S1 E08: The Comet

The Comet

By W.E.B. Du Bois

This week, we have another blast from the past, this time courtesy of Pseudopod, an Escape Artists podcast. W.E.B. Du Bois is best known for his essays; in particular The Souls of Black Folk, but he also wrote fiction—in this case speculative fiction.

His story, The Comet, first appeared in chapter 10 of his autobiography Dark Water: Voices From The Veil. He wrote the story when he was 50 years old, in 1908, during a time in which the KKK was especially active. In this dystopian tale, Du Bois explores the color line and its political implications after a catastrophic event. It is a work of fiction reminiscent of the Twilight Zone, almost 20 years before Rod Serling was born.

This story is narrated by Hollis Monroe, and the audio is used by permission of Escape Artists Inc. and Pseudopod, who have been active and vocal supporters of NIGHTLIGHT since day one.

Check out our show notes for links to Pseudopod and Escape Artist for more stories of the horrific in the fantastic. And now, The Comet by W.E.B. Du Bois.

Read The Comet on Project Gutenberg:
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/15210/15210-h/15210-h.htm#Chapter_X

====

Thanks for tuning in this week. And thank you to our patrons. Thanks to you, a third of season 2 is now funded, so we will have plenty more Black horror stories to get you through the end of the year. If you want to help us pay Black writers, please go to patreon.com/nightlightpod and become a member. Halloween will be here in 78 days, and trust me, you will definitely want to be a member of the NIGHTLIGHT Legion during the month of October.

There are lots of other ways you can support NIGHTLIGHT. You can make a one-time donation at PayPal.me/NightlightPodcast. If you aren’t able, or aren’t quite ready to support the podcast financially, rating us on iTunes is an excellent way to help more listeners find us. Sharing the podcast is also always appreciated and something everyone can do.

Thanks again for your support. We’ll have another story for you next week.

=====

Show Notes:

In this dystopian tale, W.E.B. Du Bois explores the color line and its political implications after a catastrophic event. It is a work of fiction reminiscent of the Twilight Zone, almost 20 years before Rod Serling was born.

Read The Comet on Project Gutenberg:
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/15210/15210-h/15210-h.htm#Chapter_X

This story is narrated by Hollis Monroe, and the audio is used by permission of Escape Artists Inc. and Pseudopod, who have been active and vocal supporters of NIGHTLIGHT since day one.

As always, we appreciate your support. If you like this podcast, you can join us on Patreon at patreon.com/nightlightpod. Reviews on iTunes are immensely helpful, as are shares on social media and in real life with friends.

S1 E7: The Nasty at Bellua

Hi I’m Tonia Thompson, horror writer and creator of Nightlight, the black horror podcast. This week’s story is from an author that is slept on entirely too much. I know one day people recognize them for their talent and creativity, and I am thrilled to have their story, The Nasty at Bellua for the podcast.

this weeks episode by Danny Lore. It’s narrated by Cherrae Stuart. And I’d like to dedicate this episode to Roy Day, may we all be as kind and open-hearted as he was.

=========

You can read The Nasty at Bellua on Danny’s site.

=========

This past week has been a tough one for my family and me, and I had to rely on others to help ensure this podcast episode could go live today. I’d like to thank Danny for their impressive story that required hardly any editing, making it easier to get this episode out in a short period of time. Dionne for making the edits in record time. Cherrae for getting this story narrated with almost no notice and very little direction. And most of all, Jen from the Skiffy and Fanty podcast, who totally knocked the audio and sound effects out of the park even though I basically threw the audio at her and ran. Thank you all so, so much for helping me get this episode done. You wouldn’t be listening to this right now if not for them.

We’ll be airing another episode later this week with an extended interview with Danny. I can’t wait for you to meet them and I think it’ll be one of our best interviews ever.

Thanks to our IndieGoGo backers, we’ll have new episodes for you until the US thanksgiving holiday, and our patrons have funded 2 episodes of season 2.

If you love horror stories and believe authors should be paid for giving you nightmares, you should become a patron. Go to patreon.com/nightlightpod to join. Special thanks to our new patron, Samantha, we couldn’t do this without you. If Patreon isn’t your jam, but you want to contribute financially, you can also donate via our PayPal at PayPal.me/NightlightPodcast.

We rely on you, the fans, to keep this podcast going, but if you need to contribute in another way, sharing and reviewing the podcast on your preferred podcasting platform is always appreciated. Let’s see if we can work together to get NIGHTLIGHT on the New & Noteworthy list on apple podcasts. In the meantime, will see you next week with another story.

S1 E6: Daddy’s Home

Hi. I’m Tonia Thompson, horror writer and creator of NIGHTLIGHT: the Black horror podcast. This week we hear a story from Sharon Cullars. Sharon is known for her romance novels and this story is one of her first forays into horror.

Today’s episode is narrated by the amazing Cherrae Stuart.
A big thanks to our new patrons Erin and A.L. We couldn’t keep fresh horror in your ears every Tuesday without you.

And now, Daddy’s Home by Sharon Cullars.

