Friday, October 19, 2018

THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND OF HAITI- A WEP CHALLENGE

Hi All!

Welcome to another WEP Challenge. October is the month for mysticism of all sorts. SO the prompt is Deja Vu or Voodoo.

So appropriate, don't you think?
There are some incredible entries this month, so I do hope you plan to visit the other authors at the WEP site, who put their talents to the test. You will not be disappointed.

My entry is an excerpt from my current work in progress MOMMY KAY. If you recall, I had submitted an early snippet from this memoir for the ROADS LESS TRAVELED prompt and won! Still so excited about that~ if you have the time and would like to familiarize yourself with Mommy Kay here is the link.

Before you read my entry, I'd like to give you a bit of back story. Mommy Kay and her daughter, Kim are visiting the impoverished Island of Haiti, the week after the Dictator, "Papa Doc" Duvalier died and his son was newly sworn in as President for Life. 

The now, fifteen-year-old Kim, didn't want any part of this trip, but Mommy ALWAYS got her way. 

During their visit to Haiti, Kim mainly stayed at the hotel. Mommy Kay would be gone for hours at a time. She was up to something, and Kim knew what it was. Mommy Kay had a new obsession. She wanted to experience a Haitian Voodoo ritual. 

This scene opens with Mommy Kay and Kim about to partake in the mysterious world of Haitian Voodoo. It is written in Kim's POV. I hope you enjoy this little teaser at approx. 800 words.




The hotel seemed eerily quiet. We met no one on the elevators or as we walked toward the back entrance.

Antoine was waiting for us in a beat-up jalopy. Through the open window he said, “Welcome my friends.” His heavy Haitian accent had a slight quiver to it.

Mommy sat next to him in the front seat and I slid into the back. Next to me was a large bottle of rum and a box of cuban cigars. Antoine started the car and off we went into the night. The twitchy manner in which he drove didn’t help the situation. Sweat beaded on my face.

“Where exactly are we going, Antoine?” I asked after a long pause of silence.

“Porte au Prince.”

“I figured that, but exactly where?”

He didn’t answer.

We drove on the main road and arrived downtown. The stench from the garbage in the streets overpowered the musky smell of human sweat and the lingering of cooked food. Several people sat on the sidewalks outside their front doors. Their haughty looks staring at us as we drove by. We turned up a side street. At the top of the hill we stopped abruptly. 

“We get out here,” Antoine said in a low voice.

“Kimmie, bring the rum and cigars. They’re a present for the high priest.”

My shaky hands gathered them up, and I exited the car. Antoine and Mommy were a few steps ahead of me. They stopped and faced a peeling red door.

“We go in here.” Antoine turned the handle.

He entered.

Mommy followed with her head lowered. I wondered what she was feeling. She moved normally, however my legs shook as I stepped inside the dimly lit room. Flickering candles from a ceiling chandelier created dark shadows that performed a savage dance on the rough stained walls. Hundreds of scattered bones, entrails, and piles of white feathers littered the floor. A pungent smell of years of decay, cajun incense, and dried blood loomed heavily in the air.

I dug my fingers into Mommy’s fleshy arm. “Are you sure about this?” I whispered. That’s fresh blood on the walls.”

“Yes.” 

She shrugged away her arm.

Antoine moved a few paces ahead of us.

“It is time.” He pointed his finger up. “Follow me.” 

 Unidentified things squelched under our feet as we made our way toward a staircase at the back of the room. Antoine disappeared in a sea of creaks as he ascended. Mommy followed, squeezing between the walls of the narrow entrance. It was my turn now. I sucked in a deep breath and held it. 

Thump, thump, thump, pounded inside of my head as I climbed each of the rickety stairs. My heart threatened to tear away from my chest. 

Mommy’s breathing increased as we turned up the next flight. 

Then the next.

As we confronted the final flight, she stopped, clutching her heaving chest. “I-I need to catch my breath—go—a-head, Kim-mie.”

“No way.”

“Go—”

Antoine climbed back down and stared at us. “We must not keep him waiting.” His voice cracked.

I stepped over Mommy and continued up the stairs. My legs grew heavy as if hundred pound weights were attached to them. Mommy’s stomping feet and raspy breathes kept up with my slower pace.

At the top of the stairs, hundreds of candles flickered in the room. Beams of moonlight filtered through the five large open windows. A soft chanting and distant drum beat played, as a shadow appeared across a fraying, thin drape.

Mommy stepped into the room, panting.

“He is in our presence. Keep silent until he addresses you,” Antoine whispered.

A massive figure stepped out of the shadows. Yellow light glinted off a jewel encrusted medallion and rows of heavy gold chains. His frame was cloaked in black robes, and on top sat an elaborate plumed headdress.

The whites of his eyes shown through midnight blue-black skin. 

“I know what you seek. Leave your offerings.”

I couldn’t move. This being nailed me to the floor. 

Antoine pried the rum and cigars from my hands, then bowed and placed the offerings at his feet.

A split second later, the voodoo priest disappeared.

“We must follow him,” Antoine said as he took hold of Mommy’s arm and dragged her through the drape.

