My Aunt was a Swamp Witch
My great-aunt Jemima was an ol’ swamp-witch who lived in the deep wetlands outside of New Orleans, and I just came across some letters she wrote to her lover goin’ on two decades ago. I had always heard the rumors surrounding her, but I never got ta meet the woman herself.
The reason these letters mean so much ta me, and why I wish I coulda met her, is that I’m cursed too. Just like her I can see inta the future by using Tarot cards, an’ I can see the stories they tell about people if I focus hard. This is one of her letters, and I keep readin’ it over an’ over hopin’ I can get some idea about how to break the curse from it.
No Jimmy, I can’t go through this again! I can’t look into their lives like this anymore with those Devil-damned cards. I don’t care about the paycheck…No good ever comes outta my readings like it did mama’s. The last time I did a reading you all know what happened to old Mrs. Fitzgerald…I’ve got enough blood on my hands. Do you have any idea what it’s like when your heart starts pounding and a scream tries to rip free of your throat because you killed someone? No, I don’t suppose you do. Every time I do a reading my clients run away screaming or drop dead of heart attacks like flies. You know, it’s kinda funny because I see when and how people are gonna die all the time in their cards, and you know I’m always right, but I never saw hers coming at all…no hint, nothing.
If I had seen it I could have stopped it, or at least damn well tried to! I could have brought her to the emergency room and plopped her down on one of those crisp, white beds and told them to take care of her, but I didn’t. I sat there talkin’ like a moron while her ticker ran out. When I…told her that her current husband was going to try and kill her for her life insurance she didn’t blink…when I told her that her daughter’s pregnant by some boy she flipped out.
I have to be careful what I tell my mama though, she won’t like hearing that I accidently killed Mrs. Fitzgerald. They were neighbors for 30 years you know, and Mrs. Fitzgerald used to always give me some of her buttery sugar cookies whenever I’d do a reading for her.
The ink is too smudged for me to read some of this part here, but I keep tryin’.
Oh Lordie, I feel like this paycheck is burning a hole right from my breast pocket into my soul…but mama needs her medication or she’ll have another seizure, and the doctor said that if she convulses and her neck twists like it did before then it could kill her. But I can’t do this again! I can’t let another person die in my sight and not know it’s coming like that.
This is my job. I’m supposed to tell people their future so they can be aware enough to alter them! I’m supposed to help people, not kill them like they were rabid opossums! But you know this is really…the second time this has happened…I killed my daddy when I was little. I told my mama if he went out to work for Mister Jenkins at the plantation he would be shot. But my daddy just laughed at me and said to stop spreading the Devil’s lies.
He went off to work that morning…a mean ol’ leer on his face and said that when he came home that night he was gonna spank…until I was red like a tomato just to show me how wrong I was. He never came home…if I could have convinced him he would still be alive. Now I’ve gone and killed someone else because my power failed me…I can’t take this anymore.
I’m ending it now, then I can’t hurt anyone else ever. The good Lord will take care of mama, I know he will. And now…I can’t…go and hurt her either in anyway.
Yours till death, Jemima
There’s blood obscurin’ the end of the note and it’s splattered across the page, leaving gaps in the writin’. I’ve found more pages, but I’m afraid ta share them. It kinda feels like I’m stuck in a prophecy, doomed to repeat the mistakes she made. What should I do? Read more?
My power is just as bad as hers was, but she at least got ta do a little schoolin’ and learned more things than me. My Mama has been hiding me away from everyone, and had the old woman down the road teach me how to do basic readin’ and writin’ so that I wouldn’t be too big of a burden.
Auntie Jemima could do other things too, not just see the future in the Cards. The things she could do still frighten me, and I almost don’t wanna talk about them. Me bringing her up now is bad enough juju, I don’t need to make the Spirits any more ornery than they usually are around this old house.
I found the letters hidden beneath the rotting attic floorboards yesterday. They were tied up in an old, mothball-smellin’ box marked “Irrefutable Proof of Devil Worship.” I don’t know what that big word is that starts with “I”, but I know that I don’t my Mama to hurt me the way my great aunt’s Pa hurt her.What should I do? I turn sixteen in a few days, and Mama said that’s when the Devil will come for me.