They say Robert Johnson made a deal with the devil. King Yeller made a deal with something worse.
In 1964, Harpoon and King Yeller, two young musicians on the verge of being drafted, head down to Mississippi to visit the fabled Robert Johnson crossroads so Yeller can make a deal with the devil for fame. Yeller pays a blood sacrifice at midnight, but what answers his summons is not the devil; it’s a being far more sinister. Under the tutelage of this bizarre stranger, Yeller soon becomes a Delta blues sensation. But with success comes a maddening secret that is eating him away. A secret that will bring blood and insanity if it ever gets out. And Yeller must let it out. Only then can he master the greatest song anybody anywhere’s ever heard – The Crawlin’ Chaos Blues.
It was dark out in that road. The moon had got behind a black cloud, and lookin’ up at the sky, I couldn’t see the stars. Now that is peculiar on a Delta night.
We heard this pipin’ in the night, like a flute playin’, or maybe it was just the wind blowin’ through some reeds in the ditch.
They was somethin’ else standin’ in the road. I seent it, or the shape of it, behind Yeller, and I give out a yell, ‘cause what I seent didn’t make no sense. It was like a bush had sprung up in the road, but it moved, and not random, like a blowin’ bush will do. Every part of it breathed and twisted on its own, like droopin’ willow branches if they was to come alive, or a nest of black snakes. They was a shine among all that mess, too, like teeth, or eyes, or both.
In that minute Yeller spun, all them movin’ shadows sort of snapped into place like a shape out the corner of your eye, and a thin, dark man stood there. You couldn’t see his face, or his clothes, just his outline.
“Hit ‘im, Yeller!” I nearly shrieked.