I was convinced Antoine planned to have us sacrificed. And me, still a virgin. How appropriate. The beating drums grew louder and more sporadic. Or was it my heart? I wasn’t quite sure.

“Come, Kimmieeeee!” Mommy’s voice echoed through the rising of the heretic chants.

I willed myself to move. My left foot slid a few inches, followed by my body. 


And then, as if by some strange, dark force, a dusty wind swirled around me. 

I was swept through the curtain, my destiny unknown.


Well that's it! I hope you enjoyed it. All feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Have a WONDERFUL weekend everyone!















70 comments:

  1. OMG, you left me breathless and hanging. Darn you! ;)

    Your book about Momma Kay is definitely going to be a best seller, great entry!

    Happy Halloween!

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  2. I loved it.
    And am longing for the full story when you release the book.
    Poor Kimmie. Life with mommy would never be dull, and sometimes truly confronting. Probably worth it on balance, but not easy just the same.

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    1. Thank you so much, EA! I will certainly shoot you an email when the final it comes out!

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  3. Whoa Michael you took us to a dark place with this one! I was as breathless as Mommy Kay and Kimmie on their journey to see the voodoo priest. Then they disappear behind a curtain and I’m left begging for more...More in December please!!!!!

    Thanks for rushing this through for WEP. You just got in before the curtain closed.

    This book should be a best seller!

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  4. You've wet our appetites for Mommy Kay for months now, and this is no exception. You fitted the voodoo theme in perfectly.

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  5. Well, what happened? We have to know.

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    1. You'll find out when the story is done, Alex! Nothing like a good cliff hanger!

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  6. ACK!!!! What a place to leave us!!!!!
    Great excerpt Michael - very vivid imagery and emotions!

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    1. So sorry, Jemi. But I do LOVE a juicy cliff hanger! Glad you enjoyed it!

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  7. That was tense, full of wonderful descriptions, and it left me wishing I could keep reading! Awesome!

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    1. Thanks L. G.! Really glad you enjoyed it. There certainly is more to come.

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  8. I held my breathe throughout the reading of your piece! *exhales*
    What happens next--------?
    Can't wait for the book, Mr. Blurb King!

    P.S. Me give you a run for your money? I don't think so 😜😜

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    1. Please link your flash fiction to the WEP+IWSG badge over at the IWSG Facebook page, so that others can read your lovely work.
      Thank you!

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    2. You certainly can.... your writing says otherwise.

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  9. Is this supposed to be a real story about a real person?
    I thought Mommy Kay ask you to write her autobiography.
    So, if so, this story is running off into a world of fantasy.

    Just asking.

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    1. These are real stories about real people desk 49. These are the personal accounts of Kim when she was living with her mother up until she moved out in her 20's. It's a biographic memoir. Kim isn't a writer. She is telling me the stories and I am writing this memoir for her. Besides, Don't you believe in any sort of mysticism? And also remember, when one is frightened the imagination certainly can play tricks on you.

      I hope that answers your question.

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  10. Great to see you back at WEP, Michael! A very atmospheric excerpt, the detailed descriptions are super. I can visualise that savage dance of the shadows. And what a cliffhanger ending!

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    1. Thanks Nila! Nice to be back. When a fantastic prompt inspires me and works with my current WIP, I LOVE to submit, especially if I have another great Mommy Kay story to share.

      Yes, it was a pretty terrifying account. Kim told me that MK was unnerved from the experience for decades. Kim, too, had some difficulty telling me some of the frightening details which come after she is swept behind that curtain.

      So glad you enjoyed it!

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  11. Hi Michael - thanks for posting my entry for me ... now I'm a FB IWSG member that might help!

    Love this - and excellent you're letting us see an insight into Kim's early life - her memoir will be amazing ... especially as you'll be bringing it to light and I hope letting us read a little more.

    Great - and I'd hate to walk up those stairs too ... cheers and all the best - Hilary

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Hilary! Yes, most of the memoir is about Kim's life as a child and young adult with her mother. I take the story until Kim is around 25 or so in flashbacks. Then we lead up to writing the memoir together.

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  12. What? You left us hanging there? Fabulous writing! How did you make it so plausible. I must say that line - ‘unidentified things squelched under our feet’ was sheer horror. Can’t wait to read on.

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    1. That's one of my favorite lines, too, K. So glad you enjoyed it! After pushing for ALL the details, since this actually did happen, I guess that's why it's plausible. Plus I am have a knack for creating atmosphere.

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  13. Oh, that was intense! Evocative, thrilling, excellent pacing and voice. So awful you left us hanging!! Very well done.

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    1. Thanks Donna! That means so much coming from you! So happy you enjoyed it. Looking forward to your opinion of the rest.

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  14. All I can say is Kim was a MUCH better daughter than I am. No WAY my mother could've dragged my butt to see a Voodoo dude, thank you very much.

    But your account of their visit is really good. You create the spooky atmosphere well, and you DO know how to leave 'em hanging, dontcha? Great job!

