If you’ve been following along, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted here in a while. Part of it is that I’ve been busy at work, a bunch of great games have come out, and I just generally haven’t had the time. I usually have stories that are in the editing stages that I can put out, but I’ve had no such luck with anything sitting in my file folder recently. I’ve also been hit with a bad case of writer’s block. That being said, I forced myself to write something and I came up with this week’s story- How St. George and Princess Peach Slayed the Dragon. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and I hope that you do too. As always, thanks for reading.
I’m St. George, and I’m here to save the world from the dragon. It’s not the same green dragon, even though it still has the poison blood. This is a black dragon, and it’s way bigger. It can shoot fire and ice out of its mouth, but it still has the same poison blood thing. That’s why I have rocket boots now. Not like a jet pack, but just the boots, like Iron Man. It helps me do flips and stuff to avoid the dragon’s attacks, and I don’t have to die if it starts to make a pool of blood, because I can just fly away.
No, you can’t be Barbie. Barbie doesn’t fight dragons. There’s no ‘Dragon Fighter Barbie.’
Ok, fine, you can be Princess Peach, but not like the one from the real game. You have to be the one from Super Smash. That way you can float and fight a little bit.
No, the dragon does not look like Bowser. He looks like a huge dragon. Like Smaug or Fin Fang Foom, except he’s black and not an alien. So you can sit over here. You’re having a tea party, but remember you’re NOT Barbie. You’re Peach. I’m invited, but I can’t come because I’m helping Goku beat Frieza again. So they’re fighting, and I fly up and watch for a second. Goku isn’t doing good, because Freiza has cyborg upgrades again and Goku can’t form the spirit bomb without help. Frieza holds Goku up in the air by the neck with her tail, but I fly in and cut it off. Oh wait, I think Frieza is a boy. I’m not sure. Anyway, you can’t see that last part because it happens so fast, but Frieza just stands there surprised for a little bit. Before he can say anything, I slice him into a thousand pieces like Trunks did, but I finish with a bigger energy blast.
I’m getting to that. The dragon isn’t here, he’s where you are.
He’s not a guest. He swoops down and attacks your tea party. So like, pretend you’re sitting there, right? And you’re talking about whatever, and then the dragon comes in and crushes your Beanie Babies.
Ok, fine, not your Beanie Babies, your Cabbage Patch Kids. After that, as everyone tries to run away, the dragon breathes out a huge ice storm that freezes everybody in place.
No, you’re frozen. It was a surprise attack, so how would you be ready to run away or block?
No, you’re frozen.
Fine, whatever. You can say you, like, used your umbrella to block the blast. So it’s just you and Toad that aren’t frozen. Everyone else is. Anyway, I sense that something is wrong and I begin flying to you. As I go, a bunch of other heroes get the call too, and start going there. I have to come a long way, so a lot of people get there before me. So you see a bunch of people come up to the dragon, but it starts just crushing everyone and shooting fire. When it’s done with the small guys like Spider-Man and Superman and the X-Men, the people with big mechs start trying to take it down. It takes out Voltron and the Megazord really quick, but it takes a little bit for it to get through all of the Gundams.
Oh, uh, that’s a good point. So the robots from Dexter’s Lab try to fight it too.
Yes, the Transformers too, but anyway, they all die. Or not, like, die, but just get hurt really bad. The dragon just has them lying around all over the battle field.
Yeah, like when my action figures are on the floor, except there’s hundreds of them. Their armor is all broken, and they’re bleeding and everything. So the dragon is about to start eating people when I show up. I hover over the battle and Goku comes up to me and he says that he thinks the dragon is too powerful to fight, because even the mechs were too weak. I say that maybe we can talk to it, so I fly down a little bit. When it sees me, it tries to blast me with fire, but I hold up my shield and tell it to stop. It’s surprised that I didn’t die, so it listens to me for a second. I tell it that it doesn’t have to do this, and that if it doesn’t stop I’ll have no choice but to kill it. It just gets mad and attacks me. I fly away lighting fast, though, so it can’t touch me.
No, it doesn’t beat me up like the other people. I’m too fast. I start cutting the thing to shreds. I’m toying with it.
