By Elizabeth Oxendine, TIWP Student

She walks down the cobblestone stone street with a crooked smile. The humidity hugs her skin too tightly but, it’s nothing compared to the dress she’s wearing; it steals the breath out of her lungs and gives her nothing back. Black lace fades into the night sky and she wonders where she starts and the darkness stops. A soft jazz song hums with the same charge as an electrical wire, she can feel the vibrations of the saxophone intrude her thin skin. If only the white dust smeared across her upper lip was from the powdered doughnuts at the Cafe du Monde, no such luck. The amber eyes of alley cats flicker like lightning bugs. Sweat rolls down the vertebrate of her spinal column; her body can cry even when her eyes can’t. The crimson red beads that dance only when pushed feel foreign under her fingertips as she ducks into the rotting doorway. The voodoo shop smells of bitter tea and sage burned too deeply. Tiny vials filled with little horrors line the walls, all have malicious intentions and all are waiting for maleficent owners. Her makeup melts down her cheeks as the three-paneled fans keep turning. Her mind plays the memory of heavy breathing and poisonous lips pressed against her over and over again like a record player that keeps on skipping just as the song is just about to reach the chorus. Somewhere out there in the thick of the bayou, living amongst black water and camouflaged predators, there is her soul lingering in the shack where it had been stolen. She traces the blossoming bruises on her wrists with a quivering finger, Bourbon street a distant oasis. Magic was painted into the walls and sewn into the drapes but yet she couldn’t bear to ask for something so intangible. A jar labeled mischief catches her eye, nothing inside except the darkest black she’d ever seen. It pulsates chaotic energy as she lifts it off the shelf with greedy hands. Just one twist to the left. One taste of whatever hellfire is contained inside the glass casing. She turns the lid. Wind. Water. So much water. Mother nature chuckles as the hurricane escapes the jar and flees to the streets of New Orleans. Who knew one woman violated could bring a city to its knees?

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