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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Wednesday June 12th 2024

SEARCHING ”“ a Serial Novelle CHAPTER 12: The Raid

By Patrick Cabello Hansel

People running in all directions. Shouting. Horns. Babies screaming. Right in front of him, an old man tripped on the ice and fell face down, splitting open his upper lip and breaking his nose. Blood poured out upon his worn Vikings sweater and onto the fresh snow. What is going on? Angel thought. Did someone get shot?

He began to walk towards the uproar that was centered at Bloomington and Lake. Three or four SUV”'s with dark tinted windows were blocking the intersection. Cops were putting up barricades. A mother holding a baby and pulling a toddler along by the sleeve of his jumpsuit yelled at him: “!La Migra! ¡Corre! ¡Corre!”. And so he ran, away from the immigration raid, from the chaos and noise. He ran smack into the back of a girl in a sky blue coat, knocking both of them to the ground. As he struggled to pick himself up, he said “I”'m so sorry” and held his hand out to help her. He noticed there was a large rip in his pants, and the skin was red and stinging, as if someone had slapped him.

She turned around and said, “That”'s OK, I was”¦” and stopped. It was Luz, her face red, bits of snow clinging to the fake fur of her hood. “Angel”¦what are doing here?”
“Luz, oh my God, it”'s good to see you. I”'ve missed you so much”.
“I missed you too.”
For a moment””you know that moment if you”'ve loved and been loved””the street disappeared, the people running, the loudspeakers of the police ordering people to be calm. It was as if all power was concentrated in their eyes, as if they were breathing, thinking, believing just with their eyes: young, hungry, free.
“We”'ve got to get out of here!” Luz said, and began to cry. “I think they got Uncle Jaime”.
Angel touched her shoulder gently, and said, “Let”'s go.”
They ran down an alley, slipping on the ice under the snow, grabbing each other”'s arms. As if by magic, a door appeared. Their eyes, shrunken to pinpoints by the sun and snow, could barely see inside the dark space but somehow they found the stairway and began to climb: one floor after another, until they arrived at the last door. It opened into a dark space full of strange and beautiful shapes. Giant turtles, heads of mice, a dragon that went on forever, a sun made of mirrors and painted stones.
“Look, Angel”, Luz whispered. “It”'s Maria and José””Mary and Joseph. And look over there””a donkey!”
“What are they doing here?” Angel whispered back. “Where are we? What is this place?”
“And why are we whispering when no one else is here?” Luz answered, in a perfect stage whisper that made both of them laugh.
Angel leaned against the cardboard frame of what appeared to be a boat. He breathed in the smell: dust, paint, Luz.
Luz looked at him intently, her large brown eyes now fully dilated.
“How have you been, Angel?” she asked. “I”'ve been praying for you.”
“I know, Mother Light told me”, he said. And then said something he wasn”'t sure he believed, until the words came out of his mouth: “And I could feel it””I could feel you””when I was hurt, when it felt like I was swimming in a dark hole. Darker than this place. Darker and not so kind.”
“I think that was death you were swimming in.”
“Death? Whose death? Mine?”
“I don”'t think it”'s your death, exactly. I think””I don”'t know, maybe it”'s the death of our people, or the death of the whole world.”
“You”'re scaring me now, Luz”, Angel said, moving a little closer to her. But I”'m actually feeling less scared than I have in a long time, he thought.
“I think you know that”'s not true”, and she lifted her hand to touch Angel”'s cheek, letting her fingers linger.
“So what do we do now?” Angel asked.
“We need to stay here until it”'s over”, Luz said, “Maybe we should sit down. We could tell each other stories.”
“Ghost stories?”, Angel laughed.
“No, our stories. Where we”'ve come from and what we”'re searching for”.
“I don”'t know much about that”, Angel said, sighing.
“Yeah, right! You hear the owl, you find me, you get beat up and left for dead, you”'re healed by Mother Light, you run into me””literally””right in the middle of a raid by the Migra. No stories at all!”
Angel shook like he had indeed just heard a ghost story.
“How do you know about the owl?”, he asked.
“Mi amor, I”'ve been hearing that owl since I was a little girl”¦”

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