It doesn’t hit me at all. I’m too fast. Everyone is just looking up and cheering because I just keep on knocking its attacks away with one hand and stabbing it with my sword.
Ok, fine, it hits me like one time, and knocks me really far back. I’m not like hurt or anything, but my shield breaks, so I hold my sword with two hands. And I take off my armor so I’m even faster. And I start to fly at him super-fast. There’s a huge shock wave.
Good idea. So you pull out a turnip and throw it at him. It doesn’t hurt him at all, but when you do it, he turns around and gets distracted. As soon as he does that, I cut right through him, and leave a big slash all down his body.
No, he’s not dead. That’s NOT how you kill a dragon. After I slash him almost in half, I kick him from underneath and send him really high into the air. Everyone is looking and I just tell them to get away because the blast could hurt them. As everyone starts running, I fly into the air and catch up with the dragon. He tries to blast me with his fire and ice again, but I slap the beams away. I actually slap them back at him so that he gets burned and frozen a little bit, but he’s still not dead, but at this point his acid blood is leaking everywhere. I fly through it, and weave left and right and try to go faster. As I reach the dragon, I fly right past it, and it can’t believe how fast I’m going. But as it tries to look up to see where I went, it just sees me coming back down, with the sun in its eyes. I fly down as fast as I can, and there’s a sonic boom that like shatters everything around for miles. I hit it right on top of its head, and stab my sword directly into its brain. The impact makes it explode.
It explodes because I hit it so hard and used so much energy. Anyway, so as the smoke and acid and stuff clear, everyone is just looking up at the explosion and they’re all quiet. But eventually they see me just flying there and they start to cheer. As I come down, everyone is happy that I just took out the dragon. They give me the keys to the city, and I marry Cheetara from Thundercats.
I don’t marry you because you’re my sister and that’s gross. Besides, Princess Peach is married to Mario.
Alright, we’ll be in for dinner in a second.
Alright! Geez, ok let’s go. Make sure you wash your hands. If you don’t you’ll get poison dragon blood in your food.
The Fuerza Family Memoirs are complete for now! Part three is up, so you can now experience the trilogy. The newest chapter can be found here and you can access all three under the short stories tab. On another note, there’s been news recently about supercooled sunspots on our star. There’s a story for that. I hope you have a great week. As always, thanks for reading.
Wherein Ian Meets a Dream for the Future and a Shade from the Past
I needed to get away. For those of you who have followed my story with the Fuerzas up to this point, you know why. I won’t get into detail, but my life was a mess. I had nightmares. I had no appetite and the whole world seemed like it was a bright light after being in a very dark room. I felt blinded and suffocated. That’s when Rosa called me and told me the good news.
She said that we needed to put in for leave and pack our things. A cousin of hers named Paloma was having a baby, and Irma had announced it as a family celebration. All of the Fuerzas in the U.S. would go to the Dominican Republic for this auspicious occasion. When I asked what all the excitement was for (I know that families get together all the time for the birth of children, but I’m always a little more curious when dealing with Rosa’s family), she told me simply that Paloma was having a girl.
In her family, the girls are less likely to be born with abilities. In her generation, only she, her sister, and this cousin Paloma had been given “the family gifts.” As she explained this to me, I noted that one would be hard-pressed to call what her sister can do a gift, but she noticed my discomfort with the subject and quickly excused my snark. That’s one of the things I love about her. She knows I joke when I’m uncomfortable and doesn’t make a big deal of it. Anyway, Irma had seen in a dream that Paloma would give birth to a child who carried the right mixture of genes. That’s why the whole family was headed out there. She wanted me to come along.
“Some island air will be good for you,” she said as I voiced my doubts for the third time before finally buying my plane ticket and telling my boss I’d be gone for a week. In my mind I knew that she was right, but the fear of something out of the ordinary happening kept me on edge. A few days later, as we boarded the plane, she grabbed my arm and reassured me that nothing would go wrong. My girlfriend is psychic, so that sort of thing holds meaning.
On the plane, sitting in a first class seat, was Irma. I can’t be sure, but I think that was the first time I had seen her in person. Upon seeing me, she slowly rose and put her arms around Rosa and me. We held up the boarding process standing like that, but people seemed to wait. She has that kind of gravitas. Before she relinquished her hold on us, she whispered something to me. I know that it was to me, because Rosa didn’t react and Irma looked right at me as she said it.
