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The Moieurs
by Katerina Charisi
2017-01-30 12:34:34
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mile01_400If you would have ever asked me for how long I have been in this room, I would have no answer for you. Sometimes it feels forever, like time has stopped somewhere in particular, circling around an indifferent moment, making all days and nights feel the same. Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday that I walked through the rusty gate of the Oleander Manor; the house with the long lost glory, years and years ago. The half burned property of the Myers, and “Myers” wasn’t even their real name. It was Moieurs.

But that was something I found out much later.

There was only one Moieurs that ever lived in this place, and he had sailed from the other side of the Atlantic, carrying with him the evil itself in the body of a 14 year old slave. A shaman’s only daughter. A sacred life of an ancient tribe, with emerald cat eyes and roasted caramel skin. His trophy.

Jan Moieurs set his foot with his valuable cargo upon that hill and hired workers from the nearby town of Jacksonville to build him a home. And he said truly “home”, not “house”, because he wanted it to be a home for his people, the family he was ready to start and continue his life under his name, long after he would be gone. He asked for a cellar but the land was too dry and hard to dig so deep, so he just managed to have a hole that barely fit a man on his knees and nailed the floor boards above it. He married a young only daughter of a respected man in the town, the pastor’s only child, having his mistress hidden in the big house, in the last room of the dark corridor in the back, without anyone ever see or know she had been there, and taking her to the hole on the ground when needed, making sure she wouldn’t make a sound, with a sharp blade pinching her neck.

The workers carried the logs from the swamps loaded on horses that stumbled their feet in the mud. When they finished with the main building, Moieurs asked them to build a couple of sheds. In a “safe distance one from another”. Then he asked for storerooms, stables, coops and a few shacks for his workers. He put people to plow the land.

He brought oleanders, tall and thick, and planted them all around his property, setting his own borders. Or hid behind them.

Then the distillers started working and Jan Moieurs became rich.

Then people started dying.

That’s what I know about how the Myers ended up there, the only house on that hill, remnants of a rich past, struggling to survive later, in a land that didn’t give life anymore, in old empty sheds that rot under the heavy rainy sky, in a house darker and darker with a scent of burned wood and wet ash always in the air.

“Damned”, Cornelia had told me before she died. “Cursed”, she said and squeezed my hand with her boney fingers. “What he did...” she said and struggled to speak, “...bringing this poor child to serve his sick instincts, giving him children with his blood running in their veins and her beauty, cursed every next human being that lived under this roof, with grieve and loss...and even madness.”

All the years I lived in that house and I believed Cornelia was a mean old woman who never wanted me to be there, because I didn’t deserve a place in her family. But I was wrong. She only tried to warn me in a way that she didn’t have to share the family’s history, as she never told anyone, not even her daughter Frances, about who the Myers really were and how they came upon this land. She tried to make me go away. To escape.

Moieurs married the pastor’s girl for he knew she was sterile, though when he celebrated his first son a year later, everybody talked about a miracle. After the second son was born, all gossip about the sterile pastor’s daughter stopped. Then another son was born, and then a daughter, and then he found his mistress dead with a yellowish foam clotted around her half open mouth. All in the next five years. But the sons died, one after another, because of fever, and Jan was left with a daughter, his last child that meant nothing to him because it was female, and shot himself one night in the barn, cursing the emerald cat eyed girl for giving him children that died because of her and for killing herself not to give him another son.

His sterile widow remained in the house with a little girl that wasn’t hers, an adorable creature with light caramel skin and big eyes like her mother’s, and though she came in the little girl’s room holding a knife one rainy night, she knew that this girl would be the only child she would ever have and so she put the knife down, closing her eyes and listening to the peaceful breathing of the girl as she was sleeping, promising to herself that she would never become a monster like her husband, and no one would ever know about what had happened in her house.

She hired a caretaker and kept one of the workers in the land, a big large breasted black woman, to take care of the little girl, so she could work in the fields and the distillers, maybe for her expiation to the curse that she knew was upon her head for who her husband was and what he did. She named the house “Oleander Manor” and started pronouncing her name Myers, and warned all her people to do the same. Years passed and life went on, the Myers were living in their own rhythm, the little girl grew up and became a beautiful young lady, having her maid’s son Samuel her best friend and brother with her, marrying the caretaker for she could never marry a black man, though Sam was the only man she ever loved.

That little girl was Cornelia.


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