No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница

Clarion gave a little shrug. "Well yeah. What else you want?"

"I don't get any childhood anecdotes, I mean at least tell me about the crazy lady you lived with."

Clarion laughed as she turned at the intersection onto a main road. "She wasn't really crazy, hell she was far from it. You ever heard of Marie Laveau?"

Yoshi thought for a moment and then nodded. "Self proclaimed ‘Pope of Voodoo' if I'm not mistaken, very powerful as well and the most famous."

Clarion tipped her brim at the grinning woman. "Well I lived with Mama Deauch« nt for No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница 16 years and she was a very skilled woman. She just chose to keep her talents on the down low, if you know what I mean."

"Oh really. So she teach you some tricks?"

Clarion smiled suggestively as she pulled into a gas station. "A couple." She ran her tongue across her teeth as she caught inquisitive blue eyes looking in her direction. "Answer a riddle?" Yoshi nodded eagerly. Clarion cut the ignition and turned towards Yoshi. "What consumes, breathes oxygen, multiplies, dies, yet has no form?"

Blue eyes regarded sparkling green with question. Yoshi furrowed her No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница brow as she thought. "I think I answered this question in Athens, I don't think I got it right."

Clarion giggled. "It's not a demon silly."

Yoshi grinned. "I didn't think so." She paused. "Then I'll say fire." She wore a smug grin which Clarion returned.

"Very good." Green eyes pulsed with mischief as Clarion made a fist with her right hand and then in a quick swirl of motion she blew on her fist and released a fist-sized fireball, that flared to a bright blue and then vanished. Clarion turned to a slack-jawed No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница Yoshi who was pale in awe.

"How'd you do that?" Her words came out in a gush of air.

Clarion laughed and fixed her hat. "That's like you asking me what I put in my etÙ uffee. I'm not telling you, but needless to say grasshopper I've got a few tricks up my sleeve." Clarion wiggled red eyebrows and gave the still wide eyed woman a peck on the cheek.

Yoshi rolled down the window and whistled at Clarion's retreating frame causing the small woman to stop and turn, face red with blush. "Do No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница I get the rest of the story?"

Green eyes rolled. "Yeah, go buy me some candy…and make it good."

Yoshi frowned and spoke quietly, "We're in a Texaco© ."

Clarion smiled and walked away, but not so far that Yoshi didn't pick up her reply, "you'll think of something."

Yoshi almost said something smart, but figured the red-head might hear it, so she just smiled to herself and went about her task.

-----

Ten minutes later they were back on the highway, and after two hours of Stevie Ray Vaughn's greatest hits, Clarion finished off No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница her pack of Raisinets and started talking. "So I take it you want the rest of the story?" Yoshi nodded. "You're extremely patient you know that."

The dark woman smirked and stretched her back. "You try sitting in a cave for two months in Siberia waiting on Colin and you too can learn patience."

Clarion made a sour face and shook as she imagined the cold. "You sure you want to know this, it's not a very nice chapter in my youth, but it is when I figured it all out."

"You didn't know from the No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница beginning."

"Mama D knew, but she never came right out and said it, she was cryptic that way. But in every other way she assured me that I was very special and would figure it out one day. In retrospect, she made sure I didn't become an animal. She taught me to respect life and all God's wonderful creatures, even the mutations. In her words, ‘God don't make no junk', so if somebody told me otherwise, I had her permission to widen their horizons. That usually meant a bloody nose or a black eye, but it wasn't No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница like living with ‘the crazy lady' afforded me many friends. We were too busy avoiding bounty hunters and folks that liked to captured freedman and sell them back into slavery and such." Clarion drew in a breath and then glanced over at intense blue eyes. "You sure you want to hear it, blood, guts, and all of it."



Yoshi grinned and rested her hand on top of Clarion's on the stick. "I'm not going to judge you, I promise."

Clarion smiled. "Well can I have a cigarette?"

"How can you smoke and shift gears?"

"I'm No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница not that good, so you're driving."

Clarion lit her cigarette and launched her tale as soon as Yoshi pulled back into traffic. "I remember puberty and it wasn't that bad. But, ‘waking up' was ten times worse. Any woman that says she has bad cramps can kiss my ass. I'm getting ahead of myself so ignore that. It was two days to my 16 birthday when they came.

1789- Louisiana, pre-Baton Rouge:

For sixteen years the Bayou was a loving home for me. There was so much to learn, to see, to taste, to touch No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница, to smell. I was constantly stimulated and constantly in trouble, which was hard to come by, especially when I knew more about where the Gators laid their nests and the number of snake species than people. It wasn't as if Mama D cut us off on purpose, but it served us both well, all though I wonder if we had have been closer to the plantations or the docks if things wouldn't have happened in the manner they did.

