I wish that death were more final.
One year ago, Evangeline’s mother, Maya, was beheaded. They sent her body back to be dropped in a river, buried, worshipped, melted, or eaten in the respective traditions of the five villages. As is right and good.
I oversaw the feast preparations myself — Maya was my only daughter, after all, and a man has certain obligations when it comes to selecting just the right spice. Maya had always been a devoutly contrary woman. Cayenne would go well with her.
Jacobi, Evangeline’s father, clutched his little girl in his fat cacao arms. He dwarfed her; at six, she was a frail, spindly thing, with a head that was too big for her body, and eyes that were like the pits our hunters dug to catch tigers — yawning. Sharp-edged. Consuming everything that dared to step near. That was the reason I had never really held my granddaughter’s gaze. I was afraid of being swallowed.