A stranger is shipwrecked in Cabo Lagarto, land of tobacco and forbidden women

A stranger is shipwrecked in Cabo Lagarto, land of tobacco and forbidden women

The town lives in perpetual silence, as if words had the power to unleash the storm. The women think that the party brings bad luck and catastrophe; men never converse with each other and children are forbidden to play outside the house, lest the wind confuse them and take them away from their mothers.

When I finish my work, someone from the town gives me the essentials to live. People think I’ve gone crazy because I keep breadcrumbs, various fruit peels, grains, and pieces of any object that can be digested in my wide shirt pockets. They are for the cat who follows me every night and who, after all, is my only companion in the old hotel.

I owe him the bunk where I sleep and continuous revelations about the building.

His body is razor-thin and ghostly, which is why he can understand the anatomy of the hotel better than I do. Get to know the passageways, the cracks through which the rooms are accessed, the fissure between the bricks, the strange creatures that inhabit the pipes and pipes.

I try to sleep since I arrive at the old hotel, to keep intact the energy that little food gives me. Even from inside the ruins you can feel how the air is electrified and the atmosphere becomes more and more charged, as if the hurricane were going to shake the foundations of the town at any moment.

It seems to me that everything I do has to do with the cat. He leads me into the darkness of the hotel, a maze he knows better than I do, and he reveals which wall to demolish.

Sometimes the insomnia is too powerful and I can only sleep when the morning progresses. In those moments I go in and out of sleep like someone drowning in the sea, I hear all kinds of vermin scratching the walls of the hotel, I see my father’s face and that of the women. Meanwhile, the creatures move, walk inside the tubes, watching me with their small eyes burned by blindness. I know I can’t imagine these little beasts because the cat, who is my night watchman, also chases them with his hunter’s eyes.

I found yesterday, thanks to my partner, an easy-to-knock down door that leads to one of the hotel rooms. After cleaning up the rubble I was able to sleep, once again, on a more or less soft mattress.

It seems to me that everything I do has to do with the cat. He leads me into the darkness of the hotel, a maze he knows better than I do, and he tells me which wall to demolish or when to sleep. I am more and more hungry and I can touch the shape of my ribs, while he grows and feeds on what I bring him every afternoon, as an offering so that he does not abandon me to my fate in the middle of the storm, which will come Coming Soon.

***

Since dawn, the cat has begun to affectionately bite my toes. He does this to demand food from me or when he wants to communicate some knowledge about the hotel to me. Once the barriers have been broken and new passages have been discovered, the cat has made me notice a very weak beam of light, which comes from the other side of a wall, where I thought there were only more rooms.

I searched for the iron bar that helps me break the walls and hit the wall. After the third blow the bricks gave way and I stepped through the cloud of dust to the place where the cat wanted to take me.

What I saw there was wonderful and terrible, and words are useless to capture it.

***

In the same place, as the prophets announced, were the serpent and the luminous bird, the stream inhabited by fish of all colors, the gentle beasts that graze on grass and the creatures that crawl up the branches of the trees, the lizard awake and scaly, the bees, moths and ants in search of food; there were also plants of all kinds, clinging to the healing stones and to the walls carved by time, fruits that ripened for a few seconds, to then fall to the ground and become one with the humus and the cold; there was light, a golden and greenish light as if the air were covered with moss, a clarity and a sky without the signs of the approaching storm.

I then remembered that the hotel had once been a convent and that, perhaps, before it was a monastery, it had been a fragment of paradise, recovered by the words of the monks.

But there, in the middle of all that, there was also a man, sitting at the end of a long wooden table, served with fruit and other delicacies that the animals brought him. He was motionless and with his eyes half open, naked as if he had to be the Adam of that garden. His hands, long and bony, were crisscrossed with small needle-like wounds.

The cat climbed onto the table, bit into a piece of fruit and lay down very close to the man. Cautiously, because I didn’t expect any good luck from Cabo Lagarto, I asked the man who he was and where we were.

“I am the stone that supports the world,” he told me, hardly opening his lips. And when I fall the orb will also fall.

***

The man’s throat is deep and dusty, full of words where time gets bogged down and turns to stone, bone and immobile matter. A rheumy liquid runs down the lines of his face, as if he had never closed his eyes. His gray beard covers his neck and chest, and he extends his hands as if, in effect, the fate of the cosmos depended on keeping the table and what it contains fixed.

If we talk, the animals look at us, from the gray cat to the lizards whose body is impossible to see completely, because of the undergrowth that covers them.

The man talks little and always answers enigmas. The first day I limited myself to looking at it and touring the cloister or internal patio of the hotel, which was already a small universe for me. As the days passed, the man revealed himself to me.

Sometimes he said:

–I am as old as the stones and the mountains; the moon gave birth to me, the sun gave me life; I uttered the first word in the world, but I forgot what it was. That’s why I’m here.

“I fought hard in the war. The victors affirmed that I was a spy; the vanquished said that I brought misfortune upon them. Both sides ordered my execution”

Or he would lean his forehead until it touched the table and change his origins:

I fought hard in the war. The victors claimed that he was a spy; the vanquished said that he brought misfortune upon them. The two sides ordered my execution by firing squad and that my name be erased from all parties. I escaped from them and came to this convent.

His hands seemed to be bound with some invisible chain. She only moved them once: to explain to me why she didn’t eat the delicacies on the table.

“I swore to kill the world and the world never forgets,” he said, stretching out his fingers for an orange, “look what happens if I dare to contradict my own blasphemy.”

Instantly, mice, cockroaches, insects and other vermin that I cannot name were climbing up the table posts. Birds came down from all parts of the ruin, and while the old man tried to touch the fruit, the animals bit his nails and pecked at his hands, until his pasty blood stained the food, the feathers, and the shells of the birds. vermin

–Now do you understand the weight that I have on top?

I wanted to answer, but I was speechless and full of disgust for what I had seen. The only thing I could do was run, knock down the walls, cover myself with dust and fall exhausted on the bunk in the reception.

________________________

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