Smiling, Aïda thrust her hand out, thumb down.
“I pronounce a curse,” she said. Luisa let out an exasperated sigh. “This is not a curse that I create. It is not a curse on your children. No. I have never been as bad as you all think that I am. This is a curse that you have created, by doing this thing that you are about to do. And it is a curse upon my children. Because I know. I see how it is to be. I am the evil one. The cannibal. The one who would not go along. My children, no matter what decision I make, will forever be different from your children. Because make no mistake. What you have decided to do is to create new races. Seven new races. They will be separate and distinct forever, as much as you, Moira, are from Ivy. They will never merge into a single human race again, because that is not the way of humanity. Thousands of years from now, the descendants of you six will look at my descendants and say, ‘Ah, look, there is a child of Aïda, the cannibal, the evil one, the cursed one.’ They will cross the street to avoid my children; they will spit on the ground. This is the thing that you have done by making this decision. I will shape my child—my children, for I shall have many—to bear up under this curse. To survive it. And to prevail.” Aïda swept her gaze around the room, staring with her deep black eyes into the face of each of the other women in turn, then looked into the window and locked eyes with Dinah.
“I pronounce it,” she said, then slowly rotated her hand until her thumb was pointed up.