“Tienes que ver.”
You have to see.
As I walked back to my seat, a strange sensation came over me. I felt weightless. Suddenly there seemed to be the lightest of breezes blowing through the plane. I had the sensation of being outdoors with the sun on my face. As I took my seat, it subsided.
“What did she do to us,” I asked Rosa. I was very aware that something had just occurred.
Rosa just looked back at me with the exasperated look she gets sometimes when I attribute supernatural qualities to something mundane. I sat for the rest of the flight kicking myself for always asking about how trivial things like family income or career choices relate to their powers. I felt like the boy who had cried wolf one too many times, and now that I was sure there was something afoot, she didn’t believe me. She slept for most of the flight, and when we landed my anxiety was almost forgotten in my excitement.
As soon as we got off the plane, Rosa’s family moved toward a fleet of sleek black cars. From what I’d read, I knew that cars of any kind were valuable on the island, so right off the bat I knew that the Fuerzas were well connected. It almost confirmed my suspicion that here, on this small part of the world, the Fuerzas were secretly gods. The pantheon piled in, squabbling for good seating. Rosa calmly walked me toward one of the shabbier looking ones in the back of the caravan and we got in. We rode away from the airport and through the touristy parts of the island. We passed a huge hotel with a golden gate on the way out of town. We were headed north from Santo Domingo to a rural place outside of Santiago. The ride was long, but this time Rosa stayed awake with purpose.
“Alright, listen. Here’s what you need to know about Paloma,” she said, speaking with what seemed to be a heavier accent than I remember her taking off with. “She was born with the same ability that Irma and I have, but it manifests itself different ways. Irma has mastered so many abilities that it’s hard to even tell that we can do the same things. Paloma, on the other hand, somehow tried to do too much when she was little. Irma says she saved her just in time from whatever she was looking at, but the trauma of it caused her to go blind.”
“So her psychic powers somehow hurt her eyes,” I asked.
“No. Doctors say there’s nothing wrong with her eyes. It’s some sort of mental block. After it happened, all of her other senses are heightened. She can hear everything and her “future sight” is way sharper than mine. It might even be sharper than Irma’s. But since whatever happened, Paloma has been kept at home by her parents. She’s had private tutors. She’s never left the grounds.”
I nodded slowly, taking it all in.
“So you’re telling me that whoever the kid’s dad is…”
Rosa cut me off with a sharp under-no-circumstances-are-you-to-ask-about-the-baby’s-father look and I just let that sentence trail off. We talked about other things for the rest of the ride, her telling me about villages we passed, or looking at the scenic mountains. I was dazzled by the beauty of the place. The roads wound and twisted around a landscape so different from Washington D.C. that in that moment it was no wonder to me that such people had sprung from this island. It was like nature showing off to the world what it can do. Thinking of my mosquito infested swamp of a city, I figured Mother Nature let the interns do the designing that day.
After a few hours, as soon as my legs began to cramp from sitting on a plane and then sitting in a car, we arrived. The curving road ended and an paved driveway began. It was almost a mile before we came to the gate, and another quarter mile before the house. It was painted all white and sat nestled on a hill with mountains framing it like a picture. A group of uniformed serving staff and a well-dressed couple stood outside. The man smiling and waving looked like the spitting image of Valentin, Rosa’s father. The woman wore an air of superiority. As the doors of the cars were opened for us, the man rushed down the stairs to embrace his family. The woman stayed at the top of the stairs. She was the queen of this castle. No head would be higher than hers and she would not stoop to greet anyone in such an undignified way.
As the man made his way through the crowd of family members, everyone took their turn saying hello and hugging him. When he got to Valentin and Irma, Valentin lifted him off of his feet and swung him once in a circle like a child. Once he was brought back down to earth, the man leaned over to kiss Irma firmly on each cheek. Rosa used this opportunity to usher me forward. She began making the introductions.
