Something possesses Celie, but not a spirit. It’s a voice she’s never heard before, not until it floats to her over the air while she’s making dinner. Husky, sensual.
Outside, the sky is orange from the setting sun, and mist is settling over the fields, but Celie can still see down the dirt road into town. Before she knows it, she’s out the door, drying her hands on her apron, digging chunks of uncooked chicken out from under her nails.
She doesn’t make a conscious decision to leave. Her feet have been taken over by that voice.
By a siren.
She doesn’t know which is prettier -- the voice, or the woman who owns it. Celie stands at the back of the packed bar, fingers twitching at her sides, enraptured by what she sees onstage beneath the spotlight.
A glow of soft, smooth skin. The muscles flexing just beneath the surface, coiled and powerful. The thick, pink lips moving sensuously over every word.
It’s enough to make Celie’s mouth water.
She’s never been this hungry in her life.
And the siren seems to sense her; seems to stare at Celie, eyes cutting straight through the crowd, as she sings. Seems to bore into Celie’s soul; seems to whisper things directly to her with her song, things no one has ever said to Celie before.
You can take him.
He ain’t all that bigger than you.
One quick blow to the head, Celie, and he’d be dead on the floor, and you’d be out.
You’d be free.
The siren smiles, and maybe it’s a trick of the light, but Celie thinks she sees her wink.
You’d be with me.
In the end, that’s all it takes.
The song of a strange woman in a seedy bar; the weight of a full bottle of whisky in Celie’s hand, and the dull, deep sound it makes against her daddy’s skull; the fingers that scrabble at her dress, twitching and weak; the closing of his eyes; the blood on the kitchen floor.
She doesn’t tell her sisters. She drops the bottle and walks out, barefoot, with blood on her fingertips.
She walks the old dirt path back into town.
She can hear the siren’s song.