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    1. LOL... Sadly, she really didn't have much of a choice. Mommy Kay was a very persuasive and powerful woman and Kim was still a teen. Nothing like a good cliffhanger to keep the ball rolling.

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  15. VERY nice! Lots of sensory details that ground ya to the scene. And wonderfully spooky for the season of Halloween. :) Great job!

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    1. Thanks Carol! I hope to keep it going for the rest of the novel...

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  16. The tension was getting to me by the end. Well done, Michael.

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    1. I hope it didn't make you too uncomfortable, Olga. It was intense. Kim still remembers it vividly and it happened almost fifty years ago.

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  17. Ooh,I want to know what happens next behind the curtain. You painted the scene very vividly and I liked the line about unidentified things squelching under our feet.

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    1. Thanks Deborah... Scary stuff! You may not want to know. That line seems to be a favorite. LOL. It's one of mine, too.

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  18. Man, I hate cliffhangers, but in a good way. This was so good. I was there with them, stepping on unknown objects and trying to hold my breath against the smell. This is one of my favorite enties in this challenge. The build up is perfect, just wish I knew what happened next. Good stuff.

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    1. Kind of you to say! Thanks Toi. You'll find out soon enough. I hope to have the complete MS finished by the end of the year.

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  19. Oh, man! That's a great cliffhanger (I guess we know they survive, since this is a memoir :D, but still!). You do atmosphere really well. It read like a horror story, and I wouldn't have guess non-fiction/memoir without your comments!

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    1. Thanks Rebecca! I did build this scene up for suspense. It is probably the only one in the whole memoir. So why not. The rest is more of an account of the other incredible people Kim met through Mommy Kay. She seemed to have an affinity to meet ALL types of people. The voodoo priest was definitely the most usual and scariest.

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  20. Fab-U-Lous! Took me back to 'The Believers' last scene. :-)

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  21. Very creepy! And yes, I was also reminded of The Believers!

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    1. I know.... And to think they actually experienced this.

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  22. An intense atmospheric read that fits the theme in a superb manner. Well done.

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  23. Well that was a quite the spot to leave it, wanting more haha Thinking one is going to be sacrificed sure isn't a cheery thought. The eerie scene you set made it seem that way indeed.

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    1. Thanks Pat... Glad I captured the moment. It is sometimes difficult for an author to portray such terror realistically.

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  24. You’re a fantasy writer, Michael. You left me wanting to read more. All the best with this book!

    Damyanti

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    1. Lol. My first book was fantasy, so I guess I still like to use that build up especially in this case where it was a real happening.

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  25. Oh my, I'm glad Mummy Kay isn't my mum! What a great excerpt from your upcoming book. People do leave amazing lives.

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    1. They certainly do, Sally. Kim did have quite an usual childhood. Mommy Kay dragged her all over the place. She has quite the repertoire of stories.

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  26. I feel Kim's fear and hesitation as they pass through priest's home, as that magical force sweeps her forward. She was going in whether she wanted to or not! I definitely want to read more.

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    1. Thanks Tanya. It was a pretty terrifying experience. Thankfully they made it out of there alive in one piece. It was all emotional terror. Just a horrible memory.

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  27. A teaser for sure, Michael, you left us hanging at the curtain entrance. By the way, didn't Port au Prince sink below the water in the past? I thought I saw something about it on one of the travel exploration shows. . .an excellent tidbit. I'd read more.

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    1. Hi, D.G. I'm not sure when that happened, but in the spring of '71, Port au Prince was still above water. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  28. You leave me with a lot of questions, Mr. Di Gesu. Thanks for the mysterious adventure to Port au Prince.

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    1. LOL... Why so formal. Lee? What happened to Michael? Glad you enjoyed the adventure!

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  29. Powerful imagery and wonderful visuals swept me along - you have a way with words. Cliffhangers are great for building that tension (and frustration)-h ave loved them since Flash Gordon. Calan Gaeaf Hapus.

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    1. Thank you so much, Roland. What an incredible complement. Glad you enjoyed the cliffhanger.

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  30. What a wonderful, sensory piece. And fantastic cliff hanger. You certainly left this reader wanting more...

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  31. I can't wait to read the whole story!!!

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    1. I can't wait to finish it, Elizabeth! SO much more to write. At least another hundred pages. UGH.

      I'll let you know when I'm done!

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  32. Gotta wonder what's on the other side of that curtain! Very well written. Felt like I was there. Nice work.

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  33. Hey, our stories shared a location. Mine only references it, but still.

    Good story.

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  34. Hi Michael,

    Fascinating piece. At about this time, we visited Haiti. Writers were not welcome there then, so I was fortunate they did not know. It was a sad place in the Caribbean with most of the trees gone for charcoal. Your descriptions are quite vivid.

    I hope you get my book. I haven't seen it printed yet so hope it will be as I imagined and a source of inspiration.

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  35. Wow! What a fascinating piece. I can see why it won for the Road Less Traveled Prompt. Very intriguing. You really set the scene well. I can easily imagine it.

    Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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  36. Ack! How could you stop there? I want to know what happens next!

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