Old Mother

Old Mother

A Story by Rawhide
"

Many people mistakingly refer to black magic as voodoo. Voodoo is used only for good. Black magic is called hoodoo.

"

Old Mother

...................................................... 1 ......................................................

Madam Maria glanced up at the man who stood outside her storefront window. She knew his face well. He had come to her for help many times before. Usually he just asked questions about voodoo and its known practitioners. He always looked tired but not from age or lack of sleep. He had a weariness on his face that told you that he had seen things that he would never talk about in polite company. Whenever she saw him standing outside her shop awash in the neon blue lights of her sign, she thought he looked like her favorite Picasso painting The Old Guitarist. She had a customer now, and he waited for her to leave. Her customers were less likely to buy something when a policeman was in the store. It's almost as if they weren't sure if selling voodoo crafts was legal or not. No doubt that was part of the allure for the tourists, that they were dabbling with things they should not be.

.

A twenty-something girl in a sweatshirt with a big capital M on it purchased a doll made of grass with eyes stitched out of black thread. It was plain and came with a set of pins for sticking. Madam Maria put the doll in a little printed bag even though the girl said she didn't need one. The girl glanced up at Detective Jack LaCroix as she left the shop and was happy that her little purchase was in a bag after all and would later recount how the lady at the voodoo shop had known that she would need it. 

.

Jack walked into the shop just as Madam Maria was passing through the bead curtain that blocked the doorway to the back room. He followed her back without speaking. The back room was where she practiced her arts for real. Eveything out front was just junk for the tourists. Jack had once referred to it as "voodoo hooey." She had to sell the people what they wanted. None of them truly believed in voodoo, they just wanted something that showed that they had been to one of the shops. Tourism was how she made her money. Her real vocation was done mostly for free. Most people that really needed her help didn't have much money if any at all. Those who came to her that did have a lot of money were usually looking for black magic, and she practiced only the white arts. Black magic is known as hoodoo. Voodoo is only used for good. 

.

She took a seat at a small table and Jack took the seat opposite her. She waited for him to tell her what he wanted. 

.

He pulled some photos out of his pocket and laid them face down on the table in front of her and asked, "Have you seen anything like this before?" 

.

She picked up the top photo, turned it over, and dropped it back to the table. She flipped over the rest of the photos and demanded, "Where did you see these things? Did you see this scene in person or just the photos?" 

.

Jack told her that he had seen them himself, "It was in a cabin in Bayou Chevreuil. Forensics say that the skin is human, several different humans in fact. The skins were tanned like leather and hand stitched together. They were .." 

.

".. were filled with wet mud," Madam Maria finished for him. "They are known by different names. We call them enfants sales. Strictly translated, it means dirty children. They are filled with mud and they are completely obedient to the one who creates them. This is the darkest magic known to us. There's only one person here powerful enough to create these things." 

.

Jack said, "The old witch." 

.

"Old Mother," Maria corrected. "The old witch is what she is called by people who don't know who she is. That's what they call her in stories to scare little children. Everyone who knows that she is real and what she is capable of call her Old Mother as a sign of respect and deference. To insult her is to invite her wrath, and she knows no mercy. And if you saw one of her children, even one no longer animated, then she saw you." 

.

"I thought she was blind. In all the stories I've heard, she was blind. Her eyes are supposed to be white with age and cataracts." 

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Maria replied, "There are other ways to see than with the eyes." 

.

"What do these things do?" he asked. 

.

"Anything she tells them to do," she stated. 

.

He knew what the answer would be, but he had to ask, "Where can I find her?" 

.

Maria replied, "I won't tell you that. For your sake and mine, I won't say. You should just close this case as unsolved and leave it be." 

.

Jack picked up the photos and put them away. He replied, "We can't. These things killed somebody. Dental records have proven that it was the Mayor's son. We had to use dental records. He had no skin .... and no eyes. Spare parts for these enfants sales maybe? Yes, probably. Why no eyes though? I met him once at his father's office. He has the same piercing blue eyes as his father. Or had rather." 

