In this, the second excerpt from Dying on the Edge, a woman is reminiscing about visiting Port au Prince, Haiti and a noted houngan (voodoo high priest) in search of a spell, potions, or poisons to kill a woman whose husband she intends to have. The houngan is Papa Henri Delacroix and like most other men, he is entranced by this woman.
“Welcome again,” Papa Henry had said, seemingly delighted to see her. He was very tall, with light chocolate-hued skin and long, tangled locks of kinky gray hair. He was wearing a robe of light gray cotton.
She got down to business immediately. She had soothed his masculinity, leading up slowly to her true mission in their two previous meetings, playing the adoring supplicant. Now she told him bluntly that she wanted Kurt Wilder for her husband.
He listened carefully before he spoke. “So the wife does not wish to let this man go. Perhaps she needs him more than you do, loves him more –”
“No!” She was suurprised at her own vehemence. “I must have him!” Her voice trembled with emotion.
He nodded, studying her intently but giving her no answer.
Raw with need, she had begged him again and again, saying that she needed something truly powerful if it became necessary to do away with this woman.
Then he had smiled, closing his eyes as if in blessing. She had felt happy, believing that she had finally reached him and that he favored her at last.
Finally he opened his eyes and studied her. “You are so beautiful. But you are also a fool. You have lied to me, and because of your spell and the fact that you remind me someone dear, I have only seen the good in you. This was a mistake. I will not help you.”
She began to rise to leave, infuriated. She had wasted too much time. If he wouldn’t help her, there were others. She didn’t need this excuse for a houngan.
He leaned forward, and his big, gnarled hand covered her slender one. “There is no victory in evil,” he said mildly. Evil can only destroy; it is without power to create anything save chaos.”
Facing him, her face contorted with anger and frustration so that it was no longer beautiful, she flung at him, “Perhaps you are the fool, Henry Delacroix. Surely you know that destruction is often a necessary step to creation.”
She had glanced at him triumphantly before he said sadly, “Do not do this deed you plan, even if it becomes, as you put it, necessary. You are not yet dead enough inside to be effectively evil. You still feel too much. Listen when I tell you that you will die in the flames you light for another. At the very least, you spirit will die.”
She would listen no longer. Opening her purse, she had pulled out a sheaf of bills to pay him, even though he had proved useless. He refused the money and followed her to the door, pleading, “If I am an old fool, even fools are wise on some subjects. I beg you to listen….”
But she had rushed to the waiting jeep taxi and the grinning, sleepy-eyed driver who, at her request, had taken her to Simone. Madame Simone Duclair was a well-known mambo, a voodoo priestess highly recommended by a Haitian acquaintance.
The next excerpt will come on Tuesday and depict the detectives finding a woman’s body.
All five excerpts skip throughout the book and will give you the flavor of the book. Responses of most readers have been supportive and full of praise. But Edge is not everybody’s cup of tea. If you don’t care for psychology, I wouldn’t advise trying to read it. It’s subtle and not everyone likes subtlety in a story.
So come Tuesday, as they say in the U.S, south, if I live and nothing happens, I’ll bring you the third excerpt. But it’s the fourth and the fifth that are explosive and the fifth is sad.
Will I see you next Tuesday? I certainly hope so.