Magick: New Orleans
Number of pages:
Word Count: 85,000
Magick: New Orleans” continues the urban fantasy anthology series
exploring the crossroads between magic and crime. Set in “The City That
Care Forgot,” this book covers back alleys of the French Quarter, the
hidden corridors of Storyville, the weird voodoo in the backyards of Treme and
whatever those old Victorians are hiding. Featuring such established authors as
Rhonda Eudaly, Terry Mixon and Scott Roche, as well as the continuing editorial
hand of Charlie Brown, this book sweeps away the swampy myths for some
from the Introduction: Hiding In Myth’s Shadows: New Orleans’s Complicated
Relationship With Truth
moonlit night in late fall, the fog lowers onto Jackson Square, clinging to the
street lamps and bathing the ancient cobblestones with a soft ambience. These
moments show how magical New Orleans can be, how it is a world separate from
night and in any part of town, those same streets can be bathed in revolving
red and blue glares, police creating a barricade to investigate violent crime,
maybe multiple-victim murders of wasted youth.
truth about New Orleans is everything that makes it great simultaneously makes
it awful. The laissez-faire attitude can devolve into lawlessness, the
celebratory drinks carried through the streets can flip into fistfights and the
culture’s uniqueness can squeeze itself into parochial arguments about who and
what is authentic.
fact remains. New Orleans is about the show. Bourbon Street’s constant carnival
draws visitors eager to drop cash on illicit pleasures. Fancy restaurants offer
service so perfect that it’s impossible to tell when that water glass refilled.
Few weekends go by without some sort of parade.
yet, we keep many secrets. We’re free with the house wine, but reserve the good
stuff for ourselves. The best meal may not be served by the
black-coat-white-shirt set, but out of an old woman’s kitchen deep in back of
town. And this is where the magick happens.
the Author, Editor and Publisher:
Charlie Brown is a
writer and filmmaker from New Orleans. He currently lives in Los Angeles, where
he recently received his Masters in Professional Writing from the University of
Southern California and also runs Lucky Mojo Press and Mojotooth
Productions. He has made two feature
films: “Angels Die Slowly” and “Never A Dull Moment: 20 Years of the Rebirth
Brass Band.” His fiction has appeared in Conium Review, Oddville Press, Writing
Disorder, Jersey Devil Press, The Menacing Hedge, Aethlon, and what?? Magazine,
plus the anthology “Dimensional Abscesses.”
The Pretty Little Horses
All the Pretty Little Horses:
It was always about the music.
The first time I’d heard New Orleans’
special blend of jazz, I had been sent to the city by Winesap to look into the
man behind a string of murders in 1919, in which the music played a pivotal
role. Ever since, I’d made sure that if I came anywhere near the city in my
travels, I’d swing by to get an earful before going on my way. There’s a soul to the sliding bend and weave
of the notes that’s just mesmerizing.
It was on one such visit that Baba Ghede
I was tasting the local spiced rum and
enjoying a slow rendition of an old old
southern lullaby being crooned out by a woman, accompanied by bass and sax.
Hush-a-bye, don’t you cry,
Go to sleepy little baby
A slender man slid onto the seat next to
me, skin dark as pitch. He was cocky in demeanor, and his grin nearly split his
face in two. “Why, as I live and breathe, is that a Wormwood I see before me?
What Christian name are you using these days?”
I looked sideways at the man. “Josiah, same as the last time, Baba.” His
family and I go back a ways. “You’re looking in good spirits.”
He spread his arms wide, barely missing
someone juggling drinks away from the bar. “Have I no reason to be?”
I took a sip. “In my experience, meetings
with you and yours are seldom accidental.”
He cocked his head and peered at me, some
of the joyous demeanor dissipating. “I
remember you being more fun.”
He wanted something, and was trying on the
charm of a salesman. It didn’t suit him. I took another sip. “What can I do for you, Babaco?”
His hands made placating gestures.
“Alright, alright. We do need your help. But not here, we need to discuss this
“I like this seat. Spill.”
He leaned forward and hissed in my ear.
“The Loa are missing.”