Daddy’s Home
By Sharon Cullars

Halloween isn’t a joke in my house. Not anymore. There are no chocolate candies or cut-out goblins, no taffy apples, no smiling spiders plastered to windows. And there’s definitely no laughing. My sisters and I learned a long time ago not to laugh or even talk too loudly. Everything from midnight to midnight on the 31st is spoken softly in this house. It’s been this way since we were young, since before I could remember. 
 Since around the time my father went away. 
 “You took the garbage out, Annie?” my mother asks. The grooves around her eyes are deeper this morning. 
 “Yeah.” Can’t help the peeve in my voice and my mom looks up from scrambling the breakfast eggs, spatula paused over a popping skillet. 
 “So what’s your problem today?” 
 “Don’t have a problem.” 
 “Sounds like it. Now go upstairs and wake your sisters. They’re sleeping like the dead.” 
 She realizes what she’s said, shuts up and goes back to the eggs. And I go upstairs to my sisters’ bedrooms. 
 Jordan is lying face down, her head half hidden under her pillow. It’s nearly eight, and she went to bed at seven last night. She’s trying to escape in her dreams. My own dreams have never provided any safety. 
 “Get up, already!” I yell, then quickly clamp my mouth shut as I realize my mistake. 
 She stirs slowly, mumbling. “Leave me alone,” she finally gets out, softly like it should be spoken. Like I should’ve spoken a second ago. 
 She grimaces as she slowly realizes the day is here and she does have to leave the haven of her bed. She sits on the edge of her bed, rubs her eyes and looks at me finally. 
 “Damn,” she says mournfully. 
 I nod. “Yeah, I know. I gotta go get Taylor up.” 
 But when I go to Taylor’s bedroom, she’s not there. The bathroom door is open and she’s not there, either. So I know where she is. 
 I head to the north closet, pull the step ladder to the center, push open the door to the attic and climb up. No proverbial spider webs up here; my mom keeps it tidy. 
 Taylor’s sitting on the trunk near the window, her head down. She looks up at me and I can see tears in her eyes. 
 Taylor’s thirteen, but looks ten—small chested, babyfaced. She gets teased about it enough. Girls can be bitches. Today, she looks much older. 
 “You didn’t sleep?” 
 My sister shakes her head. “Couldn’t? Did you?” 
 “A little. Not much.” 
 She’s silent as she twiddles a finger. “Why is it like this?” she asks. “Why are we so different?” 
 “Mom says we’re special. At least Daddy is.” 
 Taylor looks out the spotless window. Not even a flyspeck. “You ever thought about running away?” 
 I shake my head and think about Angela. “Not anymore.” 
 “Maybe if we all left?” 
 “We tried that, remember?” Angela shakes her head.
“Oh, I guess you don’t, you were only three then.” 
 It had snowed that Halloween, an unexpected October blizzard. Still, mom had wrapped us up and bundled us four girls into a car. The car didn’t make it very far before it stalled. For some reason, she didn’t try to go any farther. As though she knew that she couldn’t—that there was nowhere to run to. 
 Because we had run before. 
 And he always found us…eventually.
 I remember my loud words minutes before. I had broken a silent covenant. 
 Strangely, I wasn’t frightened, not like I should’ve been. 
 I was tired of the fear. 
 In the corner, on an old Spinet, lay pictures of all of us, face down. But I remember the faces: Mom, Daddy and eight sisters. Five are gone now. Lynn, Sada, Donnie, Sienna, and Angie. Angie had run, but like mom, learned she couldn’t run far enough. We’d moved afterward; people might ask questions. 
 “I wish things were different. Maybe this time, he’ll…I don’t know. Maybe he’s not as mad as before.” 
 I didn’t say anything. I’d wished the same thing when I was her age. That was two years ago. We never knew which sister he would want to go live with him. 
 And always, he’d say the same damn thing: “So, the court said I can’t have my kids. Fuck the courts! I’m gonna have all my kids. All of ’em.” 
 One time, I’d asked Mom about his words, and she’d told me that he yelled them that first time on the courthouse steps. We were staying at my aunt Sylvia’s at the time. Taylor was a baby. I was almost three. 
 I don’t remember Aunt Sylvia. Daddy killed her when I was four. The police chased him down and he got killed. We thought we were safe. 
 But that first Halloween after Aunt Sylvia’s murder, he came to the apartment door, smiling, all of his teeth and a good part of his lower skull exposed. His eye was shot out, and the dirt spilled from his burial clothes. 
 Only we heard my mother scream as he said, “I’m baaaack!” 
 No one ever heard us scream, like no one cared. 
 I talked Taylor down from the attic. It was Saturday, no school. But there were still chores. My mother learned a long time ago it was better to keep us busy, to keep our mind off of things to come. 
 So, for the rest of the day, floors got swept, rugs vacuumed. Mom cleaned out the refrigerator. We girls cleaned up our rooms – although they were always neat—the way Daddy had always instructed us. Sheets were ironed, toilets brushed white and sinless. 
 Mom never forgot the punishments for crumbs. 
 Jordan remembered the broken arm when she had shouted while playing in the living room. She never forgot that Daddy liked quiet. 
 So, on Halloween, we keep silent. And we do what females are supposed to do – shut up and do what we’re told. 
 Only three of us left to take. Which one tonight? 
 That’s the thought on all of our minds as the sun drifts away, condemning us to the night. We turn on all the lights, turn on the television, turn the volume down. 
 I want to run to the Stanleys across the way. But over the years, another lesson learned: you pull other folk in, they get hurt, killed even. At least those who would give you help. We also learned the truth about All Hallows Eve – the dead do walk, seeking vengeance for wrongs done to them. 
 See, I found out some time ago that it wasn’t the police who killed Daddy. After he slit Aunt Sylvia’s throat for hiding us away from him, and after the police got after him, Mom found out he hadn’t run far. One night as she walked to her car in a dark parking lot, he just appeared. He didn’t know she kept a gun since the murder. Probably didn’t have time to realize when the bullet ripped the top of his face apart. 
 The police said self-defense, and so did the courts. Everything should’ve been all right after that.
But it wasn’t.
 Sometimes he simply broke open the door. Other times he managed to slip through locked windows. One year, we boarded up windows. Didn’t work. A couple of years, it seemed he forgot us. But then he came for Sienna (we called her Sinny; she was always getting into stuff, always laughing), and then Angie last year. 
 “You’re older than both of us,” Taylor says to Jordan as Jordan sits staring in front of the television. Survivor is on. Taylor’s thrown up about three times and has just come down from cleaning the bathroom. 
 “Does that make you feel any better, you little turd?” She’s angry, but not at her sister. That’s how it is when you’re maybe about to die. Or something much worse. 
 “Don’t call your sister that, Jo…” 
 My mother is sitting in the armchair, her face drawn. Watching her, I hate her for not protecting us. I hate her for being stupid enough to marry someone like him. Someone like her own father. Between those two, she simply doesn’t have enough fight left. My hate ebbs away. A little. 
 But I do have some fight left. I will do something. Somehow. 
 He wasn’t going to take me or my sisters. Not this Halloween. 
 I run upstairs and pull out every aspirin bottle, every old prescription, and I run back downstairs. 
 “Here, we can take these. C’mon, we don’t have to wait for him anymore,” I say fighting for breath. 
 For a second, my mother’s eyes brighten, then just as quickly dim back to lifelessness. “I don’t believe in that. You can lose your soul.” 
 “Mom, we don’t have any souls left! He took all of our souls a long time ago, even before he died.” 
 “Is that right?” a whisper comes from over my left shoulder. He has snuck in again. How? Jordan jumps up and runs to the kitchen. I hear the rattling of chains, I hear the door open; I hear it quickly slam shut. She didn’t make it out. 
 Taylor draws into a corner, whimpering. 
 Mom just sits there, staring away from us. 
 I turn and look at the decomposed face. Twelve years can ravage a dead man like that. He’s smiling, always smiling. Because he knows he owns us. Not that he really wants us. He just doesn’t want Mom to have us. 
 The sound of breaking glass comes from the kitchen. Jordan again. 
 He doesn’t even go through his usual spiel: “These are MY kids, bitch! They were never yours!” 
 Before anyone can blink, he swoops up Taylor and she screams and screams. 
 Mom doesn’t move, tears flowing down her face. Jordan runs in from the kitchen, shaking her head. “No, no!” 
 In the morning, Mom will tell people that Taylor has gone to live with her father. And then the rest of us will move again. 
 But not this time. 
 I thought Jordan had been trapped in the kitchen, but it seems she did make it outside. The glass must have been her breaking in again, because she has an axe in her hand. Where did she get it from?
 How can no one hear Taylor screaming? It’s enough to wake the dead – if they weren’t already awake. 
 My sister’s face is contorted with terror as Daddy lays a kiss on her forehead and says: “My baby; you’re going to like the grave. It’s so dark down there.” 
 I grieve for all my sisters as I grab the axe and without a thought wham it into Daddy’s head. The skull falls off, then bounces across the floor. And just as quickly rolls back. 
 Daddy drops Taylor on the floor so he can pick up his head. And he places it back on his ravaged body, clothes all shredded to hell. 
 He cackles, then shrugs as if to say, “See…you can’t kill me.” 
 I still have the ax in my hand. And suddenly I know what will end all of this. Because it occurred to me seconds before. My breath stills with the thought, my hand shakes as both fear and grief work their way through my body.
 He doesn’t want us. He never wanted daughters anyway, wished we were boys. All he wants is to hurt Mom. 
 This is between them. He wants to destroy her. To reduce her to nothing. 
 I look at her, just a second. The message passes silently between us. 
 She nods. No suicide for her. 
 But this…this is all right. 
 I don’t feel the splatter. 
 But I do see my father suddenly shake and howl, before he disappears into nothing but dust. Something he should have done a long time ago. 
 Taylor grabs my arm. And Jordan cries softly behind me. 
 And for the second time on Halloween, I break the silence, my scream of grief and triumph piercing the night.

