Psychopomp Magazine Summer 2014 - Page 20

16 | Psychopomp Magazine

“And this is only in New Mexico?”

She dropped his hand and glanced over at me, a tight smile stretching in a straight line. “No, love, not just there. But that’s where you’re going, so that’s where you should look out. Remember now, don’t look them in the eye, neither one.”

“Are they evil?” I asked. She looked at the floor.

“Well, something like that don’t sound real natural, does it?”

“How do you know it’s not natural?”

“It’s just a legend, Deirdre,” he broke in, trying to keep me from saying something wrong, something that would get back to his parents. “But it’s probably based on some bad thing that actually is real, so let’s just leave it at that.”

She met his eyes again and after a moment gave a slight nod and handed back his ginger beer.

My client list is based on word-of-mouth. I have rules: one session per client per month. No questions, ever. I take cash, only. I typically decline cases with revenge as the sole motivator, but I’m willing to negotiate. Violence costs extra, a lot extra. I do not guarantee my results, but I expect to get paid anyway.

Not long after the night Annabelle was beaten with a broomstick, I realized this could be a job. I have no other skills, not really. Annabelle is his sister, the one from the ski trip. We all grew up together, so closely I treated her as my own little sibling. She was annoying, yes, but she was curious and loyal and kind to small animals. The first time her boyfriend hit her, with his hand, she said nothing to anybody. The second time, with a coffee pot, she told her brother, who did not know what to do. The third time, the final time, he came at her with the broken broom, and she fled to my house, crying.

I was angry and responded with a deep, primal instinct. I took her hands, looked closely into her eyes and switched her. She looked out at me from my face, disoriented, bewildered, as Annabelle’s hands locked my body in the bathroom. Those hands also remembered to grab a steak knife on the way out.

Annabelle’s finger pushed the bell on her own front door, and her boyfriend opened it, barefoot, in boxers and a t-shirt, expecting perhaps the police or even Annabelle’s brother, as unlikely as that was. He was not expecting Annabelle herself to be standing there, with that small knife and a look of rage. He laughed and turned his back to Annabelle, heading back up the landing steps. Annabelle’s legs crouched and her body lunged forward. Her arm extended and made a quick, hard slash across his ankle, cutting the tendon. He let out a startled cry, his face twisting back toward Annabelle’s face as he fell. “You? How?”