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The Voodoo Curse
The Voodoo Curse

The Voodoo Curse

Franc68Lorient Montaner

The narrative that I share with the reader will be considered of a preternatural nature, but there is a mystery that is imbedded in the haunting essence of its unspeakable manifestation. The eerie sounds of the drums beat and the chants are heard, as the wandering spirits of the night are evoked with fervent incantations and dances. There is a concealed realm, where the undead corpses have risen to roam with the gust of the wind, and there are tales told of countless victims who succumb to the curse they have been imposed. To better understand this story, it is better to know about its actual origin. An origin of which is terrifying in its name and daunting in its realization. Whosoever is fortunate to survive its madness never remains the same. For it was the case with me, Charles Beauregard the third.

My carriage had passed the vast plantation to reach the Rochefort Mansion that sunny afternoon in the year of 1850, just outside of the illustrious city of New Orleans. It was my first trip to the mansion. I was there to meet the reputable Mrs. Angeline Rochefort, who had recently sold me an excellent property in another part of Louisiana that was in Baton Rouge. Our business was profitable for either one of us to explore, and it would allow me to visit New Orleans more often than I had expected. It was my great desire to enhance my relations with prominent people of the city and occupy my innovative thoughts with its expanding commerce. To be within that exclusive circle was an incentive enough for me. Thus, I had made that conscious decision to come to visit Mrs. Rochefort in person.

The colonial mansion was a red brick building that had a roof top covered with slate, a white colonnade of eight, narrow columns across the front of the mansion. It had retained its original design of a rectangular structure and was surrounded by the lush verdure of the acres of the endless plantation. I had seen several, luxurious mansions from the colonial period in my days of traveling, and this one in particular was uniquely demonstrative of the French influence that once had dominated this area, before its acquisition by the Americans. It was the distinctive columns that had appealed to my predilection and curiosity. I was beginning to become fascinated, with learning more about the ancestral history of the mansion and its owner. This I took into consideration, when thinking about what to ask Mrs. Rochefort.

When we had finally met after the salutations and formalities expressed, she had greeted me with a cordial smile. One of her black male servants had escorted me to the Main Hall, where she had been waiting for me to enter. She was a widow, who had tragically recently lost her husband Mr. Alton Rochefort. She was dressed in an elegant gown that was from the finest silk and turquoise color designed, with delicate lace and ribbon trim that had accentuated the natural look of her complexion. She wore a necklace, tasseled earrings, and bracelets on each wrist. Her hair was parted in the middle. Her features were attractive. Her eyes were mocha, and her raven hair was long and flowing. I was dressed with a brown frock coat over lighter trousers, and I had a red cravat. I was of average height and built. My hair was of medium size, and I had a curled mustache. I had a black top hat, which I had removed before her presence. I was captivated by her charm and appearance, as she was with mine.

"It is an immense pleasure madame to meet your acquaintance at last. I regret that it is under such tragic circumstances, as the recent death of your beloved husband, Mr. Rochefort."

"The pleasure is indeed mine, Mr. Beauregard. I hope your business adventures and investments afford you the satisfaction that you seek with this transaction."

"That I am expecting madame."

"I am confident that you will ascertain your aspirations Mr. Beauregard. You appear to me to be a man of esteemed virtues."

"With the help of others, I look forward to better days in New Orleans."

"How is Baton Rouge lately?"

"It is growing much like New Orleans, but not at the rapid pace of this vivacious city of yours."

"If only my late husband Alton was here, he would suggest that you move here to New Orleans. He was buried just a week ago."

"It is with tremendous sorrow that I regret, I was not able to have met Mr. Rochefort or attended his funeral."

"He would have enjoyed your company, as I will enjoy it while you are here with me."

"Can I ask you madame, about the history of the mansion?"

"What do you wish to know, Mr. Beauregard?"

"Forgive me for being so inquisitive, madame."

"There is no need. It does not intrude upon me to answer."

"I am glad to hear that."

"The mansion was originally built in the year 1750."

