Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lucrecio and Ajax---Part One

Lucrecio Miller lived next to the railroad tracks. Day and night the trains rolled by causing his Uncle Milton´s little shack to shake and rumble.

In the five years they had lived together, Uncle Milton didn’t pay much attention to Lucrecio, he was always too busy with the dozens of broken down cars which were scattered all over the yard.

´Hey Lucas!!´ he would often say, ´I´m gonna build the fastest car this side of the Silver River, your Daddy would have been proud!!´

Lucrecio didn’t always live by the railroad tracks with his Uncle Milton, he used to live with his parents in the middle of the forest until he was 8 years old. One day as he was walking home after school he saw smoke in the distance and heard sirens. He started running up the long driveway to the house, but a policeman stopped him before he could see what was happening.

´Are you the Miller´s boy?´ he asked and Lucrecio nodded yes. ´I´m afraid we got here too late,´the policeman said, ´but we will find out who is responsible, I promise you that.´

They continued up the driveway through the flashing lights and sirens until Lucrecio could see the charred remains of what had once been his home. They both watched as the firemen put back their hoses and the ambulance took his parents silently away forever.

After everyone had left, Lucrecio and the policeman stood together in the silent, empty front yard. ´Son, you must feel awful bad about this. If you ever need to talk to anyone, Officer Maxwell´s the name. You can call me Max.´ Lucas looked up through teary eyes and nodded in appreciation. ´I´ll take you to the police station now, your Uncle Milton is waiting for you.´

As Officer Max was taking Lucrecio to the squad car, they heard tapping and scratching through the thin smoke on the other side of the burned down house. They looked over and saw a sharp reflection of light, as if from a small mirror, flashing at them through the haze. In one of the flashes they saw the wings of a crow hovering over the source of light.

´Caw!! Caw!!´ He called to them, fluttering his wings. Lucrecio and Officer Max trotted over to the other side of the house as the crow bounced away with one leap, hovering on a blackened wall where the laundry room used to be.

Through his tears Lucrecio saw something smoldering in the ashes. Officer Max stopped him from picking it up, taking a white handkerchief and carefully reaching down to find a pocket watch, black and sooty from being in the fire. The glass was cracked and the hands had stopped. He rubbed off the soot to reveal a pure gold surface.

´Is this your Daddy´s watch?´ Officer Max showed it to Lucrecio. They looked at each other, puzzled. Lucrecio had never seen the watch before, but he grabbed it out of the officer´s hand, thrusting it into his front pocket next to his heart, as if it were the last memory of his Mother and Father that he could keep.
´You keep that in your pocket from now on, son, and don’t lose it!!´ They nodded in agreement and he patted Lucrecio lightly on the shoulder.

´So I wonder where THIS one came from?´ he asked, puzzled even more with the mysterious crow. ´I wonder if he has a name?´

´Caw!! Caw!!´ He spread his wings again and Lucrecio read the words on the half-melted detergent bottles.

´AJAX!!´ he exclaimed, pointing at the crow and looking at Officer Max with a slight smile showing through his tear-stained eyes. Ajax called to the both of them again and with a sudden flap of his wings he flew off over the trees and mountains toward the Silver River.

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