Boudreaux told an interesting story. The good old boy finished his beer and opened another. “Yep. Da House on da Bayou done gone sour.”
The man had told Marcel his remarkable story of the family’s abandoned plantation house. During the Zombie Apocalypse the extended family all retreated to the family home. It was “in the sticks” and they survived there living off the bounty of the bayou in relative peace. When the apocalypse mysteriously ended and the dead (mostly) returned to the Great Beyond the family largely remained there in seclusion except for hunting and foraging or trading trips.
LIfe was not without trials however. The family had deep roots in the area but had fallen on hard times generations past. The fields had reverted to a wild state and the home was rundown and haunted. The water level had risen also. Now the home was only accessible via boat. The matriarch of the family, one of a line of “witchy” women, was also increasingly angry and miserable to be around. Marie Toussaint called Meemaw by her numerous descendants was a large domineering woman that ran the household with an iron fist until she disappeared. It was assumed that a gator had gotten her during a nighttime visit to the latrine.
The following month Boudreaux and his cousin returned from town to find the place deserted. There was blood to be sure, and the house, always known to be haunted, now felt evil. They fled.
That was the bulk of the story told to Marcel. The houngan thought that there were restless spirits there that might need help moving on. He resolved to visit with Milhouse and investigate the plantation to see what they could do. Milhouse had his own power.
Boudreaux guided the small steel boat to the dilapidated dock. It had once been longer but the farthest point was now sunk beneath the water. “Keep an eye out for the General” he warned them of the king of the gators. MIlhouse swished his foot in the water and Marcel squinted. He did not discern any ghostly presences.
Their guide refused to go any further. He pointed to the overgrown path to the house and opened another beer. Marcel and Milhouse got out and quickly spotted the submerged gator stalking them. The former circus man had a knack with animals. Marcel didn’t understand it but he felt the release of essence and Milhouse began to grunt and hiss in alligator speak. The gator swam over and let Milhouse pet him.
“He’s hungry. I told him please don’t eat us. He said that people aren’t here any more.”
The gator swam away brushing the underside of the hull. Boudreaux clutched his hunting rifle. “That ain’t natural” he thought.
Marcel and Milhouse now fixated on the collapsed boathouse at the edge of the water. It was rotten and the roof had fallen in. They pushed inside and Milhouse lit the building with his flashlight. There was a single boat inside that appeared to have been undergoing repairs. There was debris and junk and lots of animal sign. My god the spiders. A few swamp rats fled the focused light.
They poked around and discussed how to ward the structure from ghosts. Then with sudden inspiration they realized that this old boathouse wasn’t why they were there. They left and followed the overgrown path to what had once been an opulent plantation home but was now just sad. Several windows were broken. The front door was ajar and the roof sagged. It was dirty gray and one side was covered in vines.
Marcel saw an apparition in the center upstairs window. It looked like the upper torso of a women. She turned away and disappeared when he hailed her.
They crossed the creaking porch and pushed the front door the rest of the way open. A large room with a fireplace greeted them. Beyond was an open spiral staircase behind four pillars. A baby grand piano sat in the center of the spiral and a frightened racoon jumped out and escaped through the grand foyer in the rear.
They moved through the room. To the left was the kitchen and dining room with perhaps a den beyond. To the right was a hall leading to other rooms. Past the staircase was the foyer with a door to the outside and a hallway.
Marcel called out to any spirits present and a noise drew there attention to the staircase. And old porcelain doll with a cracked face flopped down the steps. It came to rest staring in their direction. He thanked them for the gift and climbed the stairs. When he reached down for his present, it flew at him. He was struck by a much greater force that the doll alone. Had he not sidestepped in time he would have tumbled over the railing.
The doll landed on the floor at the bottom of the stairs and Milhouse who had been examining the racoon nest inside the piano went over and stepped on it. He ground the doll into the tile.
Marcel heard a baby softly crying upstairs now and Milhouse saw a large crow fly into the kitchen. It landed on the counter and cocked it’s head at him. They decided to stick together and get a better look at the crow.
Milhouse spoke with the animal. It screamed “Dead! Dead!” and “I eat the dead” and “yes I will stand on your arm and let you pet me”.
With the bird on his shoulder, Milhouse led the way through the kitchen to the den. There was nothing interesting. The three of them now returned to the staircase and began ascending.
