Here is Chapter One of Suppressed (It's unedited and will change before publication!) enjoy.
Darkwood Plantation, New Orleans, 1853
During the Death of Cecile LaNuit
My body trembled as fat bone chilling raindrops soaked my flimsy cotton dress. A ripple of goose bumps slowly crawled their way up my slender back and filled me with grotesque delight and exhilaration. Wild wolves howled, owls hooted and snakes dramatically hissed foreshadowing what was about to take place. I yanked a thick snake off of a nearby oak branch and draped it around my neck. A low chuckle escaped my lips as the reptile slithered its fork like tongue in and out of my left ear.
The scene that played out in front of my very eyes was one I had longed for. I had dreamed of and undoubtedly deserved after what seemed like an eternity of careful calculation and patience. It was vengeance at its finest and the start of what would be my promised rule. He had been right. The greatest freedom fighter and savior of the suppressed had promised me this day and he hadn’t let me down. I dug my bare toes into the damp ground relishing the feel of the pointy thorns and thick mud that clung to my moist skin.
I hid behind the rickety wood door and focused my attention on the pathetic figure that was sprawled helplessly on the filthy cabin floor. She had always been a stubborn, self-sacrificing pacifist. Naïve Cecile refused to fight back when she could have easily done so. She was weak, vile and wholly unworthy of everything she had been privileged with and that is why she was laying with her face in a pile of mud surrounded by an angry wolf pack.
I had spent years quietly analyzing her features, the way she moved, the pitch of her voice, the tone and texture of her skin. I knew everything about her. The width of her mouth, the thickness of her eyelashes, the size of her corset, the length of her fingers and every one of her many irritating habits that should have made others abhor her rather than love her.
What was it about her? What made her better than me? Was it the shade of her skin, the color or eyes or the blood that flowed through her veins? But most puzzling of all why did he want her out of the way? Why was he threatened by her?
It wasn’t my place to question him but I figured it had something to do with her very soul. Her very spirit that made the loa willingly help, guide and protect her. That spirit needed to be eradicated. He had promised me if I got rid of her I would have full control and complete ´power over New Orleans and a permanent position of power within his New World Order. As far as I knew he never broke his promises. When I was down on my knees, he was the only one who gave me the strength to fight. When my soul was as scarred and bruised as my back he gave me the wisdom to understand that I was more than just a lowly slave destined for a life of servitude and constant humiliation.
After all, he had been the one who had inspired me with this brilliant plan. To get rid of Cecile I would need to suppress her spirit in a manner so brutal that it would never find its way back to this side ever again. There was only one way to do that and I had done it. Kill the light. Her light. Kill hope. Her hope. Lucus. And tie her to a soul that will make sure to keep her in eternal misery. Edmond. I had promised Edmond Cecile but I never said I would deliver her alive… He would just have to wait until he met her on the other side.
You see, most people naively believe that the spirit world is a myth. A fairy tale invented by savages to make up for their lack of scientific knowledge. But I knew it was real. The real myth was the world of flesh and blood. What happened to your spirit after death was vastly more important than what your physical body did on any given day. The spirit was eternal and the flesh was disposable.
Raataaaaaa Raaataaaa Raaataaa. The sound of raindrops pounding against the cabin roof grew louder and I leaned in closer. The crack of a whip cut through the tense atmosphere. A waft of metallic blood mingled with the murky smell of the earth crept up my nostrils.
Madame LaPlante stood over Cecile. In proper lady like manner she adjusted her peach satin nightgown and brushed away the loose strand of hair that had escaped from her otherwise immaculate bun. Her pretty wide eyes appeared demonic and a vengeful smirk danced on her lips as she dished out the first lash. I admired her force and the way she ruthlessly administered the blow. She did it without flinching without getting any dirt on her gown. I knew right then and there that she could be useful. Very useful…
Cecile laughed as the first lash ripped open her skin. Her laughter soon turned to weeping and wailing. Each scream was more wretched than the next and I couldn’t help but smile at each and every cry.
I let out another low chuckle as a flood of tears soaked her cheeks and bright blood oozed from the gash on her back.