"A hundred years ago!" I interjected.

"Yes! That is correct. It was built by my late husband's descendent the viscount, François Rochefort. It passed on through an inheritance to his son Frédéric Rochefort in 1795, then to my deceased husband Alton Rochefort in 1830."

"You have lived here in this mansion for how long?" I inquired.

"For twenty years. You see, when Alton was bestowed the mansion we were already engaged. We were married in that same year."

"I am certain that you had grown fond of the mansion and will miss it a lot."

"Very fond indeed, Mr. Beauregard. I will miss this mansion, but I know it will be in good hands. You have made a good impression on me, and judging from your mien, you seem to be a trustworthy man."

"I am honored by those humble words, madame."

"I wish I could stay more Mr. Beauregard, but I must be on my way. I have an important matter to tend to that I cannot delay any longer."

"Proceed, madame!"

"I have instructed the servants to be at their best. They will not disappoint you. May you find genuine comfort in the mansion, as I have all of these years."

"I will try madame!"

The widow Mrs. Rochefort had departed and got into her carriage that drove away slowly from the estate. I had then entered the mansion to see the unique ambiance of the innermost display of its ancestral architecture. There were mosaic tiles in the four rooms with each of the two stories, and there were galleries on the north and west elevations, the walls of mortar, the doorways between rooms or a hallway, the gable dormers on the four roof faces, a brick chimney near the center of the roof, the exterior was stuccoed, the interior walls were plastered, the cornices around the wall of a room just below the ceiling, the tall casement windows above the raised wood panels, the quaint parlor, and the decorative Dining Hall and Main Hall. The mansion was embellished with the finest furniture of the region. The room that was mine was located on the second story. I had climbed up the staircase in admiration of what I had descried.

Amid the enchantment of the mansion, there was one room in particular that had captivated my interest on that same floor. It was a room that was inadmissible, as if it was intentionally closed. Perhaps it was the room of the late Mr. Alton Rochefort, and it was meant to not be entered. That had to be the reason I thought. If not, this was rather odd in my mind. For the time being, I had busied my time in becoming more acquainted with the rest of the mansion and the servants. Verily, I was grateful for the loyalty they had exhibited. I had expressed to them, my good intentions, as their new master of the house. I would attempt to earn their respect in time. What I did not know, when I stood before them was the inimitable horror that was mysteriously lurking deep, within the shadows of the darkness. A darkness that was linked to the clandestine emergence of Voodoo.

The day was spent handling the rest of my private affairs, which included preparing for my trip back to Baton Rouge, within a week as I had planned. However, the eeriness of the mansion would manifest from the beginning. I was in the private study writing a letter to my bank, when I had suddenly heard the strange sound of voices. I could not determine their origin, for they were the intonations of a foreign language. At first, it had sounded like French, which I was accustomed to listening, but it had a mixture of African words that had distinguished it from standard French. Maybe it was the servants speaking among themselves in a patois that was colloquial to them. I rose from my escritoire to investigate the noise outside of the study and had discovered that there was no one in the corridor to be seen at all. Therefore, I had dismissed the sound and returned to the private study to finish my letter.

My expectations were high, when I came to the mansion. I would never suspect that those expectations would be dashed with the terrifying experience that I had endured in the duration of my stay. I was eager to enter the circle of known aristocrats of the region. At Baton Rouge, I had already entered a society worth investing. Many of the men that I would seek to associate in New Orleans were stately men of prominence, such as Olivier Leblanc, Guy Broussard, Thierry Chauvin, Michel Duclot, Bernard Grovinger, Jean Paul Maupassant, among others. They had all established themselves within the French area of the city, and were revered for their family ties and wealth distributed. They were also the vanguard of the elite members of Louisiana's Creole population that had remained, after its purchase by the Americans.

