Bienvenue

image

All my families love Christmas.

As a little girl from New York, I remember a tree so tall it rivaled the Manhattan skyscrapers. My mother decorated every inch of our little apartment and the aroma of her cooking wafted through the windows and lured crowds from blocks away.

Of course, coven life was different but Christmas was remarkably the same. Peace, love and hospitality that bridged species and set ancient vendettas to rest for one sparkling night.

Duke Banitierres’ mission for the season was to surround himself with as much family as possible, and mend the broken pieces of their unconventional souls in the warmth of his home.

 The first weeks of December were filled with shopping in New Orleans but holiday central was at the plantation, sixty miles up the Mississippi River. Every room had its own tree, trimmed in a unique theme. For a week of nights we exchanged gifts, in the grand parlor, swamped in the glorious mess of wrapping paper, ribbons and bows.

On Christmas Eve, all roads led to Normandie Hall. One candle in the window, turned into a candle in every window.

Family and friends from around the globe, some who never attended a party or ceremony all year, always found their way through the arches of the white mansion. String quartets, brass bands and piano artisans took turns serenading a celebration that didn’t end until the sun came up.

Now, our Highland Christmas is traditional and austere. Bonfires and bagpipes on the lonely moor, a simple tree with white lights and a twinkling star; the beacon that has welcomed generations home for centuries.

Joyeux Noel

Hear My Prayer…

 

In the dead of night, on the year’s longest night.

Decades ago I saw this castle for the first time, spires soaring into the jeweled winter sky.

 On this night, when drums of darkness triumph over the sun, our coven is still celebrating Nightside Mass around the corner.

A decadent party for them…pure torture for me.

A festive crowd, with a dismal vacancy.

My footsteps on these checkered tiles should be the miracle of a lifetime.  

Forbidden spells have been cast.

Instead it’s my desperate cry for help.

Obscene ransoms paid.

My fingers squeeze the offerings jammed in my pockets.

Hallowed doors click shut.

No turning back now.

Stone cherubs flash impossible smiles and flags flutter in dead-still air.

Candles spark to pale, blue life as I pass.

No thunder claps.

Flames flare to a sapphire burn when I kneel in front of the altar.

No bolts of lightning. Yet.

In my left hand, a crimson rose. In my right, a string of flawless diamonds.

Black wisps of smoke flash across stained glass.

I offer my prayer, to anyone willing to listen.

Silence, broken only by rustling in empty pews.

The love of my life is missing.

The eternal, binding ceremony is mere weeks away.

Gone, in search of answers to ancient puzzles.

In the dead of night, on this sacred night,

I beg you, my ancestors…help me bring him home.

 

Blogger Spotlight: Anne Marie at “Monsters and Angels”

Thank you Brian for allowing Steven a few minutes in the spotlight! I’m sure he would take a modest bow, secretly wishing for streamers and confetti to burst from the ceiling.

Bonnywood Manor

green fence

Editor’s Note: Anne Marie is currently working on a project involving two of my favorite things, one of them being New Orleans and the other… well, I don’t want to reveal too much. In this excerpt, we get to meet the unique character of Steven, who certainly has a way with words, among other talents. I like how, even though we aren’t sure what’s going on, Anne Marie leaves us wanting to know more. Enjoy.

Perfectly Laid Plans

A gentleman with flaming red curls mingled his way through the candlelit tables, whispering in ears and returning nods before settling in his reserved seat to intercept the gaze of his perfectly coiffed date. “Your eyes reflect every shade of emerald in this room. I could positively drown.”

The man’s fork paused in mid-air.

“Has dinner been to your liking?”

“Exceptional, Mister Steven. I’ve had two helpings of the special.”

“Ah, the…

View original post 1,074 more words