# Proaza trilogy, book II
“Our life is made by the death of others”.
Leonardo da Vinci
1. The road to Los Infiernos
To go to Los Infiernos, all one must do is make a right at kilometer six of the RM-19, the highway connecting San Javier to the A-30, going toward Murcia. At the first exit after passing the roundabout, one must take a detour and drive two kilometers and a half over irregular asphalt, surrounded by dusty fields and plastic greenhouses. There, silence extends as far as the ear can reach, and in the middle of summer, temperatures can go as high as in the place that gives the location its name (Infierno means hell in Spanish).
When Gustavo took the detour, it was two in the morning. He was in the company of a young woman he had met that same night, a few hours after Tati left him. It was dark because rural roads are usually not well lighted; the only illumination came from the headlights of the van driving down the middle of the highway, and sometimes invading the left lane. Between laughter and caresses, they left behind the first curve. The vehicle stopped on the left side of the road, headlights pointing at a few dry shrubs and a plastic tarp someone had thrown on the ground. They kissed. He was a bit drunk, happy to have met someone who offered him company during those bitter moments. She had teasing eyes, playful hands, and lips that tasted of gin. Just what he needed. After all, to find a companion willing to console you when you have a broken heart is a small miracle, although chemistry can explain it: The body releases Endorphins, Dopamine levels rise, and euphoria overtakes the body. He could have gone to rehearsal or smoked weed with his friends and laugh to satiety, and the effect on his mood would have been the same. We all know that a regulating thought can, on occasion, help us stay on course; but that was not what Gustavo wanted; he elected to take the road of self-pity. Even though he knew that his relationship with Tati had not made much sense, he decided to abandon himself to desperation and act out his melodrama for all the world to see.
When did he fall asleep?
The answer to that question does not seem particularly relevant now. It is clear that while Gustavo savored his despair, listening to Muse's weepy music with his grief in full display, he did not see danger lurking. Two people sitting at a bar on the beach, drinking as the sun goes down; eyes that meet by chance too many times, and a smile appears and the first word…who said it? Who transformed a sad, empty moment into one full of expectations? What is true is that the van was right there, with its pleated curtains made of fabric full of blue clouds and roses, so welcoming, that all she had to do was mention the iced gin to convince him: "Let's go…I know a place…You'll see." And they went to the place. And he saw. It was Friday when they met and Saturday when she stole his heart, a heart that would reach a price of one hundred and fifty thousand Euros in the market. Nobody would ever know that it was emotionally broken, not even the surgeon in charge of the transplant, or the fortunate recipient. The only one who knew that was Tati, who had seen his tears of desperation only a few hours earlier; and the woman who had set up the trap, because Gus himself had told her his tale of woe while she staked him. But who cared anymore? Not Gustavo, of course. Laying fifty meters from the road with his chest open and his gaze empty, he seemed resigned. Women were not his thing, and the day had not been a good one for him.
At least he was not alone under the plastic sheet. Laying over several rolls of irrigation tubing, he had become a host ecosystem and as such had started receiving visitors, who arrived summoned by the odors liberated by his body. First, the flies appeared, fluttering nervously around him and fanning his face with their tiny wings, while looking for the best places to deposit their eggs; the ants and the scarabs came later, inspecting one by one each orifice within their reach; a spider moved through his hair, exploring the place where she would establish her nest but mindful of the wiggling of a centipede with whom she did not wish to compete at the moment. A rat exited his abdominal cavity with a piece of liver, made nervous by the presence of a crow pecking at the tarp so that he could access his portion of the banquet. Some crickets sang while the mites, minute and monstrous, made themselves at home on the dorsum of his arms and his legs.
Then, the screen of Gustavo's mobile phone lit up, the phone vibrated, and the sound of Rammstein's melody announced a new message, briefly creating disconcertment. The world stopped almost imperceptibly.
The message was from Tati, and it said: "How would you like it if someone ate you, asshole?"
…Afterward, the activity resumed.
Silent and elegant, like dreams the night had lost, the local cats watched the feast indifferently. It did not take long for the dogs to appear…
- Author: Rafael Estrada
- Translator: Guadalupe Lopez
- Subject: Modern and contemporary fiction
- Gender: Black Novel
- Age range: Adultos
- No. of pages: 301
- Distributed: by Babelcube, Inc
- ISBN: to be confirmed