"..child?" he concluded
Sierra sat frozen in her chair.
It worked. She thought. It worked.
The man was clearly awaiting a reply.
"I'm Sierra Papa, and these offerings are for you."
The smoke around the dressing table was thickening, way beyond what the candle wick could possibly be producing.
The man appeared to consider her answer.
"And what would I do with them?"
Sierra was nonplussed.
"I thought you liked offerings Papa, they're what I was told to use to invite you here."
"Wait a minute." He said, waving a hand impatiently.
"Why do you call me Papa, I ain't your Daddy little girl. Besides, I thought your name was Papa, Sierra Papa you told me."
"But you're Papa... aren't you?" Sierra's voice trailed off in a frightened squeak.
"Papa Legba." She whispered.
"No child, my name is Lafayette Kouri-Vini, and smoke and mirrors, " He waved his hands, and the smoke swirled about them, "well they're kind of my thing, you know."
The smoke, which was wreathed about Sierra, swirled and swept suddenly into her half open mouth. She tried to scream, and indeed seemed to hear herself screaming far away, as she fell into oblivion.
Through her eyes, Lafayette looked out. He took the straw hat from his head.
"Shit." He expressed his disapproval and tossed it on the bed. Looking around he noted the Hawkins poster and grinned to himself. On the wardrobe next to the bed, he espied a top hat. Sierra's hand reached it down.
"Now that," said Lafayette through black lipstick coated lips, "is so much better."
He noticed the picture of Papa Legba.
"Damn." he said.
Then taking in his reflection in the mirror he remarked,
"Damn. You are one fine looking woman Sierra. I might just try you out later."
Staring deep into the mirrored surface Lafayette asked,
"Who else is here then? Show me."
A face appeared.
"Moonlight of course, that bastard's always first. Anyone else?"
A suitcase appeared in the mirror.
"And the bag lady, this is going to be fun." Lafayette remarked sarcastically.
Tapping his hat firmly on his head, Lafayette unlocked the door, and stepped out.
This is a continuation of the story begun in Mr Moonlight.