"Honey?" My mom put her hand on my shoulder. "Why don't you come and do some schoolwork?"
I had been staring out the window for an hour, watching raindrops as they painted dark polkadots onto the sidewalk. In the yard, the leaves of towering green cotton balls fidgeted in the wind, chatting to one another like church gossips during fellowship. A thick layer of dust covered the heavens. I rested my arms on the sill, my chin laying atop folded fingers. From behind a quarter inch of glass, nature was beautiful. Beyond my window, it was a wild beast, its aggression sudden and uncontrollable.
Your letter lies on my bedroom floor where I let it fall. I’ve already memorized every word.
Dear Margaret Evelyn Beach,
What the hell, Dave? We barely dated for a month and you’re using my middle name? My sister the swan princess probably told it to you. She’d walk off a cliff as long as someone asked her in Russian and set it to music.
This is hard for me to explain-
Really? This is hard for you? I‘m stunned. Jamming a note in the slats of my locker on the last day of school was apparently the best you could do.
-and I hope you’ll understand.
He makes it to the bayou in less than half an hour. The run is done on rote.
There's not even a moment of doubt before he spies the glow on the waterfront, a few hundred yards from where the St John's University back gates open out. He twists his arm to see his watch, and subtracts the hour he's still yet to set.
In the distance, he hears the first beat of a drum. It's deep, resonating, pounding in a steady rhythm that matches the rush of blood in his ears. But it's not loud, not very. It probably can't be, in an urban area like this. A chant starts up, sibilant and undulating, though he can't make out the words.
Breakfast with Lentre is back the next day, during which Don's impression of the man as quite the appreciator of food is cemented as he updates him on the researches of the previous evening.
"It fits," Don is saying. "The police told me she had a record for disturbance and trespassing, was found once at a crime scene. But she's been tracking them for years, why would she do that?"
"There are," Lentre replies consideringly, "certain individuals in the community who may trust someone like your sister more than the official force."
"But as far back as the dates go, it must have started before she made her name."
"Or when she made it." Something blooms on Lentre's face, lines suddenly smoothing out as his eyes stare somewhere beyond the back wall.
Don sits up. "What is it? What can this have to do with her Voodoo?"
"I think," says Lentre slowly, "that it may be the reason for it.
"That, I'm not really sure." And with those few words the doctor casually returns to eating his bacon.