She moved through the small home with the decrepit gait of a woman twice her age. Wind howled. The dusted-over windows with termite-infested frames and cracked glass let in the cool Niganda night air. Fall was upon her, another year slowly drawing to its miserable end.
The room loomed before her. The narrow hall with its dark, bleak walls rose up to swallow her whole. Or so it seemed. Ten more steps was all it would take. Thirty steps from the front door. Twenty steps from the kitchen. Fifteen steps from the living room. Ten steps from her bedroom. She'd counted. Yes, in the years of condemned unfathomable silence, she'd counted, for counting was stable, true, unchanging. Numbers didn't lie. It was all that remained. That and revenge.
Step ten. She'd made it but dared not enter. Entering was never the goal, the trek, the brutal heart-wrenching journey that culminated with the same unforgivable scene was the lighter fluid that kept her fire burning. Four walls—two blue, two pink. Two teddy bears—one blue, one pink. Two bassinettes—one blue, one pink, both empty. But not for long.
She turned away from the depressing sight, back straightening, resolve strengthening; the sweet melody of retribution calling to her like a Siren to Odysseus.
Her lithe form glided on winds of pain and anger. Ten steps to her bedroom and it would begin. Once inside, she gathered a weathered book from a tiny wooden desk that had long since lost its luster, beauty, and fourth peg leg. Shoved haphazardly against the peeling painted wall, the desk - a reminder of times past - was yet another cruel artifact of what used to be.
She sat crossed legged on the floor, the thread bare rug her only protection from the harsh, cool, timbers. Opening the book, she read the passage, this, the thousandth recitation, two more and it would be done. Tonight was the second of four full moons that would fall between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. It was the blue moon, the third in the series, which would bring her. And it would be the fourth and final full moon that would seal her revenge and restore her heart, her family.
Her wet, red-rimmed eyes ran over the well-worn pages, her mind having memorized the passages long ago. But still, she read with the enthusiasm of a child opening a much anticipated gift. Her words floated like a sea-tossed ship with no lighthouse to guide it away from the rocks promising death, doom.
"Queen of the demons is Lilith, long-haired and winged. She is supposed to have been the first wife of Adam. She had been one of the wives of Samuel, but of a wild, heroic and passionate nature she left her spouse and joined Adam. From their union issued the demons or Shedim, who rode about in the world as wicked spirits, persecute and plague men, and bring upon them illness, disease, and other sufferings.
Lilith, like Adam, had been created from the dust of the earth. But as soon as she had joined Adam they began to quarrel, each refusing to be subservient and submissive to the other. "I am your lord and master," spoke Adam, "and it is your duty to obey me." But Lilith replied: "We are both equal, for we are both issued from dust, and I will not be submissive to you." And thus they quarreled and none would give in. And when Lilith saw this she spoke the Ineffable Name of the Creator and soared up into the air. Thereupon Adam stood in prayer before the Creator and thus he spoke: " O Lord of the Universe, the woman Thou hast given me has fled from me."
And the Holy One, blessed be His name, sent at once three angels whose names were Senoi, Sansenoi, and Sammangelof, to fetch and bring Lilith back to Adam. He ordered them to tell her to return, and if she refused to obey then a hundred of her offspring would die daily. The three angels followed Lilith, and they found her in the midst of the sea, on the mighty waves.
They communicated to her the command of the Eternal, but she refused to return. And the angels spoke to this rebel, this she-demon: "We will drown thee in the sea." But she made answer: "Know ye not that I have been created for the purpose of weakening and punishing little children, infants and babes. I have power over them from the day they are born until they are eight days old if they are boys, and until the twentieth day if they are girls."
And when the three angels heard her speech they wished to drown her by force, but she begged them to let her live, and they gave in. She swore to them in the name of the living God that whenever she came and saw the names or images or faces of these three angels, Senoi, Sansenoi, and Sammangelof, upon an amulet or cameo in the room where there was an infant, she would not touch it. But because she did not return to Adam, every day a hundred of her own children or spirits and demons die."
Reverently, she closed the book, kissing the cover with dry, chapped lips.
"Your loyal servant calls you, Lilith. Adam lives again and he has grown fat with wealth, fat with arrogance, and fat with pride. He cares nothing for others . . . except one. The portal to this world awaits you. He can be yours. You can finally bring him low. I only want one wish in return, one that was ripped from us both."
The old radio crackled in the background, the reception barely audible. But the sorceress heard it, the solemn percussion like knives down her back, shards to her soul.
"In a month's time, the King and Queen of Wakanda will welcome their little prince and princess. Let us all rejoice and pray to Bast for a healthy delivery. The citizens of Wakanda are—''
The radio smashed to the ground, hitting the three-legged desk on its decent. The sorceress stood over the bits of metal and plastic, her eyes glowing a venomous black.
It was time to open that portal. Time to make him pay.