For centuries I’ve created many in my image, destroyed more than I can remember, driven by the lust, the burn, the hunger in my loins for a taste of the life force that flows through their veins and not mine. Do I enjoy it? Yes. But even I can admit it’s not enough. And once, only once did I ever come close to an escape. But that was some time ago. Her name was Lysatte.

It is the year 2006. Six months after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is celebrating Mardi Gras. There are four fewer days, six fewer carnival krewes and every parade has to use the same route. They say the dead walk the streets in New Orleans now. A city haunted by lost souls. Four college friends decide to abandon their studies at Tulane and celebrate the cities revival. It is a fatal mistake.
They are chosen. Meet Lissette, her destiny is intertwined with a creature beyond her understanding. This is their beginning.

Dear Reader,

Do you know me? If not please allow me to introduce myself. I am Sienna Mynx an author of sensual and often times erotic romance, suspense, and intrigue from a multicultural perspective. What I have not done in my published writing career is explore the other side of my story-telling talents. In the past, my earliest formative teen years, paranormal novels and horror films were where my original passion for world creating and storytelling were derived from. Reading, writing, sketching and painting and collecting comic books of all things spooky is how I escaped into a different world as a kid. It’s funny the different paths you take in life and ironic the kind of author I later became. No matter what was the root of my evolution I can never deny how my imagination wakened.

However, he truth is I’m equally proud of who I am as an author and look to delving into many more tales of love and suspense in the future. It is what has sustained me as a writer. This is why I’ve never fully invested in my original passion. Until now. This Halloween I present to you my vampire Yvain. He has haunted my sleep for over a decade. He is the true author of this tale. And he is thirsting for his chance to bring you into his world. The story is short, and the tale deeply disturbing and only partly finished. If you find Yvain and the haunted history of New Orleans interesting I may continue to allow him to take the pen.

You decide.

Sienna Mynx,

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Chapter One

Honey Swamp Plantation, St. Charles Parish Louisiana 1823

The drums, the thunder, a roaring mix that echoed louder than the rain. Its melody consumed those gathered. Lysatte worked her hips and arms as she danced around the fire moving, moving, moving, and moving to the rhythm. She dropped her head forward and rolled her neck slinging her water logged corded locs. The storm had soaked through her tattered gown, pasting the thin fabric to her bare skin. The rain was their reward. It became the cleansing called upon by her people to replenish the drought scorched earth.

The cool downpour streamed over her arms to the tips of her fingernails, past her kneecaps to her muddy bare toes. Her people chanted, moaned, and beat the drums as the poor child, barely fourteen, suffered. Lysatte would not let her slip into the darkness without a fight. She would take on the poison herself, into herself if she must. No matter the sacrifice she would not give up. Speaking in a tongue both French and African she called on the light too save the innocence of the child and cast away the demons bite.

Lysatte flung herself forward and dropped on all fours. Like a feral cat she arched her back and hissed. Lightening flashed. The child groaned and her mother wept. Lysatte absorbed the pain, the suffering, and worse the blood thirst. It consumed the child and urged her towards abandonment. She heard how the darkness seduced and lied to the young one. It made her sick to think of the corruption.

With her staff in her hand Lysatte slowly rose. She twirled it like a baton and hopped forward with her feet spread apart. Hop, hop, hop, she went towards the held down girl. The slaves dropped to their knees and prayed. Tonight the prayer was different. Not for the release of bondage from their oppressors or for the death of their masters, but the release of the child. They are a tribe of one, and though hell waited for them on earth, it was the afterlife that mattered the most. Lysatte screeched with the batting of her tongue against the roof of her mouth. She slammed the staff down into the earth. A burst of lightening split the sky. She released a prayer of protection, cleansing, and repentance. And the child convulsed and screamed before she went limp.

Humped over with her arms hanging at a downward angle like the branches of a Mississippi mud tree, Lysatte’s head slowly lifted. Her locs covered her face. Thick ropes of hair were parted at the eyes. The rain had stopped but the fire in her gut blazed on. With the passing of the storm went the pitiful wails of innocence lost.

“Release her!” she commanded.

The old mothers’ of the plantation, the only ones strong enough in spirit to hold the child down, let the young girl go. Lysatte slowly lowered to her knees on the muddy marsh ground and pulled out her staff from the thick earth. She stood. She approached with her hand raised and her spear held out before her. She was prepared to pierce the dark heart of the girl whose African name was N’zinga and only evoked outside of the earshot of their oppressors.

“Speak child. Speak now! Speak,” she said.

The girl moaned. She rolled to her side on the smoothed surface of the rock and vomited black blood. Her mother leapt to her feet but Lysatte aimed the blessed staff at her.

“It’s his poison, let her release it cher. Soyez patient!”

The woman was forced into obedience. She trembled all over as the mother in her wanted to rebel. Her head dropped and she sobbed a long mournful cry, which hissed out of her like the air of a deflating tire. Lysatte drew closer; she was the only one daring enough to approach. She stopped and several gasped. Lysatte closed her eyes. She waved the staff over the trembling child. She detected none of the dark beasts poison within.

“This girl is clean.”

The slaves cheered. They rushed the young girl at once. Lysatte stumbled backwards through the celebration and her staff slipped from her hand. Her feet sank into the mud. She was exhausted. Everything in her went to the child that night. “The darkness is getting stronger, because the suffering in the bayou doesn’t lessen. People are losing faith, losing hope, and the light can’t survive without hope,” Lysatte mumbled.

Merci… Merci Lysatte,” the mother of the child called out through the waving arms and jumping bodies of slaves surrounding her. Lysatte nodded. She needed to make it back to her home in the swamp, the one no one will venture too, for fear of her powers and the gators. She is the only free woman amongst them. And she was only 19.

Old Maman Danique lifted her heavy skirt and sloshed through the grassy marsh approaching her. Lysatte dreaded the conversation she knew was coming.

“You done good cher,” Maman said in a flat monotone voice.

“My baby, how is she?” Lysatte, asked.

“She is well, you come for her tonight no?” Danique asked.

“I can’t. Tell her, when she is old enough, tell her that her mama lurved her.” Lysatte pleaded. It was the closest she’d ever pleaded with anyone. But she and the Old mother understood each other. Lysatte held a silent prayer that her child escaped slavery and placage without her. No other words passed between the women. There was no need. They both knew that this was a night even Lysatte would not escape. Her fate and her destiny came waited the dark. Lysatte had given the last of her light to free the child. She was defenseless. And she was ready. The thing that slithered through the swamps with a face of an angel but a heart of demon had taken her Henry first. Now came the LaFleur retribution through blood. Lysatte was marked for this life, to be the guardian of the light—it was in her. The responsibility she regarded seriously. Even at the expense of her child. Even at the expense of her own soul.

Cherie, let us walk with you…don’t go alone. Maybe we can—” Danique’s eyes flickered back to the black swamp forest. A fog had risen from the earth three inches thick, it swirled like ghost breath around the base of the trees. She looked to Lysatte with unbridled fear. Nothing scared the old woman more than a walk in the night through Honey Swamp.

Ne vous en faites pas,” Lysatte said. She held her hand out to push the offer of assistance away. “Go back, before you are missed. I will be fine.”