I’m back! It’s 2019, and I’m trying to be better about writing and blogging (among other things). Avery has a new story idea for an urban fantasy tale set in New Orleans in 2025.
Just as a refresher, Wednesday Briefs are short pieces–500 to 1000 words. They also have to include a writing prompt. The prompts for this story include: the Big Easy (in the title), a character playing the piano, and a beignet. I was lucky I had so many prompts from which to choose!
Be sure to see the list of other authors at the bottom of the page! There is more free reading to be had!!
But, for now…
Ghostly Blues in the Big Easy
The lights of the French Quarter blurred as we sped down Bourbon Street. Nearly 2:30 a.m.—most people were either passed out or sleeping. Not Damien and me, though. My vintage Ford pick-up was out of commission, so Damien was stuck chauffeuring me to and from work. Thankfully, he didn’t seem to mind. Well, not too much.
Lost in thought, I nearly missed the shimmer of an apparition which materialized in front of Damien’s sleek Mercedes.
“Stop!” I shrieked, throwing my left arm protectively toward Damien.
Damien stomped on the brakes, and I lurched forward. The sedan slid to a squealing halt on the wet pavement.
“What the hell, Lucia?” Damien shot me daggers as he glanced around us. “I don’t see anything. Why am I slamming on the brakes?”
I sighed. He was going to be pissed. “It’s Nicky. I didn’t want you to run him over.”
“Luce, he’s a freaking ghost!” Damien sounded exasperated. “He can’t die again, but we sure can!” He shook his head and slumped back into his seat. Knowing him, he was probably counting to ten…or maybe fifty…in his head.
Of course I knew all of that. I’d just wanted to save Nicky the pain of having this beast of a car mow him down. It would take Nicky time and energy to reform and explain to me why he was wearing the deer in the headlights look in the middle of the street.
“That was close, Luce. Tell Lead Foot here to slow down. He was at least ten miles over the speed limit. And on wet roads, no less!”
Turning in my seat, I rolled my eyes. Me relaying that message to Damien would only cause his head to explode.
“D, he’s situated in the back seat. We can start moving again.” I lightly punched him in the arm. “I’ll play you some Debussy when we get home.” There, a peace offering.
He didn’t answer me, but at least we started moving again. I was really glad we were the only ones on the road. Damien would have killed me if someone rear-ended his newish baby. He’d had the Mercedes a month already, but that didn’t matter. He treated that car better than his last boyfriend. Key word there: last!
“Yo, Luce, where’d you go? I’ve got some scoop.”
My head whipped around at that bit of news. Nicky, a former New Orleans PD detective, had been shot on duty back in the late 70s. He was my number one source of info, and often helped me solve cases. Damien, Brock— my other business partner—and I owned LeRoux Consulting. We typically assisted supernaturals in the greater New Orleans area, but we weren’t opposed to helping humans, too. Anything that paid the bills, right?
“Damien, Nicky says he’s got a scoop for us,” I said, trying to make peace with my driver.
“Well, it better be damn good since he almost caused me to wreck this girl.”
Okay, so not forgiven yet.
“Is he always such a hard ass?” Nicky asked from the backseat.
At times like these, I was so thankful he was a ghost, and I was the only one who could see and hear him. Some called it a talent, but sometimes I found it more of a curse. Seeing and communicating with the dead was something I tried to keep between my partners and me. My real talent lay in my mad piano skills. I could play anything from Beethoven to Joplin to Journey. That was a skill I didn’t mind advertising.
Ignoring his last question, I asked, “So whatcha got? Anything good?”
“Well, I was hanging around Lafayette Cemetery tonight. Word on the street was the vampires were having a special raising. I got there early, hoping to get a good view, but no such luck. The scene was chaotic.”
I put my hand up, signaling for Nicky to take a breath while I updated Damien. When I finished, Damien asked, “Which clan?”
I looked back to Nicky with my eye brows raised. He didn’t disappoint. “The Benoits.”
After I relayed that particular name to Damien, he banged his fist on the steering wheel. “What the hell are they up to now? You can’t trust a Benoit farther than you can throw a beignet.” And I didn’t add, but thought, we all know how much of a sin that is.
Nicky continued. “He was ranting and raving about some artifact being missing from one of the tombs. I didn’t catch which one, but evidently it was something pretty important for the ceremony.”
“A missing artifact?” I wracked my brain over who might be laid to rest there that the Benoits would be interested in, let alone have anything of value for a vampire.
I drew a blank. “D, any idea what they would have been looking for?”
He thought for minute before shaking his head. “I sure don’t. I bet you Brock might know. With his family history, he’s bound to have a book or journal with that kind of intel.”
“Did you notice anything else out of the ordinary, Nicky?” Back in the day he was one of NOPD’s top detectives, but now, he often had to be reminded to share all the information. Like a fat kid with a cookie jar. Sheesh!
“Nah, girl, that’s it. I’ll keep my ears open, though.” He straightened his tie before glancing out the window. “Tell your man to pull over at the next corner so I can get out. I’m running low on fuel tonight.I don’t feel like jumping out at this speed.”
“Fair enough. Keep me posted on what you hear.”
I turned to tell D to pull over when I caught a shimmer out of the corner of my eye. Nicky was gone. He could be so full of shit at times. I don’t know why I gave that ghost the time of day.
to be continued…
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