Deep in the swamps of eastern North Carolina lies the small town of Solomon. Once a thriving factory town with a finishing mill that employed most of the townsfolk, Solomon is now nothing more than a sleepy little hamlet forgotten by most of the world. Over the years many of the residents have left, but some have chosen to remain. One of those residents is a woman who goes by the name of Isabelle Pearl. Known to the locals as Wicked Izzy, she has lived in a small farmhouse on the outskirts of town for as long as anyone can remember.
Legend has it that Isabelle moved to Solomon in 1916 and took up residence with her husband in the very farmhouse she lives in to this day. When the fighting of World War I claimed the life of her husband, Isabelle was so consumed with grief that she left her farmhouse late one evening and wandered into the nearby woods. Lost in the darkness and unable to find her way back to her home, Isabelle lit a campfire and decided to wait out the night with the hopes that she would be able to find her way home once dawn arrived.
Alone and scared, Isabelle sat by her campfire trying to make it through the cold night. Sadness engulfed her and as the darkness closed in around her she began to call out his name.
Desperate for just one more glimpse of the man she loved, Isabelle screamed into the darkness. She knew she would do anything to have her husband returned to her. According to legend, it was then that a man walked out of the darkness and sat down by the fire. Isabelle had never seen him before and when she saw the fire dancing in the man’s eyes her first instinct was to rise and flee into the woods. But the darkness clawing at the edge of the circle of light thrown out by the fire told Isabelle that she had best stay close and listen to what the man had to say.
Once the man finished explaining the terms of the deal to Isabelle he produced a scroll of parchment from his weathered leather jacket. He unrolled the ancient paper and handed it to her. Then he opened his pocketknife, instructing her to prick her finger with the tip of the blade. She hesitated at first but then did as she was told. When she pressed the bloody pad of her finger to the old parchment, she sealed her fate for eternity.
The man smiled, knowing the Isabelle’s soul now belong to him. He flicked the spent butt of his cigarette into the fire and rose to his feet. He rolled up the parchment and tucked it away inside his jacket, tipped his hat and disappeared into the darkness.
In the morning Isabelle and her husband walked out of the woods together and back to their farmhouse. Most of the townsfolk thought he had returned unharmed from the fighting overseas. No one in town knew the truth – that Isabelle’s husband had died in the war.
Isabelle and her husband kept their secret safe. They lived together for several more years in their farmhouse until he died a second time, crushed beneath his farm tractor when it overturned during the cotton harvest.
To this day, Isabelle Pearl still lives in her farmhouse on the outskirts of Solomon. She remains as beautiful as she was in her youth and continues to do the bidding of the man she met that night by the fire almost a hundred years ago. And the terms of the deal she offers to those brave enough to pay her a visit remains the same.
Every soul has a price.
Isabelle Pearl is a central character in The Summerland Trilogy.