I slipped off my stool and followed him into
a back room.
Finn writes his shorts from Houston, Texas.
The protagonist here can also be found getting into trouble in
“Dirty Magick: Los Angeles”, and is worming his way into nascent
novel. In addition to his shorts, he’s a consultant for the Hugo nominated “Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files”
comics from Dynamite Press and the
“Mana Punk” role-playing game from Hot Goblin.
Dance In Storyville
Excerpt Last Dance In
couldn’t cross Basin Street without feeling like you were entering another
Frontenac stepped over a horse plop, paused to let a police wagon pass, then
stepped quickly out of the way of a gleaming red Model A as it growled its way
up the street. He didn’t entirely trust the newfangled machines. It was shaping
up to be a noisy and boisterous new century.
reached the far sidewalk, and just like that, all respectability was left behind.
He was in Storyville now, where vice was king and the law looked the other way.
of color caught his eye, and he turned to watch a young woman in an elegant
blue dress making her way across the street. She wore boots with mud still
clinging to them, the fancy dress at odds with the almost masculine swing of
her hips. She moved like a farm girl, with a no-nonsense stride that said she
meant to get where she was going and that was that.
she reached the sidewalk near him, however, that changed. She set down a pair
of dainty Mary Janes, stepping out of her boots and into the shoes. When she
picked up the boots, making them look somehow delicate in her slender hand, she
was suddenly an elegant lady with a willowy, swaying walk. She headed down Basin
Street away from him, holding the boots well away from her dress.
followed, since he was going the same way. When she turned on Villere, he
worried she’d think he was following her. At the corner of Iberville, he
watched her climb the steps to Dixon’s and wondered if it was fate. He shrugged
and followed her inside.
Brent Nichols is a
Canadian writer of science fiction, fantasy, and steampunk. His stories appear
in a bunch of anthologies, such as Shanghai Steam, Blood and Water, Here Be
Monsters, and Tesseracts. He’s also the author of several novels and novellas,
including Lord of Fire, Bert the Barbarian, and Gears of a Mad God.
“Sparkles” Evans looked up at the edifice of the Church of the Immaculate
Conception. It had been a number of years, almost half of his twenty six, since
he’d set foot in a church. He didn’t know what the hell he was doing
approaching this one. He did need sanctuary, and he’d heard holy ground was always
supposed to be a safe place, even for a drugged-out, hung over hedge wizard
like himself. He started across the street without looking both ways, traffic
non-existent in the muggy pre-dawn. There were a few lights on inside the house
of God, showing off the beautiful stained glass.
reached into one of the pockets of his faded green Army surplus jacket and
pulled out two blue tablets. He popped the pain killer in his mouth and pulled
a battered silver flask from the same pocket. The cheap whisky wasn’t what he
wanted to chase the ibuprofen with, but it was what he had. Cafe au lait would
come after he knew he was safe. He grimaced and pushed on the door.
When did they start locking churches?” A sudden sense he was being watched made
him want to be anywhere but outside. He touched the door’s lock with his
finger. “Open, says me.” There was a click and he rushed through the
now-unlocked door into the cool air of the nave beyond. He made sure the door
was locked behind him before moving on.
overhead were turned almost all the way down. Candles flickered here and there.
He grabbed a few brochures from a rack near the door, hoping they would tell
him something useful. He scanned them, and they gave a brief history of the
building, but that was all. He didn’t need the history lesson right now and
tucked the brochures into his other jacket pocket, next to what was left of
last night’s spliff.
a moment to look around. The ceiling was crazy high, and the benches were
gorgeous things made of wrought iron. He walked past the font of holy water and
dipped his fingers in. He flicked the water into his own face, hoping it would
wake him up a little. “Hello? Anyone in here?”
words echoed back to him. The place was deserted. “Maybe I can catch a few
winks and go to the nearest crowded café.” He still wasn’t sure why he was
being chased or who was chasing him. It could have been nothing more than his
own personal demons, but drunk or straight he had never beenthis paranoid
could just spot who it was, he’d call his sister, the detective. She’d ream him
out in good fashion, but then she’d listen and maybe he could crash on her
couch for a day or two while she looked into it. Until he could identify them,
it wouldn’t do any good. She’d chalk it up to his penchant for telling stories
and ask him when he was going to get his shit together.
