Friday May 27th 2022

Keep citizen journalism alive!




By Patrick Cabello Hansel

Imagine you are just about to see your child that has been lost; a loss that has taken your heart to new depths of pain. You”™ve been cared for by a gentle elder, you”™ve been refreshed with the tastiest food and drink. You are ready for the miracle.

But then, our loving Agnes told Luz and Angel that they had to see ”˜just one more person.”™ Like many heroes on a quest, the parents were ready to do anything. What was one more challenge. But as Agnes told them, she shrunk down, and the light and warmth of the room took on a chill.

From a doorway at the far end of the seniors”™ community room, someone appeared. ”˜Appeared”™ may be the best word to describe this person, if it really was a person. Dressed in a torn scarlet dress, with layers of black lace, she looked more like a creation out of an older horror movie. And when she spoke everyone, including little Angel, felt a shiver.

The strange being was covered in garish makeup, so much so you could not tell if she was young or old. Her voice had the rasp of a heavy smoker, but her words were very clear. She spoke directly to Luz:

“So, little Luz. Little Lucy, snooping around my territory.”

“Do I know you?” Luz asked.

The being let out a laugh that was as far from cheerful as hell is from heaven.

“Ha! Do you know me?” she howled. “You ruined my life! You wouldn”™t obey and you ran away, and so the punishment that was to be yours was given to me. Me, loosey, juicy, boozy Lucy! Me!”

Angel looked at Luz for some hint of explanation, but what he saw instead was fear. Fear because Luz had realized that this creature standing between her and her child was from her past.

“Are you Cindy? Cindy Keefe?”

“Ha!” the creature cackled again. “I was Cindy Keefe. I was your friend, remember? I took you to the party when we were in 7th grade.”

“The party where your friends and your brother raped me,” Luz said, defiantly. “What do you want with me? Why have you taken my daughter? Take me to her!”

“Just like I was taken after you left town, you mean?”

And then it all hit Luz like a blow to the gut. After she left the party, she had never set foot in Albert Lea again, Her family didn”™t come to the harvest at Hollandale and Le Sueur for many seasons. She got therapy and managed to graduate from high school, and had settled in Minneapolis with her Uncle Jaime. But the pain of that party had never left her. She had never seen Cindy again, but had heard that she had become involved with drugs and crime.

“Listen, Cindy,” Luz began. “I am sorry that terrible things happened to you. But it”™s not my fault. I left. I survived. Now take me to my little girl.”

“Oh, I will, pretty Lucy,” she said. “There”™s some other people waiting for you there. Let”™s go.”

She pointed to the doorway in the corner. Luz took little Angel with one hand and her husband with the other.

“Oh, I don”™t think you want your hubby to see this,” the creature laughed. “It will be fun, but not for him!”

Angel stepped up close to her face. He could smell some terrible kind of perfume that made him want to puke, but he didn”™t waver.

“Where Luz goes, I go,” he said. “We are one now, and nothing is going to separate us.”

“We”™ll see about that, won”™t we?!!”

To be continued”¦

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