Bokor stood on the beach at the edge of the rain forest The wind had picked up again as the sun made its way down to other parts of the world. Palm fronds scratched their nightly song. Birds and animals chattered noisily – calling to each other for the last time that evening. She watched as Zoya limped back toward the house, the parcel of paint supplies under her arm. Suddenly there was a movement to Bokor’s left. She turned. Her eyes narrowed as the figure of Ralph came into view.
He had been following Zoya. The dusk of the sunset combined with his unibrow to shade his eyes, making it hard to read the expression on his face. Bokor glanced at Zoya. The girl was just at the edge of the path to the house, so the older woman turned back and stepped out into Ralph’s path.
“How’s that pretty girlfriend of yours, Ralph? Maggie is her name, right?” she said.
Ralph was wearing a sleeveless t-shirt that showed off the well-toned muscles of his shoulders and back. His posture was slumped – as if the muscles were not strong enough to hold themselves up. At the sound of Bokor’s voice, the long, thin fingers of his hands clenched into fists.
“What’s it to you?” he growled.
Bokor puffed out her bottom lip. Her eyes were steely, “Stay away from Zoya, Ralph. Go back to your little friend. When your group leaves in two days, Zoya will remain here with me.”
Ralph’s body expanded as if he had just taken a huge breath. “What makes you think she wants to stay here?”
“What do you care?” Bokor turned to leave. She felt the air swoosh around her sounding like an airport train coming into the station. Before she could turn her head, Ralph’s hands were around her neck.
“What have you done to her, Bokor? It’s you – your fault that she’s changed – that I cannot get my mind off of her. You have made her… my plans are ruined – you – you witch.” He squeezed harder.
Bokor would have laughed if she had been able to breathe in enough air. She reached around and thrust her hand to the back of his neck. Ralph howled in pain, let go of her neck and fell backward onto the sand.
“Don’t mess with me, boy. Or are you a boy?”
His brown eyes looked yellow in the twilight. His right hand covered the area where she had wounded him. He started to stand up. His left hand pushed against the ground and he was on his knees. She kicked sand into his face.
“I’ll ruin you, Bokor.
She looked at him. It was dark, for sure, but she could still see pretty clearly. There should have been blood dripping through his fingers. He saw the expression on her face, got up quickly and bounded off.
But not before she had caught a glimpse of the wound she had inflicted. Her mind raced. She looked down at the little knife that she had used to attack him. There was no blood – only a few course, grey hairs.