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Authors: Kira Saito

Oppressed

BOOK: Oppressed
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OPPRESSED

 

 

 

An Arelia LaRue Novel
#4

Copyright 2012

Smashwords
Edition

by

Kira Saito

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those who die young and
unexpectedly.

 

 

Don't let them fool
ya,

Or even try to school ya!
Oh, no!

We've got a mind of our
own,

So go to hell if what you're
thinking is not right!

Love would never leave us
alone,

A-yin the darkness there
must come out to light.

-Bob Marley

 

 

 

 

 

When I despair, I remember
that all through history the ways of truth and love have always
won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they
can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of
it--always.

Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

The Funeral

 

 

A wicked wind combed through my
long hair
,
while the stars above me floated against a pale violet sky that had
been just abandoned by an angry sun. The humid summer air was
oblivious to my despair as I sat there half- paralyzed, reluctant
to move, breathe, or even think. The smell of damp earth,
freshly-cut lilies and chrysanthemums was strangely enticing and
equally gruesome as it danced around the grave in front of me. I
leaned against a fat oak and let its claw-like branches brush
against my cheek in a consoling, almost motherly manner.

Unsure of how I had gotten to the point I
was at, I was unaware if I should move one step forward or one step
backward, so I did nothing at all. Certainly doing nothing was
better than searching for answers that I wasn’t ready to hear or
willing to understand; or was it?

After I had kissed Lucus good-bye the
world had gone blank, as if someone or something had hit the reset
button on the strange movie that was supposedly my life.
Nothingness slowly transformed into an overpowering sense of dread
and utter helplessness, and then without warning I found myself
sitting in front of an unmarked grave in the corner of Darkwood
cemetery. Around me, tombs swayed to a savage, ghostly rhythm that
was all too familiar. Their strange shadows intertwined and
surrounded me, tempting me to join them in their never-ending
party.

 

 

 

 

 

Arelia LaRue, you’ve come
to party with us, haven’t you?

Why not leave it all behind and
join us on the other side?

This world doesn’t
appreciate you, it never has.

It’s caused you nothing
but pain.

Leave it all behind and
come party with us.

You n?can join him, isn’t that
what you want?

Don’t you want to join
him?

He’s gone…

Sabrina’s safe…

Marie’s happy…

But he’s gone…

What’s the point of going
on?

I sat there like a zombie and
stared at the grave
, not even questioning why the world around me had suddenly
vanished. I didn’t want to know why Aunt Mae, Henri, Sabrina or
Grand-mere hadn’t bothered to come to his funeral. Didn’t anybody
care? It didn’t matter because I didn’t want to share this moment
with them.

I fiddled with the white buttons on my
ugly Darkwood blouse and bit my fingernails. The anger and
frustration that had consumed so much of my life had evaporated,
replaced by a profound, uninvited sadness that I thought I had been
incapable of ever feeling. I grabbed a handful of dirt from the
grave and enjoyed the odd sensation as it slipped through my
fingers. Everything seemed to slip through my fingers.

To me, Lucus LaPlante had been so much
more than a ridiculously handsome man. He had been my
personification of hope, and he had managed to do the impossible.
He had stripped me of some of my cynicism and had forced me to
acknowledge the beauty, wonder and love that existed in a world
that I had once written off as being nothing more than an
oppressive jungle. Despite my reluctance and sheer stubbornness he
had somehow managed to charm his way into my heart, and I had
fallen in love with him. But now, like all good things, he was dust
and I was alone.

As I stared at the grave, I questioned the
purpose of it all. What was the point of coming this far only to
fall in love with Lucus and then have him ripped away so quickly?
Is that what Marie had wanted? Had she wanted me to kill off Lucus
as some kind of sick sacrifice? Payback for the unnecessary
suffering and horrors Louis had endured throughout his life?
Payback for the cruelty society had inflicted on her and Jacques?
Had she tricked me into believing that she actually cared for Lucus
when in reality she had been out for revenge? An eye for an eye,
even in the land of the dead? The thought was too depressing and
shallow to bear.

I sat on the mushy earth and felt sorry,
not for myself but for the sad world that surrounded me with all
its wasted potential, constant disappointments, wars, never-ending
hatred and prejudices. Was the universe so utterly messed up that
even the dead needed to satisfy their lust for revenge and payback?
If everything good and hopeful was bound to be destroyed, what was
the point of life? Ivan had been right. Nothing is fair, and
nothing will ever be fair. I let out a small sigh and looked at the
bright side: Sabrina was safe and unharmed.

The wind grew stronger, making
the purple lilies madly sway and do a morbid dance above the grave.
Under different circumstances, the sight of them carelessly playing
and meandering under the happy yellow moon would have been
breathtakingly beautiful, but now, it seemed like a mockery.
Another slap in the face dished out by the
loa
. A powerful chill ran down my spine,
which told me Bade was near.


Go away,” I said before
he could say anything.

Sadly, I had no control over him and the
wind only grew stronger, prompting a purple lily to land on my arm.
I tried to ignore its sweet smell as it wafted into my
nostrils.


Get up, Arelia. You’re in
danger. Get up now,” he hissed.

I continued to ignore him.


Get up, silly one,” he
persisted.


