The family’s ingredient

It was the middle of the afternoon and Mamá looked at her with commanding eyes. Pastora had been watching tv for most part of the day and her great grandmother, the head of “la familia”, disliked that. Pastora knew what her great grandmother, with chocolate skin, gray short hair and mesmerizing brown eyes was thinking. It was that time. So she took the controller and turned off the TV. The anxiety inside her made her heart palpitate fast. Still, she did not let Mamá notice, she had no other choice. It was tradition, and of all the children in her huge family, she was the chosen one.

Pastora, who shared her great grandmother’s dark brown eyes, followed her silently to the kitchen. There was a gas stove at the end; on top of it, aluminum pots, Mamá’s favorite cooking instruments where the magic happened. Mamá stopped in front of the counter. She had green bell peppers, onions, garlic and a whole chicken; just a few of the needed ingredients. Pastora looked at them with fear of what they meant. Her great grandmother had been preparing her for this day for the past ten years. Pastora felt an ache deep in her soul, thought of her fourteen siblings and how lucky they were for not having to bear the burden she was going to for the rest of her life.

No, this cannot be my fate, she said to herself terrified.

Mamá turned to her, “Today you will cook for us. The great aunts are coming; they will be your judges. Before cooking, you must make sofrito, our family’s secret ingredient. You know what you must do. If you fail…” She paused as if the words where too hard to say. Mamá inhaled deeply, “I must step down and another will take my place, and you must leave our family and your descendants can never know of us.”

The price was too high, but if she turned away now she would face the same fate. Pastora nodded in agreement. Mamá walked away and Pastora left the kitchen with a basket on her hand to fetch the rest of the ingredients.

The ground was covered in wet muddy grass; it had been raining all morning. The slope was slippery, but she knew where to step. At the edge of the old two story house with a zinc roof top with little bushes of small sweet peppers. Pastora took the ones that where green and red and moved on toward the cilantro. A few feet away was the one ingredient her cooking could not be without, recao a wild cilantro. It grew wild in the humid ground; its lush dark green lanced shaped leaves had the aroma of pungent coriander. During rainy days the farm would smell of it and Pastora loved it, it was intoxicating. She often found herself walking toward it, as if mesmerized by some power she could not understand. Her siblings called her weird; they said it was just the normal smell of a plant. But for her it was more, it was her family’s legacy as it only grew in their farm.

She knelt down not caring to get her pants all dirty and wet. Pastora selected the longest darkest leaf and inhaled the aroma. Joy filled her heart, smelled it again and the fears of what’s to come disappeared. Pastora knew this was her destiny and she would embrace it. The first time her Mamá took her to that place, she was with her sister, only seven years old. Mamá gave her both a leaf and asked to smell it. Her sister found it too strong and unbearable, but not her. It was just right and enjoyable. That day was her first day in the kitchen.

Quickly she collected all the leaves she needed and headed to the kitchen. She chopped, peeled and put everything in the food processor. The smells filled the whole house. Pastora started cooking what she was going to serve her great aunts, a simple meal of chicken stew, white rice and beans. After a few hours everything was ready. She prepared the table, placed the food, and in a small plate put a sample of the sofrito for them to smell. They entered the dining room, they were the sisters of her great grandmother. Mamá sat at the head of the table, by her side was her older sister Monín, followed by Aparicia, who was always smiling; Julin, Guani and Carmen, who looked just like Mamá, sat at the other side; Pastora sat at the other end waiting for her judgement. They smelled and tasted the sofrito without expressing anything, except for Aparicia who gave her a wink. The women moved to the food, served themselves and ate.

When they were done, one by one looked at Mamá. She looked at them as if she could read their minds. Her heart stopped, she felt like she needed oxygen. Her fate was in their hands and nothing could be done. The seriousness of their eyes upon her sent chills down her spine. They all stood up. All is lost, she thought, they are going to walk away. Mamá and her great aunts turned to her and in a respectful way they all vowed to her. Pastora inhale deeply and straighten her dorso. From that moment on she would be known as Mamá and would take the reins of the family after her great grandmother passed away. In charge not only of the decisions of the family but also of making the sofrito for them and passing it on to her own successor.

This short story was inspired by: Daily Prompt: Ingredients


In the air…

The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air.  All I must do is find it, and copy it. 

Jules Renard, “Diary,” February 1895

This is how I am, constantly searching between the breezes the words that linger near. So don’t confuse me with an absent minded person when you see me walking as if not there, for I am staring at the air for the words of my story.

