Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Morbid Taste for Bones

Gente, with your indulgence, I offer an excerpt from a yet-to-be-published work, Nine Days Dead. It's a new novel of mine, set  in Chicago, with a cast of characters that include: Natalia Ruiz-Rendon, an anthropologist, Naftali Gonzalez, a Jewish/PuertoRican detective, and Iyaloya, a guardian between the worlds.


The fever had her now, rolling waves of heat cascaded through her body, fueling this work. The herbs she'd taken were for courage and she burned white hot with it. She asked for fear to be burned away like slag from steel and there was no turning back. No conscience now, no soft hearted little lamb. There was only this minute, this choice.
She placed nine pennies at the entrance to the cemetery, asked permission with head bowed. The round moon, an unblinking eye, lit the path to the newest section of the cemetery.

But she could have found her way without it, as she'd come here, it was muscle memory.
Here the monuments were of thick, polished granite, sculpted and set flush with the ground. There were no ornate pillars with cloth-draped urns, no 19th century statues of winged angels asking blessings from God, no columned mausoleums inscribed with Latin, just headstones with the names of the dear dead. She left the main road and headed down the 15th row, only the slight swish of grass against the soles of her shoes audible.

When she arrived at his grave, she set down the small leather bag and withdrew a change of clothing. Preparing for the ceremony had taken most of the past two weeks. A ritual bath every day for nine days. Meditation before bedtime. Buying nine tiny bottles, filling three with white rum, Holy Water, and Florida Water, one with black coffee, the rest with spring water. Nine votive candles smelling of jasmine, and nine blood red carnations, plus a purple, fringed silk scarf to lay it all out on.

She thought of Florinda, the woman brought from Cuba by her parents as a caretaker while they jetted back and forth from Chicago and Miami, supervising their galleries, opening exhibits, and protecting the family wealth. Natalia Ruiz-Rendon was a good daughter, whose lonely life was made bearable by the daily blandishments of Florinda Cienfuegos. Natalia knew that Flori would do anything in her power to stop her tonight. When Natalia was about fifteen, she found out that Florinda was a priestess of her own House, strong with Oya. She'd eavesdropped on a conversation between her beloved Flori and a visitor who'd come and left tribute for an intercession.
When she'd asked about it, Florinda bluntly told her that this was not for her to know and that to ever speak of it would enrage her parents.

But Natalia prodded until Flori told her about the House, her pledge to Oya, even her true name, Iyaloya. Then with tears welling in her eyes, she begged the young girl to be accept her own path, the life her parents had made for her, and to trust that Flori was doing what she was meant to do as well.
Fifteen years had come and gone since that conversation. Natalia Ruiz-Rendon, never disappointed, never displeased, and shouldered the expectations of her parents and became the youngest PH.D. in anthropology at the University of Miami, and a star at the University of Chicago. But there were dark, liquid secrets that kept pulling her to look where she shouldn't, and when David was killed, her resolve and her promise dissolved. Blood required blood.


JARRED (A Hoodoo Comedy) closes in just TWO WEEKS - only 8 shows left and they are filling up fast! Purchase your ticket today!

Audiences and critics agree: you've never seen anything like this on stage! Hailed as "deliciously funny" (NewCity) and a "gripping production" that "rings with truth and authenticity. (Chicago Examiner)," JARRED offers an inside peek at what happens when jealously meets witchcraft. Tickets at
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Then you're just the person we're looking for!

Join Teatro Luna for a FREE PERFORMANCE WORKSHOP at our Logan Square space on Sunday, December 7th from 12-3.

We're starting work on our next show, Restaurant Spanish, and this is your chance to experience our unique ensemble process first hand! You don't have to be Latina, an actor, or a writer to participate - we're looking for people who are willing to jump in and have fun. SPACE IS LIMITED, so please reserve your slot by e-mailing


Check out these limited edition prayer candles featuring the kinds of saints we all really need: Saint Procrastina, Nuestra Senora Del Cuchi Cuchi, Nuestra Senora of Retail Therapy, Gloriosa Senora de la Mentirita Piadosa, and Santa Escandalosa!

There are five different candles, each featuring one of the cast members of JARRED as one of these amazing Saints! These candles will be on sale at the Box Office through the run of JARRED (A HOODOO COMEDY). The final performance will be December 14, 2008 at 6:00 pm.

After the 14th, you will be able to purchase on our website!

Pricing: $8.00 One Candle, 2 for $15.00, and all five for $35.00

Email for more information!

Lisa Alvarado

1 comment:

msedano said...

sounds like it's gonna be a fun chiller thriller.