Below is the seventeenth, and final 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.
*** And then, suddenly, in the middle of them all, I see the black beautiful car. The one that came to our village one day last fall and ended my life as I knew it and loved it. The one Mario pulled me into. The one he took me in and drove me away to my first rape.
And again, like in a twisted mirror, I see myself reflected in that shiny car. But no longer I am that innocent girl, ready to be plucked away like a pretty flower. NO. Only one year older I am, or maybe a little more than one year older. But really, Adela, the way I see it now: I am ten years older. Or maybe even one hundred years older! Old woman warrior, that what I am. And I have this torch in my hand.
So I throw it into the car through the half-opened window. And I stay still, until I see the fire catches on in the seats of the car and begins to bloom and grow. Only then do I turn around and walk away toward the gates.
Who left them open? No guards tonight? The police and government officials are all here. No need to worry then about leaving the gates open. They can come and go as they please. They can eat the farm’s pigs. They can drink the farm’s tequila. They can smoke the farm’s coca. They can rape the farm’s girls.
Can hear them scream and cry all the way here, my poor sisters. Don’t worry, I tell them in my heart, I am on my way to bring you help. But still, I look back again. Cannot move yet, as if I am stuck to the ground. Then I see how the beautiful black car is exploding in the air like a big mushroom of fire. See the bright orange flames of my pretty flower spreading around to the other cars. See a garden of cars blooming in beautiful fire.
Now I can look ahead. And far off above the high mountains I see a glimmer of orange light. From where, I trust, the sun will soon rise. Hear men shouting and hear gunshots too. But I am not afraid anymore, Adela. I am a wounded bird no longer. I can fly now.