And… What now? | Y… ¿Ahora qué?

And… What now?

stories of a beautiful haunting (series written in English)

Currently, I’m working on two literary projects. First, I’m editing my series stories of a beautiful haunting.  The first part –stories of a beautiful haunting: surreal | One– may be released later this year, around December. The second part –stories of a beautiful haunting: surreal | Two– will be released by June 2019. Once these two installments are released, I will move on to editing the prequel to stories of a beautiful haunting: surreal; and by December 2019, I hope to release stories of a beautiful haunting: genesis | One, followed up by stories of a beautiful haunting: genesis | Two by June 2020.

I’m also working on my third book of poems. I hope to release this bilingual book by December 2019 (English/Spanish). The book is dedicated to the island of Puerto Rico, my home. In a recent conversation, I admitted that my gravest mistake was ever moving from the island. I hope to begin to “write” my wrong with this book. The poems will reflect on Puerto Rico’s current events, more recent & past history, and its disastrous, detrimental, and colonial relationship with the United States.

–Luis S. González-Acevedo


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Y… ¿Ahora qué?

stories of a beautiful haunting (serie escrita en inglés)

Actualmente, estoy completando dos proyectos literarios. Primeramente, estoy editando mi serie stories of a beautiful haunting (en inglés). La primera parte –stories of a beautiful haunting: surreal | One– estará disponible antes de diciembre de 2018. La segunda parte –stories of a beautiful haunting: surreal | Two– estará disponible antes de junio de 2019. Una vez estos dos libros estén disponibles, editaré las precuelas de stories of a beautiful haunting: surreal. Antes de diciembre de 2019, espero publicar stories of a beautiful haunting: genesis | One, seguida por stories of a beautiful haunting: genesis | Two por junio de 2020.

También estoy escribiendo mi tercer poemario. Espero publicar este poemario bilingüe antes de diciembre de 2019 (inglés/español). El libro será dedicado a la isla de Puerto Rico, mi hogar. En una conversación reciente, admití que mi peor error fue mudarme de la isla. Espero empezar a corregir este error con este poemario. Los poemas reflejarán eventos actuales en Puerto Rico, al igual que pensamientos y opiniones sobre su historia presente y pasada, y su relación desastrosa, perjudicial, y colonial con los Estados Unidos de América.

–Luis S. González-Acevedo

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María’s Island (short story) | Post-Hurricane Flash Fiction

María’s Island” will appear in a collection of poems & short stories by Luis S. González-Acevedo (release: 2019-2020)DSC_0055


 

María’s Island

hurricane-earth-satellite-tracking-71116.jpegAnton Cortázar Toledo quivers in front of the urinal, steps back, and pulls on the cold lever. Waters rush down its porcelain back, disturbing the fresh blot of yellow like a cleansing waterfall.

“Boarding for Flight 920 to Orlando will begin shortly. Please have your boarding pass ready.”

Anton moves quickly toward the lavatory. After wetting his hands with lukewarm water, he positions them under the automatic soap dispenser, wets again, and rubs vigorously. The sight of the baptismal liquid washing away the tainted suds intrigues him.

The hand drier starts automatically as his fingers slide steadily back and forth below the vent. “Good as new,” he celebrates under his breath.

“Good afternoon,” says the stranger stepping up to dry his hands.

“Buenas tardes,” Anton replies in native Spanish.

The man leans in a little, as if confused, but eventually smiles and nods.

“Good afternoon,” Anton adds –in English– as he walks away.

As he steps out of the restroom, he can’t help but notice the digital clock with bright numbers on the wall –an acute awareness of time confronts him.

Near the gate, passengers continue to line up as Anton moves toward the end of the line.

He greets an approaching American couple with familiar warmth. They glance at him with little interest, saying nothing. Red-cheeked, he moves forward with the line, tugging along his carry-on.

 

| | |

 

Anton sits on the floor, next to his luggage. He pulls out a puzzle, a souvenir he picked up near Laguna del Condado. The puzzle conjures the smell of the lagoon’s troubled waters. He carefully selects a piece from the box and lays it over a previously assembled cluster. It seems right, but doesn’t settle perfectly. It’s slightly forced. He scatters the remaining pieces but doesn’t find one that’s more fitting. Given the piece’s shape and colors, it appears to be the only possibility. He presses gently, again, but the cluster doesn’t give naturally. Steam rises from within, and his chest inflates and deflates precipitously. His temples play a soft rhythm.

