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SEARCHING ”“ a Serial Novelle: CHAPTER 10: Abuela

By Patrick Cabello Hansel

“Mr. Bussey, I never used to believe in ghosts”, Angel said, as he wiped up his coffee with the napkins the waitress had brought. The other patrons at Maria”'s had gone back to their meals.

“Oh, I”'d listen to my abuela when she told us stories about the spirits” he went on, “and when she made her special bread and chocolate for El Dia de los Muertos. She always said that our family was descended from Aztec warriors and Spanish conquistadors, and that the blood in us was really angel fire. Crazy stuff like that. But I didn”'t think much about it until these last couple of weeks.”

“What happened to change your mind?” Mr. Bussey asked.

“All this weird stuff has been happening to me. First I heard an owl calling from the cemetery”¦”

“The sign of death”, Mr. Bussey interrupted.

“Yeah””but whose? Then I met this girl named Luz, who I think likes me too. I almost got killed by…well, I don”'t know who did it, only that I was beaten unconscious, and Luz”' uncle Jaime, and some guy named Ahmed carried me to this house where a woman named Mother Light lives.”

“Mother Light””who lives over by Cedar, a healer I think.”

“Yes! How do you know that?”

Mr. Bussey smiled and ate a piece of his corn pancake. “Oh, you”'d be surprised what I know”.

“So anyway, Mother Light tells me not to go see Luz yet, but to search for who wants me dead, and who wants me alive. And somehow I run into you, and you tell me about a ghost who”'s half Mexican wandering around my old neighborhood, a ghost of a boy who has an owl birthmark on his neck. What is all this?”

“What do you think?”

“I think it has something to do with this strange word I”'ve heard. Twice now, I”'ve heard this word, once when no one was there, and once said by a funny looking guy.”

“What”'s the word?” Mr. Bussey asked.

“Lotten. I have no idea what that means”, Angel said.

“Sounds German to me. Or maybe Swedish” Mr. Bussey laughed. “There are a few old Swedes still hanging around here.”

The waitress came over and filled their coffee cups.

“It is Swedish”, she said. “It means ”˜let”'”.

“Let?” Angel and Mr. Bussey said, simultaneously. They both thought they should pinky swear, for good luck, but neither mentioned it.

“Yes, ”˜let”', like ”˜let it happen”', or ”˜let there be light;”, she answered, and walked away.

Mr. Bussey and Angel looked at each other for awhile. Finally the teacher spoke: “There”'s the light again: Luz, Mother Light, let there be light”.

“Yeah”, Angel replied, “but where do I go looking for light?”

“Is your grandmother still alive?”, he asked.

“Yes. She lives in Guanajuato.”, Angel said.

“Maybe you should talk to her”.

“I”'d like to, but”¦well, I”'m kind of not staying with my folks anymore, and I don”'t have a phone.”

“You can buy a phone card cheap”, Mr. Bussey said, as he stood up from the table and stretched a yawn out. “I get mine at that little store next to Taco Taxi.”

“How do you know about this stuff?” Angel asked, amazed.

“I”'m a history teacher, remember?” he laughed. “By the way, what”'s your abuela”'s name?”

“Socorro”¦Socorro Cruz”, and then Angel”'s lip trembled a little. “Soccorro Cruz Hidalgo”.

“I thought so. Looks like you and our little ghost Mateo Kelly Hidalgo might be related. Good luck”, he laughed. “Or should I say ”˜lotten luck to you”'?”

“Shut up!” Angel replied, and headed south again, towards the winter sun.

Patrick Cabello Hansel, creative & amiable poet, author, dramatist, and pastor (and so, too, Luisa Cabello Hansel) St. Paul”'s Lutheran Church – 28th Street and 15th Ave. in Midtown Phillips. Writes a new Chapter for Novelle Searching in each month”'s The Alley. *A new chapter appears every month in The Alley. You can influence the story by contacting the author with your ideas and comments.

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