The Land of Sha Bebe will become very familiar one day! Swamp Alley is a portal between this side and the other side. A Cajun Wizard named Antoine Clement Hebert, lives near Swamp Alley which is behind The Land of Sha Bebe. He keeps balance between both sides by playing his fiddle, but he was kidnapped by “them”. Today, the Ghosts of Swamp Alley protect the ones on this side from the opposite presence who occupy the other side. Who or what is this presence, and where is this place that has the Wizard trapped? Could he be in the dreaded Land of Lackluster?
Beb's Cajun Doll House
Book Three -- The Wizard of Swamp Alley
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Dedicated to everyone who still believes in magic, and In the Doll Land of Sha Bebe.
I always acknowledge
My husband Teddy -- Beb, I love you.
My children and my grandchildren -- I love you .
The Spirit of Louisiana
Swamp Alley is a portal between this side and the other side.
A Cajun Wizard named Antoine Clement Hebert, lives near Swamp Alley which is behind
The Land of Sha Bebe. He keeps balance between this side and the other side, by playing his fiddle, but he was kidnapped by “them”.
Today, the Ghosts of Swamp Alley protect the ones on this side from the opposite presence who occupy the other side.
Who or what is this presence, and where is this place that has the Wizard trapped?
Could he be in the dreaded Land of Lackluster?
Marie La Vie yelled, "Oh Moi gris-gris," at the thought of Antoine being there, and she explains this other place very well.
It's a place that has always existed all over the world ---- even today, it still exists.
Sometimes, the presence of the other side may be near YOU.
The Wizard of Swamp Alley is centered around Halloween, when the veil between this side and the other side is at it’s thinnest,
and the Wizard is gone. Who has the knowledge to return the Wizard to his homeland, so that the Sha Bebe dolls can leave for the
famous Halloween run of the quilts that’s elaborately put on by Madame Poulette every year?
It’s a chilling read, yet still entertaining. And as always, it’s
Dedicated to the Spirit of Louisiana
Joy, happiness, mystery and suspense thrive in the
sugarcane fields of the Land of Sha Bebe.
Sha Bebe Fans you won't want to miss this novel.
Part 2 of -- The Wizard of Swamp Alley
Madame Poulette's Surprise
The roosters were crowing at sunrise, and Poulette was up and dressed already. Halloween was only four days away, and she had zapped all of the magic flying quilts together on the quilting rack, ready for that special night for the run-of-the-quilts. Smelling the biscuits coming from the kitchen house that was attached to the back of her house, she quickly put on her glasses and walked to the dining room for breakfast. She wasn't late, but she was the last resident to be seated. The boys and girls were already at their seats. The dance of the full plates was performed only at supper time.
With all of the residents seated at the table, Plume asked, "Is the fais do-do still on for tonight? The boys and girls love to dance until midnight on Saturday nights."
"It sure is," said Faustina. "We'll dance again tonight until we drop," she giggled.
"Good, because I feel like dancing," said Plume. "We missed the dance last Saturday night, because of Bagasse Man and his malice to try and get into the land again. He will never give it up, will he?" Plume sipped her morning coffee with pleasure.
"No," said Poulette, "he will always want to come inside of the land, because it's off limits to him, and he has a hard head." She took a sip of her coffee.
"Can you imagine the odor he would leave if he would enter? Everything would be ruined in the land. He has a hard head and no manners at all. One day, the real Rou Garou will run into him and scare him away to another part of the field."
"No," answered Betty Lou. "Bagasse Man would scare away the real Rou Garou." She almost chocked on her coffee from giggling.
"Well, we have a fun-packed week planned with Halloween coming this Wednesday. My favorite time of year," said the Queen as she pushed her chair back and told all of the boys and girls to go out and play along the braided rug road. "Breakfast has ended." Betty Lou went to her flower gardens to make sure that all of the flowers were watered and happy. Plume went into her pink plantation home to swirl more fabrics over-head in her living room to finish the next one-hundred Sha Bebe dolls who would run out of her house at midnight on Halloween night. Faustina went back to her blue tower house to feed Dupre, her cat.
The dining room was in Poulette's house, so she left the sugar mill ladies alone to do their work. When she went into her quilting room to fold all of the magic flying quilts and place them into her big armoire where they stayed until the run-of-the-quilts, Lucille, her pet chicken, followed her into the room. She liked to be near Poulette's side sometimes, and then at other times, she wanted to be outside to rest in her coop.
