Friday after supper, Emily and Maria came back from the dining hall and stepped right into the beginning of the Daughter of the Amazon meeting. Both had forgotten.
“Emily. Glad you could make it,” Connie drew them in. Emily glanced at the women and thought fast. There were nine angry, forgettable faces around Connie’s calm exterior. Connie, number ten, collated papers. Mindy, who made it eleven, looked at Emily with puppy-dog eyes that said she needed to go out. One last woman, who made it an even dozen, stared back at Emily with the biggest, darkest, most piercing eyes Emily had ever seen. Emily guessed the woman had some African heritage, but light skinned like an Arab or North African. And those eyes penetrated.
Fortunately, Maria managed to think fast. “We just came by to say sorry we couldn’t make the first meeting. Library calls.” Maria wiggled her glasses and took the papers Connie held out.
“Things should lighten up after the first couple of weeks,” Emily added, not wanting Maria to be the only liar. They turned toward the door and just got outside before that Arab-looking woman caught them.
“Elect,” she said, and Emily stopped still. The woman spoke directly to her. “You are a called one.”
Maria looked up and saw a frown form on Emily’s face. “That is not for public consumption,” Emily said.
The young woman looked down and then looked away. “I am sorry. My grandmother says I am a seer like her, but I am just learning. I did not mean to speak out of turn.”
“That’s all right,” Maria jumped in and Emily wondered what kind of discipline might be exerted at home to cause the girl to apologize and turn her head away like that. “I’m Maria and this is Emily, of course.”
The young woman looked up and smiled. “I’m Amina. Amina Yousef. Yes, my family moved here from Morocco when I was just a baby.”
Maria wrinkled her nose at Emily but talked to Amina. “So, you are going to be the Sybil of the group?” The others looked at her. “I read,” she defended herself. “Every Amazon tribe has a Sybil, a sort of seer-shaman type person.”
“Oh, no.” Amina shook her head. “I won’t be staying with this group. They are not real Amazons. Not like you, Emily.”
Emily did not know how to take that. “Not all Amazons were elect.”
“But the queen was, always. I am sure. These women are not real Amazons. They just hate men.”
“See?” Emily turned on Maria, hoping to get off the topic of being an elect.
“I should be getting back.” Amina turned again to the door.
“Hey, how did you know?” Emily had to ask for a rational explanation.
After Amina disappeared behind the door and Emily and Maria turned toward the campus center, Maria asked. “So do you think you should wear more make-up against the shine?” Emily had no idea where that quip came from so Maria explained. “Jessica isn’t here, so I said it for her.” Emily nodded, and Maria waited until they got to the campus center door before she asked the real question. “So what is a called one? What did she mean, elect?”
“Something to do with destiny,” Emily said, and then she had to explain what little she knew.