The hechicera pulled Callum into her cave. It
was dark and smelled of mold and bat guano. She threw him down on the floor.
“You sure changed. What happened to the pretty Maya woman.”
The witch understood Callum and spoke in broken
English. “I am she, or I once was a beautiful Maya woman. I have mourned for
many years, but now I shall mourn no more, now that I have my beloved
Hupuncha back. With ten drops of your blood, I can become the woman I once
was and we can live forever in happiness.”
“Ten drops of my blood? No way. I don’t believe
you could ever be beautiful. You’re an ugly hag.” Callum shrunk back, moving
slowly towards the entrance.
“Stay where you are. You have a choice, my
Hupuncha. You can either give me your blood and live forever with me, or I
will turn you into an aluxob, where you will be forced to depend on farmers
feeding you meager pieces of maize from their crops. Which will it be?”
“Big choice there. Either way, I’m doomed. I
think I’d rather go back into the cenote than do either of those things.”
Callum hoped Fiona would show up soon to rescue him.
“The cenote? Did you know it is over 80 feet
deep and down at the bottom are skeletons?”
“Yes, Fiona told me. She saw some of them.”
“Those are all skeletons of men, like yourself,
who refused to amuse me. That is your destiny if you deny me.” The witch let
out a hideous laugh, high pitched and evil.
“I’m not a man though. I’m a boy. I’m only ten
years old. Even if I wanted to, I’m too young to marry you or anyone else.”
“Then you will join the others in the cenote. I
will find another victim who will want to be my Hupuncha. It is your
choice.” She grabbed Callum by the hair and left the cave.
“You’re hurting me. Let go of me.” Callum
squirmed and struggled to free himself.
Her long nails dug into his scalp. “Do not fight
me boy.” The hechicera grasped his hair even tighter and dragged him along.
When they reached the edge of the cenote, Callum
recognized it as the same one they’d fallen into a short time ago. He saw
the snake coiled around a branch, high in a tree.
“Before I throw you in, I must do something.”
She closed her eyes and mumbled something in Maya. Callum didn’t understand
the words, but he saw the sides of the cenote change. Instead of being
slippery rock, spikes and thorns jutted from the cracks and fissures. The
water writhed with fins.
“What sort of fish are those?” Callum peered
down into the water.
Speaking in English again, the hechicera said,
“You will know them as piranha. I heard you and your friends talking about
them. You all showed fear. I conjured them up to torment you.”
“Don’t throw me in there, please? I’ll marry you
if you want. You can have my blood too.” Callum pleaded through the tears.
She put him in front of her and was about to
push him in when an attack came from behind. Fiona reached out and grabbed
Callum, pulling him to the side and Elspet pushed the witch into the cenote.
Tlaloc helped pull Callum up. They heard the witch scream. When they looked
in the water they saw the piranha swarming around her, pecking bits of her
flesh away. “No! No!” The witch shouted in pain and then all went quiet. The
piranha disappeared as did the spikes.
“Is she dead?” Callum looked for signs of life.
“I don’t know if the hechicera can die,” Fiona
said. She turned to Tlaloc. Speaking in Maya she asked, “Is the witch dead?
Will she come back?”
Tlaloc shrugged his shoulders. The python, who
had witnessed the events, slithered down the tree and slid across the leaves
to Fiona. You think you have killed the witch? I have been here many years
and have seen this happen before. You must take your friends and leave. Her
spirit returns over and over again. She will never die until she finally is
reunited with her love, Hupuncha. Go! Go quickly before she comes back to
take revenge. She has gone to the underworld, but not for long.
Fiona stroked the snakes scaly head. Thank you.
It disappeared under the fallen leaves and branches. “Come on. Let’s get
out of here. We’re not out of danger yet.”
They ran away from the cenote, hoping to never
see it again.