Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lucho's Lament - Dive's 500 Word Challenge

"But with the passage of the years Lucho Abril Marroquin was to tell himself that of all the instructive experiences of that morning the most unforgettable had not been either the first or the second accident but what happened afterwards."

The fact that the second accident occurred at all was blamed entirely on him. Even though, he was too young to fully understand. What he did understand, however, was that Maria was gone.
Maria was beautiful. She had eyes that reminded Lucho of the moon at the very last crescent, moments before it disappeared. Her skin was smooth and as delicious as cocoa with cream.

Maria was the princess protected by Papa. She posessed Mamma’s fine aristocratic bones.
Lucho was ordinary at best. He was short, but of good working stock. Lucho looked like his father. He was an Inca without a doubt.

Maria was the model of her mother. She bore the blood of a Spanish queen. Lucho remembers when Papa took him into the city. The women looked different than the village women. Papa told him they were called “Blancos”. “Blancos” because they were white in comparison to the locals. Their skin was the color of cream. Their shoes clicked and made them appear taller. The Blanco women hired the Inca women to do their housework.

Lucho only remembers the day that Maria was taken from them. He was eleven years old and entrusted with her care. Papa gave him explicit instructions:
“You will take Maria into Lima. You will find Senora Martina’s salon. You will ask Senora to find a dress for Maria that will bring out her natural beauty.”

On the way out the door Lucho tripped, spraining his ankle.

Maria was about to turn fifteen. She was shy, quiet and hardly aware of this “natural beauty”. She was about to have her special birthday party. Papa was going to invite some dignitaries. He hoped that important men in town would notice Maria’s good breeding. He was not about to lose this opportunity.

Lucho had to escort Maria into the village. In the village they would catch the makeshift “bus” into Lima. This makeshift bus was an old Daihatsu pick-up truck, fashioned in the bed with Chevrolet bench seats . The operators collected two hundred pesos per rider. Not a bad wage for the village.

The village was an hour from Lima on a good day. The road to Lima was narrow, bumpy and vertical. On one side was the mountain, on the other was sheer cliff. You could not see to the bottom.

Lucho remembers the bouncing ride, the smell of passenger’s pigs . He felt sick.

Suddenly a child was crossing the road. The driver slammed on his brakes. The bus skidded and rolled over losing half of the passengers over the cliff.

Lucho tried to hold onto Maria.
He heard screams.

He felt a burning pain across his face. He woke up in the Hospital.

“You are dead to me”. Said his papa.




Disclaimer: I wasn't going to do this one. I just composed it this evening. I hate to refuse a challenge. I like to write for fun. Just as an exercise of the mind. I do not and will never profess to be a writer of any talent.

7 comments:

Lulubelle B said...

Neetzy -

This was gut-wrenching. I could feel Lucho's horror. You pulled me right into Lucho's world. You ARE a writer.

- Lulu

dive said...

Brrr … A real horror story, this one, Neetzy.
Like Lulu, you really pulled me into their world.
Poor Lucho.
Poor Maria.
I so wanted them to be happy but with only 500 words and such a portentious opening sentence it was never going to end well.

Sigh.

Scout said...

No disclaimer necessary, Neetzy. This was a powerful story—succinct but thorough. That's a real challenge I am finding in writing within this word limit.

neetzy said...

Lulu,

Thanks so much. I would never consider myself "much" of a writer, although these exercises have been fun. I was going to pass on this one altogether, but oh well. Thanks for the kind words.

Dive,
I can only envision things getting worse for Lucho (if I were to continue this story). I had to cut, cut, cut, to keep it to 500 words in a one-night sitting. Thanks for spurring me to do this. Weird stuff certainly comes up out of the recesses of my mind.

Scout,

The 500 words is definitely a challenge! As soon as I feel I'm really getting into it I have to start to end it. Then I have to Cut, cut, cut. Looking back I should have cut more. Oh well. I wasn't even going to do this one until I sat down last night.

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

What a tragedy! It's all the sadder (and more powerful) because of the setting and obvious socio-economics that come into play. It reminds me of Steinbeck's "The Pearl."

Dear Prudence said...

Poor Lucho, screw Maria she had it better than him anyway! Just kidding. Great story and I agree about the word limit. I spend most of my time trying to reword to reduce.

neetzy said...

Katherine,

Things might have turned out better for the both of them if I had more words (lol). I realized I had to end it quickly and death got the job done! The Pearl was depressing. I hope Dive has as lighter sentence for next week.

Dear Prudence,

I kinda felt the same way about Maria! The catty side of me was starting to show. Had I enough time to allow Maria to live longer, I the think the father would have become the real villain. Thanks for your comments.