GENRE: Middle Grade
When I came out of my mama, Grandmama Frances took one look at me and said, “That child is marked. He got Hoodoo in him.”
And that’s how I got my name.
She was talking about the red smudge above my left eyebrow, shaped just like a heart. Everybody said it was some kind of sign, but what that sign meant nobody knew. But I’ll tell you one thing—everybody knew I was different as soon as they looked at me.
Mama Frances was the one who raised me ‘cause my real mama died when I was born. My daddy was dead too, hung for a crime he didn’t do. I was only five when he died. That was seven years ago. They said he shot a man in the next county over but I didn’t believe it. Daddy was a powerful mojo man and was known far and wide. Some folks said that’s why he was killed—because people were afraid of him and wanted to make sure he didn’t put a hex or spell on them. I didn’t think I’d ever know the real truth.
I smelled the Hoppin’ John before I even got to the house. Hoppin’ John is black-eyed peas and rice if you didn’t know.
I pulled the door shut behind me and put my bag on the table. The bag was full of rocks, pecans, some old bottle caps, flattened pennies from the railroad tracks and the skull of a small bird I’d found in the woods.