In the morning, I had awakened to a delicious breakfast and had told the servants that I would be busy. I had planned on heading to New Orleans, which was only a few miles away from my location. I had put my trust in charge of the menial duties of the mansion to a black servant, who I had learned his name was Pierre. He had been christened that name by Mrs. Rochefort, who had discovered him in an auction for African slaves. Pierre was originally from the Caribbean country of Haiti. His ancestors though were from West Africa, in a country called Senegal. He had been brought to America by the slave traders. In Haiti, he was a free man. When I had asked him how he was captured, he responded by saying that he was fishing just off the coast of Haiti, when a ship of slave traders had spotted him and captured him against his will. He spoke perfect French, but it was his patois of Creole that was his dominant language. We spoke in French among ourselves and English with the guests. He was always dressed in his uniform as a servant.

I had asked him then, "Do you not miss your beloved Haiti?"

"Oui monsieur!"

"What do you miss the most Pierre?"

"I miss the breath of freedom. Haiti is a free land. With all due respect monsieur, I plan on returning one day to its beautiful island."

"How long have you been a slave?"

"Too long to remember."

"Were your parents slaves as well?"

"Yes, to the French, monsieur. But they were made free afterwards!"

"If you were a free man again. What would you do back in Haiti?"

He had paused for a moment before he replied, "I would build a mansion of my own."

"Would you have slaves?"

"Never monsieur. I could never enslave my people."

That was the extent of our interesting conversation, and I had ascended my carriage and left for New Orleans. I had an important engagement with Mr. Olivier Leblanc. He was expecting me at the French Quarter known, as the Vieux Carre on Saint Ann Street. When I had reached his residence, I was escorted inside his mansion, which was much loftier than mine in its detailed appearance. I had made known to Mr. Leblanc, the intention of my visit. Naturally, I was in debt for his association. As we had talked, he was keen on knowing my insight on the mansion that I had recently purchased, which I had thought was rather unusual, considering the nature of my visit. I had come to speak to him about business matters. Instead, he wanted to indulge himself with my experience of the mansion.

"I hear that you have purchased the old, colonial mansion of the Rocheforts?"

"Yes, I have!"

"How do you find your stay there?"

"Well to be frank, monsieur. It is too early for me to tell, but so far, what I have seen I cannot complain. However, there is one thing that I did not expect."

"You are not aware of the history there, nor what happened to Mr. Rochefort?"

I was bemused, "I am afraid that I don't quite understand."

"Am I to assume then that you were not told?"

"Told of what, monsieur?" I had asked.

"Perhaps it is best that you do not know," he answered.

"Why so much mystery, if I may inquire?"

"Have you ever heard of Voodoo, Mr. Beauregard?"

"I believe I have, but I must admit that I know very little of the subject discussed."

"Then you don't know the actual story about Mr. Rochefort's untimely death?"

"No, I don't know!"

His eyes were more serious, as his words intensified, "There are people, who say he was murdered by his wife, Mrs. Rochefort."

"Why? On the contrary, she seems to me to be a very genuine likeable woman."

"People say that she is a practitioner of Voodoo."

"With all due respect monsieur, I cannot fathom such a thing. If you do not mind, could we change the topic of the conversation and speak about what has brought me here?"

He smiled, "Of course, Mr. Beauregard!"

When I had left his home, I could not help but wonder about his revealing words that were bizarre in their essence, along the trip back to the mansion. The enigma with the mention of Voodoo and Mrs. Rochefort's possible nexus to its cult and practice was disturbing to say the least. How could I confirm such a far-fetched notion? The insinuation was enough to be discredited, but my curiosity to know had caused me to investigate the matter. Thus, when I returned, I had summoned Pierre to my private study to talk about Mrs. Rochefort's life. I did not want to seem inopportune with my questioning. Thus, I had chosen selective questions to ask him, not knowing whether he would divulge any sensitive revelations, about his former master or mistress of the mansion.

"Pierre, I was wondering."

"Yes, monsieur!"

"You knew the former master Mr. Rochefort well enough, and you know Mrs. Rochefort well enough too."

"It might sound strange to ask, but what can you tell me about their involvement with Voodoo?"

"Voodoo, monsieur?"

"Yes, Voodoo!"