Thank God for the Puerto Rican coastline where there is a constant breeze pushing my way the words needed for my book. Sometime back I told you I will keep you posted on the advances of my writing. Fifteenchapters have been completed and new character emerges from the past of my history to live again in fiction. Happy, for they come together to give this story more depth, bring intrigue to the main characters and more, much more is coming.

Can’t wait for tomorrow, a morning of only writing awaits me. One that I have been longing for a while and finally I’m able to have it. So tomorrow will be one of those days where my mind will be lost to reality and will linger in a world that, for now, only me can access.

‘Till next time, friend.

 



La historia que estoy escribiendo existe, escrita en perfecta forma, en algún lugar, en el aire. Todo lo que tengo que hacer, es encontrarla, y copiarla.

Jules Renard, “Diary,” February 1895

 

Así soy, constantemente buscando entre las brisas las palabras que están cerca. No me confundas con una persona despistada cuando me veas caminando con la mirada perdida, pues estoy mirando al air por las palabras de mi historia.

Gracias a Dios por la costa norteña de Puerto Rico, donde hay una constante brisa que empuja las palabras que necesito para mi libro. Varios días atrás te dije que te mantendría al tanto de los avances de mi libro. Quince capítulos he completado y nuevos personajes salen del pasado de mi historia para vivir nuevamente en la ficción. Alegre, pues llegan para dar a este libro abundancia, intriga para los personajes principales y más, mucho más viene.

No puedo esperar hasta mañana, una mañana completa a solas solo para escribir me espera. Una que he deseado por algún tiempo y que finalmente puedo tener. Así que mañana será uno de esos días en que mi mente dejará el mundo real y se adentrará en un mundo, que por ahora, solo yo puedo asesar.

Hasta la próxima.




Stories, one of fun and the other of love

Short Funny Christmas Story 

Just before Christmas, an honest politician, a generous lawyer and Santa Claus got into the lift (elevator) at the Ritz Hotel in London. As the lift travelled from the 5th floor down to the ground level, one-by-one they noticed a £50 note lying on the lift’s floor.

Which one picked up the £50 note, and handed it in at reception?

Santa of course, the other two don’t actually exist!


Christmas is for love

Author unknown

Christmas is for love. It is for joy, for giving and sharing, for laughter, for reuniting with family and friends, for tinsel and brightly decorated packages. But mostly, Christmas is for love. I had not believed this until a small elf-like student with wide-eyed innocent eyes and soft rosy cheeks gave me a wondrous gift one Christmas.

Mark was an 11 year old orphan who lived with his aunt, a bitter middle aged woman greatly annoyed with the burden of caring for her dead sister’s son. She never failed to remind young Mark, if it hadn’t been for her generosity, he would be a vagrant, homeless waif. Still, with all the scolding and chilliness at home, he was a sweet and gentle child.

I had not noticed Mark particularly until he began staying after class each day (at the risk of arousing his aunt’s anger, I later found) to help me straighten up the room. We did this quietly and comfortably, not speaking much, but enjoying the solitude of that hour of the day. When we did talk, Mark spoke mostly of his mother. Though he was quite small when she died, he remembered a kind, gentle, loving woman, who always spent much time with him.

As Christmas drew near however, Mark failed to stay after school each day. I looked forward to his coming, and when the days passed and he continued to scamper hurriedly from the room after class, I stopped him one afternoon and asked why he no longer helped me in the room. I told him how I had missed him, and his large gray eyes lit up eagerly as he replied, “Did you really miss me?”

I explained how he had been my best helper. “I was making you a surprise,” he whispered confidentially. “It’s for Christmas.” With that, he became embarrassed and dashed from the room. He didn’t stay after school any more after that.

Finally came the last school day before Christmas. Mark crept slowly into the room late that afternoon with his hands concealing something behind his back. “I have your present,” he said timidly when I looked up. “I hope you like it.” He held out his hands, and there lying in his small palms was a tiny wooden box.

“Its beautiful, Mark. Is there something in it?” I asked opening the top to look inside. ”

“Oh you can’t see what’s in it,” He replied, “and you can’t touch it, or taste it or feel it, but mother always said it makes you feel good all the time, warm on cold nights, and safe when you’re all alone.”

I gazed into the empty box. “What is it Mark,” I asked gently, “that will make me feel so good?” “It’s love,” he whispered softly, “and mother always said it’s best when you give it away.” And he turned and quietly left the room.

