Cars honking. The memory of last night's conversation with Izzy swirls in my mind. Izzy isn't the toughest looking woman. Predators like to prey on those they perceive as weak. Izzy ran away from me once when I needed her. She cowered when faced by the rejection others.
"On Hallows' Eve the ghosts alight, dark spirits and monsters take flight into the nightmares of all who fear the night. Listen well, for wicked they be."
The children were shaking, though they could not understand all of what they heard. Except for Zara, and her friend Izzy - the most well read students of Martin Luther King Elementary. To be more accurate, Zara wasn't shaking despite understanding, Izzy shook and understood. Mr. Negron could see Zara was not buying it, "Zara, why are you so serious? Do you not believe in monsters?"
The children all stared at Zara and she responded seriously—"Oh no, tío," she called him uncle in Spanish. "I believe in them; talk to them. They are not all evil." Mr. Negron's jaw dropped, the children started laughing and calling her a liar.
Izzy tried to stand up for Zara, "Stop, she isn't lying–honest!" The children glared at Izzy. They laughed, their vicious faces singing in unison as they called her a fag. She ran from their hatred - stung by the pain of it. Mr. Negron silenced the children with a stern glare and a simple, "be quiet." The children went silent. They knew what would happen if they disobeyed an elder. Zara smiled coolly, her coal eyes steel against their taunting gaze. Her face like marble. Hair black as night. At the age of eight, she scared her uncle, Mr. Negron. That night, when David and Elsie came over to pick Zara up, he was quick to tell them.
"Are you aware that your daughter thinks she can talk to monsters?" His hands placed on the table. Both parents sat down composed at the kitchen table.
"Mother, I would like to go home."
Izzy followed in after her, timid, "Can I go with you?"
Elsie knew not to ask why. Most likely the other children made them both feel unwelcome. Although, she was quite certain they weren't the only ones. She smiled warmly at her brother-in-law, "I am going to take the girls home. It is, probably, best we take some time to talk to the children separately about this event."
She knew he'd be satisfied with her statement. Although, she was anything but. Zara was just a child saying something any child could during a game of pretend or when trying to impress others.
"Of course," Henry called for his children, Zara's cousins came in reluctantly.
"Jael, Peter, say goodbye to tío and titi." The children did as instructed and said goodbye to their uncle and aunt. Henry looked at them and they knew to say goodbye to Zara as well. They were younger than Zara by a year or so, but, she still enjoyed their company. She hugged them and did not blame them for going along with the others.
"Yes, mother?" Zara looked at her mother's caramel skin. Elsie Bran was descended from Taino natives and an Afro-Puerto Rican woman. Sporting coal eyes and straight black hair like Zara's, she caught her husband's eyes easily when they first met. David, her husband, was also a Puerto Rican, but, was light-skinned with red hair.
"We need to talk about something," Elsie walked up to the bed and sat down.
"About how I should only talk to my uncle about what he thinks is right?"
Elsie's eyes registered shock for a moment and she stared directly into her eight-year-old daughter's eyes. They held a depth to them that could not be explained.
"Mother, are you listening?" Zara touched her arm, bringing her out of a trance.
"Tell mommy, how do you speak to ghosts and monsters?"
YOU ARE READING
The Alter Mysteries: Death ShadowParanormal
Zara, a private investigator and founder of The Paranormal Investigation Task-force, solves paranormal crimes on contract for the police. In over her head, she is pursuing a serial killer that threatens the delicate acceptance paranormals have recei...