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RETURNING 

RETURNING 

Patrick Cabello Hansel CHAPTER 26: PROMISES KEPT, PROMISES BROKEN By PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL Rules may be made to be broken, but breaking promises leads to generational devastation.  The promises made to the Dakota that were broken by the U.S. and the subsequent environmental and human disaster ring down through the generations.  We are part of a bigger web, one based on getting: getting as much land, money, power as is possible.  That is what motivates Brian Fleming, his “associates” and the powers that have permitted him to cause such damage.  He did not get here on his own.  He is the descendent of greed writ large. Promises kept can have a rippling effect as well.  The promises Luz and Angel make to each other each day in their marriage—to sustain, love and protect each other and their children—also did not appear all of a sudden.  They are the legacy of promises made and kept by generations of ancestors.  Promises to sustain, love and protect—in spite of economic hardship, oppression, family breakup.  Their blood lines reach back to the native Nahuatl people who resisted the Spanish invasion. Even those forced to submit kept this promise: No matter what, I will survive, so that my children and my children’s children may one day thrive. Somehow—don’t ask me how—our little family’s act of howling and dancing like animals transported them back to their present time and place.  They were in the cemetery, nearing midnight, on a moonless light. They saw that the gates were locked, and were thinking about how to scale the fence, when Angel felt something behind them. He turned his phone’s flashlight toward it.  He expected to see a human being or an animal, but instead it was a large oak tree, its brown leaves still plentiful in winter. Why was I drawn to this tree?  he thought to himself.  What difference could it make? What he didn’t know was that the oak [...]

Returning Chapter 25: Moonstruck

Returning Chapter 25: Moonstruck

Patrick Cabello Hansel. Photo courtesy the author. By PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL Screen one: Luz and Angel stare at the full moon rising, holding little Angel’s hands, for a moment forgetting that their daughter had been taken and they were in a desperate search to find her. For just a minute, the beauty of the moon gave them room to breathe; a space free of fear, full of awe. Screen two: Agnes, looking at the same moon, 120 years later, holding little Lupe’s hand, knowing that she did the right thing by taking her away from Brian Fleming and his band of criminals. Knowing that it meant the life of her granddaughter Amethyst was in mortal danger. For Agnes, the full moon inspired not awe, but doom. We cannot stare at beauty or shake with fear forever. We have to move. Agnes took Lupe by the hand and decided to go to the one place that would not ask too many questions. It was a shelter for the abused: women, children and others. But it was not one of the official ones which offered shelter, food, medical care and gentle guidance through the web of police, courts and social workers. No, this was the most underground of underground shelters, run by a woman who was only known as La Conejita: the Little Rabbit. Not that she was small at all. Big in bone, in voice and in ability to strike fear in any man looking to exact revenge or obedience. She sheltered not only women who had been beaten, but women who had fought back, even killing their abusers. She sheltered all victims, innocent or not. Agnes knew that La Conejita would know how to deal with men like Brian Fleming. Meanwhile, Luz and Angel were stunned out of their lunar reverie by a cold wind that blew down from the north, that seemed to carry all of winter with it. It shocked them out of their momentary peace; it also emboldened them in their search. They had never dealt with time travel before. But they had encountered many difficult things, and had triumphed over incredible [...]

Returning CHAPTER 24: TRANSCENDING

Returning  CHAPTER 24: TRANSCENDING

By PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL Where is the best place to jump between centuries? Or perhaps, the better question is: when is the best place to jump between centuries? For while travelling through space seems pretty straightforward, it often isn’t. Roadblocks and detours abound. Travelling through time, with the idea that you can bend time to your advantage, is both impossible and widely practiced, sometimes successfully. Thank you to Dave and Mary Ellen for their suggestions of the liminal spaces where time travel of the unusual sort can occur! For those of you who doubt its existence, hang in there. You’ve followed the previous 23 and ½ chapters, which are in the past. You’ve wondered where our blessed family is going, which is in the future. So right now, in the present, suspend disbelief and follow along with me. I may not know where I am going, but I trust the trip will be fine. This is a ghost story, after all. In the first novella “Searching,” Matthew Kelly Hidalgo appeared as a possible ancestor of both Luz and Angel. I say “possible” because it was never clear if Matthew died in infancy, was murdered as a child, was kidnapped and became a Mexican folk hero, or if he exists in some form today. That’s the nature of ghosts. Angel and Luz have been following his trail for years, and now have landed back in the time where he roamed the swale, the piece of land we call East Phillips. Imagine there is no light rail, no Greenway, no Little Earth or even the cemetery. There is a railroad track that runs a block north of Lake Street. There are trees and a few houses. There is a swale, by definition, low and wet. Where would you go to get a perspective on your surroundings? Higher ground. So Angel and Luz, with little Angel in tow, followed the tracks until they began to bend at what is now 28th and Hiawatha. Near the Roof Depot and its clarion water tower. In the mid-19th century, the swale began to rise to the north and west there. Our [...]

