Date: October 12th, 2012
At 3:12am, Steve reluctantly followed his whimpering dog into the hot and humid night air. Such weather was not uncommon for Mississippi in the summer. The magnolia-blossomed trees and indigo bushes loved it, Steve, on the other hand, just wanted to be back in bed. He lost his job, and his girlfriend five days earlier, and was feeling very sorry for himself. He walked down the street like a slow zombie, stopping every five paces to accommodate his curious dog.
So it went, until a cool wind hit his face, offering a deep life-giving breath. The howl brought him comfort, as well. As if nature called out in response to his sorrows. Then he could have sworn he heard something more…actual weeping…. a young woman’s voice.
"Sampson," the voice whispered, "Sampson." One would have thought the wind would drown out the voice, but as one grew louder so did the other.
“It can’t be a trick of the wind,” Steve thought, because his dog perked up his ears—he heard it, too.
“Sampson. Sampson.” The calls became more urgent.
Steve headed towards the voice, following his dog across neighbors’ yards, until a pitch-dark field lay before them. In the distance, Steve saw a lone light flickering.
“Someone must be exploring Lebeau-Blanc Manor,” he thought. This was not uncommon. The whole town grew up hearing of how the Lebeau and Blanc families united to establish the largest plantation in the state. The manor was “a colonnaded testament to their glory,” and a “remnant of simpler times.” Despite its history, local high schoolers claimed the manor before the preservation society. Steve attended parties there as a teenager, and marveled at the Georgian walls lined with bright graffiti, and dark ash from several small fires.
Steve often imagined what the house must have been like in its prime. He could almost picture the lavish parties with beautiful women in hooped dresses. They smelled like flowers, and played the piano, and had manners sweeter than a mint julep on a Sunday afternoon. Steve’s ex- girlfriend was neither sweet nor talented.
If a party was what Steve had heard, then he had no intention of busting it up. He was about to turn around, when he heard the woman’s voice again, mournfully singing:
A girl alone; a hollow home. / Sweet men have gone away. / They had no time to stop, or stay. / Her man has gone away. / When dreams are fading ever swift, / With love turned a rusty red, / Those who shared their little hearts / Must surely be dead.
There was no mistaking this for a party. Steve and his dog ran to the house—it seemed to take forever—and up several steps to the wrap-around porch. Together, they pushed the front door open.
"Hello!" Steve called out, his voice echoing. No one answered. “Hello,” he called again. He perked his ears, but there was no response. Then he heard a creak to his right. He turned quickly to find a young woman standing on the formerly grand staircase. She wore a white bustled gown. Moonlight shone in through missing patches of the roof, and reflected off her pale skin.
“That must be why she glows,” Steve thought.
"Sampson?" she asked, still sounding far away.
"No. It’s Steve. What are you doing here? Are you alright?" he asked.
"I will be when Sampson gets here," said the woman, "He’s terribly late."
"Were you the one singing the sad melody before?” Steve asked, trying to determine her mood.
YOU ARE READING
Celia's Sulfur Spring: and More Fairy Tales for Modern DreamersTeen Fiction
This collection of modern fairy tales breathes mythology into real sites, professions, and heroes, across the United States. Can a frog really be an imprisoned Architect? Can a future President learn diplomatic skills by out-smarting playground bul...