Madame LaPlante remained completely oblivious to her pleas and continued to whip. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. I continued to count until Cecile’s eyes closed. One hundred and twenty three. It had taken exactly one hundred and twenty three lashes for her to pass out. I felt her spirit fading and knew that victory was mine.
“Hang her,” Madame LaPlante ordered. She gave her one last whip before spitting on her bloody face.
The burly red-headed driver nodded as he clutched Cecile’s limp, lifeless arm and dragged her across the cabin floor. I quickly hid behind an oak tree and watched as the driver placed a noose around Cecile’s neck and strung her up onto the tree. Her body madly convulsed as her spirit was squeezed out of her. Her toes twitched and fingers jerked before becoming still and completely lifeless. She was a tragically beautiful doll who had been doomed from the beginning because she had been too self-righteous. She had been too weak, too emotional, too good. There was no room for people like her in this world. This world belonged to people like me: strong, ruthless and determined to fight for what they wanted at all and any cost.
“Adieu,” I whispered, as I felt her spirit cross on over to the other side. “You won’t be missed my dear sister.” I dropped to my knees in pure joy and held my stomach as hysterical waves of uncontrollable laughter poured out of me. It was done and I knew that I had made him proud.
The driver gave Cecile’s dead body one last satisfied glance before leaving her there. I knew that she would be left hanging on that branch as an example to the other slaves and free people of color who worked on the plantation. The best tactic to install fear was making an example out of one disobedient person. I knew that tomorrow slaves would look upon her body in horror and whisper among themselves. They would bow their heads down further and work even harder to please their masters and take further delight in their own imprisonment. Pathetic idiots. If they couldn’t see how much their freedom was worth they deserved being imprisoned and used like animals.
“You fool!” Edmond’s harsh voice cut through the deafening rain. It caught me off guard and put an abrupt end to my diabolical laughter.
I glanced up and saw that his icy blue eyes were filled with an unnerving fire and his usually impeccably combed brown hair was wild. The gash on his forehead was leaking blood onto his mouth, chin and had stained his crisp white shirt but he was oblivious to his demented state.
I rose from the ground and took a step backwards, almost tripping over a tangle of bright purple Wild Iris’.
There was something utterly unnerving about Edmond’s manner and I instantly knew that something had gone terribly wrong with my master plan.
Like a wild beast he let out a low primal grunt and a few deep breaths before he dove towards me and forcefully grabbed a hold of my shoulders and shook me senseless. “You savage! You’ve ruined everything! I should have never trusted someone so inferior! So unworthy! Someone not quite human!” He screamed over and over again as if he had lost all reason or notion of sanity. The bourbon on his breath was overpowering as it drifted up my nose and burned the insides of my throat. His anger was raw, bitter but full of authority. I couldn’t let him unnerve me. I wouldn’t let him unnerve me. I could feel his rage burn into my soul and I knew that despite his flaws he would be a worthy companion. A useful companion.
For a second only a mere second I remind you I was temporarily disorientated and tears of confusion threatened to slide down my cheeks until I remembered who I was and what I was meant to do. Swiftly, I grabbed hold of his beefy hands and savagely clawed them off of my neck. I had come too far and had fought too hard to let anything stop me now. Remembering his promise and his plan for me I used all of my strength and pushed Edmond off of me. He stumbled backwards like a drunken fool and fell onto the murky earth with a deafening thud. A brown owl madly hooted above him mockingly.
Wasting no time I caught my breath and tried to crush the flood of fear his presence implanted in me. I stood over him and pressed my bare foot into his chest. It was an action that would have easily gotten me the death sentence but I didn’t care. I didn’t live by the rules imposed on me by this society. I was above that. I knew he would keep me safe as long as I followed him. From the well hidden cloth sack I kept strapped against my waist I pulled out a tiny veil of Power Oil and rubbed the mixture of lemon oil, Vetivert, Patchouli and blood over his face. Power Oil was an essential for any King or Queen because it gave complete domination over an enemy and made them bend to the will of the user.