With the last twenty quilts folded and ready to stack in her armoire, Poulette walked towards it with ten of the quilts stacked in her outstretched arms. Not seeing Lucille, she tripped over her. The quilts were stacked so high on her arms, she couldn't see Lucille. Losing her balance and dropping all of the folded quilts on the floor, she fell forward and slammed her head straight into the back of the opened armoire. Her fall into the armoire was so hard, that she broke through the back of it. Feeling dizzy, she grabbed her head, and saw that she was … someplace else!
"Where am I?" Poulette was floating in mid-air. "How did I get right here?"
She looked around and saw nothing but the gray sky and a hole in the back of the armoire, and she was in the back of it. "But how can I be in the back of the armoire, when the armoire is against a wall?"
One of the magic quilts came floating out of the hole, and Poulette grabbed it to sit on while she tried to figure out where she was. "Did I die?" she said to herself. She was surrounded by the drab, outdoor gray sky of this unknown place.
When she turned to her left, she saw a huge sign on a tree that said, GRAVEYARD. "Oh, sha. I must be dead, for sure." All of a sudden, she heard voices.
Still floating on the quilt in mid-air, she looked down and noticed she was in another land of dolls. It seemed as though she was in another dimension that was an exact replica in structure, but not at all like their land in appearance. Unlike their own land, this land was filled with dolls who had clothes that were shabby and soiled, and hair that was a tangled mess of gray and white. The road that was in the center of this different land, was made of dried sugarcane stalks, not at all like their braided rug road, and the grass around the cane stalk road was scarce. Dirt showed in most of the land that had no gardens of flowers.
A poorly maintained, haunted looking, black stone castle, was at one end of the dried cane stalk road, where she supposed a queen lived. The graveyard was in the middle of the land along with a big bell on a pole with a rope hanging from it.
A worn down, orange, rickety plantation home was on the other end, where she again supposed that a lady like Madame Plume lived, because this land was structured like their own land. The dolls were not well behaved at all and were running all over the land using foul language. On a sign that was in desperate need of paint, were the words "The Land of Lackluster".
Staying on her magic quilt that remained floating, because she told it to, she heard enough doll talk to know, that they were very unpleasant; mean described them much better.
Inside the quilting room, Lucille wondered over to the hole in the armoire to find Poulette. Seeing her in mid-air, she began clucking wildly, because she couldn't get to her.
The soiled dolls below heard the noise above, and they ran into their small houses made of rusty tin. Their houses looked like the wood shed back in the Land of Sha Bebe. They didn't resemble the sugar shacks at all.
Hearing all of the commotion outside, a cloth doll lady from this unknown place came out of the house where the Queen would have lived in their land. She had a black crown on top of her head, made of small black stones, and she was dressed in a soiled, gray dress with a jagged hem. Around her waist was a small, brown rope that was used as a belt. Her knotted hair was black as charcoal, and her eyes were a dark shinny blue.
"Oh sha, I did die! It's the way that Faustina said she wanted to dress for Halloween." Poulette was stunned.
Then, coming out of the house at the other end of the dried cane stalk road where Plume would have lived, was another cloth doll lady who looked very old. She wore a red checkered table cloth with a matching bandana. She wore an apron that was soiled, and she was holding a crooked walking stick in her hands.
"It's Plume as the wandering gypsy. What's going on here?" Poulette's eyes were wide open in amazement.
A few minutes later, where her house would have been, out came another cloth doll lady with a tall, pointed, black hat and a long black dress that looked like one of their Halloween costumes. In her hands, she had an old broom, and she was wearing spectacles that had no rims, but was stuck on the tip of her nose. She was looking to see what the commotion was all about, and her glasses seemed to be glued to the side of her nose.
"Is that me?" she questioned herself. "It looks like the witch I wanted to be for Halloween."
Next, from the school house where Betty Lou would be, out came another lady doll who had a globe in her hands. Dressed in an orange woolen cape, she was screaming as though she was crazy. She was screaming at no one.
"Betty Lou wanted to be a mean teacher dressed in orange for Halloween. I'm dreaming… That's what's happening. I'm dreaming. None of this is real….. I'm dreaming."
Poulette closed her eyes hoping to wake up and see herself back in her own land. When she opened her eyes, Lucille was still clucking loudly, and now all of the soiled dolls were looking up at Poulette and Lucille.
The "Queen" of this unknown land saw Poulette still floating on the magic quilt above, only a few feet away from the back of the broken armoire that looked like a black hole in the air. She yelled at everyone in her slipping accent to 'not let the Wizard out of the back room'.
"You hear me! I told you to make sure that that Wizard stays in that back room. Don't no one let him out!" yelled the wicked Queen in a screeching voice. "And get them steel balls out. Shoot that doll down from that sky. I heard about them. They from the other side. I want the stuffin pulled out of her when you shoot her down." The mean Queen was very angry and annoyed. "You hear me. Shoot her down with them steel balls!"