.

Detective Jack LaCroix stood up and walked out of the back room and out the front door. He looked up at the blue neon sign that said Madam Maria's Voodoo Shoppe and walked away. 

.

...................................................... 2 ......................................................

.

Jack had not slept well for the past three days. Ever since he had started asking around about how to find Old Mother, his dreams had been troubling. Tonight he was sinking in mud struggling to get free. But he was more than sinking, the mud was climbing up his torso and pulling him down. It snaked up his stomach to his chest and pulled down as it climbed. It grabbed his wrists and held them under. The mud made a weird sloshing sound as he struggled. It sounded like someone walking in shoes filled with water. The more he struggled, the more the mud pulled and the more it sloshed. 

.

Jack jerked his head forward and opened his eyes. He was awake now, but he still felt like he was in the dream. He couldn't move his arms and legs. He struggled to move, but the more he struggled, the more his arms and legs were held still. The fog of sleepiness drained away when he heard sloshing noises as he struggled. Aware now of his surroundings, he could feel hands holding him firmly in place. A crackly voice spoke to him. 

.

"You are awake. Do you hear me? Are you listening?" the voice asked. It was the voice of an old woman, but the voice was one of strength and had an unmistakeable tone of menace.

.

Jack simply replied, "Yes." 

.

"Good," the voice said. "You have been asking for me. You wanted to know about my children. Well here we are." 

.

The lamp next to his bed turned on. He could see four of her children around him. They each held one of his arms or legs. Muddy water leaked out of the stitched holes where their eyes should be. Tight stitches crossed their faces and bodies at odd angles. The skin looked dry and leathery. Their grip on him was firm and unmoving, but every time he struggled, he could hear the mud inside moving around. 

.

The voice continued, "I trust that now that you have seen us, you will seek me no more. Are we clear on this?" 

.

"Yes," was all Jack could think of to say. Then at last, he added, "Yes Old Mother." 

.

"Good," the voice said again. 

.

Jack heard the chair across the room creak and light footsteps slowly approached his bed. He could see her silvery white hair as she neared his bedside. She leaned over him and pulled her silvery white hair away from her heavily wrinkled face. She was smiling -- if you could call it that. She bared her yellowed, crooked teeth. He tried to look away, but a cold, bony hand grabbed his face by the chin and forcefully pulled it back to look at her. His heart thumped even harder when she looked into his eyes. He stared up into her piercing blue eyes, and she turned and left followed by her children.

 


© 2018 Rawhide



Author's Note

Rawhide
Old Mother is a character from a larger piece of fiction that is currently in the works. I hope you like the character and want to see more of her.

My Review

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Reviews

Unlike the other story, this one flowed quite wonderfully. I liked the child story creepiness of Old Mother, and the pure imagery of her Dirty Children. I think the image of her silver white hair and startling blue eyes was very scary, except (and this is my only criticism) you seem to put more thought in her Children than on the pure horror of her appearance. I felt you could've done much more for her. Good story

Posted 9 Years Ago


Sweet! Loved the dirty children and especially Old Mother's new eyes. Very creepy! I'd like to read more of this.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Definitely want to see more of her. When are you gonna put that particular book up here???? I'm DYING to ready more of this. It was really quite good, and as you may well know, this one is going in my favs as well. Keep up the excellent work and that imagination soaring!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Oh this was great really look forward to reading more

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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968 Views
4 Reviews
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Added on January 11, 2009
Last Updated on February 13, 2018
Tags: Voodoo, hoodoo, magic, witch

Author

Rawhide
Rawhide

McCleary, WA



About
He puts his quill to parchment to preserve his story. Eons from now, no one will be able to fathom the depths of the suffering he felt nor the expanse of the suffering he caused. He will be villified,.. more..

Writing



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