Ten-year-old Scott and his new friend Josh Phydeaux were riding bikes down a street, which was nicknamed Crazy Annie Lane by the people in the neighborhood. Scott was taking him to see the house where a voodoo lady had supposedly murdered 2 boys and disappeared herself.
“What house you talking about?” asked Josh. “That broken down blue one on the corner right there.” Scott said as he pointed to the ratty blue house with the windows broken out as they skidded to a stop on their bikes catty corner across the street from it. “That’s where it happened. And they say she has still not been found yet and it was 50 years ago on Halloween. Some folks say she is still alive on account of she is the devil! ” Scott said matter-of-factly, looking at Josh with his arms crossed and eyebrows raised as if to make his words more legitimate.
Josh looked at him and narrowed his eyes. “That’s bull! That is just some scary story that grownups made up to keep kids outta there. You know how grownups are.” Josh waved his hand as if to dismiss the scary story.
Scott grabbed the handlebars of his bike and shook it. “I am serious Josh. She was a voodoo lady to start with. She had big matted black hair and buggy eyes, black teeth and her skin was this funny grayish color like one of them zombies in the movies.” Scott said with a grimaced face. Josh rolled his eyes and shook his head. “I ain’t scared AND I bet there ain’t nothin’ in that old house but a dead housecat and a bunch of mice. I’m gonna go in and show you Scott, there ain’t nothing to that old story of yours.”
Just then, they heard a loud creak from behind them. The boys jumped and spun around. They saw Old Jeb on his porch rocking in his chair. Old Jeb was one of the oldest members of the little Orleans parish community. “Whew, it’s just old man Jeb. C’mon, he’ll tell ya the story.” Scott Smiled and waved.
Jeb waved the boys onto the porch. “Come on, He probly got something good for us!” Scott said “Um. I uh…”Josh stammered. “Come on, I thought you ain’t scared of nothin’.” Scott smiled Wryly and dropped his bike on the lawn. Josh sighed and followed along dropping his bike on the lawn too.
Scott ran to the porch. “Hay Mister Jeb, This here is Josh Phydeaux. He is new here.” Josh timidly smiled and waved his hand before shoving it in his pocket and shuffling his feet. Jeb leaned forward, nodded and looked at Josh. “Lemonade boy?” Josh looked at Scott. Scott smiled and nodded. Josh looked back at old Jeb and said “yeah sir.” The boys stepped up onto the creaky old porch, poured some lemonade, and sat on a bench near old Jeb.
After a long pause, Old Jeb spoke in his deep Cajun voice. “Not thinkin’ a going in there Huh boy? Mhmm. You say you ain’t scarred but ya should be boy. mhmm, Crazy Annie still out there somewhere.” Jeb looked at the boys out of the corner of his eye. Josh rolled his eyes at Scott and Scott elbowed him. “He’s serious Josh, you should listen!” Scott whispered loudly.
“She a voodoo lady that one.” Josh pursed his lips and said, “I don’t believe in no voodoo mister Jeb.” “Nolens volens it believe in you boy. An’ that is just the mind that the otha boys had before crazy Annie got a hold of them too. Mhmm. They gone to mockin her and names callin’ and when she done had enough of them, BAM!” the boys jumped”She done put a Juju on them boys.” Jeb rocked slowly in his chair as he told the story to the boys who sat still as statues save for glancing over to the old blue house across the street.
“Now listen up boy, what Scotty here tell you is true. It ain’t no bedtime story mhmm. Must be now fifty years ago Halloween. I was a boy just about your age then. That Annie went crazier than a cat with his tail on fire. She was messin’ in the dark dark side of voodoo. Annie would raise a ruckus and carry on like banshee. She had a fiery temper and could curse the smell off a skunk and onto you if she felt the need.
That Halloween some boys, ’bout your age come walkin’ by and seen crazy Annie in the front yard and they started mockin’ her cause she was talkin’ to herself and acting all strange. They said ‘Hey crazy lady, who you talkin’ to? Why you always actin’ so crazy?’ Annie went over to them boys and blew some kinda dust in their face an’ it made them still as a statue. She crooked her finger at them and they followed her right on inside. Mhmm.”
Josh blinked hard and swallowed. He looked over at the Annie house and then back to Jeb. “Well what happened to the boys? Did she turn them into something? “Jeb chuckled. “No boy, you watchin’ too much of that picture box. No see what happened next was much worse. You see the dust she blew on them was potion that make the voodoo lady’s victim obey regardless of what the victim want to do. So them boys though they was frightened of what was goin on, could only do what she said.
Once they was inside the house all they could see was blood and bones all over the place. There was a guy chained up to the wall like a prisoner and not movin’ a muscle. Annie went over to a pot steaming on a wood stove and smelled of it. When she turned around to them boys her eyes was red as the fire and bugging out like they would pop outta her head.
Crazy Annie smiled at them boys showing her black teeth. She closed her eyes and started dancing around the room chanting a voodoo spell. She told them they would be a sacrifice that night. She drug them to the basement and set them in the middle of the room and tied back to back. Them boys sat there for hours quiet as could be. Not like they had a choice in the matter. They kept hearin’ strange noises and screams comin’ from upstairs.”
The boys sat wide-eyed staring at Jeb as he continued. Josh swallowed hard. “Then what?” he said. Jeb continued, “Well, one of them boys lost the spell on him and he started to wiggle trying to make the ropes loosen. He kept lookin’ around the room to see if there was anything he could use to get rid of that old crazy Annie so they could escape.
Him finally got loose and tried to get his friend to help him but he was still in the spell. That boy saw a hatchet in the corner. It was covered in blood. There was a hand lying on the floor beside it. He got scared, grabbed the hatchet, ran back to his friend, and shook him hard. He yelled at him “c’mon we gots ta go Crazy Annie comin'” and him friend finally waked up. Them boys ran to the stairs and looked up. One by one, they snuck up them stairs till they reached the top. They peeped thru the crack in the door.
