Little Maria

Below is the fifth 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.

Know already what virgin is. Mami warned me to stay that way until I marry the man I love. You and I talked about it a few times, Adela, remember? Feel like talking directly to you now. Do you hear me at all?
Big Mamá hands me a torn nightgown, thick and rough like an onion sack. She bundles my clothes into one little pile, my lovely school skirt I love so much as well, and hands it to me. She then lifts me up like I was some little doll and places me on a stool. She is using this threatening voice again, telling me to listen up. Nothing I can do but listen. Her teeth are yellow and some are missing. She has a small mustache too, almost as thick as my Papi’s. You’re going to sleep now, she continues with her instructions, because tomorrow morning you’ll get up early to work. You’ll wear these clothes, she points at my school uniform that’s under my arm.
Will I go to school too, I ask her. Big Mamá strokes my hair gently. Such a surprise. Surprise that it feels so good. She even smiles at me with her ugly yellow teeth and says: This place is your school, Little Maria, and I’m your teacher and your headmaster. You’ll do as I say, and everything we’ll be all right.
Don’t know what she means by that. This place is not my school—I love my school. Think about it when she leads me back to the hall where all the girls are. There is only one naked light bulb at the center, hanging down from the cracked ceiling, spraying fuzzy yellow light around. Find my mattress, where there is now also a thin, partly torn blanket. Put my bundle of clothes down under my head like a pillow and cover myself with the blanket. But I’m still cold.
There is an icon of the Virgin Mary in the corner and one candle burning underneath it. Each girl in her turn kneels down there and says her prayer under the dark eyes of Big Mamá. She forces me do so too, so I say a prayer for my Mami to come over quickly, save me from these bad people and this horrible place and take me back home. Then I lie down again like all the other girls.
Good night sisters, says Big Mamá. No more talking. She turns off the light and leaves, closing the squeaking door behind her. Then it is quiet, but not for long. Hear whispers in the dark. Some of the girls get together around one mattress. Not me—stay still. Think of you, Adela: what are you doing right now? Hope you took my schoolbag with you. Will need it when I get back to school. Be sure to tell Senora Molina what happened to me so I won’t get tardy marks and be punished when I come back. Would you write down our homework assignments for me? Sure you would. You are my best friend ever. You are my real sister, even if you called me a retard once. Why did you call me that, Adela? And why did you drop my hand and allow me go to that car?

Leave a comment

Filed under Crime, Culture, Literary

Little Maria

Below is the fourth 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.

Hear Big Mamá’s voice comes from far away, telling the girls to be nice to me because I’m new at the farm. Anybody caught telling Little Maria lies will be punished, she warns them. You know how and you know where. All the girls but me nod their heads. Then Big Mamá orders me to follow her. Never obeyed anybody in my life the way I obey her now. Not even Mami or Papi. Not even Mr. Dominguez, old grumpy, the school principal in our little village.
Only when I get out of the hall do I see that it’s already evening outside. Most of the day I was away from this world and they didn’t even call a doctor. What if I was dying? Who cares. Not even me.
We walk in a long narrow corridor. See some dogs outside in the dusty yard. Hear music and laughter coming from open windows. How could it be: music and laughter here, in this awful place? What kind of a place is it, anyway? Dare not ask Big Mamá that.
We enter a dirty bathroom that has a toilet hole and a metal tub with a shower above it. She instructs me to take off my clothes but I refuse to do it in front of a stranger. Mami warned me not to do that. But the evil giant grabs my hair, my beautiful brown hair I love so much and bangs my head against the cold wall. You’ll do as I tell you, Little Maria, she yells at me as she waves a fat finger in my face. Or you’ll be dead tomorrow!
Do as she says. Not because I’m afraid of dying. Oh no—I would prefer to die. But she knows how to cause great pain, Big Mamá. That I already know. Learned my lesson twice. My head hurts so bad but the cold water takes some of the pain away. Turn my back to her as soon as I can. No matter, she turns me around and turns the water off. Looks at me naked, up and down. Nobody ever looked at me like that before. Orders me to lie down in the cold tub. Do as she says again. Shiver very hard, like a flame in the wind. Maybe because I’m so scared.
At home we don’t even have a bathtub. Think about it when she spreads my legs and places my feet on the edges of the tub. She looks down at my private part and I look up at the dirty ceiling. She touches it with her fingers and I see the spiders crawling slowly in their cobwebs above. She examines it but not like that ugly man did, the one who grabbed me away. She doesn’t hurt me so much. Why are they all so interested in my private part?
You can’t trust them animals, comes her answer as if she heard my question. Then she smiles and says: Good, Little Maria, you’re still a virgin. Get dressed.

