Zeke felt a burning sensation quickly heat up his finger, as if a tiny brand had been placed upon it, which pulled him out of his thoughts. Realizing it was the sun’s oppressive rays beaming through the window, he shook his hand to cool it off, and adjusted his visor to block the offensive orb.
He had been “zoning out”, as he stared uneasily at a golden eagle honing in on its prey. Although no one had a clue as to what they’d done the day before, and they had been careful to not leave any tell-tale signs behind, he still felt like a hunted man. He had been distracted since the previous night and almost lost control of their van on the wet drive back to Phoenix from Helldorado, during an unexpected cloudburst, when a deer jumped into the road nearly causing him to veer dangerously close to the railing and go off the side of the mountain.
In Helldorado they’d trolled through a neighborhood street fair, trying to score some weed, but were told that the local supplier and his crew were believed to have fallen ill of a local shaman and disappeared the week before. Since the fair had drawn a significant crowd, they decided to stick around and try their luck finding an alternate supplier, or maybe some yokel whom they could rough up and steal his cash and stash.
Unfortunately, they didn’t find what they were looking for, but instead found a wizened old native man with gray stringy hair, and about three teeth left in his head, whose wrinkly brown face reminded Zeke of those creepy dolls with heads made out of dried apples. He had a trained Capuchin monkey, which he called “Mono” that selected fortunes from a little box which looked like a miniature casket. Zeke didn’t want to have anything to do with them, but Bubba thought the monkey looked hilarious with it’s doll-sized brocade vest and tutu skirt fanning out from its tiny waist, hopping about and handing people their fortunes.
Bubba gave the creature a dollar, which it placed in the arthritic hands of the old man who then told Mono to select a fortune, which it did, and handed to Bubba. The fortune read, “A secret between two is God’s secret; a secret between three is known to all.” Bubba slipped his sausage fingers under his sweat-stained cap to scratch his clammy noggin as he puzzled for a moment. Then, shoving the fortune deep into his pants pocket, he said “Aww shit, that don’t mean nuthin’; still, it was worth a dollar just to see that li’l Mono hoppin’ around and fetchin’ those little rolled up papers and handin’ them out like li’l diplomas. Heh heh.”
Zeke didn’t laugh. He wasn’t sure exactly what was going to happen, but he saw the fortune as an ill omen, as he did everything he’d laid his squinty eyes on since they’d planted those beaners in the ground.
Back in Phoenix, Maryflor listened closely as Féretrina laid out her plan of vengeance. “The Queen of Mictlan has helpers who do her bidding in our world. Entities, which may move about in certain quarters and have intercourse within the realm of the living.”
“You mean they have sex; how does that help me?” retorted Maryflor as she scrunched up her nose in distaste at the notion.
“No sister, you do not comprehend me. They may interact with living beings and influence them, and…yes, even lie with them if that is what is required. More importantly, as in the case with these blackguards, they can lure them to a place of our choosing, where we may deal with them as we please.”
“Will they kill them too?” Maryflor asked bluntly, in a voice sorely lacking in sympathy.
“Perhaps,” Féretrina responded, calmly “if that is what you wish them to do.”
“I do not.”
“Do you then wish for them to capture the men and turn them in to the authorities?” Féretrina asked coyly, knowing the response her words would elicit.
“No, I wish for them to capture them and bring them to me, so that I might kill them myself.”
“I commend you for your fearlessness and for the justice you wish to mete out for your brother’s sake, but this is not a game. Once there is blood on your hands it is impossible to wash it off, and even if your intended victims are guilty of the heinous crimes you know them to have perpetrated, the memory of the act may still haunt you to the end of your days.”
“Then I at least want to see them die!” Maryflor shouted.
“Ah, now that I can promise!”
“Just who are these…entities?”
“The Divine Women, they are affiliates of Cihuacoatl, the goddess of motherhood, and are handmaidens of the moon deities Tezcatlipotca and Tlazolteotl. They are the spirits of women whom have died in childbirth, which the ancient Aztec people saw as a sort of battle, so they are honored as fallen warriors. They are fierce adversaries with frightening attributes, but can also present themselves in enticing raiment and are effective at the art of seduction. They are known collectively as the cihuateteo.”