By Gloria “Cookie” Alcozer Thomas
Her eyes became wider than a hoot owl’s when she saw Mama Bee waiting for her at the entrance of her house.
“Hurry up, child! You’re slower than a turtle,” Mama Bee said, clapping her hands to speed Rose along. Then she snatched the baby right outta her arms and laid her on a massive big bed.
Rose didn’t complain when that gray-haired ol’ woman took Cinnamon into her large hands. She knew, as big as Mama Bee was, she had a heart that was bigger still.
Cinnamon slowly opened her tiny eyes, looked around the curious room, and could hear her mama talking with the strange-looking ol’ woman. But she didn’t understand a word they were saying. Bored, she yawned and closed her eyes again, falling right back to sleep.
“But I can’t do that, Mama Bee!” Rose wailed after Mama Bee explained what was so important and what Rose needed to do. “What if the storm hurts my baby?”
“Listen here, Rose, if this here is anythin’ like the last heat wave, then on the eighth day, the heavens are gonna open up and pour down rain so heavy it will wash away any evil that’s about. But iffin that don’t work, the skies will open up again and bring ’bout the devil’s storm, and there ain’t nothin’ on God’s green earth that can stop it! It will kill everythin’ in its path.”
Mama Bee paused to catch her breath, dug her chin in so she could look Rose straight in the eye. “Child, evil is amongst us!
“It pains me to say it, but it started on the day Cinnamon was born. Only Cinnamon can break the storm, and only she can save you and the farm. You put the baby’s cot right at the entrance of the house, and let Cinnamon do the rest.” Mama Bee explained intently, “She’s a storm-breaker, Rose. You’ll see. She’ll split the evil storm away from the house. You, Charlie, and Ol’ Man Howard need to take cover in the cellar ’til the storm is over.”
Rose began to sob as she rocked herself back and forth. “Ol’ Man Howard will never let me do that! If he finds out we’ve been to see you…Charlie will lose his job! And there ain’t no other work out there for us, Mama Bee!”
“Shush, child! Ol’ Man Howard will thank you for what you’ll have done. Now get goin’! Go get ready for the storm. I can feel the evil comin’.”
Gloria “Cookie” Alcozer Thomas was born in Des Plaines, Illinois. By the age of 12, her poetry had been published in Harvard University’s magazine and the same year earned her the title of best young poet of Chicago. Her recent book, Feeding My Children, (TMC Londo
n, Ltd, 2012) is a collection of poems and short stories. At present a British citizen, she lives with her husband in Northamptonshire, England. For copies, visit www.cinnamonandthebatpeople.com or at Amazon.