Mena's black boots glistened from the petite puddles scattered on the old and cracked pavement that had turned black from the night's rain. She maneuvered between fellow pedestrians and pranced around the scattered pools of water that shimmered from ambient hues of gold and white light with a splash of blues, greens, or reds from the restaurants and bars of the French Quarter.
Mena spotted her friends ahead standing under an awning of a gallery celebrating an up-and-coming local photographer. Pixie, a nickname since high school for her petite stature, long mass of blonde curly hair, and unwavering high energy, spotted Mena first.
"Mena!" yelled Pixie as she jumped up and down because a tall man came around from behind and walked in front of Pixie blocking her view of Mena. Idla looked up from her drink in hand and grinned at Mena as she stopped in front of them letting the hoodie of her jacket down and revealing her hair. "YES! I love it! Turn, turn, turn," said Idla as she looked at Mena's new layered haircut. "I love it when you go red!" said Pixie, running her hand through Mena's layers. "New beginnings, right?" asked Mena as Pixie picked up two drinks from a little outdoor table next to them and handed Mena a drink. "Beginnings!" they cheered, raising their plastic wine glasses in the air. "To beginnings!" "Wooooo!" "Yah!" yelled a group of spirited New Orleanians in the street walking past the gallery.
"Let's go in," stated Idla. The three friends walked into the crowded gallery together. They have known each other since high school, cheering and supporting one another through the ups and downs of their teenage years. Now, they navigated through their mid-20s, supporting each others' goals and making sure life is as adventurous as it should be.
"What is that?" asked Mena in a tone indicating she was unsure about hearing the answer she thought she knew. Idla, who is tall like Mena, with long jet-black hair looked over at her and laughed with a mischievous twinkle in her eye confirming Mena's suspicions are true of the 30×36 black and white photograph. "That's a vagina," stated Idla, "a close encounter of one and another photographer trying to pass it off as abstract art." "Well, cheers, may the force be with you!" interjected Pixie laughing.
Mena and her friends moved to a secluded corner away from the people gently taking over the space in front of the photograph. The group spoke in awe of its "mysticism."
"If our body parts are so mystical and inspiring, then why are we still having to fight for our ownership, defense, and merit of our being?" asked Mena. "Mystery to me," stated Idla sarcastically. "Well, I'm all for the female form captured beautifully in a frame larger than my head," stated Pixie rolling on the balls of her feet as if to physically bring more meaning to her statement. "I will also be first in line at the voting stations," she continued. The friends laughed and clinked their drinks to unify their stance on current political matters.
They slowly walked around the gallery looking at more photographs. Pixie looked over at Mena, her eyes showing concern, and asked, "Are you still not sleeping?" "No. It's the same dream every damn night. There's something above my head on the body pillow I have against the wall, but when I go to look, I wake up."
"Maybe, we should see if there is a crystal or something that can help you figure this out. We are in the best part of the country for something like this," stated Idla. "Yes! Oh, and, Ouija board!"
"Oh, dear Lord Pix. Ouija board? This dream feels real and doesn't feel good, like something is watching me and I don't think it's a guardian angel. I think my guardian angel has left the building, so not sure I want to invite anything else in with a Ouija board."
Idla laughed and asked Mena and Pixie if they were ready to go from the gallery. They all agreed they had seen it all before. They left to hunt down a crystal or something that would help Mena see what was trying to get her attention while she slept.
Idla led the way through a damp mist that clung to the muggy air and the people of New Orleans. The three friends made their way past doors emanating sounds of Dixieland Jazz, laughter, mumbled conversations, and entwined aroma of alcohol and creole cuisine. The French Quarter sounds soon turned into faint echos of Gypsy Jazz and distant voices of reveling. "Where are we going?" asked Pixie. "You'll see," answered Idla. "The streets are getting darker and where are the people? This feels shady." "Pix is right. If we die, know that I love you both," announced Mena. "We're fine," laughed Idla, "we're almost there."
