A Haunting in New Orleans
Jillian and Tommie sat upon the front porch swing waiting impatiently for the arrival of Camille, Seth, and "the psychic". They waited in silence, feeling somewhat silly at what they were about to take part in. They doubted anything would come of it, yet were fearful something would.
"Why are you two sitting in the cold?" Camille asked.
"We're waiting for you." Tommie replied as she helped her pregnant partner down from their perch.
"We don't go in there," Jillian said, flipping her thumb towards the front door, "unless it is absolutely necessary."
"Oh, yeah, of course. I'm sorry." Camille stepped aside and motioned to her companion. "I'd like to introduce you to Caroline Baudet."
"How do you do?" Jillian greeted with an outstretched hand.
"Pleasure to meet you. I wish it was under better circumstances. From what Camille has told me you're having a rough time lately."
"We're hoping you can do something to help us." Tommie said.
"I hope so too. May we go in now? I'd like to get acquainted with the atmosphere inside before getting started."
"Sure. After you." Tommie said as she handed the front door key to the stranger.
* * *
"Your home is beautiful." Caroline stated, turning in a circle, admiring the elegant old house.
"Thank you. We invested a lot of time and energy into restoring it." Jillian smiled with tears in her eyes.
"Not to mention every penny we had." Tommie groused.
Caroline walked up to the pocket doors leading into the living room. "May I?"
"Of course. You can go anywhere you like." Tommie said.
Seth opened the heavy doors, letting the psychic in.
Caroline slowly wandered through the living room and dining area then back to stand in front of the fireplace, gazing at the portrait of a dark haired woman. "I don't think I'll need to see the rest of the house. I believe I've found the source of your problems."
Jillian stared from the doorway, eyes wide. "What is she doing there? You told me you took her down."
Tommie stared with the same look on her face. "I did. The last time I saw that portrait it was in the attic. Who would have, who could have, placed it back up there. . . Camille?"
"Don't be silly. Why would I want to do that. . . Seth? Your sense of humor escapes me sometimes." Camille huffed.
"Me? You couldn't pay me to come into this house alone after what Tommie told us."
"No. No "one" moved the portrait. It belongs to the house, or should I say the spirits who inhabit it." Caroline turned to face her dumfounded audience. "We should get started. I need a small table we can gather around and some candles."
"I have a poker table and folding chairs in the hall closet." Tommie answered.
"I'll get them." Seth chimed in.
"I'll get the candles from the kitchen." Jillian turned on her heel.
"Anything else you need?" Tommie inquired as she helped Seth put the table and chairs out.
"A bible and crucifix couldn't hurt." The psychic shuddered perceptibly.
* * *
The group sat holding hands, breathing deeply, trying to concentrate upon the portrait of Marie Fontaine.
"Oh, my goodness. . . How sad. . . How very sad." Caroline's tears shone upon her cheeks. "There was a child, a boy. His father murdered him and his mother. Such rage. So much anger and jealousy. It festers like a wound that will not heal. He is in this room. We are not welcome here." Caroline stopped speaking to catch her breath and quelch the bile that rose in her throat. The scent of lavender filled the room. "Wait. I sense the presence of a woman. She is the child's mother. Charles Fontaine does not believe the child is his."
Suddenly the portrait fell from the wall near the open flame of the fireplace.
"Holy shit!" Seth exclaimed. Then there was silence.
Far off in the night the sound of an infant's cries could be heard. "Sweet Jesus! Do you hear that?" Jillian cried. "I hear a baby crying."
Tommie squeezed her wife's hand. "I hear it too. What's happening, Caroline?"
"They are here. They all are here. The souls of all the innocents Charles Fontaine's evil destroyed. They are trapped. Oh Lord . . . , they want our help."
"Tommie, I'm scared." Jillian held on tightly to her wife's hand and that of her friend.
"What can we do for them?" Tommie asked the psychic.
"He has to let them go. . . Charles Fontaine, release these innocent souls. Your anger is unfounded. The child you murdered was your own." Caroline spoke out loud.
