The Moonlight Girl
And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. (Mark 5:9)
Shannon Price was a successful man; he lived in New York City, was a stockbroker, and hated the crowds on the street. The big city was made of steel and concrete with great buildings rising towards the sky. O. Henry, the great author of short stories, had loved New York, but Shannon hated it. The buildings all look the same, everything moved at an impossibly quick pace, and the streets were filled with rude foreigners.
Shannon knew that he could not leave New York City on a permanent basis, not a man of his class and education. So, he did the next best thing and bought a vacation house tucked up a hollow or a holler – as the locals called it – in the outskirts of Ohio.
Shannon looked out the red truck window, while Gus Anderson drove him to his new house. The street was paved, but badly pitted with potholes and it dipped in the center.
"I can't believe you actually bought the old Parker place and overpaid to have that shit hole fixed up. Hell, I'd tear it down and built anew," spoke Gus, while chewing on a chaw of tobacco.
"I like the charm of the place."
Gus let out a low chuckle and said no more. The trip was quiet, allowing Shannon time to take in the view. He counted five houses before he came to his own. His house was a small white cottage with a rusty chain link fence around it. He got out and looked around. The grass was mowed; he had paid a small fortune to a local landscaper to keep it maintained. The creek, which flowed beside the house, was clean of leaves and the water was crystal clear.
"I hope you like it, Mr. Price. Do you have plenty of groceries?"
"Yes, to last a few days. I have a rental car coming tomorrow, so I'm all set. Are the neighbors really friendly here?"
Gus Anderson spat out a large lump of tobacco, wiped his chin on his shirtsleeve, and said, "Yeah. They'll talk to you and as long as you don't poke your nose in their affairs, you'll have no trouble."
Shannon pulled out his wallet from his hip pocket and handed Gus a hundred dollar bill.
"Thanks, Mr. Price, for your generosity. A word of advice if you go around carryin' that much dough I'd stick my billfold in my front pocket. Can't be too careful these days," spoke Gus, as he pocketed the money.
Shannon watched Gus drive down the road and smiled. He was free at last from the noises, the smells, and the bright lights of New York City.
The first thing Shannon did was, unlock the house and enter it. He took off his suit jacket and admired the place. After a few moments, Shannon walked to the refrigerator, grabbed a six-pack of beer, and walked out on the front porch. He sat down on the porch swing, cracked open a longneck, and enjoyed nature.
The sound from the creek and the five beers caused Shannon to drift to sleep. His dreams were filled with the noises of New York City, the car horns blasting, the foreigners walking the streets barely talking English, and the smell of cheap hot dogs filled his nose. These were the things that he hated. He was walking the street, trying to avoid eye contact with a Chinese woman, who kept smiling at him. A cold wind started blowing and he pulled his coat closer to his body. It didn't help, he still felt cold. His eyes fluttered open and he realized that it had been a nightmare. He felt cold, so he took a gulp of the beer, which by now had turned warm. The moon was high in the air. Shannon had slept through the entire evening. The moon's light was so bright that he could see his hands. They looked strange and pale. The city lights had always drowned out the moonlight. A feeling of eeriness swept over his body. There was a strange silence that filled the air. A whippoorwill made its cry and caused Shannon to feel uneasy. Was this the real America or was New York City the real one? Before he could answer the question in his head, a strange chanting filled the air. The acoustics in the holler caused the chanting to sound like it was being whispered in his ear. Shannon studied the voice and determined it to be female and to be foreign. He could curse his luck. One of the things he was trying to escape was the sight of foreigners and he could hear one in his private paradise. Perhaps, it was the beer or the strange feeling caused by the moonlight that filled Shannon's heart with anger. He stormed into his house, went to his study, pulled the derringer out of the desk drawer, and slipped in his front pocket. His plan was to confront the foreign female and make her stop. This was a part of America that Shannon wanted to believe was pure and unadulterated. It had upset him badly to think that they had penetrated the sticks.
He walked down the road at a quick pace. His heart raced with excitement and fear. The sound grew louder and louder. He was getting closer. The chanting sounded like it was thundering now. Just when he thought that his head would explode, he reached his destination. There he saw a house painted black and standing in the front yard was a young woman dressed in the same color. Her arms were stretched in the air, as if trying to touch the moon. The wind whipped her dress around, exposing her bare thighs. She chanted in time with the whippoorwills. What was she and where did she come from? Shannon wanted to know. To him she looked like a demonic gypsy with her black hair, pale skin, and white teeth.
Normally, Shannon was too xenophobic to speak to foreigners, but the beer, the derringer, and his new environment made him feel bold.
"Hey, voodoo bitch, why don't you shut-up? Go into your house or better yet leave the neighborhood."
The woman in black lowered her arms and fixed her eyes upon Shannon. Her eyes were wide and glowed. Her lips were bleeding a little and she licked them. She spoke, "I am Thomas. I have lived up this holler for twenty years; perhaps, it is you who should leave."
Shannon could feel his blood pressure rise. He knew the strange woman was mocking him. He was angry, but it wasn't just the anger making his heart race.
"Your name is not Thomas and there is no way in hell you could have been here for twenty years."
The woman gave him a puzzled look and spoke, "Thomas? No my name is Anthony. I helped General Washington drive out the British."
A smile came across the woman's face and she licked her bloody lips.
Shannon felt nervous and scared. He could feel his manhood pressing against his blue jeans. Then he felt the derringer in his front pocket. He pulled it out and pointed it at the woman. He pulled the hammer back and made his threats. "Listen, you have to know what this is. It is a gun and I could kill you with it. And I will kill you with it if you don't tell me your name."
The smile never left those bloody lips and her tongue darted across them continuously. Her curvy build could tempt any mortal man. She spoke again. "If you kiss me, you would not wish to kill me. Kiss me and you shall know all."
"Tell me your name, voodoo bitch," shouted Shannon.
The woman raised her eyebrows and said, "Kiss me."
Fear, disgust, and hormones raged through the city boy's body.
"You think I want to kiss you…"
The woman rubbed her hands along her body. Shannon watched her hands explore every inch of her sensual parts. She closed her eyes and puckered her lips. Her eyes opened slowly.
"Kiss me. Kiss me," her lips didn't move. Shannon had heard the voice in his head. It seemed to overpower him. He eased the hammer of the derringer back in place and pocketed it. It felt like a magnet pulling his legs towards her. He could not stop them. He closed his eyes and concentrated what little willpower he had left on stopping his legs.
"Stop, legs, stop," he said within his mind.
He smelt a strange scent of flowers and blood. Shannon Price opened his eyes and stood face to face with the witch girl. Her glowing eyes sparkled in the moonlight. He was powerless against those charms. Her arms wrapped around his neck and drew his mouth to hers. He tasted the metallic blood on her lips. He tried to pull free from her, but it was futile. Shannon felt his body melt into hers. The kiss was long and passionate. The moonlight girl opened her eyes and continued her chant in time with the cries of the whippoorwills.
A few weeks passed and Gus Anderson was driving up the hollow where the moonlight girl lived. He was on his way to see how Shannon Price was getting along. When he drove passed the black house he stopped, for the witch girl was swinging on her porch swing and drinking a longneck. Gus stopped his truck, rolled down his window, stuck his head out, and shouted, "Hiya, witch girl, and who are you today?"
The woman took a big gulp of beer and said, "Shannon Price from New York City. Lovely day, Gus."
Gus Anderson spat out his chaw of tobacco, rolled up the window, and left.