So now I keep a small box crudely made of scraps of wood on the piano in my living room and only smile as inquiring friends raise quizzical eyebrows when I explain to them that there is love in it.

Yes, Christmas is for gaiety, mirth and song, for good and wondrous gifts. But mostly, Christmas is for love.

The “W” in Christmas                                                      
                                                                           
Last December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.   I had cut back on nonessential obligations – extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.       
     
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for his school’s “Winter Pageant.”  I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher.  She assured me there’d be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation.  All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.  Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise. 
                 
So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early,  found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw  several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song. Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as “Christmas,” I didn’t expect anything other than fun, commercial    entertainment – songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer.

So, when my son’s class rose to sing, “Christmas Love,” I was slightly taken aback by its bold title. Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.  Those in the front row- center stage – held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing “C is for Christmas,” a child would hold up the  letter C. Then, “H is for Happy,” and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, “Christmas Love.” 

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter “M” upside down –  totally unaware her letter “M” appeared as a “W”.  The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one’s mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her “W”.  Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.  A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our  festivities. For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear: 

C H R I S T   W A S   L O V E”  
  
And, I believe, He still is.





El Manantial

             As I walked trough the endless corridors of the mine looking for a site to dig I came upon a wooden circular door.  A big round iron handle was placed in the middle of the door.  Ela, my shadowy muse, and I looked at each other in dismay.  What was a door like that doing inside a mine?  Well, I suppose that in here, a very different mine, you could find almost anything.  So it shouldn’t be a surprise to me that a round door was placed in this mine.

            “Should we open it?” –I asked Ela for she was my companion in this adventure.   

“Why not?  There’s nothing stopping us.” –she whispered, like always for that’s the way she talks.

“Yes, let’s see what lies beyond that door.”

We walked to the door, took the iron handle, holding it very tight, and pulled with all our strength.  It was a heavy door and as it gave way it made a loud noise like screws that have not been oiled for a long time.  We opened the door completely and look to see what lay inside that room.  To our amazement it was not a room but a garden, a gorgeous garden.

We went in to have a closer look and admire its beauty.

“Wow!” –I exclaimed.

Ela was speechless; she looked at the enchanted place not believing what her eyes were seeing.  I was in the same state of shock.  How would a place like this exist inside a mine?  I remember I have read of the existence of this rare gardens and worlds in the book One thousand and one nights, but I thought they were only legends. It harvested elegant green trees, flowers of all sorts of colors and shapes.  Green pastures and a lake of crystal waters.  Willows were caressing the surface of the lake with its branches that fell elegantly down to the ground.  The breeze was soothing and perfumed with all the aromas of the flowers. What caught my attention was that inside that place instead of being dark it was daylight.  There was no sun, but as you looked closer to the ceiling you could see that it was filled with clear crystals.

We walked beside the shore of the lake and inside it were fishes of all sorts of colors swimming by as we walked.  One of them was very curious and jump trying to grab our attention.  We kept walking and the fish, which was a deep red color with golden fins, kept jumping gracefully out of the water. I was having fun watching him and all of the sudden he smile at us.  I froze and immediately exclaimed to Ela pointing to the fish:

“I think he smiled at us!”

The fish with his head out of the water said:

“I smiled because she smiled.”

I looked at Ela, who had a huge smile on her face, and as I was ready to tell her something I realized the fish gave me a response!

“Do not be rude by commenting that he talks.  Just approach him and converse with the lovely fish.” –said Ela catching up with my thoughts.

She was actually right and I didn’t want to be rude.  As I was pondering on what to talk about with the fish, I sat down near the water.  Ela sat down beside me with the same smile as before.  I looked at the fish that was just emerging from the water witch I imagine he went down for a breather.  He looked at me for a while with out saying a word probably waiting for me to speak.

“This place is incredible.  What is it doing here?” –said Ela excited.

The fish that looked very happy to have a conversation said cheerfully:

“Well it is very interesting story.  Long ago the god Zeus in his battle with the Titans threw one of his most powerful bolts to the earth witch it stroked so hard to the ground that it open a crack and it gave way to a passage to this world.  Zeus, after that great battle, came down to relax and have a walk along the great garden that once lay above us. 

“He noticed the crack and making himself small enough to fit in it came down and found an enormous cave that extended for miles underground.  He felt in love with the clear crystals that are incrusted in the ceiling.  So he, there and then, open the crack to let the rays of the sun come down through the crystals so the light could shine inside this cave.”

