WIP – Excerpt from Starshine in Storyville

Good afternoon everyone,

Almost finished with this piece and will begin editing  tomorrow. So if you can stomach an unedited bit, read on McDuff.

“…The night air was cool and moist; the light breeze carried the tang of the Mississippi, as Benny walked aimlessly considering all that happened these past months. When he had found Erich and agreed to apprentice with him, Benny thought he was learning new saxophone techniques. The joke was on him, Erich explained to him there was magic and the sounds he produced were magical energies he could shape to his will. Benny thought of it only as ways to please a crowd, perhaps inducing more tips. The things Erich taught him about magic is very few could produce it at will. For that he was special, seems Erich, and now Benny had a hyperpineal gland which allowed them to sense and control magical energies. Others, without a hyperpineal, could practice magic but must use spells, gestures and rituals. Erich explained he had waited long for another to come along with the gland. For Erich had stood Guardian for over two centuries and looked forward to being able to share, and eventually pass on the Guardianship of New Orleans.

Benny had laughed it off as the rambling and fantasy of an old man. Until the night of the Grunch, that night after their practice, Erich had looked at him.

“Benny, you are good, maybe one of the best ever, I have never heard make love to a sax or play like you. And I’ve known them all. Tonight, it’s time you learned the difference between ballads and battles. Pack up and I’ll explain what you will face on the way.”

Benny shuddered and rubbed his arm as he remembered that night. It had all seemed a dream until tonight. He watched a man weave shadows of darkness around himself, warding Benny’s magic. Then he disappeared under Benny’s scrutiny. Just as he thought the world was setting back to normal, it was shaken.

The bell Victory, in St. Louis Cathedral shook him out of the reverie as it chimed midnight. Lost in thought, he had not realized how far down Chartres he had walked. The artists and psychics along Jackson Square were long gone. Or so he thought, as he approached he saw one of the psychics tables still up.

Curious he approached, looking around the area in front of the cathedral, but the pools of light revealed no one. The table belonged to Psychic Mary, an Irish redhead with legs that’d make you dizzy. Even at her age she could make a man’s head spin with her seduction through the very air. She would not have left her table with crystals displayed and cards unprotected.

As the last stroke of the clock faded, Benny paused. Uncertain if he what he heard had been an echo of the bells last stroke, Benny listened more closely. There it was again, a muffled cry and from the direction of Pirates Alley. Benny took off at a sprint for the nearby alley. Upon entering his eyes could not pierce the gloom having adjusted to the well lit court. Reflexively, Benny began to hum and immediately calling upon his magic to see. At the midway point, three figures struggled. One had flaming red hair against two hooded figures that were pulling her toward a swirling circle of shadow. “

Thank you for reading,

Ernest

 

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