They could see a body and a bowl on the table. They heard feet steps and mumbling. They heard a loud chopping sound and then a squishing sound then a wet thud into the bowl on the table. One boy drew in his breath and covered his mouth with his hands. The feet steps stopped. Just then, the door swung open and there was crazy Annie staring at them with her buggy red eyes. Them boys screamed and Annie tried to chase them down the stairs wit’ her knife. They tripped old Annie and she tumbled down the stairs and landed right on her knife.”
“Sandwiches Jeb!” a craggy old voice said from inside the house. The boys nearly jumped out of their hide. Jeb offered the boys to come inside to have sandwiches. Josh hesitated and Scott said “C’mon! Jeb’s wife makes the best sandwiches.”
The boys sat down at the table and Jeb took his seat at the head of the table. They each took a sandwich from the big platter on the table. The room was dusty and old smelling. Josh looked all around him then he looked at Jeb”You gonna finish the story mister Jeb? What happened to that crazy lady, and the boys?”
Jeb finished his bite and looked at Scott then began again” Well, She fell on that knife alright. Went clean thru her forehead right between her eyes. Some folks say she is still around these parts. Some say it only her ghost haunting that old house. Other folks say she in a crazy house lost inside her mind. As for them boys, No one ever seen them again. They either went back to where ever they come from or maybe crazy Annie got them boys after all an kilt em.”
Josh swallowed hard and looked at Scott. Scott just raised his eyebrows and motioned with his head to Jeb. Finally after another bite of his sandwich Josh asked, “What you say about it Mister Jeb? What do you think happened to Crazy old Annie and them boys?” Jeb pondered for a moment before he answered.
“Well I reckon she still around somewhere boy, one way or the other. Would you like another sandwich to go?”Jeb offered the boys. “Sure!” they both chimed and stuffed a sandwich in a napkin to go. As the boys got up to go Josh turned to old Jeb and said” Thanks for the story Mister Jeb, though I still ain’t sayin’ I believe in voodoo or nuthin’ but just in case I decided I ain’t goin’ in that old house anyway.”
Old Jeb smiled and nodded. “Best not to push your luck boy, Oh, by the way, you boys best tell the missus thank you for them sandwiches.” The boys nodded and walked to the kitchen to pop in and say thank you. As they opened the door, they saw the little old frail woman with big dusty grey hair standing with her back to the door. “Thank you missus.” They both chimed.
“Welcome boys.” She said in her craggy old lady voice and she slowly turned to face the boys. “You come back any time.” When she faced the boys, she raised her head and smiled. The boys gasped and jumped back. She slowly ambled toward them with her arms out as if asking for a hug. Her fiery red eyes crinkling at the corners from her smile, which showed her black teeth. She had a scar from the bridge of her nose to the middle of her gray colored skin on her forehead.
The boys ran as fast as they could out to the lawn and sped away on their bikes. Old Jeb sat chuckling as he finished his sandwich. “Annie, I do love tellin’ that story too bad they neva stay to hear what really happened to you in that old house.” “I know dear.” Annie said and kissed Jeb on his wrinkly cheek as she sat down to have a sandwich from the huge platter on the table. “Scotty will set him straight Jeb.” Annie said and patted Jeb’s hand.
Josh and Scott raced away from Old Jeb’s house and didn’t stop until they got to the park. They both dropped their bikes and sat on the ground breathless clutching their sandwiches. “What the heck Scott, I thought you knew Old Jeb. Didn’t you ever see his wife before? You could have warned me! I could have been killed by a voodoo lady.” Josh wiped the sweat off his forehead with the back of his hand.
Scott started laughing. “Oh man Josh you shoulda seen your face! Your eye bugged out as much as old Annie’s. Oh man that was great!” Josh looked at Scott and narrowed his eyes.”You did know didn’t you? Oh man! I knew that story was a load of bull! You are such a liar Scott. “Josh sat there angrily poking at his sandwich. Finally, he took a bite and said with a mouth full, “You suck Scott, you know that right?”
Scott laid back on the ground still chuckling, “You wasn’t really scared were ya? ” Scott sat back up trying to stop laughing, “Annie ain’t really crazy ya know. My brother’s friend played the same trick on me too. I ’bout crapped my pants when I seen her.”
Josh sat pondering. “Well she got the same eyes and teeth and all and that scar on her forehead, what happened to her then if that story ain’t real? “Scott chuckled “Well parts of the story are true but some ain’t. Annie did live in that old house once a really long time ago. She really does do the voodoo but she is some kind of healer or something. She had some kind of medicine cooking in a pot and it blew up and got all over her. That is why she looks like that.”
“Oh, what about the scar though? “Josh asked. “Well the way I hear it when that pot of stuff blew up a piece of it hit her and stuck right in her head. The house caught fire too and she came running outta that house with blood all over her screaming like a banshee. That is where the story got started about her being crazy and murdering people and all. “
“Oh. ” Josh said shaking his head “So she ain’t really crazy then. Hmm. “Josh sat thinking and then started smiling ear to ear. Scott looked at him quizzically. “What you thinking about Josh?” He bit his lip and started nodding. “My cousin Kim is coming to visit us next weekend. She is older than me and thinks she is so smart. Next weekend is Halloween. Think old Jeb would be willing to tell that story again?”
They looked at each other devilishly. “Yeah!” They got back up laughing, got on their bikes and rode back to Scott’s house to make plans. “There are definitely gonna be some tricks next weekend and that will be a treat for us. This is gonna be the best Halloween ever! “