Shaman said it was the only way to drive them out.
Every child knows from mothers’ milk that Tribute is the only way to correct the course of man. That days spin out from a spiral, and when the course has wronged, Tribute is the only way to correct it.
Sixty children, Shaman asked. One for each finger and toe of every warrior lost to the sickness. Sixty children sacrificed to the cenotes.
Tribute brought rain to parched fields, tribute sent clouds of hoppers on to other crops far away.
But sixty children meant no family went without sacrifice.
Babajide thought of his son, nearly eleven. Of his two girls, now seven and four. How could he choose?
He wouldn’t, he decided. They would flee. Go as far as Chichen Itza if that’s what it took. Even if it meant the White Face peopled Zama like a swarm of hoppers.