Moonlight reflected off the pool of water collected in the gutter. Zane paid no attention as he stepped down off the curb and through it. The cuff of his pants eagerly soaked up the liquid, but it went unnoticed. Zane had bigger things to worry about tonight. Like the tingling sensation in his arms he was feeling right now.
He absently stepped over discarded plastic cups as he quickly made his way across the street and around the corner, turning onto the famous Bourbon St.
Zane cautiously stepped through the groups of people partying the night away. Their eyes drifted over him and back as if he wasn’t even there. The corners of his mouth turned up into a slight smile. That’s the way he liked it. It made moving through the busy city so much easier.
He slipped around another group of people and let out a groan. The tingling had now made its way into his legs as well. It felt as if a hundred needles were moving in and out of his flesh. Zane wasn’t supposed to feel like this. Something was very wrong.
With some effort, he got his legs moving again. He had to get to the bottom of this and he knew just the man to see.
Zane ducked off the busy street into a dark alley. The sounds of the city’s nightlife slowly died behind him as he walked further down the alleyway. Zane stopped under a single light which illuminated a rather plain looking door. Fighting the pain in his arms and legs, he entered.
Squinting in the harsh florescent lights, Zane surveyed the small voodoo shop. His eyes fell on a cautious-looking young man standing behind the counter.
“Hello, Carl,” Zane said with a slight smirk.
The man frowned at him before speaking. “We don’t want any trouble, Zane,” Carl told him. “We’re still fixing up the place from the last time you were in here.”
“Come on, Carl,” he said with a sigh. “That can hardly be considered my fault. That wart-crusted demon started it.”
Carl shook his head. “It’s not my problem trouble follows you where ever you go.”
Zane stepped closer to the counter, grimacing slightly as the pain intensified. “I don’t have time for this, Carl. I need to see Papa. Now!”
Carl narrowed his eyes at him, but pushed a small button next to the counter.
Zane smiled sweetly at him. “Thank you, Carl.”
The young man gave him a sour look in return then started rummaging through a box of new items.
A beaded curtain rustled at the back of the store, and a very tall man stepped out. The tailored white suit emphasized his dark ebony skin. Charcoal eyes burned in Carl’s direction. “What is it? I was in the middle of something.”
Carl frowned and pointed at Zane.
The charcoal eyes swept over him as a smile spread over the man’s face. “Why, if it isn’t Zane Redgrave,” he said with a chuckle as he flashed bone white teeth. “I haven’t seen you since you were tracking that Shanshaw demon. You left my store in fine disarray over that.”
Zane shrugged. “What can I say, Papa Bones? Things happen.”
“That they do, dear boy,” he said with a laugh that shook the building. “That they do.”
Zane took a step towards him. “Something’s happening. Something powerful,” he told Papa Bones through clenched teeth, fighting another wave of tingling pain as it coursed down his entire body. “What do you know about it?”
Papa Bones struck a dramatic pose. “My dear boy, are you accusing me of something?”
Zane raised an eyebrow. “This reeks of strong juju, Voodoo Man.”
All the humor went of Papa Bones’ face. He took a step towards Zane. “Listen up, Redgrave. If I had done something to you, you would know it,” he growled darkly.
Zane took a step back, causing the tingling to worsen. It was all he could do to stand there. “Someone’s doing this,” he told him flatly.
The Voodoo Man stepped even closer to Zane, staring intensely. “There is something different about you, boy.” He reached into a pocket at his side and pulled out a fist full of powder. Opening his hand, Papa Bones blew into it, sending the powder cascading over Zane.
Zane quickly wiped at his face. “What the hell was that, Papa?” he sputtered.
Papa Bones’ eyes had gone wide. “Curious. Most curious,” he muttered absently.
Zane squinted up at him through powder-covered eyelashes. “What? Do you know what’s happening to me?”
Papa just continued to stare at Zane, a confused look on his face. “I’ve never seen this before. Astonishing.”
Zane’s jaw tightened at the lack of information he was getting. His body screamed as the pain went from needles to blowtorches. Something was wrong with him and he needed answers now. “Damn it, Papa,” he growled as he quickly closed the distance between them, shoving Papa Bones hard against the wall. “Tell me what’s happening right now, Voodoo Man,” he hissed, his fangs glowing bright white under the florescent light.
Papa Bones looked at him, complete honesty in his eyes. “Why, dear boy, somebody is trying to bring you back to life.”