I walked barefoot through the high grass towards the outhouse, since I was supposed to be doing chores. I No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница cinched my skirt up in my fists as I moved through the sticky sweet blades of grass and made my way to the edge of the creek. I was doing nothing but wasting time, tormenting the baby frogs and seeing how long I could wiggle my fingers in the dark water until one of those logs opened its eyes and showed itself to be a Gator. The sky appeared to be a passionate purple as the daylight and nightfall kissed one another and created dusk. This was the time of day that Mama D had taught me to No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница relish the most. Sunsets were beautiful canvases and the glowing of the moon gave way to the open night, but it was dusk that held the balance of life in its tender arms. At dusk, life breathed anew with the coming of sleep and the promise of waking.

I smiled to myself as I lifted my head, and brushed curly tendrils of blonde hair away from my face. I could hear the bats expanding their wings, snakes uncoiling, Gators coming up for air, and even Owls opening their eyes. I released my reluctant playmate of the frog and let him No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница join in the chorus of his kind, as their vibrato hum carried over top of the Weeping Willows. It was a wonder I heard the foot falls at all, but as they were heavy, as if burdened and three sets total. I knew it was trouble. My recent trip to the Quarter and the privilege of my alabaster skin tone had alerted me to the fact that bounty hunters were out and about.

I bundled my skirts and ran towards the house as fast as my short stride would allow. With each step I was reminded why I No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница hated dresses. If it wasn't the grass slicing my ankles, or the heavy material itself, it was just that it was plain restrictive. I never did make it back to the house. Even as I felt callused hands grip me about the neck and waist I kept my eyes affixed on the house, looking for Mama D. I ignored the howling men at my back and my own tears. Even as I was knocked unconscious one thought remained constant: she abandoned me.

When I awoke, (I would later discover that two days had passed), it was to the unfamiliar No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница surroundings of a hayloft. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes as I rose into a sitting position and felt the back of my neck for the gash I knew would be there, only to find a thin scab of healing. I didn't have time to consider the ramifications as I smelled a campfire from below. I remember feeling around in the hay and darting my eyes everywhere, searching for an opening, a weapon…a diversion. My only out was the barn door. I had to take my time climbing down the ladder on account of my sore limbs. I No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница was ready to assume that I had experienced some horrible beating, but it was just the rush of adrenaline coursing through my small frame and beginning a process.

The door ahead of me started to open and I ran with everything I had, but he was simply too strong and I was just too small and too weak at the time. His eyes seemed so pale, void of color, void of light, and any saving grace. I saw thin chapped lips moving with force, as surprisingly well kept teeth appeared and spittle reached my face during his talking No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница. It didn't really matter what he was saying, I knew what was coming even before I felt the irons around my wrist and even before he tore what was left of my dress from my body.

As I lay on my back doing my best to count needles of hay, everything burned around me. I could feel the heat of the fire at my side, the sweat that covered my face seemed to boil, his breath was hot as he hovered over me, and the body thrusting between my legs seemed to be searing my flesh No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница. Even my insides burned. I had exhausted my tears and my throat was probably bleeding from use. He came to me that way for two more days and left me for dead on the third, because I refused to speak or react. I guess he assumed me dumb. I pulled my bare legs in to meet my naked torso and I stayed that way for at least a day. I kept my eyes open for as long as possible until they finally closed as the embers of the fire burned out--and I slept.

Whomever Clarion had been five days before No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница no longer existed when I awoke. I didn't have fangs, my eyes didn't glow, and I wasn't aching for blood, yet. However, I ached for something far stronger than that at the time: vengeance. For me, it was the most foreign feeling in the world to be consumed with the energy of hate. Bu,t it was a tangible energy that fed my limbs and helped me to move. I walked strong out into the night with only the tattered remains of my slip on, but the feral glint in my eye promised anyone No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница death if they came near me. I bathed in a river, stole some clothes, and just started walking. I could still smell him on me, so I just trusted my instincts and went were my senses led me.

I found his small plantation hours later and as I watched him from a tree on his property. I smiled in the thought that not only would I be getting rid of a smug son of a bitch who thought his money gave him rights, but I'd be freeing a handful of my people who would no doubt give me a medal, no No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница matter my fair appearance or what I was.

