Saturday, August 13, 2011

Satan's Daughter Is On The Loose...

The Devil's Music is an intense new short story series featuring Sadie, the daughter of the devil himself, who has an insatiable appetite for music, and in particular, musicians. Sadie is a shape-shifter who travels the world to different time periods collecting the souls of all the great musical legends.

In the first story, Raised In Hell, it’s the late 1930s in Memphis Tennessee and The King Of The Delta Blues Singers is reigning in the dingy juke joints. Sadie, has a signed contact with him that’s come due. She’s got a soul to collect. In a blues club on Beale Street, Sadie finds him on the stage and waits for him with a bottle of bourbon, ready to take him to hell. But what happens if he doesn’t want to go?

Excerpt from The Devil’s Music, Book 1 Raised In Hell
By Julia Madeleine

Out on Beale Street I recognized his soulful voice immediately, the cry of the blues guitar chords rising up and swelling around me like a heartache in the Memphis night air. I stepped through the front door and the smell of bourbon, tobacco and sweat crashed into me, igniting my senses. Through the dim light and a layer of smoke hovering above the room, I made out his figure on the stage at the far end of the dingy juke joint. There he was, the King Of The Delta Blues singers himself.

My heart flipped at the sight of him, his onyx skin, the fedora worn low on his forehead obscuring his eyes. Blue light glowed over the angle of his jaw. There was a stirring in my belly and I placed a protective hand over the thin silk of my dress, as if the excitement would leap from me physically. And something wicked that made me salivate and lick my lips, erupted inside of me, a sensation expanding in my chest and throat.

The rich sound of his voice seeped into my body, holding me captive, and for a moment I forgot why I’d come here. Forgot what I was planning to do.

“Early this morning
When you knocked upon my door
Early this morning, oooo
When you knocked upon my door
And I said hello Satan I believe it’s time to go..”

How many times had he sat on the edge of my bed singing that very song, picking on his guitar? I’d fallen asleep to that voice. Heard it merge with my dreams, his foot tapping the wooden floor rhythmically. His music was a heartbeat, lulling me. It seemed so long ago now that I first met him, playing for change in the park. I was in and out of his life ever since, like a migratory bird, making promises I didn’t intend to keep. All except for one promise. To myself. One promise that I was about to fulfill. I regretted what I had to do and at the same time, longed for it.

Through the din, and the sweat-drenched audience swaying as if in a trance, I made my way to an unoccupied chair at the bar, moving in a predatory stride that caused heads to turn, and the crowds to part. Whenever I came here, to the south, I coloured my skin dark, a tone somewhere between caramel and milk chocolate, to blend with the locals. The only thing I could never change, though, were my eyes; they were a brilliant cobalt blue with flecks of gold. A gift from my father. It was how he always recognized me through my perennial shape-shifting that had become my obsession, travelling though the decades, visiting the different eras, picking what I wanted like a child in a candy store with all of Daddy’s money in fist.

I eased up onto the chair, turning on a hip and crossed my long legs, one stiletto-heeled pump keeping time with the drum beat, and stroked a lock of dark hair fallen loose from my chignon. I swallowed the saliva that threatened to spill from my lips.

My friend Lyle owned this place. Ran the pool, dice and card games. Made a shit-load of money. All thanks to me. I watched him approach me now from behind the bar; a big man with molasses coloured skin, slick with the heat. He’d had his hair conked, a style all the black men—still called themselves Negros down here in the 1930s—were wearing these days. It was parted on the side and neatly smoothed back as if he’d had it lacquered. The handle-bar moustache was new, curled at the ends, giving him an odd circus ringmaster appearance, especially now that he was conking his hair.

“Hey Lyle sweetie, looks like you got a full house tonight,” I said, running the backs of my fingers, clad in a mesh glove, along the edge of my cheek. A subtle but powerful gesture that had the effect of twitching strings on a puppet.

“Sadie, you sexy mama. Good to see you. Been a long time. ” He leaned across the bar, and I allowed him to lay a wet kiss on my cheek. His waxed moustache tickled my ear.

I held out a cigarette for a light and he fumbled under the bar, came up immediately with a match. His hand shook as he held it toward me. He grinned in a way that looked as if he might be in some kind of pain.

“Looking beautiful as always,” he said and mopped the sweat from his forehead with a white handkerchief he kept in his pocket. “And in this heat. But I suppose where you come from, that’s something you’re used to. What you drinking tonight, Sadie? You want the usual?”

“Gimme’ a bottle, Lyle. Two glasses,” I said, blowing out a stream of smoke above his head. I looked across the room at the stage and caught Robert’s eye. A lazy smile curled his lips at the corners as the recognition played across his features. His eyes looked so joyful in their innocence. It’s like he had no idea what was coming...

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