La Bruja: History

Serpents of Smoke

“Your new life!” she squeaked, “Did you stop being Melissa Gonzales?”

 This time I turned around.  

“Sure did,” I sneered and flashed the glittering ring on my left hand.  

This set her off.  I backed down the hallway while she shrieked a string of obscenities and accusations at me. I made it to my apartment door just as the building security guard emerged from the elevators.  My neighbors peeked from their doorways as the guard forced the screaming woman into the stairwell.

       “What the hell was that?”  my next door neighbor, Kyle Andrews demanded once the door slammed shut.  He stormed to the middle of the hallway and waited for me to answer.

       “An old classmate,”  I smiled weakly.  His living room shared a wall with the small bedroom I used for my work.  I suspected that some of my ceremonies had caught his attention and that he was on the verge of reporting me to management.

       “This is a good building,” he said giving me a meaningful look,  “We’d like to keep it that way.”

       “What’s that supposed to mean?”  another one of my neighbors, Keisha Jones, Esq., asked, stepping out into the hall.

       “It’s ok,” I said waving her off. “It won’t happen again.”

       Kyle and the rest of our neighbors retreated to their apartments, leaving Keisha and I in the silent hall.  She closed her door and scurried over to me.

       “Are you ok?”  She whispered, we watched the end of the hall as if  a fire-breathing version of Sara might appear.

       “No,” I said and went into my home.

       “Well?”  Keisha asked, following close behind me.  Her eyes were alight with curiosity and concern.

       “A girl from back home,”  I said collapsing on the couch and trying to figure out how to explain Sara. “I don’t even know how she found me.”

       “Was any of what she said remotely true?”  Keisha went into attorney mode making me strain to remember what Sara had shouted. “I can’t have my favorite girl going down.”

       I looked up at Keisha and smiled.  Thanks to her patronage, I made almost as much as my husband.  In fact, she was the reason we were able to afford to be her neighbors.

       “Her father died of natural causes before we even got there,”  I mumbled thinking back to that night we all got bored and decided to prank the Abates, “but Sara said we scared him to death.”

       “Is that what happened?” Keisha asked, still in lawyer mode.

       “That’s what the coroner said,” I could hear the doubt in my voice.

       “But  you think otherwise?”

       “The star quarterback was with us that night,”  I said remembering Devon Smith’s sunburnt face as he reached down from atop the stone fence to help me over into Sara’s yard. “He had a big scholarship to A&M.”

       “If we give her the help she asks for, is she the type to go away?”  Keisha’s furrowed her brow.  I could tell she considering all outcomes.

       “She’s gone,”  I sighed, “Where would I even find her?”

       “That shouldn’t be too hard,” Keisha said and looked at her watch.  “Give me her full name and be ready for anything.”

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