“Señorita Doctor, I need you,” said Señor Lopez in Spanish, “to confirm that my daughter is still a virgin.”
He stood beside the examination table, flies dancing around him, his oily black hair reflecting the overhead light. I nodded, stalling, while I searched my mind for an appropriate response. Lopez already had his daughter lying on the table. I looked from him to her. Her name was Kachá. She was fifteen and a beautiful aboriginal girl, bronze-skinned, black-haired, and dark-eyed. She wouldn’t look at me, but instead turned her face aside. Her cheeks and neck raged where they had broken out in a flush.
I chewed the inside of my lip and finally said with my gringo Spanish, “Why do you need to know this, señor?”
He replied, matter-of-factly, “Because she is worth more money if she is pure.”
The city of Iquitos nestled at the foot of the Andes Mountains, so deep in the Amazonian rainforest that you couldn’t reach it except by plane or river boat. It bustled and put up a brave front, pretending to be modern and sophisticated. Yet, once you peeled back the top layer, you uncovered the old ways and belief systems that were always the nature of the Amazon River basin. This included arranged marriage and the exchange of a daughter for a dowry.
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Where our world ends, imagination begins.
Angel Leigh McCoy pulls stories from the ether, decorates them with wonder,
and powers them with racing hearts.