The three women rounded a brick-cornered building to see a soft glow escaping an old black door cracked open. Ornate iron gas lamps on either side of the door guarded the shop from the darkness of the night with a tetchy flickering flame. They entered the hoodoo shop silently and slowly embraced the macabre atmosphere. The tiny, heavily wooden shop housed an organized chaos of lit candles with wax creeping slowly down the sides and over the rough wooden shelves and counter. Eventually, the wax makes its way to its final destination, the floor. Emaciated remains of a cat perched high on the wall glare down upon them from the corner of the room. Shelves and tables were lined with crystals scattered among unused candles, tiny animal bones, amulets, dried bundles of herbs, and wax-sealed bottles with secret liquids inside. Tiny strings of light intertwined between an array of hanging bundles of herbs and flowers drying from the ceiling. The smell of musk, flowers, oils, and a sweet aroma of lust seemed to materialize in and out of the dense air.
A tall woman came through a beaded curtain from a back room just behind the counter. She has strong cheekbones and jawline, piercing green-brown eyes set on caramel skin with black hair streaked with bright silvery-gray strands and ending just past her shoulders. She looked at Pixie, Idla, and Mena without expression, stopping on Mena. Mena looked back, eyes locked on each other, and before Mena could speak, the woman said, "You have an attachment." She turned from behind the counter and raised her hand adorned with bulky silver rings set with an array of stones and crystals. She lightly ran her fingers along the glass bottles of herbs and stones that lined multiple shelves up to the ceiling. Idla and Pixie looked at each other, Idla nodding as if to say, told you we're in the right place. Mena walked up to the counter and watched the woman collect bottles of herbs and stones. She wanted to ask how she knew and what exactly is an attachment but waited for the woman to finish placing a concoction of earthly elements from the macabre and mysterious things that lined the shelves.
The woman turned around to face Mena placing a black, velvet round mat on the counter. She opened bottles and laid out crystals, stones, and some dried herbs on the mat. She looked up at Mena and said, "Someone close to you put a curse on you a long time ago. This person talks unpleasantly about you behind your back." The woman's voice was slightly deep with a comforting, velvety tone. She placed her finger on each object laid out before them and explained its purpose: "This is water tourmaline. It will draw spirits to you that don't want to be seen or are hard to find." The woman put the crystal in a small black velvet bag and continued, "This is red jasper, a stone that helps one to awaken within a dream rendering more power to the one in a dream state over low energy spirits or entities-"
"What is it?" asked Pixie a little shyly. "It is a low-energy spirit conjured by a person of no experience or natural power. It is not a demon, nor is it evil. It is created to be mischievous and cause negative emotions to the target."
"Do you know who did this?" asked Mena. "Someone close. You need to find that answer on your own."
"This is black walnut used to harness divine energy which we already possess within us," continued the woman looking at Idla and Pixie then landing her eyes on Mena as if to say, you can do this. She placed the black walnut in the bag with the tourmaline and jasper and added a couple of yellow, fluffy, ball-shaped flowers. “Arnica will increase your psychic ability to be able to communicate with the negative energy." Handing the small bag to Mena, she explained to place the bag under her pillow when she sleeps. She then took three small selenite wands and wrapped each one with basil leaves using a white string. At the end of the string was a tiny bottle with what looked like black sand. "Place the wand above your head. The selenite will help push the low-frequency energy from you, detaching itself from the curse. The basil leaves will assist in this exorcism while protecting you with the energy of love. The bottles contain black pepper powder. The berry is strong in banishing unwanted energy." She handed the crystal wands to Mena, Pixie, and Idla.
Looking at Mena, intensely, the woman said, "You are more powerful than this creature. You demand it leave your presence. It will try to hang on by any means but it is all an act. Remember that."
Mena paid the lady and the three friends walked out the door. It was raining, again. The friends moved off to the side of the door to talk out of sight.
"Exorcism?" questioned Idla. Mena looked at her with concern and slight bewilderment. Pixie touched Mena's arm and asked if she knew who it could be. Shaking her head in confusion, she said, "Probably my mom."
"Why do you think that?" asked Idla. "Because there is a book on the devil, Lucifer, that has been hidden behind the leather-bound, classical books in the library at my parents' house-"
"Are you serious!" Pixie yelled in shock. "She was always weird about it when we'd dust all those books before Christmas when the grandparents would visit. She would dust it herself instead of handing it to me as she did with the other books. I knew it was there. It bothered her that I asked about it. She said I was too young to see it, and that it was just a book about the fallen angel. She said the book was given to her by a friend of the family. Why would someone give a gift like that, or was she just trying to cover up that she purchased the book?"