Groping himself with uncertainty, Anton pulls out a phone from his blazer’s inner pocket. No emails. No texts. No voicemails. The empty inboxes don’t surprise him, but he’s disappointed that he hasn’t heard back on the promotion. He clears his head, refocusing…

The woman standing nearby holds him captive with her mere existence. She sobs delicately. Silently… Her shoulders shimmy.

“She must be dear to someone,” he thinks.

“Someone staying?”

“Someone waiting?”

Her head sinks. His eyes are locked. He studies her meticulously, intensifying the quest for truth. His eyes pause briefly on the tag attached to the oversized bag between her elbow and torso, “María C. Burgos García.” She stands hunched, face drawn to the floor while cupping her mouth and nose with a trembling hand.

María’s breathing hops as she tries to catch her breath between private sobs. These vital moments unfold under Anton’s microscope…

“She’s torn,” he concludes.

“She weighs what she leaves behind against what awaits.”

“Who? What does she leave behind?”

“What? Who claims her in Orlando?”

“Should she stay?”

“Go?”

“Only she knows.”

 

| | |

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, boarding for Flight 920 to Orlando has been delayed. Please stand by for further instructions.”

Some passengers scatter about, but María remains rooted. She keeps to herself, eyes fixed on the cinematic images reflected from the waxed floor. Anton sits on the seat closest to his place in line. From there, he witnesses the wet trails coming to life on her face.

Anton’s eyes shift to his phone, not wanting to be too obvious with his observations. He taps a random app and skims quickly through a myriad of senseless posts.

María reignites his interest.

Gazing surreptitiously at her, he thinks: “Go or stay?”

Anton stares pensively at the gate.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we will begin boarding Flight 920 to Orlando.”

Turning away from the gate, his eyes rush down the long white corridor, cleansing his soul as they run. They’re drawn to Avenida Ashford by the lagoon.

His phone chimes. He checks his email:

 

“From: Stewart, Jack

To: Cortazar-Toledo, Anton; Frustrada, Jane; Mizphits, Jared

Date: Tuesday, September 19, 2017

 

Anton, Jane, Jared,

I just received news that you have been promoted.

Congratulations!!!

Jack Stewart

Director, Human Resources”

 

“Stay or go?” he asks himself, as if demanding an answer.

María looks back at him with smiling, brown eyes as she quickly retraces her steps.

“She’s choosing to stay,” he says with amusement and some emotion –his voice breaking. The small crowd nearby stares at him –bewildered.

His breathing settles. He’s relieved and at peace, maybe for the first time in decades. He understands. He understands her…  Anton taps [delete].

Tossing his boarding pass into the trash on his way down the corridor, he follows María toward any dreamful possibilities floating in his lagoon.

–by Luis S. González-Acevedo

A Father’s Day Tale: The Gift (short story)

The Gift” will appear in a collection of poems & short stories by Luis S. González-Acevedo (release: 2019-2020)


The Gift

 

June 2150, 7:30 a.m. | Eduardo was the first one up. Mother had assigned him to yard duty for the celebration, and he wanted to make Father happy. The abundant sunshine pouring through his bedroom window was a gift for those special “someones” throughout the land. Salvador –Eduardo’s father– was one of those special someones.

Father’s Day would be like no other for Salvador. Mother outdid herself –yes, she did! As Eduardo considered his mother’s commitment to his father’s happiness, he hoped to find someone that would bring him as much joy someday.

 

Eduardo          –Mom! What’s happening?

Marta              –Where, sweetie?

Eduardo          –On the fence.

Marta              –Let me see. That’s a mommy spider with her little darlings.

Eduardo          –Why are they crawling on her?

Marta              –It’s what they do. That’s how she feeds them, so they can survive.

Eduardo          –It’s so wrong.

Marta              –It’s nature’s way. When some spiders have little ones, they eventually… They do what you see them doing.

Eduardo          –I don’t like it.

Marta              –Honey, sometimes moms and dads eat first, then the little ones. The mother spider already had a chance to eat. It’s time for her little ones. It makes sense. Doesn’t it? It may be hard to understand, but you’ll get it.

 

Eduardo continued his yard work. Meanwhile, Marta returned to the kitchen. She glanced out the window from time to time at Eduardo, overflowing with admiration.