I would like to say that it was not my finest hour. I would like to say that even now, so many scores of time later I am remorseful. But-- I can't. I was beyond rage and beyond hate. Sure he had taken so much from me, in the most unjust of ways, but more than that, I feared that Mama D let him. I feared she had just walked away and left me. All though, when I stalked him to his own barn two days later and followed No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница him to his barn, it was not with anger at Mama D that I did what I did. I did it because it was the only thing that satiated me.

I remember those pale eyes growing wide in surprise at my presence, then lids lowering suggestively, his thin lips curving into a smile. He thought I was some fair haired girl concubine, but when I lifted my head pulling my hair away from my face, he saw his reflection in malachite colored mirrors. Whatever shock he went through in recognizing my face, it turned to mind-numbing horror No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница as I grabbed him by his collar and hurled his 6'2" frame into a solid wooden beam. I walked towards his bruised body slowly and I could feel the warmth of a smile spread across my face. He was struggling to get up, but kept slipping on the hay, and could only manage to move backwards on his hands. I could not imagine that at 5'1" and just over a hundred pounds that I was that fearsome, but when I caught my reflection in the medallion around his neck, I suddenly realized with an almost painful relief that Mama D hadn't No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница abandoned me-- she simply let me go.

I had never felt more beautiful in my life, as I viewed myself through his eyes. What a portrait I made, standing over his cowering body. Still barefoot; I wore a pair of trousers and man's shirt, with the sleeves pushed up to my elbows. I swept loose blonde locks away from my face and pushed them behind my neck where the rest where curtailed in a leather thong. Perhaps from a distance I looked like a fair haired stable boy, but he saw a monster. I wasn't the young girl No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница that he savagely raped and left for dead, I was the Phoenix that arose from the ashes to burn a trail of fire across his path. And burn I did. It was not my purpose to use him as a pseudo-teething ring, but it provided a slow torture that kept me satisfied.

I trussed him to the cross beams, arms spread, legs hanging down like a suffering Christ-figure. Only he had been abandoned and he would receive no mercy from any god. I stayed there for three days and then I left him for dead. Years later No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница I found out that had managed to live for another three hours after I left, even with his innards hanging around his feet. I fell asleep in the trees of the swamp, awaking as the moon hung high in the sky and lighted my path back home.

Long blonde hair hung in loose curls down my back as I stepped onto the porch. It was surreal how quiet it was. Everything went still around us, even the air. I stood on the step for a long time just looking at the woman in the rocking chair packing her pipe No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница. We said not a word to one another as she handed me a cloth and pushed a basin of warm water in my direction. I used it to clean my face and hands and then I sat in the chair next to her. We both looked out into the light fog that rose from the swamp, and our hands locked together between our chairs. The frogs began their song again, the crickets jumped with life, and the Gators took their first evening breaths. We would sit there till morning talking, less about my heritage and more about No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница the little things I needed to know, as I would be leaving come morning. That was to be the last time I saw her in the flesh.

--------------

When Clarion ended her tale, she had gone through a half a pack of cigarettes as the two women sat on the hood of the car, over looking the Atlantic Ocean in South Carolina. The taller woman leaned back on her arms, resting her feet on the chrome bumper and provided a human chair for Clarion as she sat between her legs and leaned back. They sat quietly for a while, not in an No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница uncomfortable silence, but contemplative. The dark woman was trying to find a way to show support and her want to absolve Clarion of her pain. Clarion was beginning to wonder if she should just run off into the ocean and hope the tides carried her to a far off land.

It was Yoshi who managed to come up with the right thing to do, as she sat forward and wrapped Clarion in a comforting embrace. Yoshi buried her face in the curve of Clarion's neck and lost herself in the slowing pace of Clarion's No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница pulse. Clarion felt her heartbeat return to normal as she felt Yoshi's life force move around her. She felt tears come to her eyes as she took in her surroundings. Here at her most vulnerable moment, Clarion had never felt more powerful and she knew that the woman cradling her could feel it too. It was just like when she had taken the hand of Mama D on the porch that night and life abounded around them.

Clarion looked at the waves that pounded the surf in time to the beat of her own heart, which matched the healthy rhythm No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница of the woman at her back. The air hummed with energy around them as the two women entwined light and dark hands and shared the silence. They stayed that way for what felt like an eternity, but was only a short moment. It was a moment that both would have to return to when the time came. In that time it would become clear to both women as to what they felt in the air, heard in the surf, breathed in, and coursed in and around them in that moment. All though neither woman was sure enough No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in whole or part without the writers expressed written permission. 12 страница to put their finger on it, for the briefest moment they both were aware of what was possible and perhaps inevitable: Balance.

END OF BOOK I.

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