down the center aisle, he saw the crucifix. They were the creepiest fucking
things. Christians complained about Islam being a religion of violence, but
they seemed to forget that a man on a massive torture device hung in the middle
of theirs. He looked closely at the artifact. He’d always thought Christ was
supposed to be naked. This guy was wearing all black. He had the crown of thorns
and blood-smeared face Willie always heard about, but the blood looked wet in
smelled blood and shit, he realized this particular torture victim was flesh
and bone and not a wooden representation. Now he had a reason to call Helen. He
just had to find a phone.
feed on blood and revel in the screams of their prey. Scott Roche craves only
caffeine and the clacking of keys. He pays his bills doing the grunt work no
one else wants to take, bringing dead electronics back to life and working
arcane wonders with software. His true passion is hammering out words that
become anything from tales that terrify to futuristic worlds of wonder. All
that and turning three children into a private mercenary army make for a life
filled with adventure.
Sacred Marriage of Etienne McCray
The Sacred Marriage of Etienne McCray
next couple of days were weird. He was off the next day, and called in sick the
day after. He wouldn’t be able to avoid work forever, but maybe by the time he
went back the bruises would go down.
that wasn’t the real issue. He kept seeing things. Hearing things. The city had
changed. Or he had. Or he was going crazy. A building in the middle of Royal
Street that had collapsed the year before was suddenly standing again – or an
image of it was, the building as it had once been, clean new brick and fresh
whitewash, instead of the crumbled ruin. He found if he tried hard enough he
could still see the empty lot, the piles of neglected bricks no one had hauled
away. But when his concentration lapsed, the ghost building was there again.
buildings had upper stories they hadn’t had; alleys that never existed opened
off streets he had walked his whole life. And there were … people in those
streets. Creatures. A businessman with a briefcase, a bespoke suit, and arching
white angel’s wings on his back, rustling softly as he hurried down Iberville
Street. At the mouth of one of the alleys, a vévé, a voodoo sigil, was scrawled
in white chalk – he saw something hovering about it, a shadowy cloud watching
him with perfectly human brown eyes.
crawled out of the sewers and climbed the wrought iron lampposts downtown,
hissing softly, watching him as he passed, their eyes glowing like fire.
crazed impulse, he went at midnight to the door in Exchange Alley, across from
the precinct – the door that had never been there before – and banged on it for
being that answered could only be called a loup-garou. Bipedal, towering over
him, covered in a thick gray pelt, with the body of a man and the head of a
tongue lolled out between its sharp white teeth. “Been expecting you,” it
nerve broke and he ran, ran all the way back to Frenchmen Street, his own
neighborhood. He didn’t sleep that night, but spent it taking scalding hot
showers and forcing himself to throw up, trying to purge this madness from his
Kirsten Corby is a
writer and librarian who works for the public library and lives in the Irish
Channel in New Orleans.
Excerpt Glass Darkly:
crimson spray arched gracefully up the wall and across ceiling from the window
to the overhead light. Deep, dark, almost black at the curtains to a somewhat
brighter shade of maroon near the bulbs told of a day or so drying time.
weren’t for the copper tang in the air, you might think it was paint.
goodness for the cold, the coldest October in New Orleans in over one hundred
fifty years. Kept the flies away. And, the maggots.
bedroom, well, the only room in the chef’s flop was tore up, and not like the
bulls had given it a once over, either. That mess would’ve looked like it had a
purpose. This mess looked like an alligator had been let loose. Except there
was no bloody swath where the gator had dragged it’s snack back to the bayou.
And no clawed and broken door. In fact, the only thing in the room that
appeared truly broken was the vanity mirror set on the wall near the window.
