Well, folks, this is it. This is the last of my rebellious posts for this cold and cruel month. I hope you liked them, because I sure as heck got a kick out of writing them. I've been working on François since 2007, when I lived in that great swampy southern state. It was refreshing to plumb the depths of his character, even if it was only in these small little glimpses of his story.
I would dearly love to write up more little stories in the future, and I certainly plan on doing so. But not right now. Unfortunately, real life is getting in the way of my fun, so for March I will be sticking more closely to the assigned format of this blog, which I am sure Miss Lucy will be glad to hear.
Fear not, though, for when my freedom comes in April I will be right back to dredging up old characters and stories and breathing life back into them. Until then, dear reader, enjoy the last of François Boudreaux.
No. 4: Change
Despite what he thought, François was never truly alone in his swampy home. True, he had Marguerite and he adored her, but there is only so much company one can get from an alligator, especially a dead one.
No, François had other companions. He never saw them, but he knew when they were around. He had first heard them after he was shot and killed. When he woke up in his own bed, instead of the bank of the swamp or in the strange grey cavern, François could hear the whispered voices drifting down the hallway. He followed them to their source and discovered a part of his home that he had never seen before.
There, in the shadows of a bookcase, François made out the edge of a door frame, but just the edge. The rest, if there was any, disappeared into what François was sure was an outside wall. He certainly hadn’t noticed it before he died, and he suspected he was insane when he had first heard the voices issuing from the phantom door jamb.
Although he would never admit to it, François had become somewhat lonely after being brought back to life nearly three hundred year ago. He secretly looked forward to the voices calling out to him. Sometimes they whispered strange spells to him, and other times they told him what was happening in the world beyond his sheltered home.
This particular day, the voices were shouting. There was a presence in the swamp, they told François, a presence that he should welcome. He hated to hear it, but they told him that the time had come for him to venture beyond the bayou and, they added, to stop being so lazy. When the voices had stopped, François went out and waited with Marguerite growling at his side.
François watched, amazed, as the mists parted. A boat was coming through the fog, his fog that he had conjured to keep people out. Still, he could do nothing but watch and hope that this wasn’t another ghost. He allowed himself a small groan thinking about the last time he had dealt with a spirit; he would rather die again than have anything more to do with ghosts.
The boat came closer as the fog cleared and François couldn’t be certain, but it seemed that the figure in the boat was holding aloft an umbrella. The sun broke through in dancing rays and lit upon the soft blue fabric of a small ruffled parasol. It was a woman sitting calmly in the stern of the boat, quite a startling contrast. The boat was battered and in need of fresh paint, but the woman sat like a queen on a bier. One pale arm rested on the rudder, the other held the parasol. François could just make out the hint of red lips smiling from underneath the shade it cast on her face. The boat bumped against the bank and the woman stepped lightly onto the shore.
“Monsieur Boudreaux, I’ve come a long ways to meet you.” Her voice was eerily calm, considering she was talking to a man in dry rotted clothes and who had a zombie alligator at his side.
François was wary, but he heeded the voices and silently commanded Marguerite not to eat the visitor.
“Who are you, and why are you trespassing in my swamp?”
“My name is Charlotte Foxtrot, and I have a proposition for you.”
Um, I guess I should say François is copyright to me. Be decent, don't steal.