I clutched his hand as we moved along toward Magnolia Bridge. Still yards away, I could hear the drums as well as feel them vibrating somewhere deep inside the middle of my body.
As the bridge came into view, the beat of the drums took over the air and shook the ground beneath my feet.
The crowd kept moving closer and closer to the old wood and metal bridge. As I stepped up on the first creaking wooden plank, I saw eerie drawings of symbols and words in glowing white chalk scratched on its surface.
The air was thick with humidity and noise, too loud to even breathe. It all began to spin, the drums, the wooden planks covered in glowing drawings, and the sickening sweet smell of so many bodies pushed together.
I felt myself staggering, everything going hazy and then coming back to quickly, like a record played at the wrong speed. Before I could recover, I was spinning and the drums became loud booms that shook the ground and far off there was a baby crying.
It wasn't safe here. I had to get away. They were going to find us. They were going to get me.
"Jonah," I pleaded, "I've got to get out of here."
He didn’t hear me. I was clutching at his arm, but he was lost in the sea of bodies. At last, I clasped his hand and jerked him around to face me.
"Now!" I demanded. "I want to go now!"
Jonah was reluctant to leave, but the expression on my face must've convinced him because he guided me through the crowd without complaint.
As we stepped off the bridge, a beautiful woman with deep olive skin stepped into our path. She seemed to glow in her long white dress and white head wrap. There was something pulsating on her shoulders. It took a moment for my eyes to focus enough to see that it was a large snake that slithered about her neck.
"I see that which you want most," she declared, pulling the snake’s head up to hers so that it's forked tongue could flicker across her lips.
I stepped around her, cringing away from the serpent.
The woman laughed, showing a wide mouth of bright white teeth, "He can come back, you know."
The air left my lungs and I stopped short. I couldn't have heard her right. I dropped Jonah's hand and turned around
"What did you say?" I asked.
She stepped over to me, swaying her hips so that her dress swung like a bell.
"I can bring him back," She whispered as she came within inches of my face. "I know that is the thing that you want
There was a surge of air swirling around me and over my head. The woman's eyes focused on it with a knowing
"He will be angry," She said and took a card out of the waistband of her dress. "Come and see me when you can."
I clutched the card in my hand as Jonah led me away. I looked back and watched the woman disappear in the darkening crowd.