Fringe Sneak Peek - A Southern Ghost Story

The Minnesota Fringe Festival website is live! And my show is up and ready and looking swank. You can see show times, get directions, and even buy tickets.

I am quite excited.

And in my excitement, I have for you a small taste, an amuse bouche if you will, of the new show. It's the first part of the first piece, a little Southern Ghost Story to set the mood:

The Woman with the Camelia

(The lovely photograph below is from The National Archives' flickr account. It was taken by Matthew Brady in April or May of 2005)

Alfred and Doyle were not the smartest boys in the 2nd Brigade of the 4th Division of the 16th Corps of the Union Army. But they were definitely the drunkest.
They were several mason jars into the batch of moonshine they’d uncovered on patrol a few days back. Alfred drained the last shaky swig and pitched his jar against a tree with a satisfying crash.

He was a smooth talking good-looking, blond-haired son of a bitch. He carried a letter from his wife in his pocket and a letter from her sister in the other. He turned his bleary eyes to the darkening tree line. “Shit.”

“What?” said Doyle, splashing a little acrid hooch down the front of his blue uniform. His left hand was in his left pocket, cradling the left hind foot of a once-lucky rabbit. The dense branches made his eyes play tricks on him and the moonshine was not doing him any favors.

“Nothing,” said Alfred. “Let’s keep moving.”

“We’re lost aren’t we?” said Doyle

“No. What do you take me for?”I take you for lost. We’ve passed this same tree four times.” Doyle put his hand on a broad oak, its branches slithering up through the sunset.

“You’re from New York City, ya dumb mick, the heck you know about trees?”

“I know enough not to walk in circles around them for an hour and a half.”
Just then, a high silvery laugh floated gently over the breeze, followed by a light, sweet scent. Gripping his rabbit foot tighter, Doyle slowly turned around. On the other side of the clearing, leaning languidly against a tree was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. She wore a pale rose dress, the color of the last blush of twilight, with a large camelia blooming behind her ear. Her hair was red as copper and when she tossed it in the breeze, it rippled like flames.

“Now now boys, arguing won’t get you nowhere, not at this time of night.” The wind picked up the corner of her skirt, translucent in the fading light.

Alfred took off his cap and flashed his deep brown eyes and lazy smile. “We don’t mean to disturb you ma’am, but my companion and I are looking for our camp and we may have gotten turned around. I don’t suppose you could point us in the right direction?”

“Are you in such a rush?” Her skin was pale and almost seemed to shimmer in the dusky air. “Now, if you go right over that ridge you can see for miles in every direction, that oughta be enough to get your bearings. It’s downright stunning, the view.”

Alfred fixed her violet eyes in his. “Ma’am, I doubt it could be as stunning as the view we have right now.”

She laughed that silvery laugh. “Aren’t you a charmer? Your friend ain’t much of a talker, though is he?”

Doyle gulped, his eyes wide.

"He’s mute, ma’am,” said Alfred, gravely.

“That’s all right. Now, while you two fine gentlemen are getting your bearings, be sure to look for the moon blooming violets. Their scent is said to be a powerful love charm. I certainly wouldn’t say no to a bouquet, or two, and let’s see if we can find your camp first thing tomorrow?”

To find out what happens next, come see Rachel Teagle Believes in Ghosts at the 2010 Minnesota Fringe Festival


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