1. What inspired the story “Daddy’s Home”?
I wrote the story in 2014 for my blog, which is mostly inactive these days. Since the Halloween holiday was coming up, I originally entitled it “Halloween Visit.” It really was a personal challenge because I had rarely written horror and was basically known for my romance books. The intended audience was my blog readers but then I published it along with other short stories in a compilation on Amazon.

2. What inspired you to start writing?
Decades ago, I took a few courses in college, including a screenwriting class. Those classes whetted my appetite. But it was only about twenty years ago that I started being more consistent, and with that consistency came a renewed seriousness about what I was putting out in the zeitgeist.

3. Tell us where you are in your writing career now and where you hope to be in the next few years.
Although a few years back, I concentrated on writing full novels, mostly romance, I have recently started focusing on writing short fiction. As a matter of fact, I’ve been inspired by one of my horror shorts to turn it into a full-blown screenplay to shop around. I hope to do more scripts in the future. Who knows, I may actually see one of my scripts turned into a indie production.

4. What are your favorite works of Black horror? Film, books, podcasts, etc?
I’ve only recently started getting into horror fiction. Believe it or not, I haven’t even seen “Get Out” yet. But years ago, there was a little movie called “Tales from the Hood” which was an entertaining cinematic anthology of black horror tales. I think it’s actually going through a revival now. It was scary enough for me back in the day. Also, when I was a girl in the 70s, Blacula was the man (although the movie probably doesn’t hold up as well as other horror films from that era). I am very glad that Jordan Peele is proving that there is an audience for Black horror because in the end, horror traverses the intersection of race, gender, and ethnicity. As for black horror fiction, my favorite author would have to be Tananarive Due, who has written several excellent horror novels in the past decades. And I do appreciate that the Nightlight podcast is introducing black horror to a new audience. For so long, there has been a dearth of books and movies featuring black characters in horror.

5. Where can we learn more about you and your work? Do you have any work coming out soon that we should keep an eye out for?
Again, most of my previous works have been romance but I am only now concentrating on writing short horror fiction as well as speculative fiction. I am writing as fast as I can an am shopping around my works. I have had a couple of stories published with Weirdbook Magazine (and a couple more due to be published in the coming months). And I am thankful to have “Daddy’s Home” given an audience at the Nightlight Podcast.

Our interview with Sharon is available on the episode webpage. Just go to nightlightpod.com, click on episodes and scroll to the July 31 post.

Thanks again to our patrons. If you’d like to join us, go to patreon.com/nightlightpod. And thanks also to Dionne Obeso and Jen Zink for volunteering their time to edit this story and the audio.

One last thing before we go: We would love for all of our listeners to join us on Patreon, but understand not everyone is able to do that. If that’s you, don’t worry—you can still support us by leaving a review on your favorite podcasting platform and by sharing the podcast with your friends and family on social media.

We’ll be back next week with another story.

S1 E5: Gray Wolf’s Ha’nt

Hi. I’m Tonia Thompson, horror writer and creator of NIGHTLIGHT: the Black horror podcast. This week we go back more than 130 years to hear the work of Charles Chestnutt. Charles is often considered the first important Black American novelist, and his collection of short stories “The Conjure Woman” are available for free on Amazon and Project Gutenberg. Links are in the show notes. The son of a free Black man and free Black woman, he and his family fled North Carolina after the Civil War. He worked as a teacher and attorney. His story “The Goophered Grapevine” was the first work published by a Black writer in The Atlantic Monthly, and although the story refuted the benevolent plantations of popular lore of the day, most readers at the time didn’t catch the irony in his words. Charles also wrote a biography of Frederick Douglass and over time, his work began to more directly challenge social injustice.

Our story today, “Gray Wolf’s Hant”, is one of the lesser known tales in the Conjure Woman collection. The original story is full of the dialect of the time, and at some places might have been challenging for listeners today to follow, so I’ve made some small adjustments to the language in an attempt to translate it into modern language, while maintaining the dialect. Listeners should also note that this piece uses the N-word several times, spoken by a Black character, but if you find that offensive, you’ll want to skip this story. We’ll have another for you next week.

And now, the Gray Wolf’s Hant by Charles Chesnutt.

=======
It was a rainy day at the vineyard. The morning had dawned bright and clear. But the sky had soon clouded, and by nine o’clock there was a light shower, followed by others at brief intervals. By noon the rain had settled into a dull, steady downpour. The clouds hung low, and seemed to grow denser instead of lighter as they discharged their watery burden, and there was now and then a muttering of distant thunder. Outdoor work was suspended, and I spent most of the day at the house, looking over my accounts and bringing up some arrears of correspondence.
Towards four o’clock I went out on the piazza, which was broad and dry, and less gloomy than the interior of the house, and composed myself for a quiet smoke. I had lit my cigar and opened the volume I was reading at that time, when my wife, whom I had left dozing on a lounge, came out and took a rocking-chair near me.
“I wish you would talk to me, or read to me—or something,” she exclaimed petulantly. “It’s awfully dull here today.”

