Got My Mojo Working Part 2 (New Orleans)

“Mista Walka.” Antoine Fourchette bustled into the room. He was a man of some size, well beyond three hundred pounds, but his ease indicated comfort with the burden. The suit he wore was tailored and tastefully cut to flatter his physique. The man was a good twenty years Owen’s senior, his afro textured hair closely cropped and shot through with grey. He extended a well manicured hand. “Fagive my tardiness. I trust Nadège has shown you hospitality?”

“Quite alright,” the man’s grip was one accustomed to having the upper hand, Owen observed as he tilted his head. “She was indeed... hospitable,” his eyes followed the direction she’d vanished then returned to the large man. “At the door, she said only I could meet with you. Now why’s that?” Feigning indifference, he met Fourchette’s gaze as he sipped the tea that was now too sweet for his taste. Of course his priority was to find out if the man knew anything about his son, Jaiden, but the comment was enough to pique his interest.

Fourchette leaned forward. With the motions of a man completely at his ease, he scooped glistening ice cubes, before pouring them into a slender highball glass. ‘De white girl,” he replied as the pitcher was tilted to deliver its’ sweet cargo, “told Nadège ‘dat you been’ sleepin’ beneat’ a demon mark. She spoke its’ name.” He lifted the glass, his voice dropping to a whisper as he recited “Azaneth.” After a sip, the portly host asked, “how many marks you found in ya home, Mista Walker?”

Owen watched Fourchette, “Now, I don’t know anything about a demon mark, but someone has been busy defacing my house. My son… he found five before he...” He didn’t bother adding his suspicion that his wife, Ebele, had placed the marks herself. “This Azanath, who is he?” Whoever he was, the man was the center of some kind of strange group that had apparently spread far and wide across New Orleans. “I’d like to meet him,” he said, setting down his glass with a thud.

“No Suh, you wouldn’t,” Antonie replied with a chuckle. “Azanath is -- “ He thought carefully. “A legend, goety. Folks be trying to gramarye him up since long before the levees. You show me the five marks, and I’ll make sure Azanath skips ovah you if he comes ‘round.”

“Look, I don’t buy this superstitious mumbo jumbo; it’s obvious you do. I just want to know why they’re there, and what they mean to someone like you.” He didn’t ask, who put them there. He hoped that the ominous man before him didn’t already have his own inklings. These marks meant something to Jaiden: something which propelled him toward his next step, and with each syllable the trail was going colder. “Can you tell me that?” He met Fourchette’s eyes in silence.

Antonie thought for a moment and stroked his chin. “Well, I could, but I’d need to see the placement of them to be certain. The placement of the sigil is just as important as the symbol itself. Even if you don’t buy this ‘mumbo jumbo,’ the person who marked your house did. It could be an invitation, but I can’t say fah sure.”

“Fine,” Owen said, “let’s go for a ride.” He stood, upending the last of his tea before replacing the sweat leaden glass on its coaster. Katherine said this man was the one to find, though why still eluded him. To Owen’s eyes, the heavy man seated before him was of little help unless he knew where Jaiden would have gone next. Then, something in his head clicked.

“Say, you wouldn’t happen to know a boy named Jaiden, or a woman called Ebele?” Owen asked, turning away from the man and feigning inspection of his book collection on the dusted shelves.

Antonie stroked his chin and searched the ceiling. “Sorry, can’t say as I have, but I’d be happy to ask around on your behalf.”

Owen nodded his affirmation and took a step toward the empty mechanical shop entrance to this windowed back-office. There was no sign of Nadège, but his hand traced the back of his neck to feel the trimmed hair that was her mark. This man, Fourchette, may be able to identify why the marks were placed around his home; that meant Owen would be one step closer to understanding why Jaiden left the house and where he was going. All the rest of this? His eyes swept back over the voodoo doll propped up on a bookshelf, the totem in the corner, and finally at the man Fourchette. All this was just a means to an end.

Much like a doctor, Antonie grabbed a black satchel from atop his desk, as well as the keys to his Lincoln Navigator. “Shall I follow you?” He asked. From the air-conditioned comfort of his vehicle, he placed a call to Nadège. “Find out where the little girl is from. Make sure she’s otherwise occupied. I’ll take care of Mister Walker.”

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