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Thread: Diablo Seed 1882

  1. #1
    Registered User DRayVan's Avatar
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    Diablo Seed 1882

    August 1882

    Quiwi Ginni was a bustling, remote Nicaraguan village of twelve hundred people in the jungles of Central America alongside the Rio Coco. Life for the villagers was good for the most part: plenty of goods in the marketplace, several shops to buy food and drink, and a chapel with their own priest.

    From a distant village, Maria Sanchez set out for Quiwi, hoping prospects for employment would be better. She arrived in town, tired, hungry, and dirty from her three-day journey. Under her unkempt hair and smudged face, Maria would have been considered beautiful by any measure. She was twenty-two, 164 cm tall, shapely with jet-black locks, round facial features, and dark-brown eyes. But the trip had taken its toll. Her plush lips were dry and cracking, and her eyes were retreating in sockets accentuated with dark circles.

    With her meager funds, Maria purchased barely enough food, rented a dingy room, and inquired about employment. Eagerly, she rushed to the marketplace the following morning, expecting to be hired. But as the morning wore on, her hopes dashed, and she returned to her room, disheartened. With renewed vigor, Maria rushed to the marketplace, only to be rejected once again.

    On her way back to her room, a man, sitting alongside the alleyway, beckoned to her. “New in town?”

    “Yes, señor.”

    “Hungry?”

    “Yes, a little, señor.”

    “Come here, then.”

    Maria cautiously approached the man. When she was with arm’s length, he tried to grab her, but she fled. Her heart was pounding when Maria closed the door behind her. It was then that she felt the pain from the twist and scrape of her ankle.

    When Maria went to bed that night, she tried to put the close encounter with the man out of her mind but couldn’t. She changed positions on the hard mat she used for a bed. The growling of her empty belly added to the ankle pain. With nighttime temperatures hovering near 26 C and 95% humidity, she tossed and turned but couldn’t find comfort to fall sleep.

    A man and woman were arguing from the adjoining shack. Then a baby was crying elsewhere. All these noises added to the din of the village, which made slumber nearly impossible, yet by midnight, sheer exhaustion overcame her.

    In the middle of the night, a rat nibbled on the ankle wound and startled her. She awoke and screamed. The rat scurried under a nearby basket. After wrapping the bleeding sore in a dirty cloth, Maria went back to sleep.

    Her subsistence depended on arriving at the town square at sunrise, ready for employment. And Maria was one of the first to assemble with the other hopeful, desperate women. She leaned against a pole for support, her empty belly growling, and her knees weakening.

    As each person was chosen, and she was passed by, Maria’s hopes faded. Again, she returned home without employment and empty-handed, except for a few scraps of food she found along the way in a garbage can.

    The pains of hunger deep in Maria’s belly and the thunder of a raging storm above the village kept her awake long past midnight. But when the first rays of sunlight streamed through the window, she was already scrambling to the town square. She stood with several hopeful faces and tried to remain calm as shopkeepers examined each girl.

    A fat, jovial man stopped by her. “This one will do. And I’ll take the one next to her.”

    Thumping as if it would jump out of her breast, Maria’s heart was about to burst with joy. With work, she could afford to buy food. But her happiness was short-lived. Three days later, Maria awoke with a headache and drenched in sweat. Afraid she could lose her employment, she dragged herself out of bed and hurried to the shop.

    When Maria arrived, she when to work sorting and displaying hats, belts, and scarves she was responsible for selling. She tried concentrating and ignoring her discomfort, but the pain in her head increased with each passing minute.

    “Maria, you look terrible. Don’t you feel well?” asked Cristela, a coworker.

    “Just a headache, I’ll be alright.” Maria’s brow was gleaming with perspiration.

    “Here, let me wipe your forehead.” Embracing her and kissing her cheeks, Cristela said, “I’ll light a candle for you.”

    “Thank you. You’re such a good friend.”

    By evening, Maria’s headache was pounding, her pulse was racing, and beads of sweat trickled down her temples. Although the ambient temperature was 33 C, she was shivering and could not get warm.

    It began with a tickle in the back of her throat, and she coughed, trying to clear her throat. But the tickle persisted, so she drank some water and gargled. It worsened. Soon, she was coughing uncontrollably, bring up bloodstained sputum.

    A wave of nausea hit without warning, and Maria’s stomach muscles convulsed, forcibly expelling its contents up her esophagus, across her inflamed throat, and onto the floor. Before she could react, her stomach heaved again and again. Maria struggled to catch a breath between each vomiting, and she inhaled vomitus.

    Her lungs rebelled.

    She coughed bloodstained sputum, and at the same time, dry-heaved, her stomach already emptied of its contents. She stared out the window, unable to focus through the constant flow of tears tinged with blood. Alone and terrified, she did not understand what was happening to her.

    Little feet scampering and high-pitched squeaking told her she was at the mercy of the assembled rats, waiting for the right opportunity. Too weak to cry out, she closed her eyes, praying the end would be quick. The pain of the rats gnawing on her feet and legs seemed distant, too distant to care.

    A coughing-fit was so violent that she could not catch her breath. A pain stabbed through her head, yet she had no breath left to scream. She thrashed from side to side, and the rats scattered. At last, Maria gasped and fell silent on the hard mat, dead. The rats returned to their feast.

    Cristela wept while the pallbearers lowered Maria’s body into the grave. “She was a good girl. Why did this happen to her?” she thought.

    Cristela and others watched as the workmen shoveled the dirt and mound it over Maria’s grave. When her headache hit without warning, she was bending to place a flower on the mound of earth. She reached for the coat sleeve of Josue Icaza, the shopkeeper, but missed, staggered, and fell.

    “Help me. Somebody, please help me,” Cristela cried. Then she vomited once, twice, and continued until she had emptied the contents of her stomach on the ground. Those standing near her backed away, horrified. Between retching and coughing, she struggled to catch her breath.

    “My... My head... The pain...”

    Bloodstained tears hid the pupils of her eyes, and rivulets of red flowed from her nose.

    “Help... Someone help... Me...”

    Cristela clutched her head and shrieked. When her body convulsed, mourners knocked over each other, retreating. One last scream and Cristela lay silent by Maria’s grave.

    Two days later, Josue fell ill and died as Cristela had died. Each of his four employees, Ivania, Rachel, Anielka, and Yahoska, and their families were laid to rest within a few days. The shopkeeper’s wife and six children were dead soon afterward. Before week’s end, the forty-one villagers, who frequented the shop, passed after becoming ill. Four weeks later, a third of the village’s thriving population of twelve hundred were corpses. Those hoping to escape into the jungle could not; within a week, they perished in the underbrush. The remaining villagers huddled in the chapel, lit candles, and prayed. Yet, inside of two months, all but twenty-three of the inhabitants of Quiwi Ginni were gone.

    As quickly as the scourge arrived, it vanished. The stories and horrors the survivors could have told but didn’t were burned forever in their memories. The summer of 1882 became known as el año en que el diablo tomó nuestro pueblo--the year the devil took our village.

  2. #2
    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    Loved it.

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