Her Body Begs For Death

In Fiction on April 24, 2013 at 10:37 pm


Her Body Begs For Death

Les Moelleux was shining like a riverboat in the rain that night, the gaslights burning like a thousand tiny fires in a thousand cozy hearths. A loud zydeco tune was spilling from behind the windows, frantic with accordion and rub-board rhythm. The music itself wasn’t so unusual—the joint was as Creole as crawfish étouffée, after all—but what did strike me was the voice, sultry and sweet, that flowed along with it: It was Madelaine’s.

When I pushed through the door, she gave me a bashful, baleful glance and just kept on singing—as if she hadn’t put three slugs in me just the night before:

Elle dit qu’il est trop tard
Elle ne parle qu’au passé
Son corps implore la mort
Elle ne peut plus respire

She was wearing about as little as she could get away with without being mistaken for one of her girls—a tight black number that twisted around her legs and up her chest like kudzu climbing a tree. When she’d finished singing, she stepped elegantly from the stage and went up to the bar where her drink was waiting. She didn’t bother looking my way; she had known I would come.

“Son corps implore la mort?” I asked, casually as I could. “I’m no French scholar, Madelaine, but that doesn’t sound too good.”

Madelaine smiled coyly and sipped her drink. She was pleased I’d caught the line (or perhaps that I’d taken the bait).

“It means ‘her body begs for death’,” she said, and she set the glass gently on the counter. When she finally looked at me, her dark eyes seemed like coals about to catch fire. “You’re looking better.”

I laughed.

“I went from dead to living overnight,” I said. “Turns out it does wonders for the complexion.”

Madelaine nodded. She was enjoying herself. I decided to let the moment muddle and waved over the barman.

“Corpse reviver,” I told him, with a wink in Madelaine’s direction. “Easy on the vermouth.”


“More appropriate for you, maybe,” I said. “Since you’re the reviver here.”

“Very true.”

Madelaine turned. Her skin was liquid midnight, her teeth white like heat lightning in the summer. There was nothing predictable about her, not even the way she looked, which made her easy demeanor all the more unsettling.

The barman brought my drink and I downed it in one go. Madelaine said nothing.

“Now if I kill you,” I said, wiping my mouth,“and believe me, sister, I have a mind to—who’s gonna bring you back? The barman? One of your girls? You can be sure a drink won’t do it.”

Madelaine smiled.

“Oh, Mister Brennan,” she said, pouting pitifully. “You couldn’t kill me.”

“You don’t think so?”

At this Madelaine moved very slowly and reached into her dress, just below the vines that twined about her neck, and drew out a tiny bauble on a silver chain. It was a vial not unlike the ones in Charlie’s lab.

The smile disappeared from Madelaine’s face like a snake slipping into placid water.

“Literally, no,” she said. “Not while I have this.”

“And what’s that?” I asked. The smile returned.

“A piece of a dead man’s heart.”

(Photo by LarimdaME)

This story is for Andy Black’s Two for Tuesday prompt (and if you made it to the end—it’s a bit longer than usual after all—then a simultaneous congratulations and thanks is in order!) The lyrics are actually from a relatively modern song, Une Ange Qui Passe by Annie Villeneuve, but the words just seemed right.

This is also a continuation of my undead detective series of stories; this week’s challenge, to fill a story to the brim with metaphor and simile, seemed too good a fit for me to pass up. Hopefully they’re not all too obvious and intrusive.

Check out the rest of the series here:

Dead Man Walking // X Marks the Spot // Postmortem // Basic Physiology // Les Moelleux // Her Body Begs For Death

  1. That was a delicious read. And with lines like “The smile disappeared from Madelain’s face like a snake slipping into placid water” it was a joy to consume. As always your descriptions, rhythm and atmosphere delight.

  2. it’s easy to go overboard in the simile/metaphor field but I don’t think you did at all. In fact, I’m rather jealous of the slipping smile one, it’s a perfect turn of phrase. I love the imagery of the heat lightning teeth as well, it made me picture a gorgeous black woman with power just snapping off of her, a voodoo queen. I really love this story line.

  3. Love this storyline! Just the feel of that lady… Voodoo magic. It’s exciting to read this.

  4. This is another great installment. Those metaphors made for a rich and sumptuous story – gorgeous.

  5. […] Man Walking // X Marks the Spot // Postmortem // Basic Physiology // Les Moelleux // Her Body Begs for Death // The […]

  6. […] Man Walking // X Marks the Spot // Postmortem // Basic Physiology // Les Moelleux // Her Body Begs for Death // The Talisman // Madelaine // Dead […]

  7. […] Man Walking // X Marks the Spot // Postmortem // Basic Physiology // Les Moelleux // Her Body Begs for Death // The Talisman // Madelaine // Dead Drunk // The Crucible of […]

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