Below is the sixteenth segment of a new short story, ‘Little Maria.’ While the story is new, it is based on a chapter from my novel, Unidentified Woman, a literary crime about rape, revenge and redemption. I believe it stands alone as is, and will reward you handsomely when you read it.
Wake up in terror. For a moment I’m not sure where I am. In my dream there was a big fire in our village. Remember the fire Alfredo once made, Adela, on the eve of Dia de los Muertos? Papi used to call him the village idiot. Others did so too. Maybe he was, don’t know, because he set fire to his parents’ home while he was still living with them. He was so happy, dancing around the burning house. Some of our village people chased after him, while others tried to put out the fire. Do you remember, Adela, that big fire? Or am I still dreaming?
Sit up on my mattress suddenly and slide my feet into my sandals. Don’t think anymore, just act. Walk to the door of our empty sisters’ hall. But before I leave, in the doorway already, I look back one more time. Just to make sure. Then I close the door.
Outside it’s still dark, but I know it’s already Dia de los Muertos. Just know that, Adela, don’t ask me how. The main yard is empty: everyone is still in the big barn, celebrating. Hear the music. Hear the singing and the laughing. Hear the screams of my sisters. Hear gunshots too.
But it doesn’t bother me. I walk to the main yard and stop by the well, where Mario and El Meya killed that worker who raped the new girl. There are burning torches there so I lift one up and walk away with it. Nobody is around, Adela. Nobody sees me or cares to take notice. Only the mean dogs of the farm are here, but tonight they are all chained. They can bark all they want. They can do no harm to me.
Walking as if I’m floating on air, so light on my feet I am. Maybe I’m still in my dream. See all the cars near the farm’s gates, parked very close to one another. Like our herd of sheep back home. But I see no drivers inside the cars. They are all at the party.