“Rayen, answer the door!” Mom’s voice wafted into the living room. I hopped to my feet and obeyed.
“Hello, Rayen.” Mrs. Rivera smiled widely and gave me a hug, as was her custom. Long black, curly hair fell past her hips and was pulled into a low ponytail.
Rio, her exceedingly adorable five year old son, was perched on her hip and her husband stood beside her, grinning just as big.
“Hi!” I smiled in return and stepped back. “Come on in.”
“Your home is beautiful.” Mrs. Rivera said over her shoulder as I ushered them to the table.
I raised my eyebrow when she wasn’t looking. She was just being nice; our house was nothing to be in awe of. The inside was tiny and extremely crowded, and the outside paint was a dark orange with brown trim. Who in their right mind paints a house orange? The person who had previously owned our house, apparently. Unless he wasn’t in his right mind.
I helped Mom and Adam carry things in from the kitchen, and then I took my seat next to
Rio. His curly mop of hair forced me to smile and his curious black eyes stared at the gigantic turkey in the center of the table. Mom and the Riveras made small talk for a little bit while I helped Rio eat. After we had finished gorging ourselves, Rio followed me to living room.
I pulled out a stack of paper and a big carton of colored pencils.
Rio’s eyes grew big and he started scribbling on a piece of paper with a black pencil. “What’s your favorite color?” I asked.
He looked up at me solemnly.
I waited. And waited. Then I remembered that he didn’t speak English. “¿Cuál… es tu… color favorito?” I rephrased in rusty Spanish.
He giggled and answered, “Verde. Y tu?”
He grinned and handed me the purple pencil. I handed him the green one, and his grin widened. “Me gustas.”
I didn’t know those words. I hope they weren’t something bad. He was still grinning, so I didn’t think they could be too bad.
A shadow fell across the paper in front of me and stayed still. I couldn’t quite make out the shape, but I held my breath and didn’t risk turning.
Rio glanced at the skylight. “Aves!” he cried.
“Bird?” I asked, as if he understood what I said. I interlocked my thumbs and flapped my hands like wings. He laughed again and nodded. I craned my neck to look, but the bird stepped back in a blur of black feathers. A crow, maybe?
I jumped to my feet and ran through the house to the backyard,
Rio right behind me. It was a crow. It flew off the roof in a flurry and landed on the fence. It stared at me and I stared back. For some reason, a feeling of dread washed over me. It was just a crow, right?
Rio, entrar.” I said softly, not sure of the exact words to say to send him back inside. He hesitated and sent me one last glance, then went inside.