When Poulette heard this, she swiftly turned her magic quilt back for the opening in the back of the armoire. When she entered into her own place, back in the Land of Sha Bebe, the back of the armoire closed shut, leaving her to wonder if what she saw was actually what she did see, or did she hit her head and maybe black out for a while and entered into a dream state. She checked to see if her silver stars were still around her, and they were spinning around her full-speed. She was grateful that she didn't lose her stars. Their twinkle brought comfort to her.
Sitting on the floor in her quilting room, Poulette was in a state of shock. Her twinkling stars weren't helping her to feel comfortable at this time. She couldn't figure out what happened. Jumping to her feet, she began to feel her way around the inside of the mended armoire. As much as she tried, she couldn't find the opening she fell through.
"What happened to me? I don't know what happened to me." She almost began crying, but instead, she stayed centered on trying to figure out what happened. Remembering everything she saw and heard, she said, "It wasn't a dream. It was all real. Shoot me with steel balls! How do they know about our side and this land?" She scratched her head wondering how they knew about the Land of Sha Bebe. She didn't know about their land.
She began worrying about what she knew she saw, because when she did see the other land, they saw the entrance into her land. She frantically searched the back of her armoire again, and she still couldn't find an opening to the other side.
"Where is the hole in the armoire?" Poulette mumbled as she pulled out all of the folded quilts and threw them on the floor over the ones that she dropped when she tripped over Lucille. She wanted to get a better feel of the inside of her armoire. Lucille ran out of the house clucking wildly when some of the quilts landed on her. "I fell through a hole that was about right here, and it left a jagged opening. I know what I saw!"
She pulled the armoire away from the wall, and there wasn't a hole in the wall, either. She mumbled, "Maybe if I bang on the wall or try to hit it again, a hole will pop open." She hit the wall and the inside of the armoire hard and long, and nothing happened. Wondering how she could have passed through her big armoire and through the wall was puzzling her to the point that she worked up a sweat. Her hair was all out of place, and the trinkets in her hair had fallen on the floor. She had to sit down.
"I'm bewildered. Maybe I did hit my head too hard, and it was all a dream…and, maybe I blacked out." She stayed sitting down until she got her wind back. She again walked around the armoire and couldn't find any opening. She wondered if she should tell the Queen what she saw. "If I can't show Faustina what I saw, she'll think I'm crazy. But they know about our land, and they wanted to take the stuffing out of me!"
She paced the floor thinking about what to do, because she knew she had to do something. "I'll have to tell Faustina, because I did see the other land, and she has to know about this. They are all filthy, mean dolls who want to harm us!"
Picking the hem of her dress up, like she does for the run-of-the-quilts, she jumped over the stack of unfolded quilts which were still scattered on the floor, and she walked at a very fast pace to Faustina's house next door.
"Faustina!" she yelled from her front porch before she started to walk over to her house. "Oh Faustina, sha, I need to talk to you!"
The Queen looked out of the window and saw Poulette almost running towards her front door. "What in the name of Sha Bebe is going on with Poulette?" The Queen opened her front door at the same time that Poulette grabbed for the door knob, and she went tumbling inside of Faustina's house, hitting her head on the key shaped coffee table in her living room.
"Are you okay? What happened?"
"Faustina, I have to talk to you," she said with a troubled look, out of breath, and still sitting on the floor. "I have to tell you what just happened to me, and what I saw."
"Tell me what? You're scaring me with that look on your face. What happened?"
"Faustina, there's another doll land on the other side of here, and they know about us and our land on this side." She took in deep breathes.
"Another doll land…like ours…on the other side?" The Queen was puzzled. "On the other side of what? Where?" Faustina shrugged her shoulders.
"On the other side of my armoire."
Faustina sent a grimace with a look of discontent at Poulette who was still sitting on the floor. "Dolls on the other side of your armoire? You saw dolls," she paused, "on the other side of your armoire." Faustina didn't feel like playing games. "Are you starting Halloween early? I don't feel like playing trick or treat now."
"No, Faustina. Just hear me out." Poulette was becoming embarrassed, but continued to tell the Queen what happened. "I fell though the back of my armoire," she took another deep breath, "and when I broke through the back of my armoire, I was floating in mid-air, and I tell you, I saw another land with dolls who are not nice!" She shook her head. "Not nice at all. They're mean!" Poulette was upset. "Faustina, they know about our land, sha. When they saw me in the air on my flying quilt, their Queen yelled to the dolls on the other side to shoot me down with steel balls, because they wanted to take the stuffing out of me!"
