Louisiana Myths & Folklore, Volume 5
Read by Alleine Dragonfyre
Louisiana Myths & Folklore
Volume 5 – “City of Darkness”
“So tell me about the vampires,” I said, in a casual manner, having bumped into Jacque once again, this time in the Ordinis Mortis marketplace.
The man truly was everywhere, these days.
“Vampires?” he said. “Fiction, pure fiction.” He made a dismissive gesture and pretended to be immersed in examining the merchandise on the stall in front of him.
“You’ve told me of the loup-garou, of the marsh fires, of the voodoo witch. You’ve told me of ghosts and hauntings and the eerie above-ground cemeteries where any of the above may be lurking, it seems. But vampires are fiction?”
“There are legends of course,” he began, leaning casually against a nearby stone facade. “There were murders. Bodies found drained of blood. That sort of thing. “
He paused then, gauging my reaction. I kept my expression neutral. He continued:
“John and Wayne Carter, brothers you understand. Worked normal labor jobs, lived in the French Quarter. Seemed nice enough folks, at least, until the police found those bodies at their place, drained of blood. Found over a dozen of them.”
“What happened to these brothers?” I asked, feeling a bit nauseous.
“They were executed. Took 8 men to subdue them, they were so strong. Locals said they drank the blood of their victims…that’s how the nonsense started.”
Jacque’s stiff posture and reticence in elaborating on this story made it clear to me that he did not think this was nonsense. I gave no response, and waited for him to continue. Eventually, he did:
“Folks say their bodies went missing from their tombs. And that one of the victims that survived, went on to also kill people and drain their blood. Then you have the usual folk who claim to still see the brothers roaming the French Quarter at night, looking for victims.”
I recalled our first meeting in Aerie, hearing his footsteps behind me on the dark, empty streets. I felt a chill.
Jacque straightened himself and began walking past the market stalls. Vendors were packing their wares away and hurrying indoors.
He looked at me carefully, as if making up his mind about something. Then he walked over to the devotional fountain.
Removing a glove from his hand, he let his fingertips gently brush the surface of the waters.
Steam billowed from the fountain, accompanied by a resounding hiss. He touched the side of my face then, with that same ungloved hand.
I felt the beads of the fountain’s water trace burning paths down my neck.
I reached out to push him away, laying my palm flat against his chest. No heartbeat….?
I took a step back.
“Oh come my dear, you were never in any danger. I know you are an Avatar.” And then he was off again, walking across the grass over to the river.
“I call this the Ordinissippi. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?”
And there, further up the docks, I saw the drydocked ship, being loaded with assorted barrels and crates. Colored banners flew, glowing with their own luminescence under the starless sky.
“What is it that you want from me? Why have you been following me?” I asked, as I followed him toward the ship.
“Why, to tell the story, of course!” he said, laughing, as he climbed up onto the docks.
He hopped down off the platform and gestured over at a brightly lit cafe down the street, still open and bustling at this time of night.
“We all have much to learn of this world, but we must never forget where it is we came from. Here is where we have gathered, to rebuild our city as it once was…or as close as we can, in this place.”
He gestured at the avenue in front of us. Look there, Madame’s House of Voodoo…and there..we’re calling that the New Absinthe.”
“And there, the musical legends park…statues still with the sculptor. “It is apparently extraordinarily difficult to get quality granite on this world!”
I looked up and down the avenue, recognition dawning as Jacque led me from place to place.
We stopped for beignets at Cafe du Monde Noveaux. We sampled seafood at Pier 425. We danced under glowing lights at New Bourbon Street Balcony.
Slowly, slowly the sun started to rise.
As it did, the entire street seemed to …shimmer in the growing light. Fading out, until I was standing there like a fool in an empty field.
Had it all been a dream?
I looked down, and there in my hand was a handful of brightly colored metal coins, stamped with various faces and symbols.
I stuffed them in my pocket, and started walking back toward town.
It seemed Ordinis Mortis now had its own ghosts.