Mudcat Café message #210943 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #20177   Message #210943
Posted By: JenEllen
12-Apr-00 - 09:36 PM
Thread Name: TAVERN STEAMBOAT- Albert Hansell Part 3
Subject: RE: TAVERN STEAMBOAT- Albert Hansell Part 3
The mojo woman folded the note and pressed it in a worn leather book. Her hair flowing around her, cloudlike in the breeze, she made her way to the stateroom of the Gambler Delacroix.
She rapped on the door and was bade enter.
"Ah my Stone, you've been washed smooth in our river, haven't you?" she asked.
She led him to an overstuffed pair of armchairs. The Gambler's lanky frame perched on the edge of his chair, while the lady's curled up in her's like a cat. He could tell it was going to be some kind of story.
"First, I guess I should tell you of the events that transpired while I was on the Maid of Ohio" with this she took his cheroot stained fingers and looked into his eyes. The Gambler saw the scene unfold like a play.
The mojo woman rowed the Hansell's skiff to the Maid of Ohio. Her only thought was 'let the rope down', and mysteriously a rope dropped from the hands of the Red Heron on deck. She managed to clamber aboard none too gracefully, nearly drowning herself in the process.
Her bare feet hit the deck with a thud, and she made her way unmolested to the cabin of Mary Greene.
Mary looked at the bedraggled woman and spewed "Wot the hell er yew doin' in heah? Get yer ass offn' my boat or I'll have ya thrown off'n it!"
"Enough!" cried the mojo woman, the first time her voice ever above a whisper "If you don't listen to me now we are ALL as good as dead!" With that she grabbed the vellum out of Mary's hand and tore off the corner that was inked in red. The light vellum sliver seemingly flew of it's own volition into the potbellied stove in Mary's cabin.
Mary, speechless for the first time in her ever-loving life, watched this madwoman tear around her cabin rifling pages and sending them into the flames. Through the damp cloth of the woman's dress, Mary saw a puma drawn on her back. "I'll be damned, she means business."
Finally the woman turned to Mary and told her the tale of the Red Heron, and how the men she had taken on at port to run her boat were as evil as hell fire.
"Long ago, these men took my sister, the last Chat Noir. I was a long time and a heavy price to have her returned to me. I placed her with a fine Southern family in the hopes that she would be safe. Seeing her aboard the Albert Hansell was by grace alone wonderful, but the timing could not have been worse.
For years I have followed them and tried in vain to stop them from the destruction they savor. My only chance was in the small group of people aboard the Hansell. The only thing that could help us now would be a group of the lost and the pure.
The vellum map you had contained the passages to the inner world. If the Heron's found those, they would be unstoppable. Better they rest in ashes than to destroy us forever.
Come with me Mary, back to the Hansell. There is a shift in the river bottom, and the Maid will surely run aground. Leave her for now with the wretches aboard her."
Mary stared in abject terror at the woman in her cabin. The flowing hair and watersoaked dress might have made her unbelievable to others, but Mary knew she meant what she'd said. She followed her onto the deck. The group of Herons looked at the women, and the mojo simply muttered "Don't see". The women were dutifully ingored as they passed through the group of men and climed back into the skiff.
While rowing back to the Hansell, the mojo woman explained to Mary of the Inner World that she herself had once visited, and the twin daughters she was forced to leave there at their birth.
She was working in a small hotel in Iowa, telling fortunes to travellers for pay. In the lobby one evening she heard the lightest of fingers playing on a piano in the saloon. The man playing the piano said it helped to clear his head ever since he was a child in Elmira. They talked for hours about the moon and stars, and then she realized a few months later that she was with child.
The dreams that came to her were horrifying. The fate that these girls would suffer if left to this world were far greater than any imposed on herself or her sister.
She told this to her supplier of newt toes and rooster eyes, and the toothless old woman grinned and told her "Now it's time!"
She led her to a small closet under the stairs and gave her a shove inside. At once a brilliant light filled the room, the silk sheeting on the walls gave out streams of talking, laughing, and even pictures. It was more than she could take and she fainted dead away.
She awoke to find a grizzled man standing over her with her two red-headed babes crying in his arms.
"Navigators! That's what I needed! Navigators! They'll be prime from the likes of you, Miss. There might be hope for this old ship yet."
On the screen behind him, she caught a glimpse of a boat called the Albert Hansell. The old man followed her eyes, and abruptly his demeanor changed. "Out with you!" he bawled. "You've seen enough and you will see more in good time!"
So when the mojo woman saw the Albert Hansell docked, to her it was 15 years later, but still as fresh as the night before. She boarded without hesitation knowing that this would bring her full circle.

She dropped the Gamblers fingers and smiled, "Long time, no see, old friend."