Leave a comment

Filed under Crime, Culture, Literary

Little Maria

uw-6aeditedBelow is the third 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.

I wake up lying on a narrow mattress thrown on the floor, without a bed even. One side of my face is burning but the rest of my body feels so cold and numb. Above me I see a crowd of many faces: girls like me with dark falling hair and brown eyes, my age or maybe just a little older. They look at me with sad eyes. Never saw such sad eyes before, as if someone placed old eyes in these young faces. One of them is holding a wet cloth to my burning cheek. She takes it off and puts it in a little bowl of water that’s on the floor beside me.
What’s your name, she asks me. Maria, I whisper. Me too, she says. That’s why I hate my name so much, it’s so common. Where am I, I ask her. The farm, she says.
What farm?
They look at each other, then around. Are they afraid to talk about it?
It’s a coca farm, one of them volunteers. Soon you will see.
A door opens and they all fly away. Like angels they fly. Maybe I’m in heaven after all. A coca farm in heaven, that’s it. Can hear clapping. Not the clapping of wings but of Big Mamá’s hands. She is standing by the door to the narrow hall we are all in. She is like a storybook giant. Her body covers the whole doorway. All the other girls gather around a long table near the entrance, where one of the girls is already busy bringing food to the table. Think she has wings the way she moves. Am I dreaming?
Don’t think so. Because I hear Big Mamá calling me from the doorway: We’re waiting for you, Little Maria, come join your sisters.
Stay still on my mattress. So she is Big Mamá and I am Little Maria. How come? I’m not little and I’m not hungry. Hear myself saying that: I’m not hungry.
Big mistake. Now she is coming over. Dear God, please stop her!
She stops by my mattress and kicks it, but not too hard, saying: You’re going to eat, Little Maria, hungry or not!
She may think I’m little, but I’m not stupid. Her voice is harsh and she raises her hand too. Know already what’s coming to me if I won’t get up. So I do. Leave my little piece of heaven and join the other girls at the table. After I sit down Big Mamá says the blessing and then we eat. Or pretend to eat the way I do. Terrible food: dirt soup and some dry tamales. My tummy and my head are aching for my mother’s food, poor as we are. See myself sitting there, suddenly, at our round little kitchen table at home, doing homework after school. Just the way it always is.

Leave a comment

Filed under Culture, Literary

Little Maria

uw-6aeditedBelow is the second 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.

***

But the sun keeps rising. How come? Doesn’t care much about my darkness and my sadness. Brings a new day with her too, bright and chilly morning when we arrive at a farm, after driving almost the whole day and night. Don’t know where we are.
All I know is, during the night they stopped only once for an hour or two to eat and sleep in the car. Not me—I didn’t eat or sleep at all. The man who grabbed me and held me also touched me in my private part. Nobody ever did that to me before. His fat finger went inside and hurt me so bad. They were laughing about it later but I kept crying. Like I do now, when he gets out of the car and pulls me along with him.
Can’t see what the outside looks like. High walls are surrounding this place, that’s why. Don’t want to see it, anyhow, want to go back home and be with my Mami. Promised her yesterday morning before leaving the house to school that I won’t be late. More than anything else in the world I now want to help her in the kitchen and learn how to sew. But how can I explain to her why I’m so late? How can I tell her what this man did to me in the car? She would never believe me, I know her. She would tell me it was one of my stupid dreams. Better for me to die right now.
We found another girl for you, Big Mamá, the man who drove the car tells a big fat woman who comes out of the farmhouse. She wears baggy pants and sloppy, thick shirt over her mountain belly. Not even a skirt or a dress like the women in my village wear. She’s not damaged, says the ugly man who grabbed me and held me all night when he hands me over to her, but keeps crying all the time like a baby.
I want to go home, I say, trying to control my cry. I want my Mami. These are the first words I say since they took me away from Capirato, my home village. Maybe because she is a woman, and a Big Mamá, she would understand and send me back home. But her arm, the way she holds me, is even stronger and more hurting than how that ugly man held me. And her voice is threatening when she tells me: I’m your Mami now, so stop crying!
Cry even louder when she says say that. She is not my Mami. She is…
Slaps me. So hard she slaps me that I see only dark skies and lose my balance. But not on the ground I fall—falling and falling into deep and empty space. Going to die. Dear God: please let me die.

Leave a comment

Filed under Crime, Culture, Literary

Little Maria

UW, SWBelow is the first 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.

Fall:

“If life is a garden,
Women are the flowers.
Men are the gardeners,
Who pick up the prettiest ones.”