“But what happens at night when only the moon is up and there is no sunlight to shine upon the crystals?” –I asked full of curiosity. 

The fish went down to catch his breath again and continued -“The rays of the moon shine upon the crystals and submerge us in a blue magical light.  If you stay long enough you might see it and maybe you can see the magic of this place.”

I smiled for I was not going to miss that opportunity.

“Zeus was so excited with the out come that he, almighty that he was and all, started walking back works looking at the ceiling.  The all powerful king of the Olympians Gods stumbled on a rock.  That one you see over there.”

He pointed at a big rock that was covered with bright green moss and beautiful ferns grew majestically around it.  From it crystal water flowed to the lake.

“The waters of this lake come from the water that flow from that rock.” –said he emerging once again- “You see when Zeus fell down on the rock he opened a small opening and water came out of it.  When he tried to get up he cut his hand with a crystal, nothing serious of course, he is a god after all.  He washed his hand with the water that flowed from the rock.  The combination of these magical waters, called ‘El Manantial’, and that of the blood of Zeus was what this place needed to start life.  From the drops of blood that fell in the ground emerge creatures just like yourselves.  But with dark black hair and bluish skin, for the blood of Zeus is of a bluish color.  These creatures can make things grow out of the simplest things.  They live in the farthest corner of the Manantial cave and love their privacy.  So do not disturb them.  They also pass their days playing with their magic and waiting for the return of Zeus, their father.”

“What happen to Zeus, did he die?” –asked Ela intrigued.  She was really paying very close attention to the fish.

“No!” –he exclaimed- “He is a God.  He just grew bored of this place.”

“So, who built that door?” –asked Ela.

 Emerging form the waters the fish answered –“Well the King of the Manantial people.  They don’t stay here for they do not like the door.  It reminds them that there is a strange world out there that they don’t know and might bring contamination to theirs.  That’s why the followed the river down stream, that grew from the lake, where they found another bigger one and settle there.”

He went down once again and continued when he came up –“It’s getting late and I have to go know.  It was really good talking to you.  I hope to see you tomorrow and we can talk more.”

“Of course, thank you for your help.” –said Ela.

“You welcome.” –said the fish smiling.

“Wait!  You haven’t told us your name” –I exclaimed.

“Oh! What clumsy of me.  My name is Zep.” –saying that he swam away living us alone.

There was silence as the light became dimmer.  Only the sound of flowing water from the ‘El Manantial’ echoed in the cave.  The light change rapidly to a blue dim and the crystal of the ceiling sparkled majestically.  Sparkling lights came alive when the night finally came and even the rock from the ‘Manantial’ sparkled full of magic.  Ela took out of my back pack a sleeping bag witch she told me Morpheus had given to her ‘cause he knew I will need it in case I wanted to spend a night inside the mines’.

We lay down staring at the sparkling crystals embracing the beauty of that place.

“They look like stars.” –commented Ela.

“Yes.” –I said inhaling the pure air that surrounded us.

“What are we going to do tomorrow?  Are we going to stay here or go back to the mines?”

“I do not know Ela.  What ever tomorrow brings I know it will be good and full of blessings.  Let us, for know, enjoy what we have been blessed with.”



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Between love and believes

A short story of love and betrayal, enjoy!  

   

 Staring out the large window of her bedroom, Sofia looked down on a beautiful garden with sadness in her heart.  Seventeen eighty-nine was a dangerous time, especially for ‘los hacendados’.  Many months ago, ‘la revolución’ was nothing more than a rumor circulated during conversations at every dining table in every corner of the city, but today it was a reality.  The rebels demanded better ways of living, and they blamed ‘el Presidente’ for not taking care of his people.  While homeless subjects died of starvation, they claimed the hacendados and ‘el Presidente’ draped themselves in custom-made jewelry and exquisite clothes.    

While the reality of the rebels, that were mostly poor people, was not Sofia’s, she suffered for her loved one.  Fernando was his name, and, even though he was not of wealth as she was, he was a captain of ‘La guardia Presidencial’, which was a respectable title for a young man to achieve in the President’s army.  His position meant that she could see him now and then, for he was well respected among the rich families for his bravery in the line of duty.  Sofia met Fernando during a ball held in ‘Casa Blanca’, the luxurious palace of the President of la Republica.  They danced together all night, and it was, as Sofia called it, “love at first sight.”   

