The house was tiny, unremarkable, in a neighborhood that a woman of her worth would not normally be seen in. Children chased after her car as she pulled up, their mothers watching suspiciously from the porches of the other shotgun houses.
She steeled her nerves before walking up to the front door of the house and knocking.
The door opened, just a crack. “Yes?” A pair of dark eyes peered over a chain latch.
“I…I”m here for tea.” That was the code she was told to give. The door closed in her face, the chain rattled, then swung open again to let her in.
Inside, intricate arabesque patterning covered the walls of the room, twisting and turning into itself. When she blinked, she swore the pattern moved, like it was alive.
“Hello.” Said a girl standing before her, barely on the cusp of womanhood, yet with a child hanging off her hip. “Twenty dollars. Now”
She put the cash into the girl’s hand, who promptly shoved it down her shirt.
“Ghede Loa rides Mama.” The girls said opening the door to another room. “Drugs in tea bring her back. You have ‘til then to speak wit’ your dead.”
In the same way it was at the crossroads of white and black culture to create rock and roll, Memphis is also at the crossroads of African and European religions. Voodoo and belief in the supernatural permeates the region, and there are dozens, if not hundreds, of small churches with their own specific takes on spirituality and ritual.