Tuesday, November 15, 2016


TITLE: Kyte's Revenge
GENRE: YA Contemporary Speculative Fiction

When Kyte escapes from a boy who tries to rape her, he dies in a freak accident that suggests she put a bilongo on him. But Kyte asked Mama Jo for revenge, not a killing spell. Now Kyte must use the powerful Santeria she’s learning from her grandfather to prove herself innocent.

A dozen people file into the cabin, each carrying an ebbó. They hand their offerings to me as they enter. Fruit. Polished pebbles. A bottle of rum. I place their ebbós on a cloth-draped table. Painted statues of saints crowd its surface. Candles nest on plates, and a stone face with eyes and mouth made of shells sits in the place of honor at the center.

One by one, the men and women make their way across the oaken floor through patches of sunlight. Some nod or speak my name as they pass. We all wear white to show respect. Strings of colored beads hang around our necks.

The people wait patiently for their spiritual leader, their high priest. These followers of Santeria call him Babalawo.

I call him grandfather.

Pride fills my heart as I watch. Baba is kind and wise. He helps so many people. He sits in a chair in the middle of the room and Señor Ortega stands behind him.

A woman named Aleta approaches Baba with timid steps and swollen eyes. She dips into a deep bow.
“Stand, Daughter,” Baba says. “How can I help?”

“My man don’t love me no more, Babalawo.” Tears glisten on her face, trail down her cheeks. “What can I do? I can’t bear to lose him.” She sways on her feet.

I rush forward to steady Aleta. She looks so lost my heart melts.

She grabs my hand and blinks. “Gracias, Kyte.” She turns to Baba and bows again.