From Chapter 6: In which the two eldest sisters move to the city
“It wasn’t what I dreamed,” Magnolia said to the girls, during one of those moments of vulnerability in which one’s aching truths are shared with the least suspecting over a glass of sherry. “Why would I want to marry a man who once a month turned into a murderous beast? He killed my friend Christina. He killed George and Angus. But he was kind, and I was turning thirty. Had I said no, perhaps I would have not gotten another proposal. And I thought that maybe one day we could have a child if things changed. If a miracle were to happen.”
“I haven’t had the need to taste human flesh in almost ten years,” Harris preened.
“The more we pray to the Virgin,” Magnolia invited the girls to kneel behind her on the hard wooden floor, “the closer Harris is to achieving the Lord’s forgiveness.”
“But if God is all love and kindness,” Victoria asked her sister in a low voice, “why can’t He just fix him? And why do we have to talk to Him through his mother? Why does Magnolia have to pray so much and be so unhappy?”
God must be such a selfish, narcissistic bastard, she thought, if he needed so much begging and mortification to grant such a small favor. “If He knows it all,” Victoria continued, making sure Magnolia couldn’t hear, “if He’s all-powerful and full of mercy, why cannot he cure Harris? Doesn’t He love his mother? Or is it the Virgin who does not want to help? Magnolia shouldn’t have to live in constant fear. The Devil allowed our mother to perform great acts of magic in exchange for just blood. You want so-and-so to fall sick? It will cost you a pint. You want that person murdered? Give me two pints and one tooth. And it worked.”
“Because He’s righteous,” Rosa responded, smacking her sister on the back of her head. “And praying an hour every day is easier, anyway, and much less painful than letting a fiend drink your blood for fifteen minutes. Once you lose a tooth, you lose it forever. They don’t grow back, stupid.”