Joshua groaned as the throbbing in his head threatened to blow his eardrums out. Damn that saucy bargirl last night. Without opening his eyes, he reached out his hand to find the glass of whisky, but in his slovenly half asleep state, fumbled and knocked the drink to the floor. The cheap, thickened glass did break on the wooden slats and he swore softly as he heard it roll about the uneven hotel flooring.
He groaned again , hoping it would send some lifeforce into his heavy legs. It was mornings like this he felt pinned to the bed, unable to rise or make a start to the day. A ray of sunlight hit the side of his head so Joshua retaliated by throwing his arm over his forehead, shielding his not yet opened eyes. The old metallic bed squeeked and rattled as he shifted his body on the lumpy mattress. A light smile came to his face as he remembered evenings prior where had had made the bed rhythmically sing with his efforts with the female forms under him. Bringing his hand to his chin he scratched it thoughtfully before deciding it was time to sit up and finally start the day.
Joshua flung his hand to the side of the pillow and felt a wad of roughed material between his fingers. His hand explored the uneven shape and gave it a slight squeeze.
A sob and muffled cry from the corner of the room forced his eyes open and as he attempted to sit up he saw Erzilie tied to one of the wooden chairs, rough hessian rope circling her body and a red cotton kerchief stuffed in her mouth. Her eyes blazed with anger and pain, rather than the fear he had expected to see such a slight, young woman hold.
He struggled to sit again, only then realizing that his other hand was cuffed to the metal bed head and his feet hogtied to the foot of the bed.
He thrashed his body about twisting and turning, his throat raspy from the liquor he had drunk the night before.
“You’ll wear yourself ragged Joshua Barton. You’ll be needing your energy over the next few days, so I’d suggest you conserve it now.” A honeyed voice from a hidden corner commanded.
His free hand tightened over the tiny hessian mound. Erzilies muffled shriek of pain forced his hand to release the object, the link to her discomfort obvious to his otherwise muddled brain.
Steady tapping on the boards spoke the arrival of the honeyed voice, close to his bed. A strikingly beautiful diminutive woman, her skin glowing ebony, stepped into his line of sight. She held her hand out and indicated with a slight incline of her head toward the material Joshua was loosely holding. He only realized then that his fingers were digging into a rudimental doll shape.
“Your child, Joshua.” She indicated to the doll.
He snorted and barked a hollow laugh. “Madam, you have me mixed up with someone else. I can assure you I have no children. Now I demand to be freed.”
A languid hand floated over his face and traced the sweat over his brow. Her hand strayed down his shoulder and along to his hand, stopping only to scoop up the doll. Cuddling it close to her breast, she began to carress it. “Free?” she asked, her eyes still focused on the doll. “Joshua, you will never be free. You have crossed too many lines, broken too many taboo, flaunted our culture and yours, for the exchange of fleshly pleasures.”
Joshua thrashed about on the bed again , attempting to grasp anything with his free hand. It was caught firmly with large dark hands, the fingernails gleaming white with the force. A rough rope encircled his wrist and tightened as it pulled taut.
With the doll pressed gently to her cheek, Brigitte ordered the silent man holding Joshua. “Take Erzilie away, Ogoun. Joshua Barton and I need to speak.”
Futilely attempting to reach Erzilie, Joshua pleaded, “No please, don’t hurt her. None of this is her fault.”
He snatched a look at her and saw tears glittering in her eyes.
“I love her. Please, don’t hurt her…….Erzilie, I love you, I came back. To take you to St Louis. Away from everything and everyone I know. Away from all this. We could start a new . Folk there are more forgiving, accepting, we could be together like a real couple, we could.. get married.” He pleaded with his eyes for recognition or emotion.
“Pretty words, Joshua Barton. The last she’ll hear from you.”
Brigette turned and ordered, “Take her, Ogoun. You know what to do.”
“Maman, as you wish.” Ogouns large hands clasped Erzilies shoulders and guided her out of the room.
“Now Joshua, you need to understand the implications of impregnating a priestess of the Way.”
“She’s pregnant, we’re going to have a baby? Don’t hurt her, please I am begging you.”
Her long fingers traced his face tenderly as he pleaded with her. Sharp fingernails raked his cheek suddenly.
“Focus Joshau Barton. My voice aught to be your world right now, not your needs or wants.”
A trickle of blood found its way into his ear and began to pool in the cusp.
Voodoo Doll - Image by Vincent Ma via Flickr
Authors note: This is another (much earlier) chapter from my Voodoo Cowboy series - one of them can be found here. Dep on the prompts - I may write more about these characters this year.