The Voodoo Child - New Orleans

It was the twilight hour. Horizontal shafts of light filtered through the open curtains in the front room of his house on Marigny Street. Owen sat in the dark staring at his hands. He flexed and interlaced his fingers.

Ebele was gone. The shed out back was covered in pentagrams, blood, and bones. The only things left lay at the feet of some altar: her journal and a bottle. How could he not have seen this coming? How could he be so blind?

That was twenty-two days, eleven hours, and seventeen minutes ago.

The air was thick inside his small, shotgun house, in a sprawling neighborhood just inside of New Orleans proper. His phone lay on the sofa beside him. Thirteen calls placed to Jaiden (Cell), unanswered. Owen's mind reeled inventing kinds of trouble he could have gotten himself into searching for Ebele. Searching for his mother. He'd never asked for his father's help. Practically spat in his face. The trail's gone cold. She needed your help. You abandoned her. His eyes washed over the meaningless life that surrounded him, alone.

A wind set itself against the house. The back screen door swung on its hinges, and Owen got up to close it. In the yard the aluminum shed hummed a humid static. His brown eyes lighted on it, fell, then he caught that sound from within... What was that sound?

He cocked his head, leaving the screen door to flap against the house. Six easy strides brought him to the door, a muffled sound within. His key fumbled in the rusted padlock, the moon's yellow light enlarging his shadow. The padlock hit the dirt, and Owen pried open the door to darkness.

Except for a single candle.

One step closer and he could see it wasn't a candle, but a picture of his son, burning. He was a child, held in his mother's arms, both sharing a secret smile with the photographer. The flame crept from the corner until it had burned passed the nail which had stuck it to the wall, and fluttered to the ground. He reached out to pick it up--what was left.

He blew it out, and somewhere from within the shed he heard the scratching of a guitar. A high-hat, then the shriek of Jimi Hendrix's Voodoo Child at full volume.

"If I don't meet you no more in this world then uh
I'll meet ya on the next one
And don't be late
Don't be late"

He faced the doorway, searching the ashed photograph in his hand. Their faces were gone, but he could still see them, watching him. Watching what he would do next.

Owen slammed the radio off its shelf to shatter on the floor.

"Piece of junk."

The door to the shed bounced behind him as his figure grew smaller, as he threw open the door to his piece of shit car, jammed it into gear, and peeled out of the driveway.

There was only one place to go to pick up the trail: his son's dorm room at Tulane University.

"God damnit, Jaiden," Owen shouted into his rear view mirror.

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