“I’ll read to you with pleasure,” I replied, and began at the point where I had found my bookmark:—
“‘The difficulty of dealing with transformations so many-sided as those which all existences have undergone, or are undergoing, is such as to make a complete and deductive interpretation almost hopeless. So to grasp the total process of redistribution of matter and motion as to see simultaneously its several necessary results in their actual interdependence is scarcely possible. There is, however, a mode of rendering the process as a whole tolerably comprehensible. Though the genesis of the rearrangement of every evolving aggregate is in itself one, it presents to our intelligence'”—
“John,” interrupted my wife, “I wish you would stop reading that nonsense and see who that is coming up the lane.”
I closed my book with a sigh. I had never been able to interest my wife in the study of philosophy, even when presented in the simplest and most lucid form.
Some one was coming up the lane; at least, a huge faded cotton umbrella was making progress toward the house, and beneath it a pair of nether extremities in trousers was discernible. Any doubt in my mind as to whose they were was soon resolved when Julius reached the steps and, putting the umbrella down, got a good dash of the rain as he stepped up on the porch.
“Why in the world, Julius,” I asked, “didn’t you keep the umbrella up until you got under cover?”
“It’s bad luck, suh, ter raise a’ umbrella in de house, en w’iles I dunno whuther it’s bad luck ter kyar one inter de piazzer er no, I ‘lows it’s alluz bes’ ter be on de safe side. I did n’ s’pose you en young missis ‘u’d be gwine on yo’ dribe ter-day, but bein’ ez it’s my pa’t ter take you ef you does, I ‘lowed I ‘d repo’t fer dooty, en let you say whuther er no you wants ter go.”
“I’m glad you came, Julius,” I responded. “We don’t want to go driving, of course, in the rain, but I should like to consult you about another matter. I’m thinking of taking in a piece of new ground. What do you imagine it would cost to have that neck of woods down by the swamp cleared up?”
The old man’s countenance assumed an expression of unwonted seriousness, and he shook his head doubtfully.
“I dunno ’bout dat, suh. It mought cos’ mo’, en it mought cos’ less, ez fuh ez money is consarned. I ain’ denyin’ you could cl’ar up dat trac’ er Ian’ fer a hund’ed er a couple er hund’ed dollahs,—ef you wants ter cl’ar it up. But ef dat ‘uz my trac’ er Ian’, I would n’ ‘sturb it, no, suh, I would n’; sho ‘s you bawn, I would n’.”
“But why not?” I asked.
“It ain’ fittin’ fer grapes, fer noo groun’ nebber is.”
“I know it, but”—
“It ain’ no yeathly good fer cotton, ‘ca’se it’s top low.”
“Perhaps so; but it will raise splendid corn.”
“I dunno,” rejoined Julius deprecatorily. “It’s so nigh de swamp dat de ‘coons’ll eat up all de cawn.”
“I think I’ll risk it,” I answered.
“Well, suh,” said Julius, “I wushes you much joy er yo’ job. Ef you has bad luck er sickness er trouble er any kin’, doan blame me. You can’t say ole Julius did n’ wa’n you.”
“Warn him of what, Uncle Julius?” asked my wife.
“Er de bad luck w’at follers folks w’at ‘sturbs dat trac’ er Ian’. Dey is snakes en sco’pions in dem woods. En ef you manages ter ‘scape de p’isen animals, you is des boun’ ter hab a ha’nt ter settle wid,—ef you doan hab two.”
“Whose haunt?” my wife demanded, with growing interest.
“De gray wolf’s ha’nt, some folks calls it,—but I knows better.”
“Tell us about it, Uncle Julius,” said my wife. “A story will be a godsend to-day.”
It was not difficult to induce the old man to tell a story, if he were in a reminiscent mood. Of tales of the old slavery days he seemed indeed to possess an exhaustless store,—some weirdly grotesque, some broadly humorous; some bearing the stamp of truth, faint, perhaps, but still discernible; others palpable inventions, whether his own or not we never knew, though his fancy doubtless embellished them. But even the wildest was not without an element of pathos,—the tragedy, it might be, of the story itself; the shadow, never absent, of slavery and of ignorance; the sadness, always, of life as seen by the fading light of an old man’s memory.
“Way back yander befo’ de wah,” began Julius, “ole Mars Dugal’ McAdoo useter own a nigger name’ Dan. Dan wuz big en strong en hearty en peaceable en good-nachu’d most er de time, but dange’ous ter aggervate. He alluz done his task, en nebber had no trouble wid de w’ite folks, but woe be unter de nigger w’at ‘lowed he c’d fool wid Dan, fer he wuz mos’ sho’ ter git a good lammin’. Soon ez eve’ybody foun’ Dan out, dey did n’ many un ’em ‘temp’ ter ‘sturb ‘im. De one dat did would ‘a’ wush’ he had n’, ef he could ‘a’ libbed long ernuff ter do any wushin’.
“It all happen’ dis erway. Dey wuz a cunjuh man w’at libbed ober t’ other side er de Lumbe’ton Road. He had be’n de only cunjuh doctor in de naberhood fer lo! dese many yeahs, ‘tel ole Aun’ Peggy sot up in de bizness down by de Wim’l’ton Road. Dis cunjuh man had a son w’at libbed wid ‘im, en it wuz dis yer son w’at got mix’ up wid Dan,—en all ’bout a ‘oman.
“Dey wuz a gal on de plantation name’ Mahaly. She wuz a monst’us lackly gal,—tall en soopl’, wid big eyes, en a small foot, en a lively tongue, en w’en Dan tuk ter gwine wid ‘er eve’ybody ‘lowed dey wuz well match’, en none er de yuther nigger men on de plantation das’ ter go nigh her, fer dey wuz all feared er Dan.
“Now, it happen’ dat dis yer cunjuh man’s son wuz gwine ‘long de road one day, w’en who sh’d come pas’ but Mahaly. En de minute dis man sot eyes on Mahaly, he ‘lowed he wuz gwine ter hab her fer hisse’f. He come up side er her en ‘mence’ ter talk ter her; but she didn’ paid no ‘tention ter ‘im, fer she wuz studyin’ ’bout Dan, en she did n’ lack dis nigger’s looks nohow. So w’en she got ter whar she wuz gwine, dis yer man wa’n’t no fu’ther ‘long dan he wuz w’en he sta’ted.
“Co’se, atter he had made up his min’ fer ter git Mahaly, he ‘mence’ ter ‘quire ‘roun’, en soon foun’ out all ’bout Dan, en w’at a dange’ous nigger he wuz. But dis man ‘lowed his daddy wuz a cunjuh man, en so he ‘d come out all right in de een’; en he kep’ right on atter Mahaly. Meanw’iles Dan’s marster had said dey could git married ef dey wanter, en so Dan en Mahaly had tuk up wid one ernudder, en wuz libbin’ in a cabin by deyse’ves, en wuz des wrop’ up in one ernudder.

