Saturday March 17th 2018

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SEARCHING – a Serial Novelle CHAPTER 6: The Mission

By Patrick Cabello Hansel

Angel dreamt before he awoke. He could hear voices: his mother, Luz Maria, a childhood friend from back in Axochiapan, whose name he couldn’t remember. The boy was kicking a semi-deflated soccer ball through a lot bereft of grass or flowers and calling out to Angel: “Dále, dále, Cameroon”, the name of his neighborhood team. Angel ran to the ball, as fast as his leaden legs would take him, but he couldn’t get there. He woke up kicking, his eyes looking east and west for a ball he could not see.

It was early evening. There was a young woman from the reservation sitting by his bed, wrapped in a Mexican blanket. She seemed to be moving something in her hands. At first, Angel thought it was a rosary, the way her fingers moved. But as his eyes adjusted to the candlelight and back to consciousness after three days out, he saw she was moving a few small, smooth stones. He did not know the girl, he could not have known that she had bathed him, changed him, rubbed salve in his temples. And yet he knew enough to call her correctly:

“Sister”, he said, “where am I?”

She smiled. She did not talk. She walked quickly out of the room and just as quickly returned with a bowl of soup and some flat bread. Angel was famished, but as he saw how the girl lifted the bowl with her hands, he began to lift his own: a gesture almost hidden in the thin light. Angel could not remember the last time he had prayed, but before he touched his soup, he crossed himself and made a vow. The vow had no specific promise in it, certainly no revenge. If you asked him what he was committing himself to, he might have said “to live one more day.”

After a few minutes, Mother walked in. She sat on the bed and asked him, “Why are you here?”

Angel stared at her for a second, frightened by the intensity of her eyes, and drawn to them at the same time.

“I don’t even know where I am. All I remember is a blow to my head, and some voices, and then the light going. Where am I?”

“Let me ask you again”, Mother Light replied. “Why are you here?

“I don’t know. Someone must have brought me.”

“Jaime and Ahmed brought you to this room. But that is not my question. My question is why are you here? What is your mission? How will you fulfill your name, Angel?”

“You know who I am?”

“Yes. I know who you are. I know the owl and the strange word. I know that Luz Maria has been plaguing heaven with her cries. But what I don’t know is what you are going to do about it.”

Angel sat up in bed. His head still hurt, but not from the recent beating as much as from all the questions swirling in his head. Who was this woman? How did she know so much about him? Where was Luz Maria? He had to see her! He started to get out of the bed.

“Tranquilo mi amor, tranquilo. You can’t go see Luz Maria now—your presence would put her in too much danger. You can stay here tonight, and then tomorrow, you must go to your home.”

“I can’t go home. I don’t get along with my dad, and there’s no peace in that place”

“I did not say you must go to your father’s house. I said to your home.”

“My home? What home?’

“Precisely. The home you’ve been searching for, the one you’ve been sent for. “

“How do you know so much about all this stuff? This is really freaking me out!”

“I know, I know. Not to worry. You’re strong. The beating you took would have killed most people. You rest here tonight, and tomorrow Ana”—she pointed to the girl—“will take you to a place where you can start. You need to find out who wants you dead.”

“And who wants you alive”, Ana said, the only words she would ever speak to Angel.

“Yes,” Mother said. “Now rest. I know you have many questions, but I am not the one to answer them.”

“But can I ask you just one question,” Angel pleaded.

“It depends on its nature”.

“It’s pretty simple,” he said, raising the bowl with his hand. “Can I please have some more soup?

Mother Light laughed, and reached her large hands towards his bowl.

“Soup we have plenty of. Soup can always be found in this place.”

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