"Ya, that is weird," stated Pixie looking at Idla. Idla opened her eyes in surprise and asked, "Did you ever see them reading it? Is there an altar in the back of their closet?" Mena snort laughed and Idla and Pixie laughed nervously along with her. "No, I never saw anything like that but it wouldn't surprise me if she did something. She used to cut my hair when I was young and keep strands of it, you know, just in case I was kidnapped, and cops needed a DNA sample."
"Thorough," interjected Idla. Pixie just stared at Mena with a horrified look on her face pondering how to process this information.
"The store owner said, 'Someone close to you put a curse on you a long time ago. This person talks unpleasantly about you behind your back.' My mother was so angry with me growing up. I couldn't do anything right. It bothered her that I was trying to live my own life, and she talked about her disappointments of me to others. It is hard to believe she'd do this, but how she acted over this book is what came to mind when the lady said, someone close to you."
"Imagine being your own person. God forbid," Idla said sarcastically and continued, "I remember how your mom and sister treated you including your father. They sabotaged a lot of your decisions."
"They were very controlling and said horrible things, but this is bizarre," added Pixie.
"So, what do you want to do?" asked Idla. "Well, you know how I am trying to speak up for what I need since I couldn't in the home I grew up in?" Mena looked at Pix and Idla, who both nodded in agreement. "How about a slumber party?" Mena stated in a playful questioning way.
"Yes!" said Pixie enthusiastically. "Oh, hell ya. We got selenite power! Let's go," said Idla who led the way back to Mena's place.
They walked fast darting between awnings that briefly sheltered them from the rain. The storm intensified with strobe-like lightning and explosive, earth-shuddering thunder.
The women opened a tall gate and made their way up a winding staircase of stone steps accompanied by an ornate black iron railing. The staircase circled an outdoor patio decorated with oversized plants, wrought iron gas sconces, stone flooring, iron tables, and chairs that were drenched with rain transforming the typical New Orleans decor into a moody rainforest.
Mena turned the key, opening the door to her apartment, a small, open studio apartment with brick walls adorned with photography and paintings. A multi-glass Moroccan chandelier hangs in the corner opposite the front door and near a very large window. The lamps cast a blended hue of red and white light around the wall and bed just catty-corner from the window.
Mena lit candles around her place, got everyone drinks, and put a record on the turntable of the greatest female jazz singers.
They sat on the couch and chair around the coffee table that sits in the middle of the studio after drying off and changing into cozy pajamas and fuzzy socks. They lounged in silence letting Ella Fitzgerald's silky voice soothe their nerves as they tried not to think about what the rest of the night might entail.
Pixie got up from the chair and headed towards the end of the bed where the crystal wands and black mini bag were placed. She tripped over the long pajama bottoms she was too short for. She grabbed her pant legs pulling them up while shaking her hips side to side and kicking her leg slightly out to get her feet free.
"Siri, play Groove Is In The Heart by Deee-Lite," stated Mena excitingly getting up and turning the record player off. Idla jumped up from the couch and joined Pixie and Mena in Lady Miss Kier's signature dance moves singing the song at the top of their lungs. Midsong, lightning exploded with a flash through the windows. Thunder instantly cracked, shaking the building and leaving the friends in the dark with only the glow of the candles and the sound of the storm.
"Damn, that was loud," said Idla a little breathless. "Good thing you lit the candles," said Pixie sitting on the end of the bed.
"I forgot to replace the batteries in my emergency lantern, so-" Mena looked around her apartment lost in thought. She felt a little uneasy, hands on her hips, then she focussed on her fuzzy socks. The rain pounded the roof and window bringing Mena back to the present.
"I can't do this. This is insane. How-" "Mena, you won't know unless you try this," stated Idla as she placed her hand on Mena's arm. "I don't want to face this thing. That means it's probably true. How could she do this to me and is this even real?"
Pixie looked up holding a selenite wand in her hand and said, "You said it yourself. You believe when we pass on it's our soul that lives, just in a different form, an energy." Mena, looking concerned, asks, "This energy can be created? Why would anyone-"
"It's probably no different than a human creating his or her reality with their thoughts," interjected Idla, "we either create a good life or stay in a bad one with how we deal with situations. Not to say bad doesn't happen, but it's our choice to will energetically what we want out of life," explained Idla.
"Your mom has lied to you about situations and has repeatedly sabotaged any interests you tried to pursue. She worked hard at making sure you didn't have a better life than hers. Maybe she used that book to make sure you are just as miserable as she is," said Pixie.