“But dis yer cunjuh man’s son did n’ ‘pear ter min’ Dan’s takin’ up wid Mahaly, en he kep’ on hangin’ ‘roun’ des de same, ‘tel fin’lly one day Mahaly sez ter Dan, sez she:—
“‘I wush you ‘d do sump’n ter stop dat free nigger man fum follerin’ me ‘roun’. I doan lack him nohow, en I ain’ got no time fer ter was’e wid no man but you.’
“Co’se Dan got mad w’en he heared ’bout dis man pest’rin’ Mahaly, en de nex’ night, w’en he seed dis nigger comin’ ‘long de road, he up en ax’ ‘im w’at he mean by hangin’ ‘roun’ his ‘oman. De man did n’ ‘spon’ ter suit Dan, en one wo’d led ter ernudder, ‘tel bimeby dis cunjuh man’s son pull’ out a knife en sta’ted ter stick it in Dan; but befo’ he could git it drawed good, Dan haul’ off en hit ‘im in de head so ha’d dat he nebber got up. Dan ‘lowed he ‘d come to atter a w’ile en go ‘long ’bout his bizness, so he went off en lef ‘im layin’ dere on de groun’.
“De nex’ mawnin’ de man wuz foun’ dead. Dey wuz a great ‘miration made ’bout it, but Dan did n’ say nuffin, en none er de yuther niggers had n’ seed de fight, so dey wa’n’t no way ter tell who done de killin’. En bein’ ez it wuz a free nigger, en dey wa’n’t no w’ite folks ‘speshly int’rusted, dey wa’n’t nuffin done ’bout it, en de cunjuh man come en tuk his son en kyared ‘im ‘way en buried ‘im.
“Now, Dan had n’ meant ter kill dis nigger, en w’iles he knowed de man had n” got no mo’ d’n he desarved, Dan ‘mence’ ter worry mo’ er less. Fer he knowed dis man’s daddy would wuk his roots en prob’ly fin’ out who had killt ‘is son, en make all de trouble fer ‘im he could. En Dan kep’ on studyin’ ’bout dis ‘tel he got so he did n’ ha’dly das’ ter eat er drink fer fear dis cunjuh man had p’isen’ de vittles er de water. Fin’lly he ‘lowed he ‘d go ter see Aun’ Peggy, de noo cunjuh ‘oman w’at had moved down by de Wim’l’ton Road, en ax her fer ter do sump’n ter pertec’ ‘im fum dis cunjuh man. So he tuk a peck er ‘taters en went down ter her cabin one night.
“Aun’ Peggy heared his tale, en den sez she:—
“‘Dat cunjuh man is mo’ d’n twice’t ez ole ez I is, en he kin make monst’us powe’ful goopher. W’at you needs is a life-cha’m, en I’ll make you one ter-morrer; it’s de on’y thing w’at’ll do you any good. You leabe me a couple er ha’rs fum yo’ head, en fetch me a pig ter-morrer night fer ter roas’, en w’en you come I’ll hab de cha’m all ready fer you.’
“So Dan went down ter Aun’ Peggy de nex’ night,—wid a young shote,—en Aun’ Peggy gun ‘im de cha’m. She had tuk de ha’rs Dan had lef wid ‘er, en a piece er red flannin, en some roots en yarbs, en had put ’em in a little bag made out’n ‘coon-skin.
“‘You take dis cha’m,’ sez she, ‘en put it in a bottle er a tin box, en bury it deep unner de root er a live-oak tree, en ez long ez it stays dere safe en soun’, dey ain’ no p’isen kin p’isen you, dey ain’ no rattlesnake kin bite you, dey ain’ no sco’pion kin sting you. Dis yere cunjuh man mought do one thing er ‘nudder ter you, but he can’t kill you. So you neenter be at all skeered, but go ‘long ’bout yo’ bizness en doan bother yo’ min’.’
“So Dan went down by de ribber, en ‘way up on de bank he buried de cha’m deep unner de root er a live-oak tree, en kivered it up en stomp’ de dirt down en scattered leaves ober de spot, en den went home wid his min’ easy.
“Sho’ ’nuff, dis yer cunjuh man wukked his roots, des ez Dan had ‘spected he would, en soon l’arn’ who killt his son. En co’se he made up his min’ fer ter git eben wid Dan. So he sont a rattlesnake fer ter sting ‘im, but de rattlesnake say de nigger’s heel wuz so ha’d he could n’ git his sting in. Den he sont his jay-bird fer ter put p’isen in Dan’s vittles, but de p’isen did n’ wuk. Den de cunjuh man ‘low’ he’d double Dan all up wid de rheumatiz, so he could n’ git ‘is ban’ ter his mouf ter eat, en would hafter sta’ve ter def; but Dan went ter Aun’ Peggy, en she gun ‘im a’ ‘intment ter kyo de rheumatiz. Den de cunjuh man ‘lowed he ‘d bu’n Dan up wid a fever, but Aun’ Peggy tol’ ‘im how ter make some yarb tea fer dat. Nuffin dis man tried would kill Dan, so fin’lly de cunjuh man ‘lowed Dan mus’ hab a life-cha’m.
“Now, dis yer jay-bird de cunjuh man had wuz a monst’us sma’t creeter,—fac’, de niggers ‘lowed he wuz de ole Debbil hisse’f, des settin’ roun’ waitin’ ter kyar dis ole man erway w’en he ‘d retch’ de een’ er his rope. De cunjuh man sont dis jay-bird fer ter watch Dan en fin’ out whar he kep’ his cha’m. De jay-bird hung roun’ Dan fer a week er so, en one day he seed Dan go down by de ribber en look at a live-oak tree; en den de jay-bird went back ter his marster, en tol’ ‘im he ‘spec’ de nigger kep’ his life-cha’m under dat tree.
“De cunjuh man lafft en lafft, en he put on his bigges’ pot, en fill’ it wid his stronges’ roots, en b’iled it en b’iled it, ‘tel bimeby de win’ blowed en blowed, ‘tel it blowed down de live-oak tree. Den he stirred some more roots in de pot, en it rained en rained ‘tel de water run down de ribber bank en wash’ Dan’s life-cha’m inter de ribber, en de bottle went bobbin’ down de current des ez onconsarned ez ef it wa’n’t takin’ po’ Dan’s chances all ‘long wid it. En den de cunjuh man lafft some mo’, en ‘lowed ter hisse’f dat he wuz gwine ter fix Dan now, sho’ ’nuff; he wa’n’t gwine ter kill ‘im des yet, fer he could do sump’n ter ‘im w’at would hu’t wusser ‘n killin’.