I sing this song while jumping rope with Adela, my best friend, before going off to school. I’m only twelve, but Mami keeps telling me I should grow up and stop jumping rope. Do things girls my age are supposed to be doing, like helping her in the kitchen and learning how to sew. I hate it when she says that. I’m holding tight to the rope that connects me to my childhood, afraid of losing it, afraid of growing up. It’s as if somehow, don’t know how, I know what lies ahead.
The dirt road to school, that’s what lies ahead. Adela and I run hand in hand there, skipping between the small stones, still singing that silly song a boy at school taught us yesterday, about the flowers and the gardeners. And laughing about it too, questioning who is the prettiest one: her or me? And this boy, Angelo his name, is he in love with me or with her?
We come off the bend to the only half-paved road in our poor little village, happy to bounce on solid ground. Just then a black car suddenly stops near us, making noise and raising dust. Never before in my life have I seen such a beautiful, shiny car. I can see myself reflected in it, like in a twisted mirror. But only for a second, because the back window rolls down immediately and a man pokes out his head, asking me for my name. Maria, I say. I hate my name, I really do. It’s so…
He tells me to come over and show him the way to our school. Adela whispers in my ear that I shouldn’t do it and drops my hand. But I do it anyhow, maybe because Mami always told me to obey men. Especially older men like him. When I get closer he opens the door suddenly, grabs my hand and pulls me inside. He is very strong, so it’s easy for him to place me in the backseat between his legs and push my head down. All I can think of is my schoolbag: why did I leave it behind on the dirt road? No matter, Adela will bring it to school with her. Of course she would. That’s where we are going, isn’t it?
The car answers me by taking off screaming. I want to scream too, but I can’t. His stinky hand is on my mouth. It hurts me so I bite it. He curses bad words and hits me on the back of my head. Now I really scream. He is strangling me. I can’t breathe. His firm thighs clap my hips. I can’t move. I can’t shout. I close my eyes.
When I close my eyes, I’m afraid the world that was promised to me—going to school with Adela, meeting Angelo and our other friends there, studying history which I like the most, our day-trip next week to the Mayan ruins, even graduation and going to high school in town—may be gone and lost forever. And together with the cloud of dust I imagine the speeding car is raising behind as it leaves our village, an evil cloud is falling all over me. Covering me with eternal darkness and sadness.

Leave a comment

Filed under Crime, Culture, Literary

News Flash—Old and New!

In February of 2012 I was fortunate enough to be declared the winner of “Moment Magazine Memoir Contest,” awarded for my short story entry titled, “The Sweet Life.” The award ceremony was held at the Spertus Institute in Chicago, with participation of Moment Magazine’s editor and publisher, Nadine Epstein, and the author Shalom Auslander, who was the contest judge.

Only a few weeks ago, totally by chance, I discovered that a radio station in Chicago, WBEZ 95.1 (NPR Affiliated) had broadcasted the award ceremony and reading that came with it. And so, if you have some minutes to spare—and you really want, rather need to get away from the depressing news of these days—take a listen, in particular as I read from my award-wining short story.

Here’s the link to the radio broadcast

Leave a comment

Filed under Culture, Literary

Sex War One

Sew War One, CoverTo give you a taste of my book, “Sex War One,” I’ve been posting segments of my award-winning short story, “The Monster,” which serves also as the basis for this book.
Sex War One – a dystopian, Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful Sex War One – my dystopian Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful characterization,” said the Science Fiction Studies journal. “This book unifies within it the principles of major Science-Fiction literature,” said This World. Kindle Edition & Smashwords Edition (for iTunes, Kobo, B&N & more.) For further details please check my books page.

Here then is the last segment:

He wanted to protest but quickly realized his present situation did not allow him to do so. He still had his wits about him, which was a good sign. He knew that everything was done under N.R.’s instructions, and that a constant struggle – maybe even hatred and resentment – would forever rule the air between them. The look she directed at him was full of investigative curiosity. She didn’t believe his explanations, he suspected.

He left them shortly thereafter and went up to his room, thinking that at least this stage was successfully accomplished. The Monster no longer existed within the “sane” colony’s walls. She wouldn’t disturb the “proper” way of life here anymore, or threaten in any way the “forward” progression and development of this golden race.

He rushed to take a long, decontaminated shower, as if wishing to shed down the drain each and every remnant of his sojourn outside. He felt he had to get rid of the impressions that the world he had visited left him with. Especially, he had to let go of the bug that may had bitten him and taken possession of him. Over there in the cave’s ground, with that daughter of nature.