"I see that the venomous tongue of the gossip of the locals has reached your ears."

"I was not aware that the Rocheforts were that recognized for Voodoo."

"Forgive me for saying, monsieur. I would not pay attention to the idle gossip of the locals. Many of these people were envious of the master and mistress."

"I see! I am fascinated by the notion of this primitive cult of Voodoo. What can you tell me about it, Pierre?"

"Do you really want to know, monsieur?"

"Yes!"

"According to our tradition, the first enslaved West Africans who were brought to New Orleans were mostly Bambara and Kongo. They had merged their ancestral religions with the local Catholic population, who were either French or Spanish at the time. French settlers arrived in Louisiana in 1699 and brought slaves in 1719. The Spaniards took control of the state in 1763 and remained in power until 1803. During all this time, our people have always retained our proud traditions."

"I had always believed that it was related to witchcraft, Satanism or black magic?"

"Some of it can be interpreted to either one of those things, monsieur."

"How then, did the Rocheforts begin to practice Voodoo?"

"On the sugar plantation, interacting with the slaves of course."

I had abated the conversation and allowed him to continue his daily duties, uninterrupted. Pierre had appeared to be a responsible servant, and one that I have begun to entrust my confidence in an overt manner. If I was to be successful in my endeavors, I would require the assistance of confidants of which I could impart my innovative ideas. No man alone could build an empire. My ambitions were of my own aspirations devised. What I would ultimately accomplish with them would be determined by the course of my actions and my fate. This I had learned by experience and the instructions from the man that had installed virtues in me since my birth, my dearest father. Without him, I would not have dared to venture far in my goal to establish myself in the aristocracy of New Orleans.

In my private study, I sat there and had reflected on the whole concept of Voodoo and its affiliation with the Rocheforts. I had barely arrived to situate myself in the mansion and had been apprised about the inexplicable nature of the former proprietors. I was not ready to confront the intimate secrets of the mansion just yet. Nor was I inclined to accept the haunting aspect of the influence of Voodoo. How could I confide in mere hearsay that was expressed with a measure of confoundment? It was unfathomable. At the same time, I had conceived in my mind the dreadful attachment that Voodoo had with the slaves on the plantation. Times were evolving, but old traditions were difficult to erase; especially in these parts of the country. From that point on, I was uncertain about what to believe.

Once again, while I was in the private study, I had heard the familiar sounds of strange voices outside in the dark corridor. This time, I had decided to ignore them. I was reading a book that I had found on the topic of black magic, which was intriguing. Every page I had read had enticed me to read more. Even though I had discovered the possibility of the practice of Voodoo among the Rocheforts, it had not convinced me about their participation in insidious rituals. I needed more evidence to make an irrefutable conclusion. The vague voices had increased, and I went to investigate them, and what I discovered were the heavy sounds of drums beating. They were coming directly from, behind the door to the surreptitious room that was closed. There was no one in the corridor, when I had stepped out of the study. That I thought was unusual.

I had proceeded to listen attentively to the noises they were audible to me. The unreal mystery had provoked me to knock then bang on the door, attempting to make my presence known to the voices I was hearing, as I called on them to open. One of the servants had approached me. It was a black female, who had listened to the commotion I was stirring. She had asked me, if I had needed something. I told her that I had heard strange activities, coming out of this precise room we were at. Unfortunately, for me, she was not prevalent to the noises that I was commenting. In fact, she heard nothing of the sort. Was I the only one to hear them? Was I going mad somehow, or was I not aware of that realization? Whatever was affecting me, it had to be real in its manifestation. I had asked that she find me the key to be able to open the door at once.

She would notify Pierre, who would arrive thereafter, "Monsieur, what has happened? Why were you banging on the door?"

"There is something about this room that holds a secret that is, beyond any mere mystery."

"What do you mean?" Pierre asked.

"Did you not hear the strange noises that were coming from this room?"

"No, monsieur!"

"Surely, you must have. Someone must have. Or am I going mad?"

"I would not dare suggest that, monsieur."