"If you say there is a book on Lucifer she tried to keep from you when you had access to the Bible," Idla looked right into Mena's eyes, "she is hiding something."
Idla leaned in and hugged Mena and said, "We got your back." Pixie jumped up and wrapped her arms around Mena and Idla as best she could.
"You have to remember the woman said you are dealing with a low-energy spirit. You are more powerful, and you demand it leaves your presence," Pixie said with optimism.
"It's midnight. Do you want to stay up for a while?" asked Idla. "I am tired," stated Mena as she walked over to the bed. "Time to face the darkness."
The rain continued with flashes of lightning and distant rumblings of thunder as the women got cozy for the night. Mena put the bag given to her under her pillow. She placed the selenite wand above her head and tossed a large throw over herself. Pixie grabbed a pillow and throw blanket from the couch and got comfy on the plush, oversized rug. She lay down between the coffee table and the end of the bed. She turned on her side, folding her arms towards her face with the selenite wand resting in her hands. Idla reclined on the couch placing the selenite on the coffee table next to her. She started looking through a European fashion magazine by the glow of a candle behind her on the side table.
Mena's mind was bombarded with questions, encouragement, doubt, and fear- a whirlwind of thoughts that made her heart beat a little faster. Is it really an entity? Could she control this spirit in her sleep? Did her mother do this to her? She focussed on the sound of the rain pouring against the window to calm her mind. Her eyes gave way to the heaviness of restless nights and fell asleep.
Three soft zen-like chimes from the clock in the kitchen joined the sounds of heavy rain and thunder.
Mena felt her body jolt but she couldn't move her legs or arms. She could see the room from her bed but not Pixie or Idla. She felt something above her head. She arched her head back turning her face to the left and saw it. Mena gasped and tried to yell but no words came. It peered down on Mena with large, almond-shaped, deep brown to almost black eyes with tiny glints of light scattered in the iris. It gazed at Mena with a playful smile as if it wanted to play with its prey.
Mena looked back at the room, hoping to see her friends, but the room only seemed darker than before, with no friends in sight. She looked back behind her. This thing looked like an adult human but disproportioned. It sat with its left side exposed to Mena. Its knees tucked to its chest concealing its naked body. The arms and legs are abnormally long and thin compared to its body. The skin is a dull, dark slate gray. Her face is oval with thinnish lips that are a little wider than they should be. She has black hair that is greasy, matted, and slick to her head. She doesn't break her gaze with Mena.
Mena forced the words through her throat, "GET OUT!" The entity looked surprised then sad at Mena and shook its head slowly back and forth to indicate 'No.' Mena desperately tried to move but her body was frozen. She panicked and started to hyperventilate when she couldn't scream. The terror Mena felt countered her efforts to move her body from the bed. An ice-cold hand slapped down on Mena's forehead, long bony fingers with long, sharp, pointed fingernails spread across her face. Mena's screams finally escaped and she screamed with pure terror trying desperately to engage her muscles. She started to rock her shoulders off the bed. The entity leaped over Mena landing on her thighs in a crouched position. Mena gasped and froze as its sharp, pointed toenails punctured the pajama pants and pierced through to Mena's skin. It crawled forward placing its hands along Mena’s hips. It moved its legs to a crouch position and sat on her lower stomach. It brought its face slowly towards Mena and steadily pulled the corners of its mouth back revealing a gaping pitch-black emptiness. Mena could only move her eyes away from the creature and screamed again, trying to move her legs to get the thing off of her.
Idla and Pixie woke startled by a high-pitched, gut-wrenching scream. "Grab your crystal!" yelled Pixie to Idla. They rushed to the bed and got on either side of Mena holding their wands. "Mena! Mena! Wake up!" Pixie had tears in her eyes and Idla looked alarmed as Mena's agonizing screams continued. "What do we do?" "I don't know," Idla said looking at Pixie in shock.
The entity curled its sharp toenails into Mena's lower stomach, eyes wide with delight at Mena's painful screams.
Idla could see Mena's hands splayed out, rigid, quivering as if she was trying to lift her hands and arms off the bed. Idla placed the selenite wand in Mena's hand holding it in place. "Place the selenite in her hand," Idla said to Pixie. Pixie moved closer to Mena and held her hand between both of hers with the crystal resting on Mena's palm.