Faustina, helped her up from the floor, took her hand, and helped her to sit on the couch. "I'll get you some lemon water. I think you hit your head too hard on my key table."
"No Faustina! I hit my head inside of my armoire when I tripped over Lucille. I didn't see her, because I had a stack of folded quilts to store in the armoire, sha. When I tripped over her, I went head first, right through the back of the armoire, and then I was in another land." Poulette was beginning to feel like the Queen thought she was crazy, just as she suspected. "I knew if I told you this you wouldn't believe me." She put her head down. Faustina offered her some lemon water.
"Here Poulette, drink some of this. I picked fresh lemons after breakfast." She handed her the glass. "I'll take a look at your head. Maybe you torn the fabric when you bumped your head on my key table. You're talking out of your head, seeing other lands, and a queen saying she's going to take the stuffing out of you. Plume can fix your head if your fabric is torn."
"Faustina!" Poulette yelled at the Queen which startled her. "Listen to me!" she grabbed her hands while she was sitting on the couch, spilling the glass of lemon water on the floor. "I fell at my house into my armoire, sha. It's there I saw another doll land. You need to know that there are other dolls who are not nice…oh, not nice at all, who know about this land. They are dressed in…" Poulette hesitated. If she went into what the other dolls were wearing, for sure the Queen would think she was dreaming. All of them wore something almost exactly like the costumes they talked about wearing for Halloween at breakfast.
"Faustina, if you could come with me, and help me find where I went through the hole, you'll see what I'm saying is true." The Queen stood up and grabbed her keys to rattled them together. She stared at Poulette, still thinking that she hit her head too hard on her key coffee table, but she knew her well enough to know that she wasn't a prankster to play jokes on her, not even a Halloween trick. "Okay, let's go and see if we can find the hole where you fell in your armoire."
Poulette walked along side of Faustina, still worried about what she saw on the other side. She walked swiftly while trying to explain more, "Faustina, I tried to find an opening when I got back inside of my house, and I can't find an opening to the other side, but maybe you can help me find it."
"We'll look around and get this mystery solved. I'm sure there is something that will tell us what happened." Faustina was trying to make her feel at ease, but Poulette was still so wound up from worry, she was beginning to believe that she actually did see something. She loved drama, but if she was acting now, she sure deserved a prize, because her performance was so real.
When they entered the quilting room, Poulette said, "I was right here, Faustina. And, when I tripped over Lucille, I was …"
"The room is a mess! Why are the magic quilts on the floor?" Faustina was shocked. She knew that Poulette was extremely neat in her house. "Where are the sugar mill ladies? Did they see or hear anything?"
"No. They were back in the kitchen house fixing lunch. They can't hear me in my quilting room. You know that!" she squinted her eyes at the Queen over her glasses.
"Well, I thought that maybe one of the sugar mill ladies may have been here with you." Faustina shrugged her shoulders looking around at all of the quilts on the floor.
"No one was with me except Lucille, and she can't talk like all of the animals." Poulette was shaking her head with her hands on her hips. "She's not an animal. She's a chicken! You know that, too." She was getting frustrated.
Walking around the quilts, Faustina picked them off of the floor to place them on the tables that had rows and rows of quilt squares. She asked Poulette, "Did you use your magic wand to try and make the hole open in the back of your armoire?" She was almost sure her story was true.
Poulette was helping Faustina pick up the quilts from the floor. Startled by her question, her head darted up, and her eyes lit up as though a light bulb went on. "No! I didn't even think of my wand. Great idea, Faustina. I'll get it." She rushed into her bedroom and came back with her wand in hand. She stood in front of the armoire for what seemed like a few minutes doing nothing. She looked at the armoire and walked around it, and still did nothing.
"Can you zap a hole in the back of the armoire?" asked the Queen, wondering why she wasn't doing anything.
"I don't know what to do! My wand doesn't adapt to the moment like Plume's wand. It makes the magic flying quilts and shoots moth balls at Bagasse Man." Poulette was frantic, and couldn't catch her breath. "What's happening to me?"
"Here, sit down on your chair next to the quilt rack." Faustina now knew that something very strange happened to Poulette. Never had she seen her nerves this frazzled. "Stay sitting right here, and I'll send one of the sugar mill ladies to get Plume over here."
"Good --- idea." Poulette breathlessly managed to get two words out.
Faustina almost ran to get one of the sugar mill ladies. "Mildred, run to Plume's house and tell her, we need her and her magic wand, now. It's an emergency. Poulette needs help."
Mildred ran to get Madame Plume.