That night, Sofia was captivated by his sky blue eyes, which were enchanting and mysterious at the same time.  Of course, she didn’t waste any time to tell him, “You know, some say that a man who has those kinds of eyes has deep secrets inside his heart.”   

            Fernando, enchanted by her beauty, smiled and replied, “Do you think I have secrets?  I know everybody does.”   

            “Yours are different, for they require their secrecy.”   

            Fernando’s expression change immediately, he looked at Sofia seriously as if studying her with his gaze.  Sofia noticed this, and she quickly said, “Please, do not take this the wrong way.  I find your secrecy interesting.”   

            “Why is that?” he asked with curiosity, looking at her with sharp eyes.   

            “I intend to discover those secrets, and afterward I’ll make them my own,” Sofia responded playfully.   

            “You will not like my secrets,” he said seriously.   

            “Of that, I’ll be the judge.  For now, I would like to dance again.”   

            “As you wish,” Fernando said as kissed her hand.   

Seven months passed, since then they had kept seeing each other.  Sadly, two weeks ago, Fernando was called to duty to assist in some matters of ‘la revolución’.  His orders were to infiltrate the revolution as a spy.  He only came to Sofia to say farewell and spend the little time he had left by her side.  Ever since, Sofia had heard or received no news of him.  The revolution had started in the north of the country and was quickly spreading throughout the cities, getting nearer everyday to her home town.  News of death and massacres came to Sofia as she prepared to leave her home that afternoon, accompanied by her closest friends, to stay in her country residence.  The only thing keeping her there was that her father had not yet arrived, and she waited for him before departing.   

Sofia recalled the afternoon Fernando came to her to say his goodbyes.  It was a sunny and beautiful spring afternoon; still his departure was not what Sofia desired.  They talked of many things, even of the rebellion, which was not a preferred topic of Sofia.  But Fernando had brought it up that day.   

“What do you think of ‘la revolución’?” he asked in an odd way.   

 “My love, do not burden me with that.  I really do not wish to talk about it.  Everywhere you go everybody talks of the same thing.  When I go visit my friends, even my father burdens me with the same subject at dinner time.  I did not expect this from you too,” said Sofia with a weary voice.   

“Sofia is a reality of our times.  You should at least care,” Fernando said sounding disappointed.   

“Is not my reality and if you want to know what I think of it, I’ll tell you.  My thoughts on that issue are simple.  Things should stay as they are.  Everybody is happy that way, I know I am.  Still this ‘revolución’ will only bring death and sorrow.”   

“You think everyone is happy as you are, because you have everything a human being could have.  Outside these golden walls you live in, people are dying of starvation.  Their way of life is inhuman, and the president and ‘los hacendados’ do nothing to help them.  None of you care,” said Fernando upset.   

Sofia was confused with his words, as she could not believe what she was hearing from her lover.    

“You are a captain of the guards!  You should not talk in that manner.  Your duty is to the president and not the people.  The people serve their government and the president, who represents our glorious country.”   

Fernando stood up amazed with what Sofia said. He looked at her in an aggravated way and said irritated, “You have no idea of what goes beyond these walls, do you?”   

Perplexed Sofia replied, “Of course I do.  I am not an ignorant woman!  I…”   

But before she could finish, Fernando interrupted her raising his voice, “First, so you know, the people do not serve the president.  He is here to serve the people, and by that I mean he is a servant of this country.  Those poor people are the ones who work the land, who keep this country and its economy flowing.  The people, those who struggle everyday of their lives to survive, are tired and wish a better life.  They’re the ones who deserve my respect, and my duty is to them!  The government and the hacendados only care for their wealth and power.”   

Sofia stood up and began walking away with eyes full of tears.  Fernando closed his eyes realizing what he had done.  He was too harsh with his words; still she needed to understand what was happening.  The world was changing, and if she was to survive in it, Sofia needed to change too. He felted horrible, his heart divided.  She did ask him not to talked about it, but still he wanted to know what her thoughts where.  Fernando walked towards her, grabbed Sofia by her arm and pulled her towards him.  He gave her a hug and cried.   

“I am sorry to upset you.”   

Sofia crying said softly, “You should be.  You’re behaving as if you are not yourself.” Pushing him away from her, in a matter that their eyes met, she continued, “Here in front of me is another man that I know nothing of.  Your expressions, your way of speech, even your eyes where lighted when you were speaking.  Like it was something that was part of you!  This rebellion brings only separation and is affecting everything in its path.  Even us!  Is tearing us apart, we had never argued before.”    