The man introduced himself as her Tio Rodrigo. His wife, who I met later, is named Maria. Amidst the fond greetings, the staff began taking everyone’s bags into the house. Some went upstairs and some went to the guest house in the back of the complex. Rosa led me into the dining room where a buffet of food was set up along the wall. Family trickled in and we all went down the line, two servers ladling delicious food onto our plates. Once everyone was settled in and eating, Maria spoke for the first time.
“We are all very glad that you are here,” she said in perfect, almost unaccented English. “The Cabrals and the Fuerzas have always been closely tied, so our successes are your successes. The same blood runs in our veins and yesterday we celebrated a new life joining our fold.”
A murmur went up around the table. As Valentin began to ask if the baby had already been born, Irma stood up, made her way into the foyer, and up the stairs. I felt a strong chill pass over me as she went. A man from the room who I hadn’t noticed before swept up the stairs after her. A few eyes followed.
“Rest assured that everyone will get a chance to see our little bundle of joy in due time. For now, Paloma is resting. While she does, we can still celebrate this momentous occasion for our family. Here’s to strengthening our blood and passing on our great traditions!”
Everyone raised a glass to that.
After dinner, Rosa and I went out to our room in the guest house. For the rest of the evening, we just reveled in being on vacation. I’ve only been out of the country a few times, and I’d never been to anywhere tropical before. At least for one night, I let everything slip away. The next morning, the trouble started.
“What did you do to her,” we heard someone roar across the grounds. Rosa sprang from our bed and quickly dressed. She seemed to know what was going on, but I was too groggy and slow to ask. I dragged myself out of bed to follow, but by the time I arrived at the main house, everything was relatively quiet. The strange man that I had seen yesterday but not been introduced to lounged just outside the door to the back of the house.
“What’s going on,” I asked him lazily. He didn’t seem to hear me. I cleared my throat and made an effort to sound perkier. I repeated my question. His eyes darted to me as though he did not register what I was saying. Maybe he didn’t speak any English.
With that, the man scrambled to his feet and fled from me at full speed. He swung open the door, rushed into the house, and clambered up the stairs. I smelled smoke coming from just inside the door, and as I peaked in, I saw that the entire hallway leading to the front of the house had black scorch marks all over it. I followed the trail that lead into the foyer and there I saw what had caused the commotion.
Valentin Fuerza and Rodrigo Cabral stood facing each other, squared off. Maria, the tall, sleek goddess of this realm, stood at the top of the stairs, looking down on them. Multiple family members stood around, not getting in the way, but trying to calm the two. I grabbed Rosa who looked at me worriedly.
“I’m going to rip you apart,” Valentin said, growling low like a wounded animal. He charged in, barreling past Rosa’s cousin C.J. who tried to hold him back. Rodrigo was too quick for him though. Like a matador, the man sprung to the side, letting Valentin pass him. The takedown attempt left Rosa’s dad sprawled out on the floor in front of him. With a whoosh like the sound of a Bunsen burner lighting, Rodrigo proceeded to produce flame from his hand and hurl it down onto Valentin’s back, leaving a scorched black mark where his shirt had been.
Upon seeing this, C.J. and his brother Jose rushed Rodrigo, but a cascade of flame fell between them like a wall. The entire room was filled with an infernal heat. When the flash subsided, the two men stood uncertain before Rodrigo. His voice remained level, but his nostrils flared and flame danced around him, casting him in light and shadow like a Balrog.
“I will have no more of this in this house. I do not know what happened to abuela, but I will burn every man who attempts to continue this folly.”
C.J. still bristled, but Jose held his hands up in a sign of truce. He warily moved past Rodrigo and helped Valentin up off of the floor. The smell of singed flesh filled the air as he passed. He spit at Rodrigo’s feet as Jose helped him up stairs.
“El Diablo,” he growled.
Rodrigo began to ascend the stairs after him, and at the top Maria gave way. From my vantage point, I could see Rodrigo patting out flames that had begun to lick at his shirt sleeves. I could also see that Valentin’s back had already started to heal.
“Rosa, what the hell is going on,” I said a little too loud for subtlety. Her other family members began to scatter and return to what they were doing before.
