The night Aveline was born was the night the winds came to Restrepo. These were not the usual soft, whispering winds that blew on the plains and flirted with the curtains in the window — these were serious, life-taking winds. They battered the walls of the town, bent trees forward and sent livestock airborne.

The people of Restrepo bolted their doors against the winds and cowered under their kitchen tables, holding their hands over their ears. But they couldn’t block out the high keening wail of the winds. Some later reported hearing words on the winds, wild, weird, unintelligible words that pierced the ears of all who heard them.

In the midst of this pandemonium, a slight woman lay in bed, bent forward like the trees outside. She was oblivious to what was happening outside, battered by an inner storm. Her breathless cries were swallowed by the winds, but her husband saw her pain-racked eyes and felt a trickle of fear creep down his spine.

The midwife looked at him and he knew the worst was yet to come.

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