“So dis cunjuh man ‘mence’ by gwine up ter Dan’s cabin eve’y night, en takin’ Dan out in his sleep en ridin’ ‘im roun’ de roads en fiel’s ober de rough groun’. In de mawnin’ Dan would be ez ti’ed ez ef he had n’ be’n ter sleep. Dis kin’ er thing kep’ up fer a week er so, en Dan had des ’bout made up his min’ fer ter go en see Aun’ Peggy ag’in, w’en who sh’d he come across, gwine ‘long de road one day, to’ds sundown, but dis yer cunjuh man. Dan felt kinder skeered at fus’; but den he ‘membered ’bout his life-cha’m, w’ich he had n’ be’n ter see fer a week er so, en ‘lowed wuz safe en soun’ unner de live-oak tree, en so he hilt up ‘is head en walk’ ‘long, des lack he did n’ keer nuffin ’bout dis man no mo’ d’n any yuther nigger. Wen he got close ter de cunjuh man, dis cunjuh man sez, sezee:—
“‘Hoddy, Brer Dan? I hopes you er well?’
“Wen Dan seed de cunjuh man wuz in a good humor en did n’ ‘pear ter bear no malice, Dan ‘lowed mebbe de cunjuh man had n’ foun’ out who killt his son, en so he ‘termine’ fer ter let on lack he did n’ know nuffin, en so sezee:—
“‘Hoddy, Unk’ Jube?’—dis ole cunjuh man’s name wuz Jube. ‘I ‘s p’utty well, I thank you. How is you feelin’ dis mawnin’?’
“‘I’s feelin’ ez well ez a’ ole nigger could feel w’at had los’ his only son, en his main ‘pen’ence in ‘is ole age.
“‘But den my son wuz a bad boy,’ sezee, ‘en I could n’ ‘spec’ nuffin e’se. I tried ter l’arn him de arrer er his ways en make him go ter chu’ch en pra’r-meetin’; but it wa’n’t no use. I dunno who killt ‘im, en I doan wanter know, fer I ‘d be mos’ sho’ ter fin’ out dat my boy had sta’ted de fuss. Ef I ‘d ‘a’ had a son lack you, Brer Dan, I ‘d ‘a’ be’n a proud nigger; oh, yas, I would, sho’s you bawn. But you ain’ lookin’ ez well ez you oughter, Brer Dan. Dey’s sump’n de matter wid you, en w’at ‘s mo’, I ‘spec’ you dunno w’at it is.’
“Now, dis yer kin’ er talk nach’ly th’owed Dan off’n his gya’d, en fus’ thing he knowed he wuz talkin’ ter dis ole cunjuh man des lack he wuz one er his bes’ frien’s. He tol’ ‘im all ’bout not feelin’ well in de mawnin’, en ax’ ‘im ef he could tell w’at wuz de matter wid ‘im.
“‘Yas,’ sez de cunjuh man. ‘Dey is a witch be’n ridin’ you right ‘long. I kin see de marks er de bridle on yo’ mouf. En I’ll des bet yo’ back is raw whar she ‘s be’n beatin’ you.’
“‘Yas,’ ‘spon’ Dan, ‘so it is.’ He had n’ notice it befo’, but now he felt des lack de hide had be’n tuk off’n ‘im.
“‘En yo’ thighs is des raw whar de spurrers has be’n driv’ in you,’ sez de cunjuh man. ‘You can’t see de raw spots, but you kin feel ’em.’
“‘Oh, yas,’ ‘lows Dan, ‘dey does hu’t pow’ful bad.’
“‘En w’at’s mo’,’ sez de cunjuh man, comin’ up close ter Dan en whusp’in’ in his yeah, ‘I knows who it is be’n ridin’ you.’
“‘Who is it?’ ax’ Dan. ‘Tell me who it is.’
“‘It’s a’ ole nigger ‘oman down by Rockfish Crick. She had a pet rabbit, en you cotch’ ‘im one day, en she’s been squarin’ up wid you eber sence. But you better stop her, er e’se you’ll be rid ter def in a mont’ er so.’
“‘No,’ sez Dan, ‘she can’t kill me, sho’.’
“‘I dunno how dat is,’ said de cunjuh man, ‘but she kin make yo’ life mighty mis’able. Ef I wuz in yo’ place, I ‘d stop her right off.’
“‘But how is I gwine ter stop her?’ ax’ Dan. ‘I dunno nuffin ’bout stoppin’ witches.’
“‘Look a heah, Dan,’sez de yuther; ‘you is a goad young man. I lacks you monst’us well. Fac’, I feels lack some er dese days I mought buy you fum yo’ marster, ef I could eber make money ernuff at my bizness dese hard times, en ‘dop’ you fer my son. I lacks you so well dat I’m gwine ter he’p you git rid er dis yer witch fer good en all; fer des ez long ez she libs, you is sho’ ter hab trouble, en trouble, en mo’ trouble.’
“‘You is de bes’ frien’ I got, Unk’ Jube,’ sez Dan, ‘en I’ll ‘member yo’ kin’ness ter my dyin’ day. Tell me how I kin git rid er dis yer ole witch w’at ‘s be’n ridin’ me so ha’d.’
“‘In de fus’ place,’ sez de cunjuh man, ‘dis ole witch nebber comes in her own shape, but eve’y night, at ten o’clock, she tu’ns herse’f inter a black cat, en runs down ter yo’ cabin en bridles you, en mounts you, en dribes you out th’oo de chimbly, en rides you ober de roughes’ places she kin fin’. All you got ter do is ter set fer her in de bushes ‘side er yo’ cabin, en hit her in de head wid a rock er a lighterd-knot w’en she goes pas’.’
“‘But,’ sez Dan, ‘how kin I see her in de da’k? En s’posen I hits at her en misses her? Er s’posen I des woun’s her, en she gits erway,—w’at she gwine do ter me den?’
“‘I is done studied ’bout all dem things,’ sez de cunjuh man, ‘en it ‘pears ter me de bes’ plan fer you ter foller is ter lemme tu’n you ter some creetur w’at kin see in de da’k, en w’at kin run des ez fas’ ez a cat, en w’at kin bite, en bite fer ter kill; en den you won’t hafter hab no trouble atter de job is done. I dunno whuther you ‘d lack dat er no, but dat is de sho’es’ way.’
“‘I doan keer,’ ‘spon’ Dan. ‘I’d des ez lief be anything fer a’ hour er so, ef I kin kill dat ole witch. You kin do des w’at you er mineter.’
“‘All right, den,’ sez de cunjuh man, ‘you come down ter my cabin at half-past nine o’clock ter-night, en I’ll fix you up.’
“Now, dis cunjuh man, w’en he had got th’oo talkin’ wid Dan, kep’ on down de road ‘long de side er de plantation, ‘tel he met Mahaly comin’ home fum wuk des atter sundown.
“‘Hoddy do, ma’m,’ sezee; ‘is yo’ name Sis’ Mahaly, w’at b’longs ter Mars Dugal’ McAdoo?’
“‘Yas,’ ‘spon’ Mahaly, ‘dat’s my name, en I b’longs ter Mars Dugal’.’