Marta and Elenita got busy preparing Dad’s favorite breakfast –eggs, toast, coffee, and orange juice. Marta did the cooking while Elenita observed diligently –soaking up the lifelong lesson. She was too young to play with big-person stoves, so Mom tasked her with arranging the meal on a silver tray. Under the glass of orange juice, Elenita placed an envelope for Salvador.

 

8:30 a.m. | “Wake up, Daddy! Wake up! We have a surprise for you!” –she shouted with girlish excitement. Salvador opened his sleepy eyes and wiped the side of his mouth with a slight look of disgust. Once composed, he was all smiles.

“What have we here? It’s wonderful! Thank you, sweetheart. Thank you, everybody.”

“You didn’t have to, you know.” Gradually, plain happiness turned into a tearful joy of mixed emotions. He fell silent.

Overcoming the awkward moment, Salvador broke silence, “Let’s eat. Well, I’ll eat. You guys can keep me company.”

He whispered tenderly in Marta’s ear, “I love you so much. I wouldn’t want our life to be any other way.”

“Read the card first! The card first!” Elenita insisted –still suffering from excitement.

Salvador’s voice broke as he read, “Dear Dad…”

“That’s me,” he interjected with a smile.

“We’re fortunate to have you as a father, husband, and friend. This well-deserved breakfast is a token of our love.”

“Marta, Eduardo, and Elenita,” his eyes drowned in tears.

Salvador reached into the envelope and retrieved four tickets for the evening’s performance of the Hollywood classic: The Gladiator (adapted for contemporary audiences).

Salvador loved old stories.

 

6:50 p.m. | The space outside the colossal auditorium was carpeted in royal red. A series of oversized chandeliers hovered above the crowds. Elegance, tuxedos, and evening dresses speckled the landscape.

The lights flickered, then again. The crowds mobilized into the great hall. At the bottom of the spiral staircase, Eduardo stood rooted to the red carpet. Holding Elenita’s hand, he looked up toward his parents as they spoke secrets. Salvador caressed Marta’s cheek with the back of his hand, gently brushing aside the thick, jet-black strands of hair from her face. The couple noticed their little darlings and waved. The children hurried.

They found their seats but changed the seating arrangement. Eduardo sat in Salvador’s seat, Elenita in Marta’s, Marta in Elenita’s, and Salvador opted for the empty seat next to their cluster of assigned spaces.

The lights dimmed, and the stage lit up like a dream…

Gladiators engaged in mortal combat. Swords whizzed through the air and shields clanked against each other. Sweat and spit sprayed across the stage. The play paid great attention to detail and spared no expense.

The warriors bolted from the stage into the audience. They hacked, cut, and pierced the cheering crowd. Above the cries of pain, the multitude applauded and intensified its clamor. Unable to contain its delight, the horde savored the bloody massacre, taking in the slaughter’s stench.

Marta and Salvador raised their hands high. They laughed and screamed as Marta pointed savagely toward Salvador –as if taunting the swordsmen. After all, it was Salvador’s night.

A bloodthirsty gladiator moved gallantly toward Salvador and delivered the family’s gift, striking Salvador’s neck with his jagged sword. The blade didn’t slice through, so the gladiator sawed it loose.

Blood sprayed handsomely from Salvador’s wound –where his neck used to be. Elenita and Eduardo clapped with delight as Marta lovingly embraced her lifeless husband.

The ravenous little ones fed like baby spiders. Love dripped from their innocent chins. Eduardo finally understood.

 

11:58 p.m. | The day was delightful. The family couldn’t remember ever having so much fun. Elenita embraced her mother and sprinkled her with butterfly kisses.

“Thank you, Mommy. Today was the best!”

 

One month earlier, May 2150 | Salvador entered Elenita’s bedroom. She brightened up. Elenita loved his nightly visits.

“Screen on,” he commanded. The screen lit the room.

“Bedtime story. Snow White.”

Salvador pointed at the princess on the wall, “That’s her.” Elenita was mesmerized.

“Long ago, people enjoyed stories that didn’t come to life. A very long time ago…”

“The stories didn’t have to become real. They were just make-believe. Nobody’s life changed.”

“Today’s kids are spoiled.” He ran his fingers through her hair, overjoyed with the thought of his little girl growing up to be just like Marta.

 

Years later… | “Wake up, Daddy! Wake up! We have a surprise for you!” –Teresita shouted with girlish excitement. Eduardo opened his sleepy eyes…