Rosa led me back toward the guest house and didn’t speak until we were outside. She told me how Rodrigo and Maria had seemed very secretive and guarded yesterday. When Valentin awoke that morning, he had asked to see the baby, and Maria had denied him. When he ignored her edict, he had forced his way into Paloma’s room only to find the girl and Irma lying next to each other in a trance. There was no baby in sight. He tried to wake them, but with no success. When he confronted the master of the house, a fight broke out as tempers flared.
“Those two are always fighting, but this was serious,” she said.
Rosa’s worry was easy to see, so I didn’t ask too many questions. Before long, her tia Alison came out to where we were sitting by the lavish pool and began to speak to Rosa in Spanish. I only understood a little bit, but Rosa began to translate for me. Recognizing that Rosa wanted me filled in, Alison began speaking in English.
She said that Maria would let her and Rosa see the baby soon, but then we would be on our way. Rodrigo and Maria guarded Paloma so tightly that they didn’t want her exposed to the outside world too much, including her own family. Everything had become tense since what Alison described as the “accident.”
From what Maria had told them when everyone had calmed down, Irma had gone in to see Paloma and the newborn girl. When the two came into contact with each other, they had fallen into a sleep like death. No one knew what the significance of that was. As I heard it, a rushing filled my ears. As Alison finished, a servant politely interrupted and said that Maria was ready to see them. Rosa grabbed me by my hand firmly and we began toward the house. The man made a quiet objection, but she ignored him. Clearly, Rosa had plans of her own.
As we climbed the stairs, Maria looked at me like I was a bug that had just crawled out of her drinking glass.
“Only you two. Not him. He’s not family.”
“Irma wants him to meet the baby,” said Rosa. She paused, looking pensive before continuing. “And why do we keep on calling her “the baby?” What’s her name?”
Maria didn’t take her disdainful eyes off of me, staring like a Beholder about to use her death ray as she answered.
“Paloma has named the girl Esperanza.”
With that, she opened the door and went into the room, beckoning for us to follow. Inside, we saw what Valentin must have seen. Irma lay next to Paloma in the large bed. The two of them, the old woman and the remarkably beautiful girl, held hands in their slumber. They looked as though they were serenely happy. Next to the bed, a servant gently cooed at a bassinet. The weird man stood at the back of the room, staring absently out the window at the mountains in the distance. Maria stooped down and lifted the tiny child in her arms. It began to fuss, but she soothed it. Watching her do that was like watching a suit of armor turn into a silky pillow.
“Ok ok ok, chiquita…yo se, yo se. Quieres conocer a tu familia?”
Maria almost giggled as she handed the baby over to Alison. Tears welled up in both women’s eyes as they looked at the child. When Rosa moved in to take in the moment with the three of them, I even began to well up. Then, in a way that only happens around this miraculous family, something miraculous happened.
The four of them began to float off of the ground. Suspended there, they looked like three angels who had come to guard the child and sing her praises. Their effortless levitation left me with my mouth agape, in awe and amazement. When they finally came down from their brief but wondrous flight, Rosa bounced over and kissed me on the cheek. She embraced me close, tears of joy streaming down her face.
“She has the gift,” she said.
Alison, Maria, and Rosa convened then, speaking in more hurried Spanish that I couldn’t understand. After a few minutes of that, Maria lifted a finger as a warning to Rosa and Alison, waving it first at the baby and then at the two women lying on the bed. As she finished, she swept out of the room with an air of finality. The remaining two women spoke to each other for a little bit longer before Rosa filled me in.
“So, our family has this ceremony. It’s nothing crazy, but we all get together to celebrate when a girl is born with foresight like us. Irma would usually do it, but since she’s on walkabout right now, Tia says that I’m up to bat. We’re going to head out to the old village tonight. Maria won’t let Esperanza come, but we’re going to do it anyway. I want you to stay too. It’s kind of embarrassing. Tomorrow morning we’ll head back to the resort. Ok, babe?”
I nodded in agreement, honestly a little bit put out by her not wanting me to come along, but I’m not one to try to butt in on family moments. As Alison left the room, Rosa and I were left with the unconscious Irma and Paloma, baby Esperanza, and the strange man. I spoke quietly as we walked over to the crib.