From the smears on the cracked glass, it looked like the crimson painter had
been shoved into it with significant force. Where that body was now was anyone’s
yeah, the neighbors had heard nothing.
intuited, in large part because NOPD wasn’t camped out. Which was a good thing,
since my peeper’s license had expired. And wasn’t any good in Louisiana. I toed
through the debris on the floor, shaking my head. The things we do for family.
a metallic clinking while pushing a clump of wadded-up lingerie aside. I
squatted on my heels and prodded at the clump with a pencil I’d pulled out of
my jacket pocket. The wad fell apart, and I used the pencil to pick up a small,
delicate chemise by its very thin straps. Far too small to fit on the chef’s
arm, much less over his head. So, Justin had a honey on the side. I’m sure his
wife would be thrilled. I shook it. The noise makers fell out, and disappeared
into the folds of the clothing strewn on the floor. After pawing around a
little more in the unmentionables, I came up with an earring shaped like a
crescent moon, with a small, stylized star nestled in the inner curve. Yeah, I
recognized it. I’d seen it’s mate earlier this morning.
on one of the moon’s points was a tie bar. I unhooked it from the earring and
gave it a gander. It was an expensive piece of frippery. ‘R.’ ‘D.’ Gaudy
initials on sterling silver, and, at the time he bought it, worth more than the
owner made in a month. So, his wife paid for it. Out of the food budget. ‘R.’
‘D.’ Renny Dupre.
swore. I wasn’t being paid. Good thing; nothing was enough to put up with this.
crawled, not so much because someone snuck up on me, as my reaction to that old
black magic. Contrary to Louie and Keely, it wasn’t love I was feeling. No, I
had felt this over a year ago in Los Angeles, when I had my unfortunate run-in
with the Nain Rouge. Okay, yeah, a little because he snuck up on me, too.
looked up from the floor to the jimmied and opened doorway. Leaning against the
jam, sucking his teeth, was a short little guy. His white hair puffed around
his dome like a delicate dandelion, but his hands were meat hooks. I noticed
only because he was busy flexing them in time with his breathing.
I’m good,” I said, slipping the earring and tie bar into a pocket, and standing
to look down on him.
wasn’t impressed. I’d had that effect a lot, lately.
gonna invite old Aga Bab in, mister?” His voice was a little high, but not
enough to make fun of.
I said again, around a slow smile. “I’m good.”
call the cops, then?” He waved his hand in a through-away motion.
with me, sport.” No, it wasn’t fine with me. I was itching that “conjuring
itch” all over and wanted the little prick gone. I had a feeling he wanted the
cops here just about as badly as I did, so I played a hunch. “Maybe they can
ask you where the chef is.”
grimaced. “You don’t know either? So, where’s the frail?”
frail, sport?” I kept smiling. “You going to call the cops, or shall I?”
stopped leaning on the doorway. “I’ve never seen a body in such a powerful
hurry to stay the night as a guest of the state,” he said.
give off that air,” I replied, then made a show of looking around the room.
“I’ll call, then. I just saw the phone a minute ago.”
his turn to smile. “On second thought, I got other girls…younger girls to
look after.” He stepped backwards, out of the doorway. “You take care there,
Jack. Right now, you’re protected, but everything changes and we’ll meet
my name. Swell. My sinking feeling got worse when Shorty crammed a hat on his
head, turned, and walked down the hall, his footsteps echoing back.
and Balor sends his regards.”
damn hat. That red Peter Pan styled hat.
I get into this mess?
Paul grew up in
northern Alabama, in the crook of the Tennessee River, and moved to central
Virginia in the late 70’s. He has worked in food service, retail, radio and
television, and in IT, most recently as a systems programmer. His work has
appeared in Dirty Magick: Los Angeles, Dirty Magick: New Orleans, and Tales
from the Archives. Paul’s life is kept exciting by his wife and three
daughters. Other than that, he’s just this guy, you know?
