Chapter 9

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Miles was confused on the bus ride home from Valva Dubois' shop. She had the feeling that something had traveled with her from the time she stepped out of the dim shop, onto the bustling street back to her bus stop. She didn't know what it was but she felt different. It felt like she was carrying a weight on her back as she walked to the nearest stop and waited to board the 6:30pm bus. As she sat on the bus watching the alleyways, the joviality of passersby as they readied for a night of partying, she still felt confused about what she'd learned at the Dubois shop and anxious about what the vial in her pocket would do. She hadn't stolen it necessarily, since Valva had given it to her and told her to take a drop on her tongue. She hadn't asked for it back, Miles offered to quiet her thoughts. She wished Sydney was with her, he'd always had a realistic approach to these things and it worried her that she was thinking about spirits, ghosts and some insane idea of an all powerful, wish granting, Papa Legba. She didn't know what she would wish for if Papa Legba could grant anything. She feared that the inhuman being would likely want something in return. Miles had grown up in New Orleans so she knew that voodoo was a real thing and was always cautioned not to get caught up in dark arts. Her mother just said it was the Devil but Miles' friends from school just called it 'Voodoo'. She hadn't believed either story when she was younger but something felt strange at the Dubois shop. Something felt like it was lurking in the room with them and watching their conversation. Had Valva Dubois seemed scared to talk about it? Miles couldn't remember if what she saw on Dubois' face was actually sadness or something else entirely. 

As she exited at her stop and started the short walk to her home, she felt the small bottle tight in her pocket. She needed to know what it was and why Valva wanted her to take it. Could it be what Rosemary had taken? Had it made her crazy enough to kill her daughter?

The light of the day had faded to a dusk orange and blanketed the city streets in the yellow glow of street lights. She saw her home in the distance, the living room curtain drawn back to expose the view of her brother, mother and father sitting for dinner without her.  She didn't have any reason to be jealous, she told herself, she didn't want to be there with them anyway.  Ever since Dino had returned, her life had been tossed upside down. She couldn't understand how easily her brother and mother let him back into the home. She stepped down from the curb, just as she felt a tug around her waist, pulling her back onto the curb as the blare of a horn wailed at her from a passing car. Miles spun on her heels, chest heaving from the closeness of her idle thinking almost getting her struck by a car but most importantly, she wanted to know who had saved her. She didn't recall seeing anyone walking behind her. But as she spun on her heels, she could see no one. The street was empty and quiet. The lights of the car faded in the distance.

She scanned the opening to alleyways, the homes that butted up to the street to find nothing amiss. She felt the deafening silence descend on her and a chill ran down her spine. Who had pulled her back from the street? She wrapped a hand around her waist, wondering if she'd feel some left behind trace of the person. She felt nothing but the beating of her heart in her chest and her breathe rushing in and out. 

"You're safe, Miles. You're tripping but you're safe." She mumbled to herself as she looked both ways before crossing the street.

She saw Sydney's house out the corner of her eye, its windows lit behind drawn blinds and detoured in his direction. She needed to apologize to him face to face and waiting just made her feel worse. She knocked on his door firmly and waited until it cracked open.

Sydney looked at her through the cracked door a second, then opened it wider and rested his shoulder against the door frame. 

"You've come to apologize?" He said matter-of-factly.

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