Have you read The Swamp is Full of Mystery? It's available here, for free, when you sign up for the mail updates.
“I can’t believe you brought me here to be healed by some wild-haired crazy old lady!” Roy Lestrange complained to his mother as she pulled him impatiently along.
“I told you, she’s not just some old lady; she’s a witch and she can make you better.”
“The fact that you believe in witchcraft Ma… I mean this is 1989”, Roy complained even as he followed her through the trees to the ramshackle house he could see. It looked like it was standing strictly by the grace of God or maybe some magic the witch was using to hold up her residence. Roy didn’t get it; if she had access to all this magic and shit why didn’t she imagine herself a mansion and a fortune? Why live like an animal in the middle of the bayou with her equally crazy granddaughter?
His mother reached the door, she hesitated, shooting him a glance tinged with apprehension before extending a hand slowly to knock softly on it. They shifted from foot to foot, waiting for someone to come to the door. It was opened by a wizened old woman with a halo of grey hair; she smiled at them in welcome as if she’d been expecting them…
“Come in”, she said and led the way into her house. Roy was expecting to see the skulls of babies decorating the mantelpiece, maybe with snakeskin covering the walls. But no, the furniture was threadbare yet neat. An aubusson rug, old but well kept lay on the living room floor. The couch was covered with throw pillows and a crocheted cover. There were outdated pictures on the wall of men and women dressed in old fashioned clothing. A tantalizing smell of freshly baked something emanated from behind the wooden kitchen counter. Roy’s mouth watered, and he wondered if the witch would offer them something to eat before the day’s business began.
She led them past the living room however, toward some narrow stairs. They led up to an attic where all the good stuff was. Animal skulls, and chicken feathers, an altar with the requisite freaky statue on it. The statue was surrounded by offerings of rice and tobacco, black coffee and yams, a straw hat and a cane, pennies, palm oil and roses. This was more like Roy was expecting.
“What can I do for you?” The witch asked startling Roy with the soft, compassionate nature of her tone.
“My Roy is sick Nannane. Could you heal him?” His mother asked hands clasped and stretched forward in a pleading way.
The witch held out her hand to Roy, and he understood that she wanted him to put his hand in hers. He was scared though; he didn’t want to do it. With his mother’s narrowed eyes on him though, he felt he had no choice but to clasp her hands with his own. She closed her eyes, humming softly under her breath. A warmth suffused the area where her hands touched his and it slowly began to permeate the rest of him. He felt his body relax into languid peace while his eyes closed of their own volition. It was like receiving the gentlest massage in human history.
“You have the wasting disease", the witch intoned, “What are they calling it these days… AIDS?”
Roy jumped in shock. Nobody knew that; nobody said that...not out loud. His mama didn’t know, she couldn’t have told. How had this witch guessed? He opened his eyes and snatched his hand out of hers, standing quickly to leave. His mother was watching him; a sad look in her eyes. The witch’s eyes were serene. She sat watching him, waiting for him to do what he would.
“How do you know that?” He whispered.
The witch just smiled slightly and held out her hands, “I don’t know if I can heal you; that is not in my hands. But I can make you feel better,", she said.
Roy just stared at her, “You can’t… tell anyone. You can’t…”, he stammered.
The witch shook her head, “My work is just as confidential as any priest… or doctor. You need not worry that anyone will know of your illness from me.”
“What can you do for me that the doctors can’t?” Roy demanded.