Excerpt Prompt Succor :
name is Terry O’Byrne. Folks that know me call me “Sharp.” I have a keen eye,
keener than most people believe. I was born in Ireland back at the turn of the
century. My Gran said my generation was going to be something special, that we
had a fate touched by the fair folk. She was a bit soft, my old Gran, but she
was right, in the end. I have what she would’ve called “the sight.” I can see
things other people cannot, or maybe just willfully ignore.
ghosts, naturally, but I’ve spotted many things as well: faeries, angels,
demons, and a thousand others. When it first began, I thought I was going mad,
and in a panic, I fled the country. In my haste, I took some favors and made
some promises to some men I would have been smarter to avoid. I hoped that
leaving would cure my condition, but the sight has only gotten stronger, and my
new friends began making some serious demands.
how I ended up in New Orleans, running a charming little curio shop in the
Vieux Carre. I play to the tourists, ask no questions about where my
merchandise comes from, and I take on other odd jobs as my sharp eyes earn me.
My primary employer is William “Big Willie” MacCarthy, boss of the Irish mob
and the man that supplies the water of life that keeps The Big Muddy flowing. I
take other odd jobs and requests from time to time, but the oddest one of all
was in January, 1925.
the feast of the three kings, and New Orleans was celebrating in its own
particular fashion. I was just about to close up for the night when a walking
shadow stomped in. He wore an oilskin coat and a lowcrowned hat, but I could
see his black shirt and white collar clearly enough.
he came in by himself, he wasn’t exactly alone. He was followed by a line of
ghosts, each one soft and indistinct, and as colorless as a film projection.
That’s usually how it is with spirits. I get the image, but most of the time,
it’s like a moving picture. No color, no sound. I’ve never been able to
communicate with one. The priest’s ghosts were a line of little old ladies who
clung weakly to him like mist.
regular ghosts in the shop made themselves scarce. I haven’t had many priests
in the shop, but they seemed genuinely terrified of him. I wondered what they
saw that I didn’t.
can I do for you, Father?” I inquired as he stomped his way up to the counter.
Even for a man of the cloth, he had a dour expression. The hair under his hat
was white, but he didn’t look much older than thirty. But there was something
about his eyes that I couldn’t put my finger on, just then.
stared straight into me and hurried to the front, as though trying to avoid
seeing any of my wares. I knew there were rumors about my store. I started most
of them myself. An air of mystery is good for business in New Orleans, and the
more “legitimate” sales I made, the less on the hook I was to my benefactors.
I’ve been called.”
reached into his coat pocket and thrust a letter at me the way one of Willie’s
goons draws a roscoe. I took the slightly damp envelope and flipped it over.
“This is the Archbishop’s seal,” I said.
The priest continued to stare, so I pulled out my pocket knife and broke it.
The letter was not very long, but it was from Archbishop Shaw himself. I read
it twice, and looked the holy man in the eye.
might have telephoned, or used the post. This is all rather cloak and dagger.”
grimaced at me with a most unholy look on his face. “If it was up to me, we
wouldn’t be calling on someone like you at all. But your services are required
by the Church. I am told that you fought for the liberation of Catholic
Ireland, but no one has ever seen you at Mass. If you were a parishioner, this
all could be handled quietly, but as that is not the case, we’ve taken
Hugh J. O’Donnell
is a writer and podcaster. He is the
host and editor of The Way of the Buffalo Podcast, and his fiction has appeared
in Bards and Sages Quarterly, Over My Dead Body! and others. He lives in Western New York with his spouse,
cats, and shelves of obsolete video game consoles.
Knowledge Is Power:
streamed through the hotel room windows, triggering a blinding headache. Janna
blinked. Maybe not choosing the interior room was a mistake. She remembered
wandering the French Quarter as the clubs opened up. The rest was a blur. The
pounding increased in volume and insistency until she realized it wasn’t her
head. Someone was knocking on her door.
moment.” Janna stumbled out of bed and slipped on her robe. Maybe she’d ordered
breakfast before falling asleep?
service wasn’t on the other side of the door. Surly looking men in sports coats
and badges stood behind a nervous-looking hotel manager.
Allen?” the lead jacket asked.
need you to come with us,” he said.
until you identify yourself.” Janna took a solid stance. “You know better.”
Detective Eli Medina. Please come with us, Ms. Allen.”
