The Devil Came to Mamie’s on Hallowe’en
by Lisa Morton
It was Hallowe’en night, and business was slow at the whorehouse.
Leona didn’t put much stock in the stories that kept other folk indoors on this night. She’d laughed over stories about Jacky-Ma-Lantern, who’d once outsmarted the Bad Man and then couldn’t get into Hell or Heaven, and so on Hallowe’en he wandered around lighting his way with a coal kept in a pumpkin. She’d once seen the strange blue lights in the bayou that some said led unwary travelers to their doom on this night, but she didn’t really believe they were spirits. And her favorite of Miss Mamie’s girls, Lizzie, had talked about going down to New Orleans once and meeting up with a real hoodoo man, who she’d watched bring a dead boy back to life on All Saints’ Day. But as much as Leona loved Lizzie, she thought even decent, smart folk could sometimes be bamboozled when they found something they just plain wanted to believe in.
It was about midnight now (“the witching hour”, Leona remembered Lizzie once calling it), and the swamp just behind Miss Mamie’s was dark and quiet, no flatboats poling up to the dock tonight, unloading new customers. Leona wondered again where Lizzie had gotten to; Beulah, the cook, said she’d left out the backdoor about four that afternoon, just as the sun was going down. She’d taken a big kettle with her, and said she’d be back around night. It wasn’t safe to wander around the bayou any night, and Leona couldn’t imagine where Lizzie had gone.
It didn’t help that Mamie’s scrawny old cat, Lumpy (so named because he was as black as a lump of coal), was missing, too. (Continue Reading…)