Above their heads the light bulbs of the chandelier grew bright and exploded all as one. Screams filled the room as terror filled the hearts of the friends.
"You can't frighten me, Charles Fontaine. You have no more power here. We know the truth of what you did. Your wife was innocent. Go toward the light, Charles Fontaine, and accept your judgment."
"Oh, my God, FIRE!!!" Camille screamed pointing toward the portrait of Marie that had burst into flame.
"Tommie, do you have a fire extinguisher?" Seth asked, trying not to panic.
"In the kitchen." Tommie jumped up and ran to retrieve the extinguisher.
"You have no power here, Charles Fontaine. Go into the light. Accept your fate." Caroline chanted these words, seemingly deep in a trance state.
"Oh shit!" Tommie tried to put out the fire that had spread to the carpet and curtains. "Everyone out. Get out of here and call the fire department."
Seth and Camille grabbed the oblivious psychic and pulled her to the door as Jillian grabbed the phone and dialed 911.
"Jillian, go outside!" Tommie demanded as she continued to fight the blaze.
"Not without you!" Jillian screamed back as she grabbed her partner's sleeve.
"No! We'll lose everything." Tommie fought the blaze with a vengeance.
"Thomasina McKenzie, I am not leaving here without you. If you love me and our baby you'll come now." Jillian shook her wife until the distraught woman turned to look into her smoke and tear reddened eyes.
Tommie nodded. "Aw Hell! We're insured." She threw the fire extinguisher away, and both women darted for the front door.
Seth was knocked to the ground by the two charging women as he reached the front door in search of them. They both reached down and helped him up. "Come on. Let's get outta here." Tommie yelled and the three ran to the middle of the street to watch and wait.
In the distance the sirens wailed.
"Let it burn." Caroline spit out. "Let it burn."
"What do you mean, 'let it burn'? Everything we have is going up in flames." Tommie shouted over the din of fire engines and sirens.
"Not everything. You still have each other and your baby. . . Think about it, Ms. McKenzie. Think long and hard about what he would have taken away from you." The psychic watched on as the firemen battled to save the structure she dearly wanted to see burnt to the ground, and its inhabitant sent to the bowels of Hell.
Thomasina McKenzie squeezed her shivering wife tightly to her. "She's right. I could have lost you and our child to that evil bastard. You're all that matters to me, you and the baby. The insurance will pay for the damage to the house and some of the contents. We can move in with my Mom until we have enough saved to start over."
"Your Mother!?!" Jillian exclaimed.
"You two can move in with us for as long as you need to." Camille quietly wrapped her arms around her best friends. "Isn't that right, Seth."
"Of course. You are welcome to stay with us. In fact, I have some furniture I've been meaning to refinish that you can help me with, Bud." Seth patted Tommie on her broad back.
"You gotta deal. Thanks, guys. I can't tell you how much your hospitality means to us." Tommie wiped moisture from her eyes, not sure if her tears were from the smoke or not.
"What do you think you'll do with the property? The house won't be a total loss." Seth inquired.
"Clean it up and sell it, I guess." Tommy responded.
"No!" Jillian interjected. "We can't let him hurt anyone else."
"What?" Tommie looked at her partner.
"We can't take the chance. What if he isn't gone?" Jillian looked deeply into blood shot blue eyes.
"She's right." Caroline spoke up. "I can't tell if he's gone and, frankly, I'm not willing to go back in there to find out."
"What if we sell it to someone who wants a haunted house? I can't wait to see the realtor's face when we divulge that bit of information." Tommie grinned.
"OK. I'll agree to that." Jillian stood on tip-toe and kissed Tommie's lips.
"Well, let's go talk to the fire chief." Tommie said.
"Ummm . . ."
"You might want to leave out the part where during a seance, an angry ghost set our house on fire. . . Just a thought." Jillian suggested.
"Oh, yeah. I guess you're right." Tommie took her wife's small hand and headed toward the busy fire truck.
What do you think?
Back to the Academy