“Who’s this guy?” I asked, gesturing over my shoulder. When I chanced a look back, I saw that the man was leaving the room, quietly closing the door behind him. Rosa looked back at the spot that I gestured toward, but seemed to miss him leaving.
I explained who I was talking about, but Rosa had no idea. The guy didn’t dress in the servant’s uniforms, but he clearly wasn’t a family member either, otherwise Rosa would recognize him. Clearly Maria trusted him enough to be in the room with the baby, even though she had barred her own family up until now. I let the subject drop as Rosa handed Esperanza to me.
The sensation was indescribably, but I’ll try since that’s what this is about. When I held Esperanza, I became light, but not only light, free. I knew that I was flying. I knew that, if I wanted to, I could fly through walls, or across the world. It struck me that this must be what Irma does when she needs to get somewhere in a hurry. This felt different though. Irma simply moved through the world. This girl could soar above it all. As Rosa took her from my arms again, it was like coming down off of a drug.
Rosa explained that she and the rest of the family would be leaving soon. She told me to get some rest and to try to put the day behind me. I have to admit, looking back, I was surprised that my reaction to Rodrigo’s fiery abilities was so mild. I must have needed some mental time though, because as soon as the caravan of cars left, I went back to the guest house to nap.
I woke up a few hours later and it was dark. The grounds were quiet in an almost spooky way. I kept my eyes closed and listened for sounds of the island, but they seemed far away. Soon, I got a feeling of foreboding, and I reached instinctively for Rosa. It dawned on me that she was not there. I opened my eyes and looked around the room, and almost shit my pants when I saw him standing in the corner.
He looked at me warily, almost as if he wasn’t sure that we were seeing each other. I started to have a suspicion about this man. He had lurked through the hallways and around the house, but no one had acknowledged him. Like an old dog or a forgotten step child, he drifted in and out of rooms without being noticed. Almost like a ghost.
“Who are you,” I asked.
“So, you can see me? Can you hear me too?”
I nodded my head. He continued looking at me in his confused way before we were interrupted. Through an open window swept Irma. I was aware that this was her astral projection, because she moved lightly and effortlessly. She spoke to the man in Spanish. After a brief exchange, he grunted and seemed to protest, but Irma held up a hand as if to say she would accept no arguments. He finally turned to me.
“You’re coming with us,” he said.
With that, he swept out of the room and Irma gestured for me to follow. As we went, I of course had questions.
“Who are you,” I asked, as I caught up.
“I’m no one,” he said and Irma gave him another stern look. “People used to call me Lucky.”
“What do you mean, used to call you? Are you a ghost or something? Are you like Irma?”
He shook his head but his gloomy look turned to a crooked smile.
“A ghost? Yeah, something like that,” he said as he climbed the stairs and went into Paloma’s room. I stopped, thinking that Maria most likely wouldn’t like us to go in there without her. Irma put her hand on my back and gently pushed me inside. As I entered, I saw that Irma’s true body remained in a trance next to Paloma’s. Lucky leaned down and gently kissed the sleeping girl on the forehead. I read everything into that. I understood. Forbidden love, as old as anything. Romeo and Juliet, Tristian and Isolde, Abelard and Eloise.
“You’re Esperanza’s father.”
He nodded but didn’t take his eyes off of Paloma.
“Are you a Fuerza? Or a Cabral?”
“No,” he said, a sad story already riding on his voice. “I am like them. I was born with a gift. My gift is to disappear. I cannot be seen, or heard. Like a ghost. My mother gave birth to me in a village so poor that she sold me as a child. I came to serve Madame Cabral only by chance, and I fell in love with her daughter. She would not have such a man as me for her son-in-law, so I used my gift. Better to go unseen by the world than have to part with my dove. Paloma can always see me, though she cannot see. It’s because she looks for me. Irma has revealed me to you. She has a duty she wants you to fulfill.”
I looked over at Irma who was now cradling the baby in her arms. She looked knowingly at me as only Irma can and placed Esperanza in my arms. She bundled her tight as gravity once again released its hold on me.
