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24

F I V E D A N C E S W I T H D E A T H

25

C H A P T E R T W O

Over time, he learned that his desire for Anabel wasn’t com-parable to any he’d felt before. It was fiercer for the knowledge of his power, for his ability to take the bride at will. He didn’t bring her home because her wailing was enough to raise the underworld itself. Instead he locked her in his barn, on the other side of his land, well away from his wife. Anabel fought and screamed, robbing him of immediate victory. That first night he beat her with a rope before forcing her, even though she raked his back with her strong nails. The second night he also used the rope, and the third night and so on. Just as he began liking that nightly entertainment, Anabel surrendered, depriving him of the joy of conquest. She became available when he needed quick satisfaction and sometimes performed as if she’d been raised a whore. That way, she killed Hernán’s enjoyment of nights with his plain wife.

Was that savage woman from the unknown land Hernán’s weakness? I had to know why the Spirit had exposed me to that episode in Hernán’s life. Nothing was coincidental in the Void, because the will of the Spirit that permeated the entire universe was in its purest form here.

Suddenly, Plume’s voice encircled me, pulled me out, and brought me away from the coast. “You lost too much energy,” she declared, and only then did I notice how drained I was.

She brought me home and slammed me back into my body. “I wanted to show you the boats,” she said, “but I hoped we’d continue looking for Dew.” With a frustrated toss of her hair, she left the room.

I re-entered Hernán’s body while he was kneeling in the middle of his room, and the orange-haired man stood nearby looking un-comfortable. Hernán prayed with fierce, zealous determination. The other man’s mood was sarcastic. I stretched along Hernán’s spinal cord, causing him some discomfort. He shuddered and began praying aloud. The other man laughed, smacked Hernán’s shoulder, and let out a long, roaring fart.

Understanding Hernán was easier this time. I enjoyed his graphic way of thinking, and, although it left ample space for mis-interpretation, I wasn’t drowned in unintelligible monologue. My manifestation dominated his mind, and Hernán was attempting to dispel it with an image of a powerful being, one of his gods appar-ently, perched on two crossing planks. I focused my attention on the deity. The combination of the power Hernán assigned to it and the torturous pose fascinated me.

Just at that moment Anabel shuff led on the bed, and Hernán’s thoughts took a different direction.

His mind presented me with a vision of a thick forest. Hernán saw himself come to a shallow brownish river that cut a winding passage through the trees. Three friends walked with him, the orange-haired man among them, all carrying weapons and f lat metal dishes. That was the spot where they used to pan for gold. The place was dusky and uneven, with black rocks washed down from broken hills farther upstream. A rhythmic sound of drums and f lutes came from the direction of the hills, filling him with anger and excitement. He felt that his land had been trespassed, and he f lared violently in response. He and his friends stomped up the battered riverbed until they came to a clearing. The place was thronged with dancing people. A band of native musicians played right at the river’s edge, and Hernán cut them down with his sword. His friends fanned out into the clearing, gutting the dancers. Farther away Hernán saw a young man and woman running away, struggling to untangle a knot into which their scant clothes were tied in a manner similar to our weddings in Tlaxcala. A desire boiled up within Hernán, and he chased the couple and attained the girl. He later named her Anabel.

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