'I swear that I heard these noises."

"What did they sound like?"

"They were voices and drumbeats I tell you."

"Are you certain of that, monsieur?"

I bit my lip and hushed. There was no sense in convincing Pierre or the other servants of what I had heard, since they did not believe me. I would not be able to sleep, if I did not know what was truly behind that closed door. Pierre had ordered the black female servant to bring him the key to that door. Her name was Leslie. When she gave him the key, he opened the room finally and the door had creaked open. To my amazement, there was nobody inside the room. Apparently, it had been uninhabited for some time. There were numerous cobwebs and dust all over to be seen by the eye. I stood there before Pierre absolutely speechless. I had preferred to not continue with the insinuation of the voices, despite the fact that these voices were clearly present, when I had listened to them previously. I had retired to my room, whereupon I had remained stupefied by what exactly had I originally heard? Therefore, what was more relevant to me was the fact that the mansion which I had purchased could be haunted.

As the days had transpired, I consumed my thoughts in things that were much more appeasing and pleasant than the distressing things that were unsettling, but I would be reminded of the horror that I could not escape. I was in New Orleans passing in carriage, when I had listened to the bustling sounds of what seemed to be people congregated. It was coming from an abandoned brickyard in Dumaine Street. I had stepped out of the carriage to investigate. What I had witnessed were black people dancing and invoking their gods of Voodoo, as the drum had beaten with a fervent passion. One of the participants, a black man saw me and had questioned me. The image of them had left me in a momentary trance. When I was able to regain my mental faculties, I had got into the carriage. He had followed me, and a terrible thing would occur thereafter. As I was leaving, another carriage carrying a heavy load had crushed him to death. What I could not imagine was the terrible omen that would pursue me with an unyielding vengeance.

What I did not know was that the man that was killed in the accident was a Voodoo king named Papa Jean, who had great power and influence in his community. The image of his horrific death would torment me for unsteady nights, and manifest in the form of ceaseless nightmares that were unbearable. Once I had returned to the mansion, I had headed for my study and took out from one of the cabinets, a bottle of Médoc and had drunk a glass of it. My hands were shaking. I was extremely nervous. Pierre had entered the room and asked me if I was all right. He had seen me in an agitated state of mind. I had tried with my dissimulation to act, as if there was nothing wrong with me, but I could not deceive the keen perception of Pierre. I had then confessed to him the horrendous incident that took place near Dumaine Street.

Upon hearing my shocking revelation, Pierre would warn me about the consequences of the incident. He was overt when he had stated that the man that was killed was a very powerful Voodoo priest. Perhaps I was foolish to believe in such dire circumstance, or I was blind to not see the imminent peril that was approaching nigh. He had offered to go with me and ask for forgiveness for the death of the Voodoo priest. I did not want to involve myself, with the incident and the local authorities. Since it was not my fault, I did not want to assume the blame. Thus, I had rejected the suggestion and instead, I told Pierre that I wanted to forget the incident that had alarmed me. I had warned him not to disclose the information that I had divulged about the tragic death. I was not in the mood for any disobedience in his part.

"I want this to be a confidential matter Pierre. You are not to reveal anything that I have told you. Is that clear?"

"Yes, monsieur!"

"Good! I will be gone for a week. I will be leaving tomorrow. I must return to Baton Rouge to handle my discreet business affairs. I will be leaving you in charge of the mansion, until I have returned."

"You can trust me, monsieur. I will inform the other servants of your departure."

"Upon my return, I hope to be rid of this persistent burden of the notion of Voodoo."

"Monsieur, be careful on your trip."

I was intrigued, 'Is there is something that you are not telling me Pierre that I should know?"

"Forgive me, monsieur. It is just a common expression."

"I will be in my private study, if you need to find me."

"If you will excuse me, monsieur. I must return to my normal duties."

"I will not keep you distracted any longer."

"You are no distraction at all, monsieur!"