Edmond’s body grew limp and I could feel his spirit weaken but his eyes were still consumed with hatred and disgust which angered me to no end. The sight of him lying there helplessly sent a shiver of satisfaction up my spine and I was tempted to snuff out his life entirely but restrained myself. “Patience,” I muttered. “Patience. You’ve come this far. Whatever this is nothing but a minor setback” I brushed my lips against his left ear. “Tell me everything.”
“Damn you,” he gasped, as his bow-shaped lips quivered. “Damn you… Where is Cecile? You promised me Cecile!”
I let out a low sigh as I smeared some more of the oil over his lips, the back of his neck and across his chest. “You will talk,” I said firmly, as I slapped him across the face out of annoyance more than anything else.
He let out several deep breathes and I could smell his fear. I took delight in the way the bright blue vein in his right temple pulsed madly underneath his pale skin. “My idiot cousin is alive. Alive,” he said, as if not quite believing the words that were coming out of his mouth. “Alive…”
“Alive?” I whispered, as I tried to hide my insecurity. No it couldn’t be true. “Are you sure?”
“Of course I’m sure. Are you insulting my intelligence, you savage?” Edmond tried to retain his sense of superiority even when I clearly had the upper hand. “Where is she?”
“Does he remember anything?”
“No. He’s always been a fool. Now, he’s a confused fool. He’s searching for Cecile. I need to get to her first. She’s mine. Where is she?”
I took another deep breath and tried to think of the implications of this revelation. If Lucus was alive that meant Cecile, being her stubborn self, would somehow find her way back to this side. It meant he would be terribly disappointed in me and it almost meant that I would never gain all the power he had promised me until I got rid of Cecile for once and for all. I had to get this situation under control and I had to do it now.
“Where is she?” Edmond demanded again, as he tried to fight off the impact of the Power Oil.
I released him and rose from the ground. With all my strength I dragged Edmond’s body and placed it under the oak tree. He thrashed wildly as he tried to resist my grasp but the oil had left him weak, weak enough to use and manipulate as I pleased.
A small smile played on my lips as my eyes darted from the tree branch and then back to Edmond’s expectant face. I knew exactly what was about to happen. My heart beat faster and my muscles tensed in excitement.
Edmond eyes filled with horror as thick drops of blood bounced off of his forehead. He glanced above him and let out a rather girlish scream when he saw Cecile’s body dangling from the tree branch. “Noo!” He attempted to reach for her, struggling against the Power Oil as if he actually believed he had a chance. I took pleasure in watching him powerless, weak, and unable to move as he pleased. It was another small victory for me.
I stretched out my arms and laughed as I took in the scene. I had never felt so alive so revived. The muddy pool of water that had accumulated under my feet slowly turned a ruddy color as blood met mud. Red the color of fire, revolution and re-birth. Unlike Cecile I knew that in order for a revolution to be successful blood needed to be shed, enemies needed to executed and allies had to be carefully selected. Yes, I knew exactly what needed to be done. My revolution was about to start. But first there were a few minor details that needed to be fixed.
I turned around and started to make my way to the main house when Edmond’s voice caught me off guard. Despite my power the mere sound of his voice sent a faint chill through my body and I automatically froze. I realized then and there that I was free in name only but how long could I live this way? How long could I put on the façade of being fearless when I was secretly still afraid of the oppressors. I was mentally a slave living in a self-imposed prison and I loathed myself for my weakness. I needed to set myself free and I knew the only way I could do that was by carrying out my mission and making him happy. I knew this thought pleased him immensely as the rain stopped and the gloomy gray clouds scattered revealing an inky sky that seemed limitless in its dark glory.
“Where are you going, you savage?” Edmond asked, as he once again attempted to compose himself. Even though he was soaking wet, covered in mud, sweat and blood he held his head high, straightened his dark brown hair and spoke with the kind of confidence that came from a lifetime of privilege and luxury. I wasn’t going to be intimated by him ever again.
I turned around and looked him straight in the face. My eyes burned into his conveying all the frustration and anger I felt towards him. Now was the time to let him know who was in charge. I walked towards him slowly. With each step I took I drew closer to my mental emancipation. As my feet crushed the ground below them my courage grew. Soon, the heat that pulsed through my veins became so fierce I knew that I could conquer anything and anyone.
