Tag Archive: historical fiction


Emile stared out into the predawn fog listening for the soft sounds of the harbor.  He was searching for comfort in the lapping of water on stone, the creak of sun bleached hempen rope, or the call of river birds.  Though, if it was out there Emile was deaf to it.  Having spent the last week as a guest of the city in a dank cell, which smelled of a mildewy straw mattress and an overfull slop bucket and boasted an unobstructed view of the gallows, Emile should have been overjoyed.  However, his freedom came with the bitter taste of ashes.  He had been out of the Calabozo for less than 12 hours, and was more than halfway through the bottle of black tar rum, but he still couldn’t rid himself of that taste of loss and defeat. 

It had taken only one of those 12 hours to find out that his love, Lisette, had been whisked off to Paris by her disapproving father.  Monsieur LePomeret had ensured Emile’s devastation by booking Lisette passage on the steamer which left with the morning tide just hours before his release. He had spent an additional hour wondering aimlessly among the crowded streets of New Orleans till he found himself once more on Pirate Alley. Foregoing the more upstanding taverns Emile searched the shadowy fenced goods looking for the “good stuff”. He wasn’t disappointed, though after his transaction with the salt crusted gentleman his pockets were considerably lighter. Not that a little thing like that bothered Emile. After all, Lisette was gone; there would be no home to save for, bride price to provide, or children to feed. In the square he uncorked the amber bottle gave it a slight sniff then gulped.

The black tar rum was as thick and tacky as the name suggested, and…it burned. After the first drink Emile could feel a tingle on his lips and in his tongue, but with drink seven came numbness. Blessed numbness. By the time he had finished off better than a third of the rust colored rum the poppy seed syrup had taken effect. Emile stumbled from his holy alcove upon the St. Louis’ fine steps and made his uneven way to the harbor pausing often to take a drink, rant at the night, or freeze in place as if forgetting either the how or the why. Finally, he found himself on a small boardwalk. Emile took one final drink as he looked out on the misty Mississippi, and for a second he could hear Lisette’s sweet voice on the wind. In the drunken fog of his liquid courage he ran to her, his love had not abandoned him. As Emile slipped below the water’s surface her name was on his lips as blessed numbness crept back in.

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New Orleans spirit orb photo

I took this photograph in New Orleans earlier this year. While snapping photos of the water and a passing steamer I didn’t notice anything unusual, just a chilly wind off the water due to the morning rain. However, when I got home and uploaded my pictures I saw the orb. It was just above the boardwalk and appeared to be moving against the wind. Was this a spirit ill at ease with its demise? I can never know, but if it was perhaps Emile’s story will give it peace.

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She could picture it all real clear like in her mind’s eye.  The slick black convertible Ford V8 eating up the country miles as they cruised toward the Mississippi with windows down and Mr. Barrow’s arm draped over her shoulders.  Like some scene straight out of the talkies where Harlow falls for the handsome devil-may-care Cagney, with a wild streak a mile wide.  But better…so much better because no one yells cut when they disappear around the bend in the road.

He never breaks on the corners, so confident and brash, causing the 12 gauge double barrel to slip cold and heavy against her leg.  She reaches down to right it and catches a glimpse of herself in the rear view.  The glint in her eye is hard and she likes it.  She leans in closer touching her thigh to his never loosing sight of her reflection.  Steel-cut Bonnie and lead-foot Clyde.

People were going to remember them.

At the first pop and flash Bonnie smiled, caught in the fantasy of headlines and photographs, but by the 130th the slight upturn of her lips and the hard look in her eye were nothing but a memory.

Bonnie and Clyde as seen on Wikipedia

Bonnie and Clyde as seen on Wikipedia

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So I recently watched the A&E mini series on these two and was intrigued. I wondered about the stretch of the story due to creative license, but honestly when your wanted by the police yet still take and send current pictures of yourself to newspapers it doesn’t required much imagination to see the narcissistic self-destructive side of things. I know its wrong to be taken with the bad guys, but I absolutely love these types of stories. I have watched just about every one that’s been recently released, if you haven’t seen Lawless you should. Which historical bad guy do you secretly root for?

What had started as just an uneasy feeling had lately become an unbearable sense of wrong in the house.  It had all begun when her father remarried, but like a good Christian Lizbeth had tried to turn the other check, as it were.  However, the sensation of becoming an outsider in her own home colored every encounter; making it necessary for her and Emma to find reasons to escape the house.

While it was true that it had taken a considerable amount of time; Lizbeth found her convictions crystallizing as she watched her father giving piece after piece of her and Emma’s inheritance to the step family.  Evil was afoot in their modest dwelling, and it was well beyond time that it was delt with.

Finally the perfect moment arrived, Emma was out of town planning a much needed fishing excursion for the sisters and the stifling heat had most everyone seeking the dark cool of their rooms, but not Lizbeth.  She was huddled over a flickering tallow candle in the center of the attic mechanically working her way through the sorrowful mysteries, unblinking eyes staring at the one portrait of her father’s wife she owned, silently banishing the woman and her dark presence over the house.  When the candle guttered out sending shadows into the coroners of the room Lizbeth felt a chill run through her and her breath catch.  Her body fell prone as if struck while her sight dimmed, her mouth filled with copper, and every muscle screamed in protest.

When she woke it was morning, and in the light her candle and broken rosary seemed small and childish.  She expected little to come from her misadventure, and was thus taken by surprise to find her father’s wife complaining of  being poisoned over breakfast.  Needing fresh air and enough distance from last night to really think things through she set out on a small wondering walk into town, but with each step Lizbeth felt she gained less clarity.  Before long she had circled back to the house, as she made her way back to the kitchen door a tool near the shed caught her eye and she picked it up to put in the basement. 

However, the stairs she came to first lead up rather than down and Lizbeth followed them to the guest room.  As she walked out of the room the door swung slightly on its hinge exposing a creeping stain across the floor.  Quietly she made her way down the steps and to the foot of the couch where she stood looking down on her resting father when his eyes opened, “Lizzie?” he asked, concerned.

Strangely Lizzie found that she felt nothing but the lessening of heaviness in her arms as the hatachet splashed into the bottom of the well.

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