Hoodoo Hobo is a short horror novel, of around 43,000 words, although it felt a lot longer than that when I was writing it. It is set in the future, when countries have ceased to exist, and the world is on the edge of ecological collapse. Companies now rule the world; but there is one company above all of them, headed by somebody called Mr Crimson. The company is set in a large, unnamed city, which might once have been New York, but which might once have been somewhere else entirely.
The hoodoo hobo of the title is a very old man who decides that this company which has destroyed the environment must go. So he heads out to commit what he feels is justice, armed with a shotgun and his hoodoo magic. That was the original image which I had when I first came up with the idea of this novella.
The idea of the hoodoo hobo is not entirely my own, I must admit: he is an amalgam of all those wise, old Indians who you see in horror movies, usually casting some curse on stupid and greedy white people who have wronged them (such as in Thinner). I felt that it was time that one of these characters was centre stage, rather than just a rather minor character. I wanted a hero who was old and ugly for a change, rather than young and handsome. We have enough of those in fiction. Let’s hear it for the nasty old guys for a change.
Here is an extract from Hoodoo Hobo:
The train slowed down, red light ahead. A door slid open in one of the freight wagons (no passengers carried anymore). A pair of feet slid to the edge, waiting for the train to almost stop. Then an old man jumped out of the darkness, landing with a nimbleness which decried his age.
He stumbled/ran forward a few feet before coming to a stop. Nobody saw him jump off the train. Nobody had seen him get on the train. He might as well have been invisible. The poor often are.
He was old, as old anyone who still drew breath, maybe even older than them. His face was cracked with lines like dried out river beds. It was tanned by thirty thousand suns, and more. It now looked like leather, old leather beginning to crack and die.
His clothes were as tattered as a scarecrow, the odd glimpse of brown flesh to be seen. They had been stained by trail dirt and sweat, faded by sun and time, cleansed by rain and the old man’s spirit. His great overcoat was a dirty grey, or perhaps brown. He wore it more like a cloak, as the sun was hot today. His other rags could be seen; an ancient ornate waistcoat, a shirt which one had been red, an old leather belt with a silver dollar belt buckle. A lucky silver dollar.
The shoes which hit the ground had walked a thousand miles. The soles were still attached to the uppers, but more by hope than stitching. They should have parted company a long, long time ago.
As for his trousers… well, they might have been fashionable once, and clean. But that was probably back when people were still dancing the Charleston. They had seen a lot of travelling since then. They had picked up plenty of stains.
The hobo wore an old black hat, with feathers pushed through the brim. One feather was red, the other two were white. They were prized possessions of his. As is the hat.
At his side there was an old, leather bag. It looks like the sort of bag which a normal person might throw away, for fear of disease or infestation. It is as battered as any old leather bag could be and still function as such. But the hobo will never part company from this bag. It is his mojo bag. It has power.
There is another container hanging down the other side. But that is only an old waterskin. It is not at all special at all. Except that, of course, the clean water inside has the gift of life. Only with water can life exist anywhere in the universe. It was a truth which mankind had discovered, only seemingly to forget.
Hoodoo Hobo is available on the Amazon Kindle store.