jueves, 7 de febrero de 2013

Short Story: "The Night of Return", by Felipe Oro

     The Night of Return

     Same night again. A pale, blue moonlight is filtering through the windows and the drawn back curtains of the spacious room. An old woman applies makeup in front of the mirror at the dressing table. She is dressed up in blue tones; a light blue jersey and a dark blue skirt. An older man is behind, sitting at the lower end of the bed. He snorts at times while his head tilts back and forward as the pendulum of a cuckoo clock.
     As the air becomes rarefied because of the pompous quantities of powder and perfume, the old man wakes up.
     "Why are you so smart and tidy? Are you expecting someone to come or something?" He asks, sniffing phlegm into his throat.

     "Indeed. We are expecting visitors this night. Don't you remember, dear?" She answers, well-mannered and calm, still applying makeup at the dressing table.

     The old man remains silent for a moment and frowns a bit, like trying to remember what he just ate for lunch. Then, his expression rapidly turns from a drowsy one to a gloomy one:

     "Same as always?" He asks, raising his eyes in sorrow as a pledge to all heavens.

     "Same as always, I'm afraid".

     The old man manages to stand up with difficulty. His whole body trembles as a chill runs down his spine. He knows what will happen that very night, and so does she. As he is struggling to keep his body up, the doorbell sounds.

     "Oh. It is them," says the old lady and hurries to the door before giving any chance to the old man to protest.

     The old man hurries to the night stand and gets an old revolver from the drawer; a reminder of the Great War. Meanwhile, the woman welcomes the guests: two tall, armed men with a suspiciously unfriendly look on their faces. One of them grabs the woman by the scruff of the neck while the other asks, in a strangely polite way, where the money is. The old woman, of course, delivers no answer since she is being grabbed by the neck. And doing so, one of them —the shortest and cleverest— notices a faint light coming from the 'blue' bedroom at the back of the house. Still grabbing the now-unconscious and now-blue-skinned woman, both men approach to the room through the corridor. "I'm here, you goddamned bastards! I'll show you what I'm made of," cries the old man as he firmly holds onto the butt of the gun. There are only four recognizable sounds in the whole household. First, the steps of the robbers: strong, heavy and determined. Second, the creaking whines of the floor under their feet. Third, the body of the woman as it is being dragged. And fourth, the crunchiness of the old man own bones as they are torn apart. "You won't kill me again. Not this time, you filthy animals!" Says the old man as he tries to pull up the gun. But all effort deem futile as the old couple find themselves sound and safe yet not for long, as they are to repeat the same day once more.

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