As a favor, my friend Dustin read through my short story this past week, and besides line-editing for me, he asked me a couple of questions that threw a totally different spin on the story. Same thing happened when I let me my friend Sid read the original version of this same story. Sid's comment was "She killed Marie, didn't she?" I hadn't actually planned for it to look that way, but I guess whatever was in the baggage that Sid brought to the story made him interpret the story that way.
Back to Dustin, I can't include all of the questions he asked because it would give away too much of the story, but one was something I never even considered. In the opening, Janice, the protagonist is sitting in Lafayette cemetery #1 complaining about the tourists, how they "come in droves to gawk at our cities of the dead or to look for Marie Laveau's tomb, to take pictures and tell each other ghoulish stories until they giggle with fear or they shiver with morbid delight."
The problem Dustin had was that the voodoo queen that Janice visits is also named Marie. Dustin wanted to know if Madam Marie was a ghost, was Marie Laveau's ghost. It would be a good plot point, but not what I meant, and not part of my story. So I changed Madam Marie to Mama Eugenie, an easy enough fix, and I kind'ov like it better.
I always find it interesting, and very entertaining, when people bring their own meanings to the stories I write. I love hearing, first that someone read my work, but also that they read something into my story that I didn't write. My friends have great imaginations.