When Heather was a little girl, her mother took her to nurse a witch doctress in a nearby village. Heather would not have known who this woman was except for the whispers of the working girls in her house; for Heather’s mother said nothing as she walked determinedly through the arid street, Heather’s hand clasped firmly between her cool fingers against the dusty African air.
Heather’s curiosity toward this strange woman grew, for Heather learned from the working girls that this woman was not only a witch doctress but had an infamous reputation as a great seductress who had been the lover of many great men. Heather wondered why her mother would choose to help such a woman, but the intricasies of her parents long ago ceased to be a source of consistent perplexity to Heather. She did not question but obeyed.
Inside the hut Heather worked quietly beside her mother, but was startled in the few moments when the doctress suddenly slipped to consciousness. During these moments the woman stared piercingly at Heather, and seemed not to perceive any other person in the room. Heather trembled, for in her childhood she still sensed a strong and frightening connection between herself and the older woman; something great and terrible in this look that she could not understand.
The witch doctress died that night, and when Heather tottered home beside her mother the sky was very grey.
Heather forgot the witch doctress until ten years later, in her first semester studying at Emmanuel University. At that time the Emmanuel church received a visitor, a woman famous in its circles for her Biblical studies but greatly controversial due to her pastoring her own church.
Heather watched the woman wonderingly, but felt a strange sensation when the woman’s gaze turned to her and seemed to pierce into her soul. The frightening sensation sparked some memory of repetition that Heather could not quite explain.
It was not until Heather lay in bed that evening that she connected the woman pastor’s look and it’s strange sensation to the look of the woman in Africa. Just as she was drifting to slumber the connection came to her, and she knew in her last minutes of consciousness that the looks were the same.