No! I’m sick and tired of
your games!” I shouted furiously as I tried to fight back the
bitter tears that were quickly building. “I listened to you and all
the other loa and now look where’s it’s gotten me! Absolutely
nowhere!”

In protest, I ripped the lily off my arm
and threw it in the air, hoping it would smack Bade in his
invisible face.


Stop being so dramatic,
silly Arelia.”


No!” I leapt up from the ground
and pointed my index finger in the air. “You stop being so cryptic.
I’ve done absolutely everything you’ve asked. I’ve listened to your
silly advice about finding love and beauty in the ugliest
circumstances. I listened to Erzulie and her endless ramblings
about understanding. Hell, I even let Louis whip me instead of
beating him to a pulp. I gave Marie peace and reunited Lucus and
Louis, and I …” I couldn’t finish the sentence. I fell to my knees
and buried my head into my hands in an attempt to cover my
tears.


And you what?”

My body trembled as I tried to
suppress the words that were on the tip of my tongue.


You what?” Bade
hissed.


I fell in love… I fell in love
with Lucus, and now he’s gone.”


You’re delusional,” Bade
said simply.

I wiped away my tears and moved my hands
away from my face. I took a deep breath, and when I spoke I tried
to be as rational and calm as possible. “No. I’m not delusional.
I’ve done everything you’ve asked of me. I’ve always done
everything I’ve been expected to do. It seems like everyone around
me wants to change, re-arrange and school me, and I’m sick to death
of it. I’m not a superhero, and God knows I’m not perfect, but I’ve
tried and I’ve tried, and now I feel broken and defeated. Yet
everyone around me expects me to keep going on as if I’m some kind
of robot. Well, the truth is, I’m not a robot.


I have weaknesses, and maybe
those weaknesses make others uncomfortable, but they’re what make
me human. I refuse to be what you or anybody else wants me to be. I
can’t be this all-powerful Voodoo Queen who runs around helping
people while totally neglecting myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m
happy Marie has found peace and Louis found some sort of
resolution, but to take Lucus’ life was cruel and unnecessary. I’m
sorry if you can’t understand where I’m coming from. I can’t run or
fight when I don’t even know what I’m fighting for anymore. Maybe
I’m being dramatic, but Lucus was the only one who let me be me. I
didn’t have to pretend around him and now that he’s gone I
feel…”


You feel?”


Hopeless and
confused.”

Bade let out a low
sigh
. The
wind got so warm that the tears streaming down my face instantly
dried. “I
do
know how you feel, Arelia. Spirits get confused too. Do you
know how many times I hear the same complaints? Bade, why another
hurricane? Bade, why another tornado? Bade, why another sea storm?
Bade why? Why? Why? You humans never seem to acknowledge all the
good I do. Very few of you bother to appreciate the sheer beauty
behind it all. How I make the leaves rustle just so. How I caress
your sweaty skin on a hot day or how I make the ocean waves ripple
in perfect harmony. Sometimes I feel like disappearing and letting
you humans take care of your own messes. It’s not easy helping a
bunch of whiners who refuse to help themselves, but I continue to
do so because it’s what I’m meant to do.”


Why do you even bother helping
us if you think we’re so whiny and useless? What’s the point? If no
one seems to appreciate what you have to offer, why go
on?”


Arelia, as much as I would love
to have a philosophical debate, you need to run. You need to
find
him
.
He has the answers you’re looking for. If you don’t run right now,
you’re going to be stuck in this delusion forever. You’ll be
trapped on this side forever because that’s what they want. Marie
needs you to find
him
so you can find
her
. No one is going to find any peace until you stop whining
and do what you’re meant to do.”

Oh God, how many more riddles, puzzles and
games did Bade have up his sleeve? I laughed a deep, cynical laugh
and broke my resolution of being all respectful to spirits. “This
side? Clearly you’re the one who’s delusional. I’m in Darkwood
Cemetery. This is reality. I’m beginning to realize that death and
destruction are the only realities.”


No,” he hissed. “No, you’re
imprisoned by your own fear and unwillingness to face the truth.
None of this is real. Lucus’ body isn’t in that grave. Marie wanted
you to find
him
so he could lead you to
her
. She has the answers. She’s waiting for you. How
can you give up now? You’re so close… So close to the
truth.”

I lay down on the soft earth and curled up
beside the grave. I arranged myself in the fetal position and ran
my fingers over the damp earth. For a second, I felt like laughing
at myself. Was I seriously laying in the fetal position beside an
unmarked grave in a cemetery? After fighting so hard this is what
it had all come to? Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. “You’re wrong. I
kissed him good-bye. I heard a voice that said I needed to
sacrifice something, and I know I sacrificed him. I know he’s in
here.”


You’re wrong. He’s waiting for
you.
She’s
waiting for you…”


Whoever he and she are, I
don’t want to meet them. I want to stay here with him.”

Goosebumps rippled up my bare legs as the
warm wind turned icy. The hum of the swamp animals changed from
subtle and sweet into wild and barbaric, making it seem as if they
were singing a strange and dismal lament. The dark stench of death
suddenly became overwhelming, but I didn’t mind. I wanted to be
consumed by it if it meant being closer to Lucus. I wondered if the
flesh had already dropped from his bones. How long did that
take?

BOOK: Oppressed
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