Read Echoes in the Bayou Online

Authors: Ursula Dukes

Echoes in the Bayou (28 page)

"That's
good, that's perfect, now take another."

Ava
followed the directions and felt nothing as she stepped into the bog, almost
immediately she began to sink and
when the voice
told her to resist the urge to fight, and to keep still, she did just that.
With her hands resting at her sides, she let the bog take her.

"Ava!"
Magnus was screaming her name; he was getting closer to the giant oak now but
was still unable to see through the forceful rain. "Ava! If you can hear
me answer me please!" His voice bellowed through the dense forest. 
Sinta reached the giant oak first and when she looked down, Ava's head was all
that stood above the thick mud. "No Miss Ava, you gots to fight Miss Ava,
fight!" Sinta urged and began feverishly chanting.

A sharp
crackle of thunder hit the giant oak and an unearthly groan escaped its
branches. The chanting coming from Sinta paused Amelia's hold over her long
enough for Ava to come to her senses. When she looked around and saw where she
was, she began to struggle and scream out to Sinta for help. The old woman
grabbed a heavy branch and told her to reach out for it but the bog was
strangling her entire body, it was trying to claim her for its own.

By the
time Magnus had reached them, Sinta had to stop him
from jumping in to save her. "No Mister Magnus, you die too!" she
shouted.

 
Ava grew silent when Magnus told her not to struggle,
she wanted there to be calm while she died. "I love you Magnus," she
said to him before surrendering herself to the bog.

She could
hear his muffled echoes
of
No!
As the
blackness thick as tar encased her, began suffocating her, filling her
nostrils, and her open eyelids. She wondered if she would be able to feel it
when the exact moment of death arrived, and would she be reunited with her
parents?

Jus
t then the ground began to shudder and shake, she
could hear a heavy gurgling sound and she could feel an immense pressure below
her. Something was pulling her down, or was it pushing her up? She was now able
to move her hands as the shadowy water seemed to get lighter. Although it was
impossible for her to see the surface, she could feel her body slowly being
propelled back to the top and when her hand reached through the darkness, she
knew that someone had pushed her back towards life. And that someone was
Celeste.

Magnus
was at the edge of the bog sobbing like a child, when he saw her hand reach up
through the muck. He grabbed at the tree branch that had fallen
and swung it towards her but he was forced back onto
the ground as her body was heaved directly into his arms. The heavy rain had
begun to wash the thick mud off her face as she gasped and swallowed the air.

"You're
alright, you're alright," Magnus repeated over and over again
.

"Lord
have Mercy," Sinta cried and took a step back. Magnus gathered Ava in his
arms and held her against him as they watched the bog soften even more and then
recede back into the grou
nd so that Celeste
could walk out of it. They sat in veneration as the pretty young woman turned,
aware of them all for the first time and peered down the narrow path that led
to the big house. "Will," she whispered and began walking towards the
house.

Soaked to
the bone, Steve and Kelly stomped through the back door of the kitchen. Kelly
let out a horrified scream when she saw Will standing now and staring out the
kitchen window, the smell of gardenias filled the room. Steve rubbed his eyes
and stood paralyzed in fear as the spirit turned and looked right through them
before returning his gaze out the window. "Celeste," he said and made
his way to the kitchen door.

"We
have to finish this." Ava had to yell in order to be heard. She had prayed
for strength and had found it when she, Magnus and Sinta had started to run
back towards the house.

Kelly
knew that she and her husband were about to be caught in the middle of a
supernatural war and she wanted no part of it. She
pulled her husband back out the kitchen door and it was just in time too.

As they
rounded the corner and made their way under the shelter of the front porch,
they caught a glimpse of a woman who Steve thought was Ava. Just as Steve was
about to yell out her name, Kelly stopped him. "That's not Ava," she
said under her breath.  As Celeste walked by, the two cowered backwards
hoping that the darkness would shield them from her eyes.

Will
stood at the threshold of the kitchen door peering through the darkness for his
Celeste. "Will my darling, you came back," his mother stood in the
entrance of the kitchen. An invisible force preventing her from entering. Will
made no movement, nor did he turn to face his mother. John DuPonte had come
through and was now by her side. "William Montieu Jr., you answer your
mother right now!" Her voice sounded like dried gravel. Something was
happening to her and she didn’t know what it was.

Why was
she unable to set foot into the kitchen? And why did her throat feel like it
was on fire? She reached out a hand towards her son but he stood stoic until he
saw Celeste running towards him. She ran right into his arms and the two held
each other tight despite the desperate screams and revolting insults that were
coming from his mother and John DuPonte. With Celeste still in his arms,
Will turned and looked at his mother and John in disgust.

"This
is your fault," he shouted at his mother and pointed towards the gaping
wound on the side of his head.

"Will
honey don’t say that, momma needed to keep you safe. I had to get rid of that
nigga whore, because if I didn’t she would have ruined your life."

In an
instant Will came face to face with his mother. "You ruined my life
mother, no one but
you. But your hold over me is
over mother, it's time for you to burn in hell." His words so strong, it
made her shiver. "As for you," he said now facing John DuPonte.
"You shall suffer far worse than any demon from hell."

"Ava!"
Kelly yelled at them as they ran by. "Ava thank god you're alright!"

All three were gasping for breath
while Kelly explained to them what was going on. "Be careful," she
said to them as they made their way towards the back of the house. "We'll
just wa
it here," she murmured and held onto
her husband.