RETURNING CHAPTER 23 ½: WHERE (OR RATHER, WHEN) ARE WE?

RETURNING CHAPTER 23 ½: WHERE (OR RATHER, WHEN) ARE WE?

By Patrick Cabello Hansel Estimable readers: Your dear writer is in a bit of a quandary. He has two parallel stories going, not only in different places, but in different times. Little Lupe is with Agnes in the near present, trying to escape the clutches of Brian Fleming and the forces of destruction he directs. Angel and Luz and little Angel are in the mid-18th century, trying to discover what the curse of Mateo Hidalgo Kelly might mean for them and their future. We got the last three into the past through a tesseract tunnel that led under the operation Brian Fleming was running in the swale (now East Phillips) to the cemetery. They were last seen walking a train track towards what they hoped was enlightenment. But that tunnel has been seized by law enforcement after the raid on Fleming’s converted garage/human trafficking/sweatshop/bit coin harvesting operation. That path—for now, at least—is closed. We need another portal, another gateway connecting time and space. And it must be in Phillips! And it must not be a place our blessed family has already been. Those spaces include Heart of the Beast, San Miguel Bakery, Maria’s, Mercado Central, Global Market, Stewart Park and the late, great Denny’s on Lake Street. So, I am asking for your help. How can our beloved family get back to the near present (that is, 2015)? Or rather, where in Phillips is that transcending space. Please send your nominations to me at phcreate@gmail.com. I relish your cooperation.

CHAPTER 23: AGNES MAKES A FAITHFUL DECISION

CHAPTER 23: AGNES MAKES A FAITHFUL DECISION

By PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL The name Agnes means “pure, holy,” from the Greek hagne. Going further back, the Indo-European root may be hyag, meaning “to sacrifice.” Those two meanings are about to collide in our elder Agnes, as she makes a fateful, nay, a faithful, decision to defy Brian Fleming and his ilk. Of course, no human is perfectly pure or holy, at least not in terms of the perfection we set as a standard. But here’s another linguistic lesson, sports fans, “to perfect” doesn’t just mean to do a job perfectly. It also means to complete a task or calling in the way it was meant to be. Agnes loved her granddaughter Amethyst, the only family member she had left. She had stood by her when she fell into addiction and sex trafficking. She had practiced tough love with her, grandmother love, mother love. Ingrid, Agnes’ only daughter had been killed in a police shooting when Amethyst was 12, and Agnes took the sad and angry girl in. Ingrid had been a single mother, working as a waitress, first at the old Denny’s on Lake Street, and then at Maria’s on Franklin. Ingrid had not been wanted by the police; they had not been shooting at her, but at a young black man as a “person of interest.” The man survived; paralyzed. Ingrid, who was waiting for the #5 bus, did not. The settlement from the city had paid for Amethyst’s rehab stays. Over and over and over. Agnes had grown up speaking Swedish on a farm outside of Lindstrom. She had picked up quite a bit of Spanish when she worked in one of the earliest pre-schools in the city. And her Somali neighbors at the senior building had taught her how to say “Salaam Alaykum” and “Eid Mubarak.” But most of all, her nearly 90 years living in Phillips had taught her the hard language of love and the even harder language of reality. Agnes could not imagine sacrificing her granddaughter, her only family member left. She knew it would break her own heart. But she could not imagine little [...]

RETURNING CHAPTER 22: WHERE IS SHE?

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 [...]

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