I was in my room, when suddenly I had noticed that there was a lone, slithery serpent that was inside the room. Somehow it had managed to enter through the window, or worse, someone unbeknown to me had placed it there with the bad intention of causing me harm. I was able to pick up the serpent with a walking stick, and I had alerted one of the female servants to bring me a chest where I could put the serpent inside. I was absolutely stunned by the encounter with the serpent that I had questioned every member of the servants, if they had seen someone nearby the mansion recently. None of them had seen a person within the vicinity. There was no point in asking them to be more forthwith than what they were. I had no true indication that they were being deceitful with me in their words of candor. I had discovered grave dust on the window also. Was this a vexation of some sort?

While I was seated in my escritoire at the study, I began to feel a pricking sensation throughout my body. It had felt as if someone was deliberately causing my discomfort. The pain became so intense that I had to rise to my feet, for I could bear no more. For a moment the pain would cease, but then it would continue again. It would unnerve me at intervals. It was difficult to know precisely, what to take for this annoying pain. I had one of the female servants summon the local doctor. He would arrive at the mansion from New Orleans and examine me. His name was Dr. Lagrange. There was nothing abnormal about me that could be detected that would display an obvious sign of this pain I was suffering. I thought this was rather odd. He recommended that if the pain had persisted that I be taken to a hospital which was a facility that was better equipped in New Orleans, for serious maladies or illnesses. I had the acute impression that he thought that it was perhaps all in my mind.

I was worried that I would not be able to leave as I had planned the following morning. The pricking sensation had continued, and yet there were no apparent marks on my body to denote my suffering. I was in the parlor attempting to distract my thoughts that were emerged in a desperate sense of incertitude, when Pierre had noticed that I was in a tremendous disquietude. He knew what I was experiencing and had dared to tell me the cause of my pain. What he told me next had horrified me to the core of my soul. Pierre had strongly believed that I was suffering the affliction of a curse that was imposed upon me by another Voodoo priest. I was still reluctant to accept that dreadful notion. There had to be a rational explanation for all that was transpiring with me and within the mansion.

I had to unravel the portentous plot that was developing into a consistent pattern of terror that was pursuing me, with a dauntless revenge. If it was true that this pursuit was attributed to a revenge sought by the practitioners of Voodoo, then how could I stop the madness that was this supposed curse? Once again, Pierre had offered to take me to speak to the black community in New Orleans. It was extremely vital that I sought forgiveness from them immediately, before it was too late, and the curse would consume me entirely unto my death. I told him to come with me, so that he could speak to the members of his community. We would be taken by carriage into New Orleans. There was a staid mist that had enveloped from above that was covering the sky, as we reached the city.

Before we had left the mansion, Pierre had given me a certain talisman that would protect me against the evil. It was a material wrapped up in red flannel, and was to be worn around the neck at every moment in time. He had described to me its unique powers, and warned about another talisman that was the opposite, the Ouanga, which was a charm that was used to poison an enemy that had contained the toxic root of the figuier maudit tree brought from Africa. The place we had visited was secretive and located in the Treme Quarter, where the slaves gathered to express their traditions and culture in privacy. I was nervous and uncomfortable once we had arrived there. I was not sure what to expect. I was practically a stranger to these enslaved people. Would they be receptive to me, after what had happened to their high priest?

The horse hooves had clopped, as the music throbbed with the beat of the drums. There were people dancing and chanting in Creole, holding serpents that were identical to one of the serpents that had entered my room. They were communicating, with the spirits who were connected through various rituals performed. They were attempting to open the immortal gate between the darkness and the light. There was a stoned altar erect that stood in front in reverence to their gods, the Grand Zambi and Papa Lebat. A Voodoo priest had appeared from among the others. He had poured libation of rum on the ground and started invocations, using the sacrifice of animals such as chickens. Black crosses, lizards, bones and oil were placed near the altar, but there was another image that was much more troubling to me. What I saw were Voodoo dolls with inserted pins that were human-shaped in their form, and one of them was made exactly in my appearance.

