On the Caribbean island of Maurray, spoiled-rotten, fifteen-year-old Hanna wakes up to a nightmare. She is not the daughter of an aristocrat but the orphan of a Gypsy. She is the descendant to a mystical Gypsy tribe. Their magic is strong and has lasted six hundred years. Ornella, the tribe’s guardian, arrives at the island with her mutt, Count Dracula, to guide Hanna. Hanna is told she must embrace her heritage or die at the ripe age of seventeen. But Hanna does the unthinkable, she chooses death. She hates Gypsies and would rather die. What she doesn’t know is that her death will destroy the entire tribe. What she also doesn’t know is how persuasive Ornella can be. The nightmare begins.
Interview with Hanna Williams for the Maurray Post
Mary Louise Fouchon
Mary Louise, from the Maurray Post, sat facing the English style mansion, trying hard not to show her nervousness. This was her first interview with a member of the Island’s high society. The petite blond had dressed in her best for the occasion; a knee length white skirt and button down shirt, with a red belt and a red silk scarf around her neck for color, which matched her very high-heeled red and white sandals.
Hanna Williams sat across from her, facing the garden. She was truly stunning with her dark brown hair, which used to be blond, and her bright green eyes. The brown hair brought out her silky white skin more than the blond. Hanna was still in her school uniform, a dark blue pleated skirt, a white shirt, dark blue blazer, knee-high socks and black loafers. Why they made these kids wear a blazer in a Caribbean island, Marry Louise could not understand.
“Thank you Hanna, for this interview, it is an honor. Do you mind if I tape it?”
Hanna seemed a bit distracted. “Yes.”
Mary Louise paused. “Yes, you do mind, or yes you don’t mind?”
Mary Louise turned the recorder on and placed it on the patio table facing Hanna. “You have a birthday coming up in four days?”
Hanna’s dry answer caught Mary Louise by surprise. She had been told the girl was chatty, beside futile and spoiled. “Are you excited?”
Oh, dear, this is not going to be easy. I’m I going to have to invent new questions or even answers? “Why not? Sixteen is such an important…”
“I was,” Hanna interrupted. “I’m not…now…but I was really excited until something very strange happened and…now…I’m not sure.”
Mary Louise’s eyes widened. The interview had started off in a strange way. She looked at her next question trying to decide whether to ignore Hanna’s odd answer or pursue it. If she went as planned, the flow would be interrupted, and people might think she ignored Hanna’s answer, or that she didn’t know how to write. If she changed the answer and Hanna became offended, all hell could befall her. She could even lose her job, as Hanna’s family was very influential. She decided to pursue. “What kind of strange things?”
“Do you believe in witchcraft? Or maybe it’s paranormal….or both…both. Do you?”
“Paranormal?” Mary Louise pursed her lips while carefully considering her answer. She had decided to pursue, had to pursue. “Of course…I do, of course.”
“The arms to my doll fell,” Hanna stated leaning in, with a slight tremble in her voice.
Hanna still played with dolls? “Was this a very special doll?”
“It was. Is, the doll is, she hasn’t died. She’s antique, belonged to my mother.” Hanna’s eyes turned glassy and she looked away. “She will get better, but the strangeness won’t.”
Hanna’s mother died during childbirth, She was said to have been a French princess. “I’m so sorry to hear it, but surely that was not caused by paranormal…”
“It was,” Hanna blurted out. “Paranormal, witchcraft, voodoo…” the girl’s voice took on a guttural tone.
Mary Louise became disconcerted. The girl seemed to be losing it. Oh God, how to proceed? She decided to move away from the topic of the doll. “Will the party be at the country club?”
“Maybe, if I’m still alive. I hate gypsies. I don’t want to be a member of….” Hanna swallowed and looked around as if searching for someone, before turning back to face Mary Louise. “They are dirty.”
Gypsies? This interview is getting weirder by the word. “What gypsies? I didn’t know there were any on the island?”
“And you’re right, there aren’t.”
“Oh.” Mary Louise sucked in a deep breath. The girl’s expression was a mixture of anger and fear. “So the party…”
“I might not be alive on the day of the party.” Hanna paused and screwed up her eyes as if trying to remember something. “No, it’s not this year that I die, but the next. Dead at seventeen.” Hanna’s eyes turned to the horizon, landing somewhere over the perfectly cropped hedge that separated her house from the neighbors.
Mary Louise began to suspect the girl was not right in the head. Just as she was about to ask the cake’s flavor, Hanna began to ramble.
“I’m going to tell you. I can’t keep it in; I’m going to burst. Yesterday when my doll’s arms fell off I took her to get fixed and a crazy gypsy woman, Ornella, told me my birthday was not on the 9th, that my grandmother had lied to me about my mother. I am not the daughter of a French princess but of a filthy Gypsy. The only part that is true is that she died during childbirth. And that my mother belonged to a tribe, and if I refused to embrace my beautiful destiny and become part of the tribe I will die in one year from my 16th birthday. A tribe!” Hanna stopped to catch her breath. Her was face bright red with the lack of oxygen. She then leaned forward and yelled. “A filthy gypsy!”
Mary Louise sat frozen. She had to find a way to get the hell away from that crazy girl, but something didn’t let her – the possibility of the juiciest piece of gossip – a story that could make her career. “So you are adopted?”
Hanna’s head jerked. “What? No! I am a bastard child but not adopted. This tribe called women of…”
Mary Louise heard the sound of snapping fingers before Hanna could finish her sentence.
“Rrrggrrgggrrr,” was what came out of Hanna’s mouth. Hanna turned wide-eyed to look at an elegant, gray-haired woman in a dark mustard and gray dress, standing not more than two feet away. At her feet sat a short, salt-and-pepper mutt. “Ornella, I…”
So this was the gypsy, thought Mary Louise. Not what she expected, which made her think the girl was making this up.
“Enough. This interview ended. Count, give reporter new interview,” Ornella said.
The mutt stepped forward, opened his mouth wide and spit out a piece of paper, covered in saliva.
Mary Louise looked down at the floor and back at the elegant woman, whom reminded her of Eva Gardner. “What is that?”
“That is your interview, if you want to live.”
“That is…” Hanna began, and once again snap went Ornella’s fingers. “Ffffihhhhhhhffssstt.” Hanna gave up and went silent.
Mary Louise realized that paranormal was a good fit for this situation. She reached for the disgusting piece of paper and read the content. All the boring answers she had expected Hanna to give. Except for the cake, beetle dung and bat’s eyeballs?
“Oh, not that, Ornella make mistake.” The woman grabbed the slimy page from Mary Louise’s hand, spit onto the page and handed it back.
The cake was to be chocolate.
“The Count will show you to door,” Ornella said.
Mary Louise jumped up from her chair and, after a “goodbye, thank you for the interview,” she followed the mutt. As she stepped out into the sun and opened her purse for her keys, the paper the mutt had spit out fell to the floor. She didn’t notice. She smiled seeing her recorder and headed for her car. She drove away happy the interview had gone well. Her boss would be pleased.
I am Brazilian born and raised, of American parents. I live in Sao Paulo with my third husband and children. I studied at the American school in Brazil, in boarding schools in Switzerland and the US. I have a BA in English Literature from FIU. I published a YA trilogy in Brazil and another YA novel in Turkey in 2001, now in its fifth edition. My passion is history and spiritualism. Besides Veiled Mist, I have another YA novel, Fallen Ruler, being released soon.