Posted By: grantix<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 26 November 2009, 8:17 pm
The sun descended, long orange rays bursting through the cloud layer. The dirty tan and brown expanse before me was echoed on my hands, caked in layers of dried mud and sand. I stared, just a moment, taking in the view, before noting the holes which cut through my jeans. Slowly, I turned back to the village clapping my hands together and watching the dirt fall to the ground. The sand below stretched forever, interrupted by sparse brush and small thorny plants. My feet cringed in pain as the thorns dug in every few steps. But I trudged on to the village, awaiting the scowl my mother would unleash.
The hardwood floor was a slight relief from the desert. Most of the floorboards bent with each step, and splintered at the ends, revealing small holes into the foundation, or what was left of it. The damp ground underneath the house was cold, and it transmitted to the floorboards. I walked carefully, trying not to deepen the wounds, and also trying not to disturb my parents. I peered around the corner, my hands running along the decaying walls. My eyes widened, pleading, hoping my mother would not notice me.
"Mijo," my father's rough voice began. "Come."
Sadness washed over my face. Here was the reprimand I anticipated and feared. My hands darted behind my back, and I advanced slowly to my father. His face was forlorn, staring down at my mother in bed. His hands clasped hers, and he stroked the back. He turned to me, his face still unshaven, like all week. He looked funny, I thought, when he didn't shave, like some kind of an animal. His common angry fits made him seem more primal.
I rose my face to him, expecting the coming punishment, the spanking, and yelling. His face looked curious, for a second, but the sorrow refused to leave his complexion.
"Madre is not feeling well, Mijo. Why don't you go wash yourself," he instructed.
I nodded, secretly pleased by the lack of anger and punishment. I hurried off, through the collapsing kitchen into the back yard. A small metal tub sat next to the back wall, surrounded by prickly undergrowth, except in our walking path. A small spigot rose up to the brim of the tub, its handles rusted. I pulled off my jeans and jumped in, turning the rusted handle and watching the water pour in and fill the tub.
I finished up, and ran inside, darting past my parents' room to my own, to grab the last pair of clean slacks, and a clean shirt. I walked back into my parents' room, solemn and slowly this time. I walked behind my father and clutched the chair's back.
"Is Madre okay?" I asked, my hand grabbing onto his strong arm.
He turned to me a small smile touching his lips, then running away. "Mijo." He let out a sigh, and turned back to my mother. He kissed her forehead, and then swept me up in his arms. He took me out into the living room and set me on the couch.
"Mijo. Madre is not feeling very well. She's very sick. We're going to go into town and get her some medicine," he explained.
I nodded and stood up, walking over to the door. My father followed me and we stepped towards the rusting car in front of the house. We jumped in and drove to town in silence. I watched the desert as the sun dipped below the horizon, leaving a cold stillness behind it. After a few minutes we reached the main town, where the rich ones lived. The technology, my father told me, was much better in the town.
We stopped at a small building, the light up sign outside reading, "Pharmacy". We stepped out, my father pulling me up into his arms. His eyes darted around, looking for something, someone. He stopped, and walked down the sidewalk, away from the Pharmacy.
"What about Madre's medicine?" I asked.
We continued, turning down an alley way between two building. In the middle of the alley were two people, a tall male, in a uniform, and a shorter female, wearing glasses and odd clothes. My father stopped, and stared, then set me down.
"Gracias. I know you say he's perfect, his physical and mental capabilities exceed those in his age group, but that's meaningless to me. I just want a better life for him. He shouldn't stay here, with us, in the rundown, decaying shack of a house. He deserves better... and even if you are turning him into a soldier... he'll live better than he would here. Gracias, again."
The female nodded, and knelt down, looking at me.
"Don't worry. Your boy will ensure we all live better," the man replied.
The female beckoned to me, her hands reaching out. I looked up to my father, and he looked to me.
"Mijo, trust these two. Go on with them."
Confusion washed over my face, but I walked forward to the pair, hesitantly.
"Don't worry Mijo. You'll be fine."
I kept on going, into the woman's arms. I turned back to my father one last time.
"Is Madre gonna be okay?"
My father nodded, a fake smile on his face, and tears in his eyes.