Annabelle sat on her porch, watching them as they shuffled past. The weeping willows and bluish brown waters were a soothing backdrop to their passage. Shacks lined the main road, clusters of the little
wooden houses scattered behind it. To the left sprawled William’s hundred acres
of farmland. To the right, for a half mile, his serfdom continued.
Sharecroppers, ages twelve to fifty, trundled along the dusty road. Jet black, ginger, caramel brown, tofu, and butter colored. The men wore patched shirts and threadbare trousers. The
women, calico dresses, their hair tied back with colorful scarves or threaded
with string. Fifty years ago, their mamas and daddies had belonged to old
Master, now long since in his grave.
Today, the law said they belonged to themselves. But young Master William, with his frigid blue eyes and corn silk hair, owned them, like his father before him. Just not in name.
Year after year they planted cane and cotton. They paid William rent to live in his shacks. They bought supplies in his grocery—shoes, bolts of cloth, tools. So by the end of the year, they
owed their wages to him and had to spend the next paying it off.
They belonged to young Master still. Even if that proclamation did free the slaves.
The sharecroppers greeted her as they passed. “Evening, Miss Annabelle,” Lizzy, an ebony-skinned girl of twelve sang, as she walked alongside her tired
“Evening, Miss Annabelle.”
Man, only Sister Moon can turn you on WHILE your fearing for your life!!
Annabelle is frightning and compelling. The kind of character you want to learn about but would be afraid to have take notice of you!
I love this excerpt. It's full of dark foreboding in the "Immortal Universe"
This story reminded me of Octavia Butler's classic, "Kindred." But it has the original ingredients only Valjeanne's vision could have provided. It's a great introduction to the milieu of her "Immortal" series. I think Annabelle could have kicked Lestat's behind.
dont think anyone has visualized southern african american life better since zora neal hurston. just reading this gave me the taste for a biscuit with molasis yams and glass of sweet tea. definately must read more.