Pierre had spoken to the priest and had told him about what had occurred. I had come to ask for forgiveness, but this would not be sufficient. The person that had cast the curse was no one from his community. This had implied that whoever was behind the lurking terror was either a complete stranger, or someone one else that was seeking to harm me on purpose. We had left the Voodoo Priest and the others and had passed Jackson Square, the St. Louis Cathedral, Marais Street and Bourbon Street, to reach a fortune teller that was on the Bayou Road. Pierre had believed that this fortune teller whose name was Madame Lavine could assist us in discovery the person, who had placed the malediction upon me. It was madness that I was even contemplating such thing, and rendering my rationality to the effects of an ancient religion that was Voodoo.

Madame Lavine began to read from the tarot cards, what she was foreseeing, as we were all seated at the table, "What I see is that there is a person that has cast a wicked spell against you, monsieur."

"Who is this person?" I had demanded.

"There is someone, who you have met that knows this person."

"Do you know the name?"

"Not at the moment, except that it is a name that you know."

"Proceed!"

Her eyes would intensify as she spoke, "There is another person, a woman that I see that is connected to the person that has put this spell on you, monsieur. I can now see the face of the first person."

"Who is the other person Madame Lavine?"

"I can see the face I repeat."

"Is it a man or a woman?" I anxiously asked.

"It is a man from the past?"

"Is he alive or dead?"

"He is no longer among the living, but yet haunts this world of ours!"

My anxiety had increased, "Who is this man?"

"Alton Rochefort!"

As the words were uttered from her mouth, she began to violently shake. It had ended the session, and Pierre had grabbed her tightly, trying to snap her out of the thing that possessed her.

"What is happening to her Pierre?" I asked him.

"I think that an evil spirit possessed her body."

It was then that the vague voice of a man could be heard speaking from the mouth of Madame Lavine. His words professed were disturbing in their meaning, "Get out of my mansion, before it is too late!"

The fortunate teller would faint, but fortunately for us, she would recover. When we left her, I was still visibly confounded with what I had heard from Madame Lavine. The suspense was killing me. I had thought in my mind that the imposition of the curse was an act performed solely, by one of the members of the Voodoo cult. However, I was totally incorrect with my initial assumption. I would soon learn that my enemy was not from among them. Instead, it would be from two persons who I would never suspect to be of an evil nature. One who was alive and the other dead. The likelihood that what I was confronting was not originated from this world was mindboggling. I had not fathomed, such an unimaginative scenario before. Nor could I truly know the significance of my discoveries.

When I had returned home, it was near the evening, as the twilight was approaching from the horizon. The episodes of the pricking needles of pain that I had felt had ceased to exist, with the especial amulet that I was given to wear by Pierre around my neck, for the main purpose of protection. That night, I would have two unannounced visitors. At around eight o'clock a carriage would pull into the estate and reach the mansion. The person that had descended from the carriage was Mrs. Rochefort herself. I was surprised by her untimely visit, since I was not foretold of her arrival. One of the servants had assisted her entrance into the mansion. She had no luggage to carry with her. Had she come to visit me and stay in New Orleans? What if she was behind the curse that had been imposed unto me from the onset?

I was in the Main Hall contemplating my thoughts, when I was notified of her immediate presence. I had made the conscious decision to postpone my travel to Baton Rouge for the time being, until I could resolve the perplexing mystery that had bound me with the mansion. When we had met again, she was ravishing as before, with her elegant dress and jewelry. I was curious to know, why she had come to the mansion to visit? Had she come to visit me, or was there another reason that was perhaps sinister in its proposal? I had so many genuine questions to ask her, and I was cautious of her intentions. Where would I begin with my intrigue? I had waited for her with sudden anticipation. We had exchanged formalities as was to be expected, and then we began to talk among ourselves.

She had perceived the puzzled expression on my countenance, "Is there something that is bothering you, Mr. Beauregard?"

"I must be candid with you, Mrs. Rochefort, ever since I have moved in this place that was once your mansion, I have experienced the most terrifying sequence of events that few have ever known."