Faustina asked the others how lunch was coming along, and the rest of the sugar mill ladies smiled and said everything was going very well. They didn't speak much, but they always smiled. "Good," she smiled back at them and took a coconut macaroon out of the cookie jar. Entering the quilting room, she tried to keep Poulette calm. She was sure that Plume could find the hole in the armoire.
Plume was always late, but when she heard there was an emergency, she rushed over in a panic. "Where's Poulette? What happened?" She was more emotional than Poulette. She was almost in tears. "I have my wand right here. Why do you need my wand? I'm ready." Her mood was jittery, and she was looking all around the room trying to find something wrong. The only time her wand was needed was when something was wrong, and she didn't see anything wrong, except that all of the quilts were on top of the quilting table. "Will someone tell me what's going on here!" she shouted.
"Plume sit down on this chair next to Poulette," the Queen told her in a much calmer voice than both of them. She explained, "Poulette told me that she fell through a hole in her armoire. That's why all of the quilts are on the table. She was trying to find the hole she fell through, and she can't use her wand to open the hole. Can you make a hole in the back of her armoire with your wand?"
"Make a hole in her armoire? This is the emergency." Plume wasn't pleased. "What's going on here?" she asked while tapping her foot on the floor.
"I'll explain it to her," Poulette told the Queen. "Okay, I had too many folded quilts on my arms, and I tripped over Lucille, because I didn't see her. When I tripped, I fell head-first into the armoire which made a hole. I went through the hole, and then I was on the other side." She slapped her hands on her lap as though now that she explained everything, Plume would understand.
"What other side?" she shouted and grabbed her head in frustration..
"The other side of my armoire," Poulette said calmly as though she thought for sure, Plume would now understand. "Can you find that hole? I don't know what to do. I can't find it with my wand."
Getting up from her chair, Plume slowly backed away from them. "Both of you are playing a Halloween trick on me. Right?" she giggled as she pointed to both of them. "It's a trick or treat game. I get it."
"Plume, I thought she was playing a Halloween trick on me too, but I believe that something happened to Poulette. You had to have been here to see her earlier. She was a wreck." Faustina was almost pleading with Plume.
"Get out!" Poulette got up and screamed. "Just get out of my house. I'll find the hole in my armoire myself. I saw the other side through an opening in the back of my armoire. I wasn't dreaming. I saw mean, ugly dolls on the other side, I tell you!" She made a grimace with her face when she said the word mean. Plume had never seen that grimace on Poulette's face.
"What do you mean by mean dolls?" she tried to imitate her twisted grimace on her face back at Poulette.
"I saw dolls who were dirty, ugly and very unruly, using foul language, and breaking toys that were scattered all along a road that was laid with dried sugarcane stalks," Poulette explained in her fast talking way with both hands on her hips, and SHE WAS fuming that Plume didn't believe her. She walked closer to her. "A land that looked a lot like our own land, but everything was opposite of this land," she continued her speech while they both watched her wild gestures, and thought that she had to be telling the truth. She just couldn't rattle on and on like that with out seeing what she was talking about.
Now, she was in Plume's face. "They were mean dolls Plume, and when they saw me up in the air on the flying quilt I caught when I fell through the opening and landed on the other side," she shook her head in an arrogant way, "they shouted that they were going to shoot steel balls at me," she took in a deep breath. "Steel balls, Plume! They were going to take the stuffing out of me, if I wouldn't have headed back for the opening in the armoire." She took another deep breath. "Now, I'm in here to tell you they know about us, and I can't find the opening to THE OTHER SIDE!" she screamed.
Poulette began to cry. She cried like Plume had never seen her cry before. She looked at Faustina, and she knew she saw something, too. They let her cry to release all of the tension that had built up inside of her.
Faustina and Plume led an exhausted Poulette to her bed where they told her to lay down for the rest of the day, and not to worry. Together they were going to find that opening in the armoire. They assured her that they believed the mean, ugly dolls were on the other side.
Faustina walked over to Betty Lou's school house and told her everything that happened. She said that they would cancel the fais do-do for the night, because Madame Poulette was in such a nervous state. Betty Lou kept the boys and girls happy playing other games, and offered her assistance.
Plume and Faustina tried to think of some way to help Poulette. They brought her lunch and her supper in her room. They kept telling her that, for sure, they believed her, but Poulette was still emotionally drained. She kept thinking of those ugly dolls and the mean Queen wanting to take the stuffing out of her.
Night had come, and they even tucked her in her bed, and told her to have sweet dreams.
Poulette told them she would be okay, so Faustina and Plume walked back to their own houses to get ready for bed. The fireflies were there to light their way home.
They all had a long day filled with way too much drama. A good nights sleep was what they needed.