“‘Well,’ sezee, ‘yo’ husban’ Dan wuz down by my cabin dis ebenin’, en he got bit by a spider er sump’n, en his foot is swoll’ up so he can’t walk. En he ax’ me fer ter fin’ you en fetch you down dere ter he’p ‘im home.’
“Co’se Mahaly wanter see w’at had happen’ ter Dan, en so she sta’ted down de road wid de cunjuh man. Ez soon ez he got her inter his cabin, he shet de do’, en sprinkle’ some goopher mixtry on her, en tu’nt her ter a black cat. Den he tuk ‘n put her in a bairl, en put a bo’d on de bairl, en a rock on de bo’d, en lef her dere ‘tel he got good en ready fer ter use her.
“‘Long ’bout half-pas’ nine o’clock Dan come down ter de cunjuh man’s cabin. It wuz a wa’m night, en de do’ wuz stan’in’ open. De cunjuh man ‘vited Dan ter come in, en pass’ de time er day wid ‘im. Ez soon ez Dan ‘mence’ talkin’, he heared a cat miauin’ en scratchin’ en gwine on at a tarrable rate.
“‘Wat’s all dat fuss ’bout?’ ax’ Dan.
“‘Oh, dat ain’ nuffin but my ole gray tomcat,’ sez de cunjuh man. ‘I has ter shet ‘im up sometimes fer ter keep ‘im in nights, en co’se he doan lack it.
“‘Now,’ ‘lows de cunjuh man, ‘lemme tell you des w’at you is got ter do. Wen you ketches dis witch, you mus’ take her right by de th’oat en bite her right th’oo de neck. Be sho’ yo’ teef goes th’oo at de fus’ bite, en den you won’t nebber be bothe’d no mo’ by dat witch. En w’en you git done, come back heah en I’ll tu’n you ter yo’se’f ag’in, so you kin go home en git yo’ night’s res’.’
“Den de cunjuh man gun Dan sump’n nice en sweet ter drink out’n a new go’d, en in ’bout a minute Dan foun’ hisse’f tu’nt ter a gray wolf; en soon ez he felt all fo’ er his noo feet on de groun’, he sta’ted off fas’ ez he could fer his own cabin, so he could be sho’ en be dere time ernuff ter ketch de witch, en put a’ een’ ter her kyarin’s-on.
“Ez soon ez Dan wuz gone good, de cunjuh man tuk de rock off’n de bo’d, en de bo’d off’n de bairl, en out le’p’ Mahaly en sta’ted fer ter go home, des lack a cat er a ‘oman er anybody e’se would w’at wuz in trouble; en it wa’n’t many minutes befo’ she wuz gwine up de path ter her own do’.
“Meanw’iles, w’en Dan had retch’ de cabin, he had hid hisse’f in a bunch er jimson weeds in de ya’d. He had n’ wait’ long befo’ he seed a black cat run up de path to’ds de do’. Des ez soon ez she got close ter ‘im, he le’p’ out en ketch’ her by de th’oat, en got a grip on her, des lack de cunjuh man had tol’ ‘im ter do. En lo en behol’! no sooner had de blood ‘mence’ ter flow dan de black cat tu’nt back ter Mahaly, en Dan seed dat he had killt his own wife. En w’iles her bref wuz gwine she call’ out:
“‘O Dan! O my husban’! come en he’p me! come en sabe me fum dis wolf w’at ‘s killin’ me!’
“Wen po’ Dan sta’ted to’ds her, ez any man nach’ly would, it des made her holler wuss en wuss; fer she did n’ knowed dis yer wolf wuz her Dan. En Dan des had ter hide in de weeds, en grit his teef en hoi’ hisse’f in, ‘tel she passed out’n her mis’ry, callin’ fer Dan ter de las’, en wond’rin’ w’y he did n’ come en he’p her. En Dan ‘lowed ter hisse’f he ‘d ruther ‘a’ be’n killt a dozen times ‘n ter ‘a’ done w’at he had ter Mahaly.
“Dan wuz mighty nigh ‘stracted, but w’en Mahaly wuz dead en he got his min’ straighten’ out a little, it did n’ take ‘im mo’ d’n a minute er so fer ter see th’oo all de cunjuh man’s lies, en how de cunjuh man had fooled ‘im en made ‘im kill Mahaly, fer ter git eben wid ‘im fer killin’ er his son. He kep’ gittin’ madder en madder, en Mahaly had n’ much mo’ d’n drawed her’ las bref befo’ he sta’ted back ter de cunjuh man’s cabin ha’d ez he could run.
“Wen he got dere, de do’ wuz stan’in’ open; a lighterd-knot wuz flick’rin’ on de h’a’th, en de ole cunjuh man wuz settin’ dere noddin’ in de corner. Dan le’p’ in de do’ en jump’ fer dis man’s th’oat, en got de same grip on ‘im w’at de cunjuh man had tol’ ‘im ’bout half a’ hour befo’. It wuz ha’d wuk dis time, fer de ole man’s neck wuz monst’us tough en stringy, but Dan hilt on long ernuff ter be sho’ his job wuz done right. En eben den he did n’ hol’ on long ernuff; fer w’en he tu’nt de cunjuh man loose en he fell ober on de flo’, de cunjuh man rollt his eyes at Dan, en sezee:—
“‘I’s eben wid you, Brer Dan, en you er eben wid me; you killt my son en I killt yo’ ‘oman. En ez I doan want no mo’ d’n w’at ‘s fair ’bout dis thing, ef you’ll retch up wid yo’ paw en take down dat go’d hangin’ on dat peg ober de chimbly, en take a sip er dat mixtry, it’ll tu’n you back ter a nigger ag’in, en I kin die mo’ sad’sfied ‘n ef I lef you lack you is.’
“Dan nebber ‘lowed fer a minute dat a man would lie wid his las’ bref, en co’se he seed de sense er gittin’ tu’nt back befo’ de cunjuh man died; so he dumb on a chair en retch’ fer de go’d, en tuk a sip er de mixtry. En ez soon ez he ‘d done dat de cunjuh man lafft his las’ laf, en gapsed out wid ‘is las’ gaps:—
“‘Uh huh! I reckon I’s square wid you now fer killin’ me, too; fer dat goopher on you is done fix’ en sot now fer good, en all de cunj’in’ in de worl’ won’t nebber take it off.
‘Wolf you is en wolf you stays, All de rest er yo’ bawn days.’
“Co’se Brer Dan could n’ do nuffin. He knowed it wa’n’t no use, but he dumb up on de chimbly en got down de go’ds en bottles en yuther cunjuh fixin’s, en tried ’em all on hisse’f, but dey didn’ do no good. Den he run down ter ole Aun’ Peggy, but she did n’ know de wolf langwidge, en couldn’t ‘a’ tuk off dis yuther goopher nohow, eben ef she ‘d ‘a’ unnerstood w’at Dan wuz sayin’. So po’ Dan wuz bleedgd ter be a wolf all de rest er his bawn days.
