Still Here

Prompt: “You’re not allowed to die, okay?” She makes you promise, tears still flowing down her face. That was 200 years ago now. You don’t know what she did but your promise still holds strong.”

 

“Get out of the way,” A man shouted carrying Andrew’s body into the med tent.

There were nurses and soldiers running all over the place. Some soldiers were missing limbs while others had gun shot wounds and shrapnel wounds. The whole place was chaotic.

The men laid Andrew onto one of the spare beds. He was taking short, shallow breaths. Andrew’s eyes flew open for a second once he hit the hard bed.

“Oh God, oh God, no,” One of the nurses rushed over with bandages in one hand and a bedpan in the other.

“M…Mary,” Andrew said.

A small stream of blood ran down the side of his mouth.

“You’re going to be ok, Andy,” Mary said.

She grabbed a rag off a nearby table and dabbed his face.

“Andy, move your hands.”

Andrew lifted his hands off his stomach. The red had soaked through his uniform and had coated his hands.

“M…” Andrew could barely talk.

He spit out blood and then fell back onto the bed.

“I NEED HELP!” Mary screamed out to the med tent.

Nearby nurses already had their hands full with other dying patients and were unable to help out. More and more bodies were rushed into the med tent by soldiers and nurses. Mary could hear the sound of cannon fire in the distance barely audible over the sounds inside the tent.

“PLEASE, ANYONE!” Mary yelled out again.

Andrew continued to cough and spit up small droplets of blood.

“M…Mary. I… L…Love You,” Andrew said grabbing Mary’s hand with one of his blood covered hands.

“Not like this Andy. Not like this. You have to promise me, ok? You’re not allowed to die,” Mary said.

Tears streamed down her face as she grabbed both of Andrew’s hands.

“M….Mary.”

“Promise me!” She begged Andrew.

Another nurse rushed to Andrew’s side.

“I…p…promise,” Andrew muttered.

His head fell back onto the pillow.

 

 

It was a rainy, evening. The streets were mostly scarce, with only a few people walking around, which was rare for a Friday night in New Orleans. The streets were usually full of people wandering from bar to bar having the time of their lives. Not tonight. Tonight it was almost unnaturally quiet.

Andrew stood on the street corner between two, usually busy streets. This city had gone through many iterations in the 200 years Andrew had been alive. He did not live here, but he visited often.

This town had been their home at one time, but that was over a century ago. Now it was just another place. A place that reminded him of her.

He walked down one of the dimly lit street passing several different bars and restaurants.

Andrew stopped in front of a small, rundown shop. He looked up at the sign.

LaCour Herbal Shop

Andrew knocked on the door.

An elderly man answered the door.

“Oh I’m sorry, Sir. We just closed,” He said with a smile.

He began shutting the door when Andrew interrupted.

“Please I just need your help locating someone. It will just take a minute,” Andrew said.

The man stopped holding the door open just a crack.

“Who are you looking for?” The man asked.

“Someone saved my life…a long time ago. And I want to repay them,” Andrew said.

“Well that’s very nice of you, but I’m sorry I can’t help you.”

The man shut the door before Andrew could stop him.

“Mary Connors!” Andrew shouted.

There was a moment of silence and Andrew stood outside the shop.

“You knew her. You helped her,” Andrew continued.

The door creaked open just a crack.

The old man stood there looking at Andrew.

“How do you know that name?” He asked.

“I’m her husband. Was her husband,” Andrew said hanging his head a bit.

The old man smiled a bit.

“Come on Andrew,” He said.

Andrew looked up at the man confused on how he knew Andrew’s name, but accepted the invitation.

He took a step into the shop and the elderly man closed the door behind him, locking it.

Andrew was standing in an small store lined with shelves of every different herbal ingredient you could imagine. Stuff for headaches, stomachaches, acne, warts, and whatever else was ailing you. There were also different traditional creole statues and items native to New Orleans.

“Come to the back,” The man said motioning for Andrew.

They both walked back to the back of the shop. There was an open doorway behind a desk which served as the cashier’s counter.

Through the doorway was a small living area with a loveseat, rocking chair, coffee table, and a small, black and white television. In the corner there was a mini fridge from the 1980’s.

Andrew sat on the loveseat which sunk in when he sat on it while the shop owner took the rocking chair.

“So you’re Andrew,” The shop owner said.

Andrew nodded.

“The name is Pierre. Nice to finally meet you.”

Andrew smirked, “You’re a hard person to track down. But when I heard that you had resurfaced in New Orleans, I knew that would be the best place to find you.”

“Yes I always loved this place. Hard for me to stay away,” Pierre said. “Of course I can sense that you feel the same way.”

Andrew let out a small sigh.

“There’s something about this place. It always pulls me back in. I think it’s angry with me.”

“Angry with you? Why do you say that?”

“It knows that I’m unnatural. That I shouldn’t be here. Walking around. Talking. It can sense it.”

Pierre let out a small chuckle.

“Is that what you think?”

“Yes, that’s what I think.”

Pierre shrugged his shoulders.

“Can I ask you something?” Andrew asked.

“Sure.”

“Why me? How did it even happen?” Andrew asked.

Pierre let out a small sigh.

“As I remember it, you were laying on your death bed. You had taken several musket shots from the battle with the British over the control of New Orleans and the Mississippi River. You laid there dying and Mary found me.”

Pierre continued. “You see things like war always interested me. As someone who is immortal, mortality and death has been something that has always interested me.”

Andrew shifted in his seat but said nothing.

“So I was there in New Orleans at the time and I had made my way towards the battlefield. The ensuing war was so chaotic that people paid no attention to me. But Mary saw me. Maybe she had a gift for seeking out the supernatural. I don’t know. Either way she found me and recognized me for what I was.”

“And what’s that?” Andrew asked.

Pierre shrugged.

“Some might say demon. Others a spirit. Some even a god. I just know that I have a connection to both the living and the dead. The normal world and the spiritual world.”

“So Mary comes to me and begs me to save your life. She was even willing to give her own life to me in some kind of pagan ritual or something. Of course I don’t take people’s souls or anything like that.”

“Sure,” Andrew said flatly.

“But I agree to spare your life. She was very convincing. Plus I could tell she was one of the good ones. I blessed you with the gift of immortality sparing you from death.”

“Gift? You call this a gift?” Andrew stood up and clenched his fists. “I had to keep moving. Never staying in a place for very long. I drug my poor wife all over the country. We had to keep moving to not arouse suspicion.”

“I looked nineteen. Never aging. While Mary. She aged. Soon people thought she was a widow with a son. Then a grandmother caring for an orphaned grandchild. I had to watch her get old. I watched her get ill. I watched her die. Then what? Then I had no one.”

“I looked for you. I searched for you. You were nowhere to be seen,” Andrew said with tears streaming down his face. “Why didn’t you save her?”

Pierre crossed his fingers as he rested his hands on his lap.

“What are you here for, Andrew? To yell at me? Do you want me to bring her back? Is that it?”

“I….I want you to kill me,” Andrew said in a soft tone.

“Why?” Pierre tilted his head.

“I want to see her again,” Andrew said.

 

 

 


Header Image Credit to Smart Meeting’s Article about New Orleans and Bourbon Street
https://www.smartmeetings.com/food-and-beverage/89005/beyond-bourbon-street-beads-in-new-orleans

Writing Prompt submitted to r/WritingPrompts by u/Maedanodach

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