The creature opened it's mouth wide in pain arching its back away from Mena. It loosened its grip from her lower abdomen. It looked to the right and left as if it could see something or someone on either side of Mena. She knew it had to be Idla and Pix and with a firm, commanding tone said, "Get the fuck out of my house!" The creature looked back at Mena and said calmly with innocent, wide eyes, "No."
"Who are you?" Mena asked with assertiveness. The creature calmly lowered its body back on Mena's thighs, sitting in a feminine way on its left hip, knees together and legs tucked in at an angle. The tangled ends of its long black hair fell forward covering its breasts. "I was created," said the creature as it toyed with Mena by placing a finger on her chest cutting through the nightshirt down to her navel. "I have a purpose and you will not remove me," she said staring into Mena's eyes and not blinking.
Mena tried to calm her breathing, trying to keep her body from quivering from fear and adrenaline. "What is your name?" "No name," said the entity, snapping its head to the right. She leaned over lowering her head to peer more intensely into Mena's eyes. She raised her finger, moving it to Mena's chest, and traced the same line as before with a little more pressure on Mena's skin down to her waist causing a sharp pain. "Stop! You aren't real! Get out!" The creature opened her mouth wide revealing that strange blackness and tossed her head back and screeched a piercing scream causing Mena's skin to burn with her nerves exploding like a lightning bolt through her whole body.
It looked back at Mena and with the most hideous, twisted, contorted face and said, "Your mother created me and WE HATE YOU!" It's voice echoed throughout the room.
Mena closed her eyes. A tear seeped out of the corner falling down the side of her cheek.
"Mena," Pixie whispered as she watched tears fall from Mena's eyes. "Mena! You are more powerful, and we love you!" yelled Idla. "Mena we are your family!" said Pixie loudly as tears welled up in her eyes, again.
"Keep holding her hands. Let's feel peaceful and loving energy. It's a low-level being. Maybe it can't stand calming energy," said Idla. Idla and Pixie closed their eyes taking deep breaths and let their thoughts fall through the joyous memories of their friendship.
Mena faintly heard Pixie and Idla talking. She could feel their hands on hers and started to see flashes of memories of the three of them throughout their friendship. She began to feel stronger and more safe knowing her friends are with her.
Mena opened her eyes and stared calmly at the entity. The entity was acting skittish looking right and left with concern making strange, short, breathy noises. Her mother's abusive words molded Mena into compliance and the emotional pain Mena felt throughout her life suddenly vanished. Mena felt self-aware in this moment. Strong. Assured. Peaceful.
"I release you," said Mena calmly. The entity contorted its face and in a deep, guttural, furious voice said, "NO! YOU WILL NOT HAVE MORE THAN ME!" "I release you. You are free to leave this dimension and be free. No harm is to come to you and you are not to harm anyone else." The entity's face softened to a look of uncertainty. Its eyes widened and it hopped up on its feet crouching and digging its sharp fingernails into Mena's hips. Mena didn't react. She felt no pain only peace. Mena sat up to come face to face with the entity. The being hunched its body and moved back onto Mena's thighs surprised and uncertain of what Mena would do next. Mena raised her hand and rested it on the creature's face causing it to open its mouth in contorted pain but it couldn't pull away from Mena's hand.
"I am sorry you were created out of pain. You deserve peace and you must leave me. I will no longer be harmed or controlled by you." The being's face softened into sadness. Its hair untangle becoming fuller and more clean looking. The creature's eyes widened with a look of innocence as it stared at Mena then faded away.
Pixie and Idla said Mena's name over and over as she sat up in bed in a trance-like state. Mena slowly looked around the room as it came into focus. Her friends leaned in and hugged her.
"It's gone. I don't feel that heaviness anymore." "Your screams were terrifying," said Pixie. "We are your family. You know that right?" asked Idla.
"Yes. I love you both. I couldn't have faced this without you."
The storm had calmed down to the sound of rain softly falling onto the window. A hum was heard then a click and the Moroccan chandelier lights turned back on. Siri turned on and began to play I’ll Be Seeing You by Billie Holiday. A crackling noise caught the attention of the three friends. They turned their gaze to the turntable as the needle placed itself down on the record. I’ll Be Seeing You by Billie Holiday began to play.
Idla and Pixie looked at Mena with alarm as Mena said, "That's my mother's favorite song."
About the Creator
Hi, I found Vocal on IG & was inspired to write my first story. I write in the supernatural & psychological realism genres. The supernatural stories are read at Pleasant Hauntings on YT. Thank you for coming along on this new journey.