Arcanus Magus was stolen last night. We have questions.”
eyes widened. “Give me an hour to shower and dress–”
come with us now, Ms. Allen. We’ll use handcuffs if necessary.”
on the suspect side of the interrogation table felt weird. Janna tried to
breathe normally, but couldn’t stop her rising anxiety. The room didn’t help,
with the bare cinderblock walls and steel furnishings. At least she’d been able
to put on real clothes, if not shower. The door squealed on its hinges.
Detective Medina stalked in and dropped a file folder down on the table.
know I’m on your side, right?” she asked.
looking into your background, Agent Allen. But that doesn’t mean you’re above
suspicion. In fact, your skills with the Federal Special Investigations makes
you uniquely qualified to pull off this theft.”
Earth or Ether would I steal the Arcanus Magus? I know what that book can do.”
lives in Arlington, Texas where he’s ventured into several industries and
occupations for a wide variety of experience. She’s married with dogs and a
rapidly growing Minion© army. Her two passions are writing and music, which is
evident in her increasing horde of writing instruments.
Rhonda has a
well-rounded publication history in fiction, non-fiction and script writing.
Check out her website – www.RhondaEudaly.com – for her latest publications and
Butler’s Last Stand:
entered the old building and climbed the stairs up to the roof access. I opened
the creaking window and stepped out onto the slate-tiled roof. Looking down, I
didn’t really blame Jean for not wanting to be there. The ground looked a long
patted the hidden Butler medal I kept tucked under my shirt. It was just about
the only thing I had left tying me to parents who had died when I was too
young. It was my lucky charm. I hoped it would keep me from doing something
stupid like falling off the roof.
only saving grace if I did? Jean wouldn’t be able to give me a hard time about
roof was slick with moisture, making footing treacherous. I inched my way toward
the mystery object.
closer I got, the fuzzier it seemed to be. I had to practically lean over top
of it to get any idea what it was. When I saw it, there was no doubt though.
a head. More precisely, the head of a black man. Some sick bastard had impaled
it on a piece of metalwork protruding from the eaves. It still looked all
fuzzy, even up close. I could only guess that was because it was dark and
a pair of gloves out of my breast pocket and pulled them on. Then I carefully
reached down to retrieve the grisly piece of evidence. My hand went right
through the thing like it wasn’t even there. I almost did a header off the
Plested is an author, editor, blogger, closet superhero (not to mention sock
herder and cat wrangler) and podcaster living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He
is the host of several podcasts including the writing podcast, Get Published,
(2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014 Parsec Finalist).
His debut novel,
Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero was shortlisted for the Prix Aurora Award for Best
YA Novel and its sequel, Mik Murdoch: The Power Within was launched at When
Words Collide 2014. He has stories and several books coming out this year
(2015) including Scouts of the Apocalypse (June), and a collaborative Steampunk
work, Jack Kane & the Statue of Liberty (June).
Your boss created this situation, but arguably, you caused the deaths of these
bull!” He turned toward Al, bringing his gun up.
for his move, Al twisted the gun from the man’s grasp and jabbed him with the
pin he’d just cleaned. The man jumped back, swearing.
smiled without humor. “There’s a lesson in this, Marie. I want you to pay close
attention. Actions have consequences, even when you think you’ve done something
for the best reasons. And someone always pays a price.”
focused his will into the man’s blood and cast the same kind of spell the girl
had used to kill the men she’d held responsible for her mother’s death. It took
every ounce of his skill and power to do so without using a ritual and
pre-charged implements. It amazed him that Marie had killed with her will
screamed and clawed at his eyes. “No! Please! Mercy!”
no mercy for you. Have some justice instead.”
spouted blood in every direction and collapsed into a twitching heap. Al wiped
his face. Small droplets of blood covered him from head to toe. Marie hadn’t
escaped the spatter either. It felt fitting.
Terry Mixon is a
former non-commissioned officer that served in the United States Army 101st
Airborne Division and also dedicated nearly two decades to providing direct
computer support to the flight controllers in the Mission Control Center at the
NASA Johnson Space Center supporting the Space Shuttle program, the
International Space Station, and other spaceflight projects. He lives in Texas
with his lovely wife and a pounce of cats.
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