This story is by Estefany Pinzón and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
It’s raining again, when the water wants to tear apart the man’s world is because the spirits are coming to reorganize the things people has broken. I saw a night like this, exactly 360 moons ago.
That night, the house of my ancestors was threatened with giving up to the rain, I was trying to cover the bed of my grandmother who was ill, her life was about to turn off, then the dogs started to bark. I looked outside and I saw a little girl wrapped in a garbage bag standing close to the barn.
I yelled to make her come in, that kind of rain is too much for a kid, even for one of our people.
¿Are you seño Zenaida, the midwife? – she asked me while she was taking off her bag.
– No child, my grandmother is ill, I am Carmenza – I offered her a hot coffee, but she rejected it with a gesture – is just… my mom and my little brother are dying seño, please help me, I have money – she opened her soaking wet jacket and showed me a roll of bills thoroughly soaked like her.
– No child is not that, is just I’ve never received a baby alone…
– ¿But you know how to deliver a baby, right seño?
– Go with the child, when Ossain comes to wash the earth is when the children of Oya born and you know very well when the Orishas rule, we obey – she got up out of bed and walked very slowly, she went to the kitchen and prepared her bag with the necessary instruments.
– Here – She gave me the bag, took off her shawl and put it over my head – and when the child comes give him this – she took off her amulet and gave it to me – never forget this day Carmenza; the son of Oya is going to need you when the earth had rolled thirty times.
Despite the heavy rain, the girl and I headed to her house on the other side of the mountain, the road then looked more like a swamp, even in some places our legs sank so much in the mud that it felt like the Madre Monte had grabbed our legs to stop us, the clouds opened for one second and I could see her house a humble but well-cared house nailed in the top of a hill, I tried to climb the rocky stairs that take us up there, but I slipped and fell into a lagoon of mud. The girl saved my bag and stood there on the shore, crushing it.
– I’m going to find a rope – she yelled and disappeared, then the clouds gathered together again and released a much heavier rain, my hair got thoroughly washed and then I saw it… an adult jaguar, the son of the gods that the white people banished from these lands, some even said it didn’t exist, but there it was looking at me a pair of meters away, I could see his orange body and the black rhombus all over his back. Then I knew it, my grandma was right, I had to get to that house.
The girl came back with a rope and her mule, she helped me to get out of the mud, and we reached the house at last, her mother was fighting to keep herself awake, “she doesn’t know was she is doing, she is just an apprentice” she kept repeating between deliriums, but the girl begged her to let me try.
I could check her, and I realized her baby was coming on buttocks, so I put my hands on her belly and I sang for Oya, so she would guide my hands. I could correct his position and the earth shaken when a lighting hit the ground in front of the house, then an alive and healthy baby was in my hands, still inside his sac. I punctured the fluid sac with my finger. As the liquid spread along the floor, the baby began to cry, his screams were almost as strong as the lightings still punishing the ground outside.
The girl took the baby while I took care of the mother who couldn’t stop smiling.
– Forgive me seño; I was scared…
– Doesn’t matter, here – I took off the amulet and put it in her hand – the child must use it all the time, he is a son of Oya, his destiny is to guide the dead to the other world, and when the Orishas rule, we obey.
The mother nodded and squeezed the amulet in her hand, the girl gave her the baby cleaned already and I returned home.
I came back through the royal road which was more transitable already, but when I almost arrived, I saw smoke coming out of the roof.
I ran to the house, and I found my grandma lay down in her bed, her life had extinguished forever, and the candle she was using to light the house fell to the ground, set on fire her blankets, I barely had enough time to get out before everything consumed. I fell in my knees, and I saw her standing in front of me, young and vigorous again, she patted my head and dried my tears, approached to my ear and whispered, “leave no remains Carmenza, the demons are coming, better leave and don’t come back until the Orishas command you”.
I stayed there on my knees watching how my childhood home turned into ashes.
When no remainings had left, I took the few belongings I had, washed myself a little and I headed south to look for my brother. Since then I have been in Buenaventura but 360 moons had passed, and now I most travel again, the blood of the dead that the demons left behind them is calling for justice, the son of Oya needs me and the Orishas told me that I most go to find him… In Bogotá.