About Southern Monsters:
Remy Theriault does not believe in the Terror and he's pretty sure the bride has done a runner. But the groom is his cousin and family is family. So Remy goes out to look for the runaway bride, only to find that sometimes, the old legends are true…
When their car crashes into the bayou on a dark Louisiana night, the swamp creature known only as Big Puffball might just be one family's salvation…
When fishing boats go missing on the Mississippi River Delta, few people link these disappearances to the mysterious light that lit up the Louisiana sky only weeks before. But an astronomer from Tulane University makes the connection and discovers the horror that is the sphere that ate the Mississippi delta.
This is a collection of three short horror stories of 7700 words or approximately 27 print pages altogether.
The Terror of the Bayou
True, there had been stories. Stories going back two hundred years, passed on from father to son, from mother to daughter. Stories of the thing that stalked the bayous of Vermilion Parish. Stories of glowing red eyes staring out from the undergrowth. Tales of roots and twigs and pond scum suddenly coming alive to form a crude mockery of the human form. Stories of a thing with razor sharp teeth chasing the unwary through the bayou.
And then there were all those tales of people who had ventured out into the bayou — hunters, traders, runaways and escaped slaves — and never come back. And whispers that they had fallen prey to the thing that stalked Bayou Cramoisi, the Crimson Bayou. Whispers that the Terror had got them. For that was what the locals called the monster. La Terreur. The Terror.
Remy didn’t believe any of it, of course. Growing up Cajun in Acadiana didn’t mean that you automatically had to believe every tall tale told by some old man sitting in a rocking chair on his porch and every superstition whispered by some old woman stirring a pot of gumbo in the cosy comfort of her kitchen.
For Remy was smart, a man of the world, a man of poise and education. He’d been to college, after all. He’d left behind the bayou and the little shack in the village of Leleux where he’d grown up. He’d gotten a scholarship for Tulane, worked hard, studied hard, became a lawyer in New Orleans. He was a man of the world now, yes, he was. And men of the world did not believe in tall tales and superstitions and stories of swamp monsters.
As it was, Remy barely even heard the old stories anymore now that he lived in the big city. And so he mentally slotted them into the same category as the voodoo shops with their windows full of love spells and pincushion dolls made in China or the tours of supposedly haunted houses, haunted by the ghosts of people who’d never lived and certainly never died there, or the fake vampires that roamed the French Quarter by night.
It was all just a bit of quaint folklore for the benefit of the tourists who came to New Orleans, their head full of the stories told by Anne Rice or Charlaine Harris, thinking that it was all real, thinking that just because the city was old, older than most any other on the American continent, it had to be haunted by ghosts and infested with vampires and swamp monsters as well.
Remy politely ignored it all. The city needed the tourists, after all, and many a family in his old home in Acadiana made its living ferrying tourists through the bayous, taking them hunting or fishing or gator spotting. And if the tourists wanted myths and legends and stories, then who was Remy to say anything against that? Money made the world go round, after all, in Cajun country as much as everywhere. But that Remy tolerated the old stories didn’t necessarily mean that he believed in any of them.
Though these days, Remy didn’t come home much anyway. Weddings, funerals, maybe Christmas and Thanksgiving, that was it.
It was the former that had brought Remy back to Vermilion Parish this time around. His cousin Alex was getting married to Belle St. Croix this weekend. Or rather, Alex was supposed to get married to Belle St. Croix, for the wedding had to be called off at the last minute, because the bride had gone missing.
By all accounts, Belle had just vanished into thin air. One moment she was in her parents’ house, getting dressed for the wedding, the next she was gone — poof, just like that — and all that was left were a few drops of blood, a scrap of white lace from her wedding dress and an open window overlooking the Crimson Bayou.
To Remy, it was completely obvious what had happened. Belle, probably experiencing the usual wedding jitters, had taken a good long look at Alex — who, though he was Remy’s cousin and an all around nice guy and gifted car mechanic, had never been the sharpest knife in the drawer — and saw the future life she would lead as the wife of a car mechanic barely scraping by in the Louisiana bayous. And then, in a moment of unusual clarity — for Belle was nothing if not Alex’s intellectual equal — she’d done a runner. Probably tore her dress and hurt herself climbing out of the window, which would account for the blood and the scrap of lace.
So there was a perfectly reasonable explanation for what had happened to Belle. She was probably halfway to New Orleans or Atlanta or Houston or Galveston by now, and more power to her.
But Belle’s parents and Alex and the whole town really, they just didn’t want to accept the truth. The truth that Belle was gone and that she wouldn’t be coming back, if she had even half a brain — which, knowing Belle, was debatable. And so, rather than face the facts, the people started talking of the Terror and how it had snatched Belle like it had snatched so many others before.