By: Abbi Glines


To my daughter, Annabelle. You have an “old soul” my sweet girl. The wisdom of your choices and the kindness in your actions never cease to amaze me. I’m so incredibly proud of you.

The narrow damp street was uninhabited. Jazz music could be heard from a distance but the sound was faint. The further I walked away from the scattered street lights and into the darkness the more the sounds of laughter, street cars and the traditional vibrant music only found in the Big Easy melted away. I’d been here before, countless times. Death was often met on these dark streets. But tonight, I wasn’t here to take a soul. I was here for other reasons. Reasons I was just now piecing together. The fury raging inside me was hard to control. I’d been reckless. Me! A freaking almighty Deity, let something dangerous slip right past my radar completely undetected. How could I have let this happen? I knew the answer. Pagan. She consumed me. My thoughts. My desires. My purpose. I’d been unable to see anything with the glow of Pagan blinding me from everything else. Now, I had to find out why and then I had to fix this. Because Pagan Moore was mine. Her life, her soul, her heart it was all mine. Nothing was going to stand in my way. No ancient curse. No soulless boy. And absolutely no Voodoo spirit lord.

Chapter One


I’d just turned around to watch the pretty balloons. I liked the pink one best. It reminded me of bubblegum. I’d been trying to think of something I could promise Mommy I’d do if she’d buy me one. Maybe clean out from under my bed or maybe straighten the shoes in her closet. But it had only been a second that I’d stopped and thought about it. Now, my mommy was gone. Tears clouded my vision and I let out a panicked sob. She’d warned me I could get lost in the crowd if I didn’t keep up. Normally I held her hand when we were in crowds but today she was carrying an armload of her books. It had been my responsibility not to lose her. But I had. Where would I sleep? I glanced nervously around at the people covering the busy streets. The Arts and Entertainment Festival had brought people from all over to our small town. Reaching up to wipe my eyes so I could find a police officer to help me, I sniffled and for a second forgot my crisis when the smell of funnel cake reached me.

“Don’t cry, I’ll help you.”

Frowning, I studied the boy in front of me. His blond hair was cut short and his big friendly eyes looked concerned. I had never seen him before. He didn’t go to my school. Maybe he was a tourist. Whoever he was, I knew he couldn’t help me. He was just a kid too.

“I lost my mommy,” I muttered, feeling embarrassed that he’d caught me crying.

He nodded then held out his hand. “I know. I’m going to take you back to her. It’s okay, I promise.”

Swallowing the lump in my throat, I thought about his offer. Could he help me? Two sets of eyes looking for a police officer were better than one, I guess.“Um, if you could just help me look for a police officer so he could find her that would be nice.”

He smiled at me like he thought I was funny. I hadn’t been joking and nothing about this was cause to smile.

“I really know where she is. Trust me,” his hand was still outstretched toward me. Frowning, I thought about all the reasons this was probably a bad idea. He couldn’t be much older than me. Maybe he was like seven at the most. But he seemed so sure of himself. Besides, he wasn’t an adult stranger. He wouldn’t kidnap me.

“Okay,” I finally replied, slipping my hand in his. His face appeared to relax. I sure hoped he didn’t get us both lost.

“Where are your parents?” I asked, suddenly realizing maybe they could help.

“Around here somewhere,” he replied and a small frown touched his forehead. “Come with me,” his voice was gentle but firm. He kind of reminded me of an adult.

I kept up with him as he wove a path through the bodies in our way. I tried to glance up at people as we hurried by to see if I recognized anyone but I wasn’t having any luck.

“There she is,” the boy said as he stopped our pursuit and pointed a finger toward the sidewalk up ahead.

Sure enough, there was my mommy and she was really upset. A scared look was on her face as she grabbed the arms of people passing by and spoke frantically to them. I realized she was looking for me. Needing to reassure her I pulled my hand from the boy’s and took off running in her direction.

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