Edmond studied my expression and for a minute he simply stared. Instead of recoiling in horror like I had planned he clutched his stomach and let out a laugh. “Who do you think,” he said between laughs. “Do you know who I am?” he asked, as he tried to lift himself off of the ground.
Clearly, the Power Oil wasn’t as effective as I had hoped but I wouldn’t allow that to stop me. I lunged towards him and grabbed him by his neck which caused him to fall backwards. It was an action that caught him totally off guard. I knelt beside him and his blue eyes bulged as I dug my nails into his thick neck. Spots of bright red blood emerged as nail met flesh. I was a ruthless animal as I continued to claw him while dosing him with more of the Power Oil. Soon, every inch of his pale skin was slick and greasy. I could feel the rhythm of his heart slow down until it was nothing but a faint, distant drum beat.
“Go home,” I ordered. “Go home until I come for you.”
“Home,” he whispered. “There is no home without Cecile,” he said quietly. His eyes were wide and his lower lip quivered in a child-like manner.
I sighed and reminded myself that above all things a successful revolution needed a bit of raw honesty. “Edmond,” I said. It was the first time I had dared to say his name out loud. It was the first time I felt I had the right to say his name at all. “You and I are exactly the same.”
I ignored him and continued. “You don’t really love Cecile. You love what she represents. You love control, power and domination. You’re obsessed with my dear sister because she’s the only one who refused to beg or bow down to you.”
“No that’s not true... I love her because… Because.” He tried to unsuccessfully search for a reason why he was so obsessed with Cecile.
“Yes, it is. I know how you feel because I have the exact same craving as you. This craving for power that consumes your every waking thought. This feeling of knowing that you’re much better than those around you and, this urge, that can’t be satisfied. This hunger for domination that continues to grow and grow,” I said, as I slowly loosened my grip.
“It’s never good enough,” he said sullenly. He tried to cover his mouth with his hand but thanks to the Power Oil the words continued to pour out. “Nothing I ever do is ever good enough for him for them.”
“Papa and Maman. They are insufferable. The whole bloody family is pathetic, especially that moronic cousin of mine. Can you believe that he is actually worth more than me? Imagine. Him worth more than me. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe that’s why Cecile insisted on fighting for him.”
Edmond rambled on and on about his disgust for his family and how everyone around him was unworthy. I let him speak and took in his words carefully. It became clearer that Edmond in fact would be the perfect partner if he was kept on a short leash. He was cruel, obsessive and power hungry but above all I knew he would do anything to make sure Cecile’s spirit would remain in eternal misery.
“I can give you exactly what you want,” I said soothingly, as I traced his jaw line with my right index finger. “I can bring Cecile back. I can give you more power than you could ever imagine, we can live forever but you need to follow my rules.”
I knew that he wouldn’t ever really follow my rules but that didn’t matter I had ways and means of keeping him under control. I dosed him with more of the Power Oil and reminded myself I had to find a stronger and more effective solution to keeping him under my domination. A trick would get the job done.
“Yes,” he muttered faintly. “Yes. I want it all and more much much more.”
“Excellent,” I whispered. “Now go. Go before they see you here. No one can know you were involved especially not your cousin.”
“I won’t leave her,” he said groggily, as his eyelids started to close.
He was so stubborn, worse than Cecile, but I wasn’t going to let that deter me. I took off one his shoes and used it as a shovel to claw away at the earth directly under Cecile’s feet. Afterwards, I plucked out a strand of Edmond’s hair, covered it in Power oil and threw it into the little hole I had dug along with his shoe. Burying someone’s shoe along with a strand of their hair and some Power Oil was a simple but very effective trick that could be used to make sure the person ran and didn’t stop until you commanded them to.
Edmond rose and kissed Cecile’s bloody feet before stumbling into the darkness of the forest.
“Adieu for now, dear sister,” I said, as I rose and from the ground and straightened out my wrinkled cotton dress. There was work to be done.