“We go,” said Irma. And with that, she grabbed Lucky and me and we took off into the night. It happened so fast that I was disoriented at first. As I got my bearings, I found the courage to look down. With Esperanza in my arms, sleeping soundly, I looked down at the entirety of the island, the birthplace of amazing things. At that moment, even though I knew dozens of people with powers, I felt what it was like to be them for the first time. I was Clark Kent, discovering a joy that few knew, in a place as ordinary as Smallville.
I don’t know how long we flew like that. Irma must have known how much I enjoyed it and didn’t want it to end. I feel like we traveled over the entirety of the island before we descended as quickly as we had taken off. We touched down in front of a small, decrepit house. Its windows were all either broken or clouded with age. The gutters sagged and there was no door on the front hinges. Debris was scattered about the yard, broken children’s toys and assorted junk. I could hear voices coming from somewhere in the tall grass and sugar cane behind it. The baby in my arms continued to sleep soundly. Lucky spoke to me in a whisper, even though no one else was around.
“You and I are going into the cane fields to see the ceremony. Irma will wait here. She says that it is not hers anymore, but Rosa’s.”
I didn’t respond to that. I just nodded and followed him. I felt a strange sensation once again as we made our way into the fields. The best way I can describe it is the feeling you get when you are wearing a mask. When a child ventures out for Halloween, they feel anonymous and powerful. When a superhero dawns a mask, something about it feels safe, even when he is in danger. I knew that feeling when Lucky and I walked into a clearing and stood directly behind the Fuerza family. No one saw us, as though we were ghosts.
The Fuerzas that I knew were scattered among the crowd. At least twenty people that I had never seen before gathered around the bonfire, no doubt set by Rodrigo telling by the intensity with which it burned. He and Maria stood off to the side, but still looked serious and engaged. Everyone seemed to be focused on the center of the clearing. Someone brushed me but didn’t seem to notice. I had somehow assimilated Lucky’s ability. He sat down at the edge of the throng but when I made to follow suit, he shook his head and pointed to the center.
“She said you should go find Rosa,” he whispered, even though no one could hear.
I made my way through, picking my way carefully, even though something in me knew that it was unnecessary. I felt like Bilbo Baggins sneaking into the Lonely Mountain. Then I saw Smaug the Dragon. Not actually Smaug, but something just as awe inspiring. Rosa was standing in the flames, with all eyes on her. She had her eyes closed, and the assembly seemed to be magnetically drawn to her. She was reaching out to all of them. Almost as soon as I laid eyes on her, she began. And I somehow understood.
“I have called you here to celebrate the ancient blood that has passed from our grandmothers, to our mothers, generation after generation. I speak for the gift. I speak for the power within us all. Today we celebrate the birth of another, who shall take up my mantle when I pass from this place. May her life be full and beautiful.”
A chorus of cheers and applause broke out then, and music began to play from somewhere. Rosa’s eyes locked onto me. She mouthed the words “thank you” and I understood. Irma had sent the baby along with me. All of this was for her.
“Tienes que ver,” I said to Esperanza, whose eyes were now open wide, taking in the scene of her family. “You have to see.”
That night, her family danced around her in a mixture of prayer, celebration, and ancient, powerful pride, reveling in all she was, and all that she would be. By the time the sun began to rise in the sky, they were still dancing there. Lucky found me and told me it was time to go back. Together with Irma and Esperanza we took flight for what may be my last time.
I’m sure there will be more stories to tell about the Fuerza family, but I’ve said all I can say. I started this thinking that I could tell you about the Fuerzas , even though all of our names are changed. What I’m coming to realize is that I have a lot to learn still. I will write to you again if I ever understand more.
Hey, everyone. I haven’t posted anything here in a while, but I’d still like to continue to update this with content (I’m working on starting a new job and getting this comic book concept perfect). This week, I’ve added another letter. I wrote this last summer for two friends who tied the knot. I found myself in the situation of being broke, so a letter was the least I could do. I found myself trying to make it as heartfelt as possible, but I often think in platitudes unfortunately when it comes to love. I thought about their relationship, and the ideal standards for love that I’m sure are different for everyone, and eventually the trapeze imagery came to mind. I could think of no better symbol of true love than someone who is willing to catch you as you fall day in and day out.
