Forbidden Place

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
When it is a matter of preservation, you do what you have to do.

Submitted: April 15, 2015

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Submitted: April 15, 2015

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The rain was coming down in torrents. It had barely let up for five straight days. All of Louisiana east of I-55, as well as Pearl River and Hancock counties in Mississippi, were under a flash flood warning. The Tchefunte River, out of its banks, was running two miles wide in places, wreaking havoc in Tangipahoa Parish. The Bogue Chitto River was 12 feet above flood stage, and the Bogue Falaya River was an astounding 20 feet deeper than at any other time within living memory.

Unlike most people, Tom was delighted. He had waited years for such heavy rains to come. He knew they would, eventually. They always had in the past, although it seemed that they were becoming less frequent. Maybe it had something to do with the global warming/climate change that everyone was talking about. At any rate, he was thankful to the spirits that it happened in his lifetime, for his days were numbered.

Thomas "Tom Tom" Porter was the Big Chief of the Tawny tribe. Unrecognized by either the state or federal governments, the people had managed to survive three centuries of deprivation at the hand of the white man, but, in recent times, the community had found itself in trouble. Inbreeding was causing an alarming rate of birth defects. It was time to perform the periodic ritual of renewal.

The Tawny tribe traces its origin back to 1699, the year the first black slave escaped into the trackless wilderness of the Honey Island swamp in the estuary of the Pearl River. It happened while Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville, was searching the Gulf Coast for the mouth of the Mississippi. The slave, whose name is lost to history, settled in an inaccessible area of the swamp known today as "L'endroit Interdit", the Forbidden Place, and took several indigenous women to be his wives. Genetically, the Tawnies became a 50/50 mixture of Native and African heritage with "une goutte de sang blanc", one drop of white blood.

According to tribal tradition, the ritual for the renewal of the race could only be performed in the Forbidden Place, but therein was a problem. It's location was unknown since no living Tawny had ever been there. The ancient tales said it was an island in the middle of "Bayou Fantôme", the ghost bayou, which normally doesn't exist. It is only during a flood that the bayou fills and begins to flow. Even then, it rarely exceeds a depth of one foot. In spite of some doubts, Thomas basically had faith that the spirits of the tribal ancestors would lead him to the right place.

The ritual had only been performed once before in 300 years, so there had been some dispute among tribal elders as to what should happen. As there was a high degree of danger in what they were about to do, they were happy to defer to Tom for the tough calls, and he decided to stick strictly to the old tales that he had heard whispered as a boy. Fully aware of the risks, he considered it his duty as Big Chief to toe the line.

For the sake of genetic diversity, 13 outside women were adopted into the tribe. Six were native, six were black and one was white. They were all selected from distant tribes and cities around the country. They were then married to various Tawny men during a ceremony that lasted 30 days in order that each woman would have time to pass through her fertile period.

Of course, the "adoptions" were actually kidnappings, and the "marriages" were in fact rapes. Once the resulting children were born and weaned, but before they were old enough to remember their mothers, the women would be ritually murdered in order to prevent them from escaping and informing the authorities. It is not the sort of thing one would imagine could happen in the 21st century, but cultural traditions persist over long periods of time.

Tom roared in triumph as he ceremoniously "married" the white girl in the Forbidden Place in the middle of Ghost Bayou as the rain continued to fall through the bald cypress and tupelo trees deep in the foreboding Honey Island swamp. For her part, Sarah Horowitz never expected any such thing when she ran away from her home in New York to seek mystery and adventure in New Orleans. Both were caught up in an event of destiny, something more important than their individual selves. They were in the act of preserving the Tawny race.

Copyright © 2015 W.C. Bell; All rights reserved.


© Copyright 2019 Whiskey Charlie. All rights reserved.

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