"Such as, Mr. Beauregard?" She had inquired.

"If I told you, you would not believe me. But I sense that you know what is going on."

"What do you mean by that?"

"I mean that you are most likely involve in my nightmarish horror that has pursued me, ever since I entered this mansion."

"Surely, you can't be serious?"

"I am serious madame! I am talking about the curse of Voodoo."

Her smile and gaiety would be replaced, with an insidious look in her eyes that would penetrate in its stare, "I see that you have discovered, the dark secret of the mansion and of us, the Rocheforts."

"I am not a righteous man by admission, but I do believe the evil that exists in this world and the other world does haunt us."

"Indeed, they do!"

"My question to you madame is why have you imposed a curse upon me? What have I done to you to deserve such a foul imprecation?"

"It is not me who has cursed you, Mr. Beauregard. It is my husband who has!"

"But why would he curse me?"

As we were speaking to each other in the Main Hall, a solitary shadowy figure of a lanky man would emerge from the depth of the darkness of the corridor nearby. It was the harrowing image of the deceased Mr. Alton Rochefort in flesh. He had returned to the world of the mortals, as a walking dead from the graveyard. His clothing was covered in the soot and grime which he was interred. My reaction was of utter amazement. What did he wish to seek from me? I had only seen his image on a portrait or daguerreotype and I had never met him in person. He was of an imposing stature. Mrs. Rochefort had seen him as well, but was not surprised to see him. There was still the conflicting mystery that was unanswered, which was what was his involvement with the curse? I would soon have my answer, and it would be one that had dealt with my presence in the mansion.

"Am I to assume that I am witnessing the walking corpse of Mr. Alton Rochefort?"

"He has always been here Mr. Beauregard."

"But what does he want with me?"

"He wants you to leave the house."

"What have I done to wrong him?"

"You bought the mansion of which he had sworn to never sell!"

"But it was you Mrs. Rochefort, who sold me the mansion. Why has he not cursed you?"

"Because he was in love with me."

"If that is true, then I fail to understand, why this property was sold in the first place."

Pierre had entered the Main Hall and had interjected, "Mrs. Rochefort had murdered her esteemed husband, Mr. Rochefort."

"For what reason?"

"For the oldest reason which is greed!"

"How dare you reproach me with your insolence Pierre!"

"I speak only the truth madame!"

"You were nobody, when you were bought!"

"That makes you a murderess, Mrs. Rochefort."

"I suppose Mr. Beauregard, but you will not live to tell anyone. I will make certain of that!"

Suddenly, she had pulled out a pistol from underneath her dress, and had pointed it at me with no hesitance demonstrated. As I had stood there helpless, I thought to myself was I going to die on that day? My options of survival were minimal to say the least, considering she was the one with the lethal weapon, not I. When it seemed, I was doomed to an irreversible fate, a powerful force had prevented her. She was about to pull the trigger, but she would not manage to shoot. The decrepit hands of Mr. Rochefort would grab the pistol and exact his revenge upon her. He would blow a heavy breath of air that would enter her mouth suffocating her to death, as she had struggled to breathe. Seeing Mrs. Rochefort die was a horrendous scene to witness. There was still the issue of the curse, which was at the origin of the problem.

I had somehow made a pact with the deceased corpse that was Mr. Rochefort. I would leave the mansion for good, to never return. I gave my word to him, and I was not going to retract from my decision. I had returned the original deed to the mansion to him. He would take it and then disappear into the flickering moonlight. I would leave in the morning, saying my goodbyes to the servants who were loyal and obedient to me, during my stay there. I had expressed my immense gratitude to Pierre and had offered him a position at my other residence in Baton Rouge. He would kindly decline my offer and had insisted in remaining at the Rochefort Mansion. The episodes of Voodoo had abated, as did the curse that had pursued me. There are people who say that they see the walking dead corpses of Mrs. and Mr. Rochefort roaming the estate of the mansion.

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About The Author
Franc68
Lorient Montaner
About This Story
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Posted
2 Apr, 2024
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