Tea Leaves and Purple Robes


Match Twenty-Three: Rio:


I can tell that something isn’t right. I knew it from the moment that witch first came into my house.

Let me explain.

My name is Rio. I was birth in Brasilia. I am non-binary and I practice Macumba.

The last part will help me explain what is going on.

It all started last month.

I hear the ground rumbling. I’m he only one who can hear it. I have learned to keep my premotions to myself. Still, I kept my ear to the ground. Still, I knew that something was coming for us. It started with the day that witch showed up.

She arrived in the airport. I worked as a cab driver. Guess who my passenger was. Yep. You guessed it. I was about to go on break when I heard on tapping on the glass. I turned and rolled down the window. Something inside of me didn’t know what do make of her. She looked so pale. Despite the heat, she was all dressed in black. I blinked at her at first.

“Can I help you?” I asked.

“Can you drive me to this place?” this woman asked. She handed me a sheet of paper. I took it and read it. A puzzled look came over my face.

“Are you sure you want to go there?” I asked in a low voice.

“Yes,” she said. Her face looked so stoic. I gripped the steering wheel. I could’ve told her that I was going on break. I should not help this woman.

“Listen, I am on break right now but I can get you to where you need to go,” I said. Why was I saying that? Was she making me do this? I shook my head. This woman climbed into the backseat.

“Thank you,” she said.

“You’re welcome,” I said. I put the cab into drive and pulled out of the airport. My stomach dropped as I pulled away. My eyes stayed in the rear view mirror and on the road the whole time.

Since then, things are slowly going wrong. I could the hear the whispers around my room at night. I am constantly smelling flowers around me. Grandma noticed it too.

“Have you be practicing your magic again?” she asked.

“No,” I said. “It’s not me.” That old lady leaned in close to my face. I held my breath as I backed away from the tobacco and dirt smell on her body. Grandma gave me a stern look at first. She narrowed her eyes. Then she took a step back.

“Okay, I believe you,” she said. I was relieved but I still had questions.

“Then… what is it?” I asked. Grandma took me by the cheeks. The stern look on her face made me panic.

“He’s been found. He is coming for all of us,” was all she would say. I didn’t need to ask what she meant by that. Somehow, I knew.

And it was all because of the witch I picked up from the airport.

So far, I’ve only told one person about what was going on. My neighbor Carlos listened as I told him everything. I half-expected him to laugh at me. Instead, my old Cuban friend let it all sink in for a moment.

“And it’s under the ground?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said. “Look, I’m not crazy.”

“Didn’t say you were,” he pointed out. I frowned.

“But what should I do?” I asked.

“What do you think you should do?” Carlos asked. I paused. Nobody would believe me. They would just call me the crazy witch in the town. But if I don’t do anything, we will all be doomed. I noticed Carlos reaching into his pocket.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“There is a man in Greece who can help you,” he said. “He may be lazy and perverted but he’s learning his mother’s magic at an alarming rate. He can help you save the world.” Carlos held out the piece of paper to me. I didn’t know what to say. My jaw dropped. I took the paper without saying a word.

“Need help getting there?” he asked. I slowly nodded my head. Carlos leaned in close to my ear.

“Please close your mouth,” he whispered. “You look like you’re trying to catch flies.” I slowly drew my mouth closed. My neighbor gave me a confident smile.

“Good,” he said. “We should get going now. We don’t have much time.” I stood up straighter.

“Right,” I said. “Hang on.” After leaving my grandma a note, I followed Carlos out the door. I would tell my boss a more believable version of what I was doing later.

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