[Short Story] Walker
This story is a bit special, because I did it a few months ago with four hands with a younger cousin, but he is living outside the country, well, since we wrote it first in Spanish, now I dedicated myself to translating it to publish it in another language.
Adán Montiel was walking along a long road, he was lonely and the climate was unfamiliar, he was uncomfortable and tired, but he pushed himself by force of will and hope. He was like many others, just a couple of days ago he was crossing another border of his trip and there were other people in the same condition, but now he was alone on this section of the road and for hours he had not seen anyone, that bored him when walking with more people you can at least talk to distract the pain in your legs and feet.
Everything seemed to continue the same, but he saw a child sitting on the side of the road, he seemed to rest to resume his walk, he did not see that he was carrying luggage. Well, I could not see a backpack, no bag, no bag or anything ... that was strange, it could be that he had separated from his family, that would be a bad thing.
"Hello" Adam greeted when he got close, he tried not to scare the child, he did not want problems, but he felt sorry to leave a child alone on such a lonely and long road.
"Hello" the boy answered without problems and stared at him.
"Taking a breath?"
"What?" the child seemed not to understand.
"It is a phrase, where I come from means that one is resting to regain strength and continue"
"Ah. Yes, then I'm taking a breath. "
"Let me get some air around here then too." Adan sat down and lowered the backpack he was carrying, it had not seemed very heavy at the beginning of the trip, but after countless steps, the weight felt it a lot.
"You speak differently, where are you from?" the boy did not seem suspicious, but curious.
"From Venezuela, far north of here"
"Is that another country? What are you doing here?"
"I'm on my way to meet a relative who lives to the south, he offered me a job and that's what I need, but I don't have to buy a ticket from there to here, so part of the trip I have to do it on foot." Adam took out a small bottle of water and offered it to the boy. "I'm Adam, and you?"
"Ernesto. I'm not thirsty"
"Okay." Adam drank water and put the bottle away again. "This path is very lonely, I was surprised to see you here, shouldn't you be with your family?"
"I can't ... I left and I'm not coming back."
"Wait, you ran away! They may be looking for you, you should go back. "
"No, in my town they have enough problems and if I return there are problems that await me"
"It can not be so bad." Adam looked carefully at the boy, he should call him a boy rather, he was at that borderline age between being a little boy and a young man.
"It is, do you know San Juan of Lucanas?"
"No, is that your town?"
“That's where it was. This year there were again problems with the water, we are in a drought. My friend Pantocha had returned from the coast, the community members were without water due to the wickedness of Don Braulio who only allowed them to distribute it to his people, but Don Pascual, who was the Weekly Manager, listened to the complaints and decided to distribute the water to the community members who needed it"
"They don't sound like trouble to run away ..."
“Wait you didn't get to the ugly part. Pantocha had been speaking to the community members, both the Tinkis and the Sanjuanes, so that they could protest against the abuses and face things, that led to fights since when the moment came for Don Braulio to distribute the water, but Don Vilkas almost reached the blows and when he couldn't do anything that coward went looking for Don Braulio. "
"From what I understand the water in this drought is quite a problem."
"You don't know about sowing, do you?" Ernesto seemed a bit upset
"No, well, I'm a city dweller, I'm actually a mechanic, I don't know anything about seeding". Adam answered calmly but noticed the boy's annoyance.
"Without water, cornfields dry up and we all have a hard time." Ernesto continued later "whatever, Don Braulio came upset, very drunk and armed, when he found out that they had disobeyed him, he shot us, he began to release bullets without caring about anything"
“That sure is a crime! Did nobody look for the police? " Adam was amazed at the turn the story was taking.
“If you have the authority you are wrong, Don Braulio is a rich man, both Don Vilkas and Don Inocencio are on his side, which is to say that both the law and the church do nothing to stop him. Pantocha encouraged the people not to run away and face that drunk together, but a bullet hit him and killed him ... I was there. "
"..." Adam did not know what to say, the violence that this child had witnessed and suffered was something he had no experience with, not that he had never heard shooting up close, but he had never lost someone close to one of those.
“I took the Pantocha Cornet and threw it at Don Braulio, with such aim or luck that I hit him on the head and drew blood. That infuriated him, but it was the least he deserved, I yelled at him thief, and everything I felt inside, but even being hurt and thrown, he told his people around him to shoot me. I escaped and now I can't go back. "
"You had a bad time, sorry for telling you to come back, I didn't know anything." Adam was sincere.
"Well, that's why I'm on my way, I'm going to Utek’pampa. Why did you set out? "
"I don't know if it will be a lot or a little, but I am also fleeing ... but not from a single man, but from an entire government."
"That is already a lot" Ernesto was interested.
“Just like your people, my country suffers from a drought, but in dollars, what we sell to other countries has dropped a lot in price, we had a corrupt, gross, and stubborn government. So instead of trying to fix things, they complicated them by making bad decisions and using bad means. They were not choking the possibilities, companies closed their doors faster and faster and many of us were without work, the cost of living rose so much that it was impossible to even eat regularly, and taking care of health became so expensive that we could not do much more than pray not to get sick. "
"It sounds as if Don Braulio was president of your country"
"Well, ours is not drunk, that one knows, but otherwise they do look alike." Adam took the comment with a bit of humor.
"And did they fight?"
"Just like your people, but almost the same thing happened to us, we lost and those of us who can run out of the country are doing it, looking for our own Utek’pampa."
"Does this also happen to peasants and Indians?"
"Yes, even worse, in the cases of the Indians ... It is not that they had it very easy in previous times, but in the present, they are frankly wrong."
"It seems that here and there there are many things in common, we have a long way to go, we have to get going or the night will come here"
"Yes, well we've had enough air, take good care of yourself."
"You too, by the way, Welcome to Peru!"
“Ha ha ha, they already told me that at the border, I even saw that some other hiker left a sign on the road of Happy New Year 2019! And that has already been months. " Adam had got up and took his backpack, turning his back to Ernesto.
"2019? But if we are in 1935 "
Adan felt a chill and tensed his back as if it were the string of a musical instrument, he turned quickly to see Ernesto's face to tell him that that did not sound funny, but he did not find anyone sitting in his place ... He was alone, the blood was It went from his face, he looked everywhere and decided to get out of there as fast as he could.
Sometime later, already reunited with his relative and working as a mechanic, Adán dared to ask about a place called San Juan of Lucanas. He wanted to know if what he had experienced in that encounter on the road was something of a ghost or had been imagining things, when he looked for if it was an important place or something like that, he learned that the son of one of the helpers told him that he had heard that name, their teacher sent them to read the first book of stories published by José María Arguedas, he had just read it and had it fresh in his memory, he offered to lend it and Adán was even more surprised when he found the child Ernesto, but now as a character of a story.
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