Up and around, up and around. There was strangeness. The stairs seemed to stretch. Milhouse was somehow farther ahead and now out of sight. Marcel reached the second floor but he was alone. It was a room with a TV and entertainment center opposite a moldy couch. A door directly ahead opened to the veranda. On his left and right were bedrooms. A tiny narrow door to perhaps a closet was on the wall near the entertainment center. He called out for Milhouse but there was no answer. Then he called out to the spirits of the house. Unsatisfied he began drawing a circle on the floor.
Meanwhile Milhouse realized that somehow Marcel had gotten lost. Milhouse was in the attic now. It was small and filled with generations of stuff in storage. And cobwebs. So many cobwebs. There were three windowed dormers. The center had a rocking chair positioned in front of it. Not far away was an antique wooded rocking horse. He tried to see with his other sight. His vision refocused. There was a woman in an old fashioned dress sitting in the chair and a little girl sitting on the rocking horse. She was looking at him.
“Hi” he said. “What are you doing here?”
Meanwhile Marcel hear Milhouse coming up the stairs, or at least someone big and heavy. The sound preceded the pungent smell of decay. What had once been a woman of large carriage paused a step or two below the landing. Her skin was black and swollen and she dripped fetid water. Her sunken eyes glared at Marcel. She gurgled and Marcel tried not to retch. “What are you doing in my house?” she screamed.
Marcel gathered and released his power. His attempt to command her failed miserably. She left the stairs and crossed the room unbelievably fast. She almost clotheslined him. When that failed she reached for his head with her turgid black sausage fingers. He pushed those aside with his baby head stick too. She stripped that away from him.
Milhouse’s question seemed to anger the woman. “This is our place. We live here. You are tresspassing! You do not belong here!” she shouted. The little girl scrunched her face up into something inhuman and ugly.
Marcel gathered his power but Meemaw was too fast. She attacked with a face rake but he pulled back. She tried an eye gouge but he avoided that too. Then a kick but that didn’t connect either. That only made her angrier. He again tried to command her but his necromancy was countered by her wrath.
Gentle Milhouse began to cry. He tried again to talk to the lady but she was not interested. She told him that she wanted what he had. His life. She would feed the crows with his body. The little girl began rocking impossibly fast on the rocking horse. “Feed the crows! Feed the crows!” she screamed in a gravely voice. Milhouse didn’t like that one bit. His fear called down unearthly fire on the lady ghost but the flames were so feeble as to be barely present.
Marcel backed up and Meemaw began swinging his own baby headed stick against him scoring a hit. His necromancy failed him again and he drew the lead pipe that he had carried for five years.
The ghost screeched but Milhouse remained in control. He escaped down the stairs. “Feed the crows! Feed the crows!” the little one shouted.
Marcel heard the screech and he yelled in response. He and Meemaw were clubbing at each other but he was managing to hit while avoiding her attacks. He knew that a regular person or even a watcher would have been at least crippled with a broken leg by now. She was not as good with a club than her rassling moves. She discarded the weapon to the side and kicked him square in the nuts. Marcel didn’t let the pain overwhelm him. Then she body slammed him. He looked up and her in her slimy mumu. Her injuries were severe but she also appeared to be healing slowly.
Milhouse felt a strong push from behind but he kept his balance and ran down the stairs busting through the mysteriously held door. Marcel! He was in the same room with Marcel and a horrible rotting corpse. He almost gagged. The smell was almost too much to bear. He drew his sword as a rush of cold air descended the stairs.
Marcel told another fat joke and the creature looked back at him. She had been distracted by Milhouse’s arrival. She attempted to stomp on him but he rolled to the side. Then she rushed Milhouse and launched a badly aimed kick that connected with the entertainment center and held her in place. Milhouse disembowled her and a steaming pile of black rotten entrails dropped at his feet. The house shuddered and doors began banging open and closed. Then he was enveloped in cold. The attic ghost wrapped herself around him draining his life force.
Milhouse staggered away and stabbed at the rotten creature on the ground again. He beheaded it. Then Marcel got up. The ghost flew at him and sapped his life force too They couldn’t keep this up. Milhouse picked up the head and ran toward the door to the balcony.
Milhouse and Marcel ran out of the room. Milhouse leapt and Marcel flew into him taking them both over the balcony and they landed gracelessly on the drive below. Above them the haunt stayed on the balconey. Marcel rolled over and attempted to drive the spirit out of the rotten head. This time it worked and the head fell apart and formed a steaming puddle on the ground. Milhouse was left holding a soggy mass of hair. Marcel watched a wispy spirit return to the house.
The two of them returned to the boathouse where Marcel found some matches and old motor oil. They went back to burn that muther down while debating whether they would now have a revenant hunting them.