The gray night heralded a brutal event, beginning with chilling screams of pain coming from the old adobe house at the end of the street. The house of the Sombrerón, as it was known, had recently been rented and was in one of the most popular neighborhoods in Jutiapa. At the end of the courtyard of the house, was an imposing ceiba tree, whose branches were being used as torture arms.
A thick rope had been tied to one of its branches. While at the other end of the rope a girl hung with her head down, having been tightly tied by her feet. Her appearance was haggard with the expression of pain reflected on her face. Her long black hair snaked in all directions in the wind. Her bare feet were being burned with fiery embers coming from a fire in front of her, lighting up the macabre scene. The little girl’s cries of pain traveled, driven by the wind, until they were heard by the bewildered neighbors, who did not decide to enter the old house due to the urban legends that seemingly came to life in the darkness of the moonless nights.
Surprisingly, a white man named Manuel, thin and with an angry expression, made his way through the crowd of people in front of the old house. That man, with fisted hands began, to hit the main door that was visibly deteriorated by the passage of time. The force with which he struck the door made the wood, with which it was built, begin to crack. Then backing up a little and using his right leg, he slammed the door down completely.
Upon entering the interior of the house, he ran straight into the courtyard. As he watched what was happening, his anger turned to fury. Approaching the fire, he picked up a lit log. Using that log as a torch, he defiantly pounced on the girl’s executioner. Who, when threatened, backed down and fled the place. Then the man moved to hold the little girl, using the fire from the log, burned the rope until it finally broke to free the little girl.
The girl, feeling liberated, babbled slightly, “Daddy …” while losing consciousness completely. The man hugged her tightly and carried her in his arms left the old house, known as the house of the Sombrerón. Walking among the people, and leaving behind the bonfire that was still burning, spreading its threatening flames in the darkness of the night, the imposing ceiba tree stood as a faithful witness to the horrendous martyrdom that the little Lark had suffered.
Manuel walk down the main street of the town, towards his own house. With his little daughter born out of wedlock, he lovingly carried her in his arms; all the while receiving the disturbing gaze of all the people in their path.
When Manuel got home, he tapped on the door using his right foot. His wife, Hilda, opening the door. Manuel then fell to his knees, and without saying a word he began to cry with sadness and pain. Hilda approached him. She said nothing as she observed the badly burned bare feet of the little Lark. Then stroking the little girl’s face, she said, “Don’t worry, I receive her with my heart. From today on, she is my daughter too. I will take care of her and there will be no difference between her and our children. “
Manuel looked up; his eyes red from crying due to the pain he felt when he saw his daughter’s suffering. Then he stood up and handed the little Lark into her new mother’s arms.
Hilda carried the little girl to her own bed and began to treat her feet. Using a cotton ball, she began to disinfect the sores produced by the burning embers. The skin on the soles of Lark’s feet peeled off every time Hilda touched them. The hydrogen peroxide along with the rubbing of the cotton on the burned skin caused the little Lark to wake up, screaming in pain. Manuel then held her tightly to prevent her from moving, while Hilda applied a medicinal ointment to help her burned feet heal.
To finalize the healing, Hilda placed bandages on her feet to prevent infections from occurring. Then looking directly into Lark’s eyes, she approached her, sat on the bed, and hugged the little girl; crying and full of helplessness for not being able to mitigate the pain that the girl was feeling.
Manuel was moved when he saw the scene. Extending his arms, he embraced his wife and daughter at the same time. Then the three of them wept inconsolably, feeling united by the same pain, although all three felt it differently …
TO BE CONTINUE…