When it was Mirabell’s turn to get powers she was overjoyed. As she sat on her bed with Abuela she could not be more excited. So she asked her grandma to tell her the story of how they were given their powers.
Abuela told Mirabell about how her husband, Pedro, had died fighting away marauders, at the riverbank their blessed Candle had gained magical powers, blessing all of their town with magical mountains that kept all enemies out, Building their beloved Casita too. Their Encanto blessed each of Abuela’s children with powers when they came of age, and their children with powers when they came of age.
Cassita, the house bounced over an alarm clock just as the clock struck 12. “Ok, ok we are going,” Abuela chuckled as she led Mirabell down the stairs. Abuela took her place next to the new magical door waiting for Mirabell and took a deep breath.
Cassita shined a light on Mirabell as she walked the red brick pathway to the stair leading to her door. Her white blouse and skirt blew in the wind as she ascended the staircase.
When Mirabell reached the door she held her hand to the knob on the door and turned it. The door blackened and withered until it was an iron black gate leading to a misty moor. Abuela led Mirabell in through the gate and they walked past the hundreds of gravestones there. It seemed as if every person who had ever died had a gravesite there. At the end of the pathway there was a large tomb with a large coffin with a blood red plush bottom and black silk covering it like a veil. At the head of the bed a statue of Abuela’s husband, Pedro, stood at attention.
When Mirabell’s grandmother got close the statue turned and said, “Boo.” Abuela screamed and ran out of the graveyard, pushing Mirabell into the gravestone of a little dog. The statue doubled over in laughter and became an impish boy around her age.
A white dog replicating the statue above the grave rose out of the grave and barked at her. Mirabell stumbled back but she kept bumping into graves and more white figures burst out.
“Stop!” Mirabell yelled. All of the ghosts sank back into their graves and Mirabell turned around and cried out for her Mama. But her mother was still at the iron gate, being scolded by Abuela for raising a devil child. Mirabell tried to run to her mother but her legs became white and wispy like the ghosts. “Mama!” she tried one last time, but her mother and Abuela were already shutting the gate.
9 years later...
“Yawn,” Mirabell yawned as she got out of her coffin bed. After the Gifting 9 years ago she had totally revamped her look. Everyone had been scared of her power over the Dead and just avoided her, so she looked the part. She now adorned a black cloth wrap over her red blouse with a black skirt with patterns of butterflies and candles stitched into the fabric in shades of red. She had smeared ash on her eyelids to look undead and had dyed her hair black with a streak of vibrant red.
“Oh yeah, what are we going to do today Mira?” Her best friend, Alaster, came over and jumped up and down. He was the same statue that had scared Abuela those years ago, so naturally they had become fast friends.
“Well, I think we will go and help the townsfolk.”Mirabel sarcastically said.
They set out for town, everyone was rushing around to do whatever, but stopped once they saw Mirabell. They all ran for their houses, leaving only the Madrigals that were out and working.
“Mirabel,” Her older sister, Isabella said, “What are you doing here? We don’t need another dead body.” Nothing came as more pleasure to the Madrigal familia than poking fun at Mira’s power.
“I can talk to the dead Isa, not make someone dead.” Mira stopped in her tracks as she saw a bloody foot sticking out from under a blanket from behind Isabella, “Another body?”
Isabella scoffed and turned to face away from Mirabel, “Yes, Fernand Jeffer was poisoned to death last night by someone in the village. Now, I don’t know about you but only a Madrigal could have done this much damage.” She pointedly looked at Mira, showing exactly who she thought had done the murder.
Mirabel rushed off to Abuela. “Hey!” She yelled, poking her grandmother’s back, “Why wasn’t I informed of the murder?” Abuela sighed and sat on a stump next to a donkey.
“I didn’t want to worry you, Mira. You have been so angsty since you got your powers and never want to talk to us.”
“Never, never talk to you? You guys avoided me and basically left me to fend for myself when I was 6! You never wanted to see me, so excuse me for having a little emotional damage from that time in my life.”
“Yes, yes. All good dear. Now why don’t you go to your room and clean some of your gravestones.” Abuela said with a dismissive wave.
“See, this is exactly what I was ta-” Before Mira could finish Luisa, her oldest sister, practically ran her over grabbing the donkey next to Abuela.
“Sorry Mira,” Luisa said as she tossed the donkey to the top of the pile already on her shoulders, “I’m on donkey duty again.” She ran off to put the donkeys in the pen, but Mira realized that Abuela had slipped away.
Mirabel thought nothing of it and went on about her day. She went into Senora Flora’s flower shop and bought the black roses she was going to wear to her little cousin, Antonio’s, Gifting ceremony that night. She and Antonio were closer than close. Antonio was a sweet little boy who idolized Mirabel and her amazing sense of fashion. And, maybe because he was an outcast too because he and their Uncle Bruno had been close before he disappeared.
But on her way back to Cassita, Mira saw a blood trail leading towards the forest. When she got there, she saw little Pequeño Gato, Little Jack, face down near the woods with a bloody knife sticking out of his back. White ectoplasm leaked from his eyes, ears, and nose, forming into a ghostly replica of Little Jack.
"Mirabel," the little ghost said with ragged breaths, "I am going beyond, but...but you must know..."
"Know what?" Mira asked growing more and more worried.
"My killer, she...she is in great pain. Senora Madrigal is in agony..."
"Seno..." But before Little Jack could finnish telling Mira, he vanished.