Afterwards, following a meal he hastily prepared and ate, he lay down in his bed, listening to his beloved music; music from a different world and era, preformed by the colony’s music-computer. Maybe a man named Beethoven composed it originally; maybe it was based on his Moonlight Sonata. He had read about him once, being deaf and all, and had heard this piece of music once before. He remembered it fondly, and so had chosen to enter the word “moonlight” into his electronic distance-device. He was honoring not only the memory of a bygone world, age and man, but also – still so alive within him – the magnificent moon and moonlight he had witnessed before entering the colony.

He remembered the dream he had dreamed in the cave. He thought about it and about what had preceded it. What he had gone through with Z.Z. He didn’t have a word for it – or was afraid to search for it. He was not completely at ease yet, revisiting in his head all that had happened to him outside during that long, eventful day, and all the places and vistas he had seen.

Finally, a good feeling began to spread throughout his body and mind, unassisted by drugs and pills. He felt stronger; he felt wiser. He needed only courage.

Leave a comment

Filed under Destopian, Literary, Sci-fi

Sex War One

To give you a taste of my book, “Sex War One,” I’ve been posting segments of my award-winning short story, “The Monster,” which serves also as the basis for this book.
Sex War One – a dystopian, Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful Sex War One – my dystopian Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful characterization,” said the Science Fiction Studies journal. “This book unifies within it the principles of major Science-Fiction literature,” said This World. Kindle Edition & Smashwords Edition (for iTunes, Kobo, B&N & more.) For further details please check my books page.

Here then is the last segment:

He wanted to protest but quickly realized his present situation did not allow him to do so. He still had his wits about him, which was a good sign. He knew that everything was done under N.R.’s instructions, and that a constant struggle – maybe even hatred and resentment – would forever rule the air between them. The look she directed at him was full of investigative curiosity. She didn’t believe his explanations, he suspected.

He left them shortly thereafter and went up to his room, thinking that at least this stage was successfully accomplished. The Monster no longer existed within the “sane” colony’s walls. She wouldn’t disturb the “proper” way of life here anymore, or threaten in any way the “forward” progression and development of this golden race.

He rushed to take a long, decontaminated shower, as if wishing to shed down the drain each and every remnant of his sojourn outside. He felt he had to get rid of the impressions that the world he had visited left him with. Especially, he had to let go of the bug that may had bitten him and taken possession of him. Over there in the cave’s ground, with that daughter of nature.

Afterwards, following a meal he hastily prepared and ate, he lay down in his bed, listening to his beloved music; music from a different world and era, preformed by the colony’s music-computer. Maybe a man named Beethoven composed it originally; maybe it was based on his Moonlight Sonata. He had read about him once, being deaf and all, and had heard this piece of music once before. He remembered it fondly, and so had chosen to enter the word “moonlight” into his electronic distance-device. He was honoring not only the memory of a bygone world, age and man, but also – still so alive within him – the magnificent moon and moonlight he had witnessed before entering the colony.

He remembered the dream he had dreamed in the cave. He thought about it and about what had preceded it. What he had gone through with Z.Z. He didn’t have a word for it – or was afraid to search for it. He was not completely at ease yet, revisiting in his head all that had happened to him outside during that long, eventful day, and all the places and vistas he had seen.

Finally, a good feeling began to spread throughout his body and mind, unassisted by drugs and pills. He felt stronger; he felt wiser. He needed only courage.

Leave a comment

Filed under Destopian, Literary, Sci-fi

Sex War One

Sew War One, CoverTo give you a taste of my book, “Sex War One,” I’ve been posting segments of my award-winning short story, “The Monster,” which serves also as the basis for this book.

Sex War One – a dystopian, Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful Sex War One – my dystopian Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful characterization,” said the Science Fiction Studies journal. “This book unifies within it the principles of major Science-Fiction literature,” said This World. Kindle Edition & Smashwords Edition (for iTunes, Kobo, B&N & more.) For further details please check my books page.

Here then is the twenty-eighth segment:

The approaching night began to close in on him. But there was still some light outside, at this hour of dusk, and he was able to find his way down to the valley below. From there, the searchlights of the colony’s Periscopic-Tower were guiding him along, as they were looking out for him. He began his run toward the colony, fully aware that he would be forever affected by the events of this day. His mind was pure and clear as the mind of a small child. Only one thought was there: survival! He would have to report to the citizens of the colony. He would have to tell them what took place outside. He needed to find a good, convincing excuse for his long absence.
Before he had reached the small hill on top of the colony, he was able to see a sight he had never before seen. He saw the moon: a white, glowing moon rising, washing the darkening plains with an expansive, majestic silver light. He stood on top of the hill for one more moment, savoring this unequal sight, before going down the stairs leading to the Periscopic-Tower.
*
Inside the colony he was received with opened arms. Literally: two men met him in the Transfer-Room and helped him to take off his outside trip-suit. In the long corridors of the colony he met many of the citizens, anxiously waiting to find out how he was, and learn what had happened to him. They were glad to see him alive, and with him the dress he had brought back. Z.Z.’s dress.
In the main Control-Room, N.R. and B.F. were waiting for him. He rushed to return the radiation-gun to Robot W.1, who immediately deposited it inside the Weapons-Cell. He threw the nylon dress at N.R. and she caught it in midair, holding on to it for a moment and twisting her nose in disgust, before throwing it away on the floor.
D.L. told them – not looking at them though, busying himself with checking one of the large, oval-shaped computer screens – that he had exterminated the Monster. He had taken a rest lying down, he further told them, and had fallen asleep till sunset. Only then did he wake up, and then hurried back to the colony. He further told them that the air outside was mostly clear of nuclear radiation. It was possible for him, he emphasized, to breathe without the trip-suit helmet and its special, built-in gas mask. He watched the sun rising and setting, and saw the moon appearing up in the darkening skies. He estimated that in not too many years ahead, some flora, maybe even insects and other such living things, would start growing and living outside again.
N.R. and B.F. looked at each other and smirked in disbelief. They gave him a report on what had taken place inside the colony while he was gone. They told him about the steady development of the babies in the last tier; on the current situation in the semen-freezer; and the damage, later fixed, to the electronic sucking-pump of the female eggs. They had conducted an experiment in the Birth-Laboratory with the graduating tier, working on the birth-production-line. The experiment was a success. The backyard down at the bottom level of the colony was cleared and cleaned. It was as if the Monster’s shack was never there in the first place. Nor was she!

Leave a comment

Filed under Destopian, Literary, Sci-fi

The Monster

Sew War One, CoverTo give you a taste of my book, “Sex War One,” I’ve been posting segments of my award-winning short story, “The Monster,” which serves also as the basis for this book.

Sex War One – a dystopian, Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful Sex War One – my dystopian Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful characterization,” said the Science Fiction Studies journal. “This book unifies within it the principles of major Science-Fiction literature,” said This World. Kindle Edition & Smashwords Edition (for iTunes, Kobo, B&N & more.) For further details please check my books page.

Here then is the twenty-seventh segment:

The sun was about to disappear behind the red mountains, far on the other side of the valley. Her last golden rays were filling the dark cave with light, hitting D.L.’s eyes directly. He opened them, discovering he was covered with cold sweat. He had difficulty comprehending where he was, at first, so terrifying was his dream.

He looked at Z.Z., lying peacefully beside him, her mouth slightly opened. A ringlet of hair had fallen over her forehead and eyes, moving slightly to the rhythm of her breathing. Her skin was smooth and delicate, her chest going up and down in perfect rhythm, without skipping a beat. She was so beautiful.

He remembered everything at once, and therefore felt better. It was just a dream, after all. Why had he never dreamed like that before? Normally, just like the other colony-citizens, he hadn’t dreamed much, or maybe dreamed but remembered almost nothing afterwards. Their lives in the colony streamed so smoothly and steadily without dreams. There was no need for dreams; life in the colony was a dream.

And as he was thinking of the colony, he realized that he had to return there. If he didn’t, they would come looking for him. He was sure of that, as he would have done the same thing, had it been someone else outside, not him. Even more so: he wished suddenly to be back in the safety of his room, behind its closed door. Z.Z. and her force-of-nature – the force-of-nature that had created her, probably, to begin with – frightened him now. He wished to be his old self again: D.L., the Secretary of Underground-Colony B/365; D.L., the cold and calculated colony-citizen; D.L., an advanced creature of science and technology; D.L., the Birth-Laboratory chief scientist.

He got off the ground, careful not to wake Z.Z. up. He put on his trip-suit, with the unused radiation-gun in one big pocket, and Z.Z.’s nylon dress in the other. He looked at her for the last time and a thought flashed through his mind: How easy, painless even, would it be to exterminate her now. Lying on the ground so deep in her sleep. She would never know.

It was a troubling idea, which he quickly rejected. He wanted her to live, and she deserved to live – even here in the cave – though the reason behind his thinking was not entirely clear to him just yet. Nonetheless, he covered her with the blanket and hurried to leave the darkening cave. He was unaware that his last act of kindness had woken her up, and that those beautiful, deep brown eyes he had left behind were now open, looking at his vanishing figure. An image she would carry with her for the rest of her life. Short or long as it might be.

Leave a comment

Filed under Destopian, Literary, Sci-fi