NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Monday August 8th 2022

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RETURNING CHAPTER 22: WHERE IS SHE?

by Patrick Cabello Hansel

As Angel and Luz and their son travel through space and time, we need to look in on the object of their search. That is, little Lupe, who has been missing. Remember her?! Although, I shudder to think of her as the object of her search, but more as the subject. The Brian Flemings of this world, and the forces they represent, deal with people as objects. Those who are striving to be fully human do not.

What do we know? We know that Luz and Angel arrived at Lupe’s daycare late. Angel had fallen into a deep sleep with his son, still tired from working a double shift at the hospital. Luz had been sidetracked by an unexpected trip with an unexpected man down a secret chamber at the bookstore. Neither one of them could remember who was supposed to pick up Lupita from daycare. They rushed there through the slush and wind to find the center closed and part of a strange note that read:

We have your light blessing.

You will know where she is.

They decided to walk to the place where they had met many years ago. There they ran into Agnes, the kindly elder who had met them in the church on their first journey together (see “Searching” chapter 34). She promised to lead them to their darling little girl.

What we didn’t know is that Agnes, who seemed so kind and wise (and strange) was actually taking care of little Lupe. Agnes, who led them to the feast in the community room of the senior apartment building, had been charged with the little girl’s caretaking. But “care” was not exactly the right word. For she had been charged by Brian Fleming and his gang with holding Lupe until he had finished his plan. To make clear what that meant, he had told Agnes that if she told Luz and Angel anything about the plot, he would come back and “take care of her and her stupid granddaughter.”

So you see, Agnes’ betrayal was done under extreme duress. Her granddaughter, Amethyst had been one of Brian’s “girls”. He had trafficked her as soon as she dropped out of school at 16 and began using. You could say that Amethyst had made some stupid mistakes to get to where she was. But to Brian Fleming, the only stupid thing she did was thinking she could ever leave his enterprise. He had let her visit her grandmother every Sunday, but a month ago, she didn’t return on Monday. Brian Fleming caught up with her in a little bar in Dundas, about 40 miles from south Minneapolis. After administering the usual “corrective” for runaways, he hid her in the basement of another house he owned.

Somehow, he discovered that Agnes had special gifts, and had a special connection with Angel and Luz. He visited her on a Sunday two weeks ago, and gave her an ultimatum. If she helped him in his plot against the little family, she’d see her granddaughter again. If not, she would disappear.

Now, Agnes was a good, old soul, and her granddaughter was the last family member she had. She agreed to go along with Brian Fleming’s terrible plan, hoping that she would at some point in time be able to gather the courage to help stop it.

That time is about to come.

To be continued …

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