Be sure to look out next week for the final chapter of the Fuerza family saga. In the meantime, I’d love it if you checked out more of my short stories.If anyone knows a good artist who would be willing to try to work with me on my comic, I’d be grateful for their info. As always, thanks for reading.
A Letter To You On Your Wedding Day,
Where has the time gone? Only yesterday we found ourselves in the fledgling, awkward, exciting sequence of new friendship and now we are here. How could we recount the days? How could I relate their myriad meanings, and where should I begin? There is no easy answer, as there are so many beginnings.
From the start, it was obvious to some that you were meant to be. To me, it was not so clear. Love is a precarious thing, and the obstacles to your union were many (coincidentally, this reminds me of a story someone told me about The Acrobat who walked the high rope and flew on the trapeze). The main attribute of your relationship, to me, is resilience. Your willingness to move forward together is your strongest quality.
You two know more than anyone the heights of selflessness one must climb to in order to be with the one you love (much like the trapeze, there is often the thrill of a midair moment before someone must catch you. You blindly leap, twisting, turning, and finally falling, hoping the arms of the only person who can catch you will be there. The only difference is that for your love there is no net below. Imagine that for a moment. Imagine that sailing feeling- the rush, the air, the lights. The rush- you release your lifeline with amazing speed, you can hear nothing. The air- it chills your bones and freezes your lungs. The lights- they blind your eyes to what lies below. Imagine, for a moment, the terror. And what lies below? I digress). This is the big day for you. I hope that all of your friends and family can experience even a small portion of the joy that must be welling up in your hearts. Know that, at least in my eyes, there is no one more deserving of this moment than you.
This is only the beginning of your journey together, and what a wonderful journey it will be. I know that some things will be scary, (What lies below? If you could see it, how would you react. For The Acrobat, there was no uncertainty as to what lay below. His act was suspended over the raging sea. It was quite the novelty at the time, as it was a daring feat that had never been seen before. Ice water ran in his veins though, colder than the maelstrom below. What is more, he knew his lover would catch him. Since he could remember, she had waited for him.) but I know that you two are up to the challenge. Be assured, I’m not merely spouting platitudes.
The type of love you share is once in a lifetime. Very few people will ever know the deep caring that you two have for each other, and even fewer will see it come to fruition in such a beautiful way. In a way, you are lucky to have found each other (She always waited on the opposite side of the rift. Even now, through the storm and the fog he could see the small light that she held. She always held it so that he could see her in the darkness. Once he found it, sometimes fumbling for it in the abyss, she would grab him, letting the light fall the entire way down to the waves below. There must have been a thousand small lamps shattered and broken at the bottom of the sea. Her sure hands held him up and guided him to the other side. He no longer needed a thousand false lights once she found and saved him from all danger.) because there are so often reasons that true love cannot exist. So often, people are blind to what they need, and even more blind to what they can give. You two balance each other perfectly.
So, on this day, with this letter, I have only a small portion of advice for you. I want to tell you to continue loving each other (The Acrobat’s greatest leap was his first with her. He had trained his entire life to do this. He had, over the years, mastered the technicalities and the risks. He knew better than anyone how to perform his function. He sought to find someone who could match his skill, and he had found her, simply waiting for him to recognize his equal. Their first jump was in a lightning storm. The town had been terrorized, blown about, and burned to the ground by the forces of nature. Now they stood on the cliffs, waves crashing below, waiting to show defiance in the face of adversity. ) even when it isn’t easy. I will pull for that every day, as I know you two will.
So congratulations on your big day (How will their story end? It is unknown, as is the true depth and strength of their love. Their lives together will be a series of exhilarating, death-defying, breathtaking, mid-air leaps and grabs, followed by loving embraces on the other side.) and the first day of the rest of your lives.
Hey, everyone. This week I posted a “letter” instead of a short story. The reason I place the word in quotes is that it’s a fictional account. It’s called It Always Waits Below and is a horror vignette. Anyone who is interested in other letters I’ve written can find them under the Letters section of the blog. That section also includes one of my more popular pieces The Weeping Deacon. I really appreciate any feedback, including pressing the like, share, and follow buttons. If you know anyone who might want to be featured on the Fearless page, or if you know someone who might be interested in drawing a comic, please let me know. As always, thanks for reading.