She paused trying to restrain herself then she continued with anger in her voice, “I hate them! I hate everything and everyone that has something to do with it. Look what it has done to us. It has created a void in our relation that was perfect in every sense of the word.” Sofia covered her face with her hands and cried desperately. Fernando looked at her with sadness, but evidently he was upset. He wanted to cry; instead he kissed her forehead and whispered, “I have to go.” With out looking at her, Fernando walked away.

Sofia fell to the ground crying inconsolable. Her heart was being taking away by emotions she could not comprehend. She looked at Fernando one last time as he slowly disappeared in the distant gate. Sofia felt a desire to run to him and kissed his soft lips and begged him not to go. But something inside her kept her from doing that. Maybe it was her pride or that she lacked the strength to do it.

After that episode Sofia cried for days angry with herself, for their departure was not what she wanted. Wishing, many times, she could go back to that day so she might have a chance to say a proper good-bye to her love.

Sofia came out of her room saying good-bye to the garden that had been witness of her growing love and sorrow for Fernando. It was almost three o’clock and Sofia’s friends were waiting for her in the garden gazebo for some afternoon coffee. As Sofia entered the gazebo she smiled to cover the sadness she felt.

“¡Buenas tardes, señoritas!” Sofia said sitting down.

“¡Buenas tardes!” Josefina and Erica answered at the same time.

The ladies ate and drank their coffee in silence; they where too nervous to talk and desperate to live the city for their own well being. Josefina and Erica noticed the sadness in Sofia’s eyes. Erica looked at Josefina and opened her eyes widely making a nod with her head. Josefina understood Erica’s signal and said to Sofia trying to cheer her up, “Please, cheer up. I know what worries you more is that you haven’t heard from Fernando. But believe me you will hear from him soon, you’ll see. Everything is going to work for the best and this rebellion will soon pass.”

“I know. Thank you so much for being here with me,” Sofia replied smiling back at them and holding their hands.

A scream was heard from inside the house and servants came running out towards the garden. Men with guns dressed like rebels came behind them shooting. The three women got up nervously; Sofia stood in front of them. The revolution had reached her home and the rebels were invading it.

One of them had her father, he was bleeding and full of bruises. The rebel threw him at Sofia’s feet. She kneel down to help him, nevertheless the rebel grabbed her by the arm and scream at her telling her to get up. She replied that her father needed a doctor, but he pushed her back.

A tall man came in, dressed in the same fashion. He had a beard and a hat covered his eyes. The rebel called him ‘Capitan’ and asked him what they should do with the women and servants. Josefina and Erica shouted desperately. Sofia grabbed their hands trying to relax them, still they were too scared.

“Take this two and the men and put them standing in front of the wall.”

The women screamed loudly. Sofia tried to help them, but another rebel grabbed her by the shoulders and she was unable to assist her friends. The Capitan approached Sofia and looked at her. As she looked at him she noticed that his gaze was very familiar. Her heart jumped inside as she felt fainted. Sofia knew well those sky blue eyes that looked at her with anger, yet at the same time with love. He looked different with a beard; it made him looked crude, especially in the manner he was dressed. She had never seen him that way before.

The rebel holding Sofia walked away at his command.

“There is no place for mercy or forgiveness for those that believe and are part of this revolution,” the Captain said to her seriously.

“No,” she said breathing deeply. A tear came rolling down her cheek, which she rapidly dried.

“There’s only hate then?”

“Yes,” she whispered with a broken heart.

The Captain opened his mouth as if he was going to say something, but no words came out. He step closer to her and enraged said, “Then I must do what I have to. Know that I only do it, because I love the rebellion more and hate those who are against it.”

With a soft voice, Sofia replied, “You can only hate what you have loved before, for there is no room for hate without love.”

Her words left him speechless. Then he closed his eyes and turned his back on her. He said to one of the rebels, “Put her with the others.”

The rebel pushed Sofia towards the wall placing her between her father that was being held by Josefina, for he could hardly stand, and Erica. Four rebels with guns kneel in front of them. The Capitan stood behind the line of men commanding them to prepare their rifles. Erica began singing and Josefina followed. Her voice was sweet, but full of sadness for she knew her end was near. Sofia gave a last look at the Capitan who looked at her seriously, yet in his eyes there was sadness. He touched the shoulder of one of the rebels and he shot.

Sofia felt the round bullet enter her chest as her body slowly slipped down the wall. Everything gradually became darker, while she heard the singing of her friends fading away.

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