 
They
stood frozen on the back porch and watched as Will and John DuPonte stared each
other down. Amelia was begging her son for forgiveness when Sinta broke
through. "Sinta," Celeste smiled and hugged her friend tightly.
"I knows you'd bring me back," she said to the old woman.
"Wasn’t
jus
me Miss Celeste, I's had help."
She turned and held out her hand signaling to Ava and Magnus that it was okay
to step inside.

 
Magnus stood protectively in front of Ava, and Celeste
released her hold on Sinta long enough to make her way towards the two. Ava
whispered the words, "It's okay" to Magnus and let him step aside so
that she could see Celeste. The two stood in silence and both reached out for
the other and let their fingers trace the outline of their faces. Tears ran down
Ava's face, the moment she touched Celeste she was taken back to that awful
night in the kitchen. She could hear the words, the thoughts going on in
Celeste's head and then, through dead eyes she could see Amelia standing there,
she had watched it all.

 
"The death you planned for me is the one you will
suffer for all eternity," Celeste cursed her once more. Then she turned to
Magnus and said, "I sorry you born of him." She then lowered her
eyes. Magnus lifted her chin. "I am nothing like him and I'm so sorry that
he hurt you," he said with tears in his eyes.

A loud
monstrous scream fell out of Amelia's mouth. "I will suffer no one!"
She shouted. And with a grievous grin raised her hands causing an unseen force
to shove Magnus and Sinta out the doorway and back into the stormy night. 
Before the door slammed shut Magnus could see John and Amelia making their way
towards Celeste and Ava.

 
 "We've got to get back in the house,"
Magnus grabbed Sinta's hand and they ran to the front porch.

"What
happened? Where's Ava
?" Kelly began
questioning them.

"She's
locked inside with them," Magnus rushed out the words and tried opening
the front door.
He cursed when it wouldn’t
budge. "Fuck!" He said and tried again. "Help me Steve," he
said to his friend. They took several steps back and rushed up against the door
in an attempt to break it down but it was no use, it still wouldn’t budge.

"Come
on," h
e said to Steve.  "You two
stay here."

  "You
think I'm going to let you take my son away from me again?" Amelia was
stronger now and she was able to enter the kitchen. She held Celeste by the
wrists and her grip was like a vice. John DuPonte had managed to subdue a
struggling Ava by wrapping his hands around her neck. "You hurt either one
of them and I'll see you both in hell," Will shouted at them. "Now
son listen to your momma, get out of here and let us take care of these
two," his mother frowned at him. "Can't you see son? Momma is always
going to look out for you."

Ava was
the first to sense that something was coming. A violent rumble shook the
foundation of the big house and she swore that the she could feel it sway.
  Soon they all felt it again, and outside the
rain had ceased but the wind picked up and leaves and woodland debris swirled
by Kelly and Sinta who were stranded on the front porch.

"She
coming for her child," Sinta shouted out.

"Who's
coming? Is it the help you summoned?" Magnus questioned
her,
they had made it back to the porch after
being unable to get inside the house. Even when they tried to break a window
the large stone simply bounced off the glass like a rubber ball.
"Something doesn't want us to get in," Steve shouted.

"Mother,
when are you
going to understand that my love
for Celeste will never die? I will love her for all eternity."

The wound
on the sid
e of his head had disappeared but
Amelia's grip on Celeste did not loosen. "You let her go now mother."
Will was gritting his teeth now and took a step closer towards her. Celeste
never took her eyes off of him and Ava noticed a sense of calm in them which in
turn made her anxiety lessen.

 
"Everything gon be alright Miss Ava,"
Celeste said and closed her eyes. Ava did the same, as a robust gust of wind
shattered the kitchen windows and shards of glass flew everywhere. A ghostly
female voice commanded, "You let my daughter go!" Celeste and Ava
opened their eyes and everyone heard a fierce reverberation coming towards the
house.
"Momma!" Celeste exclaimed. The sound
of Zelia's voice caused Amelia and John to release their grips on the two
women.

The room
grew fearfully silent and Ava nervously held her breath in anticipation of what
was to come
. The spirit of Zelia stormed into
the house like a wild fire that had gone out of control. And even though it had
been raining, flames lined the path where she had walked only moments before.
She stood at the threshold of the door and her ferocity drew Celeste away from
Amelia and into the loving arms of her mother.

"Now
go ahead Miss Amelia, tell them what you did to me and my daughte
r," she said. The tall woman wore a tattered old
dress but to Ava, she looked elegant. "Zelia has come back Miss Amelia,
this here is your chance for redemption, go on now tell your boy what you
did." Zelia kept her daughter wrapped in her arms while she stared at Amelia,
willing her to confess her atrocious sins.

"Fine!"
Amelia said. "I'll tell you what I did Will and when I'm finishe
d, you will know that I truly had your best interests
at heart my dear boy." She moved closer to John DuPonte as she began to
tell her story. "You see son, your daddy was always fond of Zelia, I mean
just look at her with her fair skinned complexion and her tragic light brown
eyes. I just knew that your daddy was sleeping with her, and when I found out
that she was pregnant well at first I was furious, but then your daddy told me
that he had lost her to a business associate one night at poker. It was then
that I decided to spare the woman of any immoral doing. At least until after
the baby was born, but once Celeste was born, and I saw that she was the
spitting image of her mother, well I just hated her from then on.

I waited,
eigh
t long years in fact and when I thought that
she was old enough to serve me without her mommas help I put my plan in motion.
You see your daddy was away on one of his so called business trips and while he
was gone I took it upon myself to get Leon, one of the field slaves to do a
special job for me. I told him that if he would very discreetly get rid of
Zelia that I would grant him his freedom along with some money to start a new
life.

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