Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Love Charm: A Short Story

The Love Charm
P.R. Mason
Published by Patricia Mason, writing as P.R. Mason 
Copyright 2010 P.R. Mason. All Rights Reserved.

The root doctor said it would work. The love charm. I never believed in magic, or voodoo, or whatever, but I was desperate.
“Don’t fret so, Sarah,” Rayanne said to me as she twisted the steering wheel to avoid a cavernous pothole in the dirt road.
Gripping the armrest of my seat with one hand and the passenger door with the other, I prayed we wouldn’t careen off into the adjacent swamp. There were gators in there and I had a fear of being digested.
The headlights of her 2001 Taurus had little effect in the moonless night. Twin beams lost in the inky blackness of the low country South Carolina backwoods we traveled to reach Mama Leti, Rayanne’s grandmother and powerful member of the Gullah community. I wasn’t Gullah, but Rayanne knew me and Max and she thought...
“How does she make this charm?” I asked. Okay. Maybe I should have asked sooner. “I warn you, I get faint at the sight of blood. Well, not faint so much as unconscious.”
“There won’t be a lot of blood,” she replied. “Mama Leti’ll just make a small cut on the tip of your ring finger.”
“She’ll mix the blood with a special powder then put it into something like a locket or a key ring.”
My blood sacrifice would be for Max. Lately, he seemed to be acting strangely, like he couldn’t wait to find a wife. How could I expect him to stay single forever? He’d broken up with the latest girl-toy— the twenty-two year old bimbette—a month ago.
Max wouldn’t wait until I mustered up the nerve to approach him and say something like: “I know we’ve been best friends since we were five years old, but I’m in love with you.”
Besides, if I said such a thing he’d probably laugh himself hoarse. No, an honest declaration would be craziness. Not like traveling at midnight to a shack in the middle of a swamp for a love charm. That was oh so sane.
Rayanne floored the break pedal and the car slid in the mud a few feet before coming to a halt. The shack was barely visible. Then, I saw a light from inside as the door opened.
I pulled on the car door handle, swung it wide, and jumped out.
“Let’s get this over,” I said walking down the dark path. Rayanne followed. No sound around us except the cacophony of insects. Give me the city noises any day. This quiet would drive me buggy.
A figure appeared in the door of the shack.
My, my. Rayanne’s grandma was tall and had the broad shoulders of a man in silhouette, I thought.
When we reached the cabin, the light from inside shown on the face of the figure. This wasn’t Mama Leti.
“Max. What are you doing here?”
Examining the ground at his feet, he held out a key ring, then glanced up at me with brown eyes I knew well. “This is for you,” he said.

Cover Image from photo by Idea go/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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