On three consecutive mornings after my visit to Butafogo, a curious vision appeared in front of me while I was going for a stroll and a swim in Ipanema. It could have been coincidental, although I liked to believe it was because of the powers that my priestess said had transfer to me.
After my morning swim in the ocean while I lay on my towel on the beach, I could see, in front of me, the corpse of a tall blonde woman washed up by the ocean waves near me. Her body was spongy and incredibly white and her blue eyes were open and followed my movements. The first time I saw this apparition I thought it was Clare’s body.
But how the hell could it possibly be her? Was it a real body? Was it a trick of my over-active imagination? Over ten thousand miles separated us, and this was also a different ocean. This was the Atlantic, not the Pacific. The two oceans are on opposite sides of the Americas. Then with relief, I found that the corpse was an apparition, only visible to me. In fact, soon after, I saw a young boy running and stepping where the body was. It was evident that nobody or nothing was there, otherwise other people around could see it. The vision was just a clear illusion to me and a few minutes later nothing was left on the beach and no marks visible on the wet sand, washed by the tide.
Was it a premonition, a warning that something had happened? I was sure I would come to know. Before, I had always been skeptical of the power of the occult.
Could there possibly be something wrong with my metabolism, upsetting my normal functions, or was it because of an extraordinary power in me? If these visions persisted, I had to investigate and find the reason for them.
When I phoned Clare the next day, I was told that she wasn’t available because of an accident and her best friend was in a coma at the hospital. Her friend was driving her car which had rolled down an embankment and was badly damaged. But was Clare in the car and was she hurt? They wouldn’t give me a straight answer. When I phoned again later, I was told there was nothing wrong with Clare. I misinterpreted the information and thought that she wasn’t in the car at all. Talking to her I felt something was wrong. It was like talking to a stranger. She had difficulties in concentrating and she was deeply shocked. She told me something that she would never have said before. She had lost all hopes for happiness in her life. Why?
She completely ignored my questions when I asked about that accident and ignored my sympathy. She certainly wasn’t missing me. At that moment I was the least important person in her life. Maybe she was worrying about her male friend.
Thinking back of the vision on the beach, I believe that the message I received when I imagined I saw Claire’s body on Ipanema Beach, was that her love for me was completely dead. Her love now belonged to someone else.
But the strangest thing, is, that I never found out that, at the time of the accident, if Clare was in the car. I still have my doubts.
* * *
Since the early evening, Ipanema Beach had been crowded with white garbed Cariocas. A cool breeze was coming from the ocean, blowing fine particles of sand. Fireworks burst along the strip of beach, cascading in golden and silvery sparks from the buildings surrounding the area. The samba music was deafening as it poured through the loud speakers.
An amphitheatre had been created at the centre of the beach where there was a circle of meticios women wearing laced white gowns and minuscule bras. Their faces glowed in the candlelight and they wore plumed hats, a symbol of the Yalorixa the Macamba priestesses. They looked like they were in a trance, possibly drugged with marijuana. Their eyes rolled up in their sockets, while their bodies twisted with the rhythm of the music. They danced, hips swaying, in a circle, and the crowd around shouted their approval. But where was the fetish that I had always read about? I couldn’t see any, only normal offerings. No goat intestines, decapitated roosters or other devilish things.
‘I’m going to get a better look.’I told myself, getting closer to the circle of priestesses. I had completely forgotten the advice of many, who had warned me about not getting too involved with the cult.I don’t know how long it took me to reach the inner circle. But I knew that I was part of the crowd, swaying with them in the rhythm beaten through the sand, by the tempo of the dancer’s feet. I was eagerly dancing with them and it seemed I knew the steps instinctively.
End Part 5