“Dey foun’ Mahaly down by her own cabin nex’ mawnin’, en eve’ybody made a great ‘miration ’bout how she ‘d be’n killt. De niggers ‘lowed a wolf had bit her. De w’ite folks say no, dey ain’ be’n no wolves ‘roun’ dere fer ten yeahs er mo’; en dey did n’ know w’at ter make out’n it. En w’en dey could n’ fin’ Dan nowhar, dey ‘lowed he’d quo’lled wid Mahaly en killt her, en run erway; en dey did n’ know w’at ter make er dat, fer Dan en Mahaly wuz de mos’ lovin’ couple on de plantation. Dey put de dawgs on Dan’s scent, en track’ ‘im down ter ole Unk’ Jube’s cabin, en foun’ de ole man dead, en dey did n’ know w’at ter make er dat; en den Dan’s scent gun out, en dey didn’ know w’at ter make er dat. Mars Dugal’ tuk on a heap ’bout losin’ two er his bes’ han’s in one day, en ole missis ‘lowed it wuz a jedgment on ‘im fer sump’n he ‘d done. But dat fall de craps wuz monst’us big, so Mars Dugal’ say de Lawd had temper’ de win’ ter de sho’n ram, en make up ter ‘im fer w’at he had los’.
“Dey buried Mahaly down in dat piece er low groun’ you er talkin’ ’bout cl’arin’ up. Ez fer po’ Dan, he did n’ hab nowhar e’se ter go, so he des stayed ‘roun’ Mahaly’s grabe, w’en he wa’n’t out in de yuther woods gittin’ sump’n ter eat. En sometimes, w’en night would come, de niggers useter heah him howlin’ en howlin’ down dere, des fittin’ ter break his hea’t. En den some mo’ un ’em said dey seed Mahaly’s ha’nt dere ‘bun’ance er times, colloguin’ wid dis gray wolf. En eben now, fifty yeahs sence, long atter ole Dan has died en dried up in de woods, his ha’nt en Mahaly’s hangs ‘roun’ dat piece er low groun’, en eve’body w’at goes ’bout dere has some bad luck er ‘nuther; fer ha’nts doan lack ter be ‘sturb’ on dey own stompin’-groun’.”
The air had darkened while the old man related this harrowing tale. The rising wind whistled around the eaves, slammed the loose window-shutters, and, still increasing, drove the rain in fiercer gusts into the piazza. As Julius finished his story and we rose to seek shelter within doors, the blast caught the angle of some chimney or gable in the rear of the house, and bore to our ears a long, wailing note, an epitome, as it were, of remorse and hopelessness.
“Dat ‘s des lack po’ ole Dan useter howl,” observed Julius, as he reached for his umbrella, “en w’at I be’n tellin’ you is de reason I doan lack ter see dat neck er woods cl’ared up. Co’se it b’longs ter you, en a man kin do ez he choose’ wid ‘is own. But ef you gits rheumatiz er fever en agur, er ef you er snake-bit er p’isen’ wid some yarb er ‘nuther, er ef a tree falls on you, er a ha’nt runs you en makes you git ‘stracted in yo’ min’, lack some folks I knows w’at went foolin’ ‘roun’ dat piece er lan’, you can’t say I neber wa’ned you, suh, en tol’ you w’at you mought look fer en be sho’ ter fin’.”
When I cleared up the land in question, which was not until the following year, I recalled the story Julius had told us, and looked in vain for a sunken grave or perhaps a few weather-bleached bones of some denizen of the forest. I cannot say, of course, that some one had not been buried there; but if so, the hand of time had long since removed any evidence of the fact. If some lone wolf, the last of his pack, had once made his den there, his bones had long since crumbled into dust and gone to fertilize the rank vegetation that formed the undergrowth of this wild spot. I did find, however, a bee-tree in the woods, with an ample cavity in its trunk, and an opening through which convenient access could be had to the stores of honey within. I have reason to believe that ever since I had bought the place, and for many years before, Julius had been getting honey from this tree. The gray wolf’s haunt had doubtless proved useful in keeping off too inquisitive people, who might have interfered with his monopoly.

=======

Thanks for tuning in this week. And thank you to our newest patrons Lynnea and Loopdilou. Because of you, more Black horror will be brought into the light.

There are lots of ways YOU can support NIGHTLIGHT. You can become a patron by going to patreon.com/nightlightpod, or make a one time donation at PayPal.me/NightlightPodcast. If you aren’t able, or aren’t quite ready to support the podcast financially, rating us on iTunes is an excellent way to help more listeners find us. Sharing the podcast on social media and with your friends is always appreciated and something everyone can do.

Thanks again for your support. We’ll have another story for you next week.

=====

Show Notes:
This week’s story comes from the first widely known Black novelist, Charles Chesnutt. If you’re familiar with American Southern lore, you’ve probably heard of haints, a kind of spirit feared by many. We think you’ll enjoy this story of conjure and revenge.

You can read more of Charles Chesnutt’s stories from The Conjure Woman for free on
Project Gutenberg https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/11666
or via Amazon: https://amzn.to/2uKbJsA

As always, we appreciate your support. If you like this podcast, you can join us on Patreon at patreon.com/nightlightpod. Reviews on iTunes are immensely helpful, as are shares on social media on in real life with friends.