Chapter 6

High Noon on Monday, March 31st

The salty air whipped through his lungs and he breathed deep, letting it fill him to the brim. Exhaustion blanketed him, pressing him down. He sank into the sand, burying his hands into it, the warmth from the fine white grains seeping first along the pattern of thin scars still healing, then into his calloused palms and aching fingers, turning it all into a heat haze. Now that the projection was done, the tattoos that had flared into prominence on his hands were fading slowly, returning back to his own original skin tone, leaving the pinkish marks in its place. He closed his eyes in simple rest bite, letting the sunlight emanate through his eyelids. The waves roared their approval, their pride in his accomplishment. This was the first time he had tried to call on anything with the markings on his skin, and he made it, he was here—

“¿Qué haces aquí?” a voice asked. He looked up to see a woman silhouetted against the falling sun. She wore a loose shirt flapping in the breeze and pants with the legs rolled up. Hints of colorful embroidery curled around the sleeves and cuffs, like thread vines curling around whatever it pleased. She wore a hat low over her features. 

“Nada, señora,” he said politely. She frowned.

“¿Cómo llegaste a esta playa?” she asked. 

“No me vas a crees,” he said. He moved to stand up but she moved back and held out her hand in a warning.


He stopped and slowly sat down again. “Lo siento.” 

“¿En serio, por qué estás aquí?” she said, “dime rápido.” 

“Necesito visitar un hombre,” he said, “él está aquí, su nombre es Héctor?” 

“¿Héctor? ¿Qué quieres con él?” she asked.

“Quiero hablar,” he said, “solo hablar.” She hesitated for a second but relented.

“¿Te llaman Eric?” she asked.

“Sí, me llaman así,” Eric said.

“Bien. Sígueme,” she said, turning. Eric stood and bid the beach farewell as he followed her inland, the swell of the waves fading with each step.

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