AlvernoINK Spring / Fall 2017 - Page 62

stiletto tips clawing at the antiquated deck. She brought her hand down twice on the aluminum table and the sisters shifted in their seats, eyebrows wiggling playfully in amusement. Renata Rosmaria Zaparrita, with a menthol Pall Mall cigarette perched in between her lips looked over at her sisters carefully, waiting vigilantly for her cards. Ximena Sophia Zaparrita, the youngest, craned her neck up at the sun soaking the warm rays, her pose that of a Venetian goddess. If you stared in her breezy blue eyes too long she’d bite.

“Sol! Come here!” Ximena was always interested to see her, after all, it was Sol’s Mother Gabriela, who had raised her. Sol nodded, slipping her hands into the depths of her front pockets, lint and shreds of forgotten paper enveloping her long, thin fingers.

“Investigadora Garcia,” Celestine clicked her tongue, laughing as she hissed Sol’s last—changed—name. “you ain’t gotta wear that badge here.”

“Ay Celes, lay off.” Sol didn’t smile at Ximena but thanked her silently, the nerves she felt tingling at the tips of her toes. Ximena gave her a place; she could’ve been a Mom. But Sol wasn’t here to fantasize about her aunt’s maternal potentiality, she was here for insight. She needed to get in a criminal’s state of mind.

“Quieres algó?” When Renata spoke, she was gruff, short, and out of breath. It was the years of smoking and delayed speech combined. Renata never went to school, she was incapable. Forced to hide from the outside world because of her unnatural height.

“I was wondering if you could help me.” Sol leaned into their space, tilting her head to the side, wind-stroked curls falling on her cheek. “We got a killer loose. They got a lot of similar traits as you all.”

“Bloody?” Celestine’s tongue curled at the back of her teeth, a slimy purr escaping the crack of her lips.

Sol cleared her dry throat. “Not quite like yours.”

“You don’t actually think it was us, do you sobrina?” Celestine offered a smile, displaying her teeth. “We’re all locked up in here like the mala niñas we are.”

“Encendedor!” Renata barked at the locked door.

Celestine arched a thick eyebrow. “Play a game.”

“I need answers.”

“Maybe I can give you some, c’mon muñeca ask me one.” Ximena cooed keenly, voice as quick and light as a hummingbird.

“Necesito, encendedor!”

“If these guards could do their goddamn job we could get on with the game. Marcos!” Celestine was the leader. When she spoke, mountains moved. Marcos was at Renata’s side within seconds lighting her cigarette and stuttering out an apology.

“Solito, tell me. Do you think of Gabriela?” Sol didn’t even flinch at Celestine’s question, or the use of Solito, showcasing a smile of her own. You also don’t get to call me that, she screamed in the pit of her mind.

“Why did you only kill men?”

"You’re not as good as you think.”

“Celes, she came to visit us—”

“Poker!”

“You gonna give details or make me guess?” Celestine said giving the cards a full wash, dealing two at a time facedown to each of the players, dragging her chair inwards.

Sol sucked a breath between her teeth. “Each body is missing a heart. Sound familiar?”

“How deep are the lacerations?” Celestine tutted, her interest rattling Sol’s insides, organs piling over each other. Celestine, you are fucked.

“I don’t know how to play poker.” Sol spit out, the tongue in her mouth lashing out protectively.

“Fold.”

Ximena shook her head. “I fold too this game is stupid.”

“We aren’t done,” Celestine interjected, eyes ablaze. “Investigadora Garcia is still in.”

“Celestine, I don’t know how to play poker.”

“Sit.”

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