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Fernando Morillo Grande > Extracts

Narrative (short story and novel)


Stars among the leaves

The child ran out through the door. He collided with the sky. A small sky disguised by the branches of the old oak tree.

-That old man yesterday was right -said the little boy, full of wonder for the night seen from the yard. It was a black, silk cape with star patches sewn on to it.

He took a few silent steps to get a better view. He smiled.

-What are you up to? -the maid asked him accusingly-. Stop dreaming and give me a hand. Pick up those dresses and take them to the attic.

The child continued immersed in his fascination, lost in the infinite vault above the yard.

-The old man said there was a road up there -whispered the child, almost to himself, as he gazed at the white road that knotted the night together-. He said it led to a field of stars and that it goes all the way to the end of the earth.

-Oh, you naughty boy! Are you going to stop daydreaming for once? Come on, I'm in a hurry.

The little child crossed his arms. He became serious.

-I'm going to be a traveller one day. Just like the old man yesterday. I'm going to have an enormous beard, too, like candy floss. And I'm going to cross that field of stars -he closed his eyes and sighed, spellbound by his dream-. I am going to reach the end of the earth, to see what lies on the other side.

-You're hopeless. You're completely mad. If you don't pick up those clothes, I'll box your ears!

The child came back down to earth, to the yard, the oak tree and the maid. He had no alternative: that woman was not pretending to threaten him. Slowly he went up to the clothes. But he threw a final glance through the branches of the old oak tree.

-One of these days! -he screamed, pointing his tiny fist at the impassive night.

How curious. At one point it seemed to him that the road, the one that would take him to the end of the earth and which was sprinkling the night with white flour, was shaking! As if his childlike gaze had disturbed it. As if the stars realised all of a sudden that the child's look had the strength of a dream that could not be destroyed.

-Oh, Christopher, Christopher -decided the maid-. Your father, Mr. Columbus, was right: you will never be anything!

Stone Dawns

Dark, thin Dani put on a stony smile. The cruel reward for teeth that were too spaced out. The boy nervously noticed that night was falling around him. And he was quiet. As always.

-Coward! - Laura shouted at him-. You coward!

Dani avoided the girl's gaze. As red as a beetroot he would not take his eyes off the ground. He was a statue full of embarrassment, a cursed, ludicrous tombstone.

-Coward! -repeated Laura, with an animal scream covered in spit.

The girl had just confessed to him about some love affair she had had with someone, it didn't matter who with. Yet again. Dani had no idea who he was. He couldn't care a damn. Laura might not have known him, either. Dani kept his eyes firmly fixed on the ground. Looking blacker than ever. More night than ever.

-Why don't you react? -Laura shouted at him-. Say something, at least! Have you got cork veins, or what? You're always there stuck to me. But you're a limpet, not a lover. Do you hear? A miserable limpet. I'm going and I'm not coming back -she looked back only once-. Goodbye for ever.

The slamming of the door -violent, hard- sounded like an unprotected child; the sound of the losers' bitter coffee. The boy somehow managed to suppress in his veins the sigh that he felt was about the escape. He closed his eyes tightly and hid his last sob from himself.

Now to wait. She would be back. He knew Laura would be back. The girl's screams, paranoia, fits of temper. Until the other one found them unbearable. Whoever he was. Then Laura would notice she was alone. And she would come back. Like Sisyphus's unyielding stone. Like a predestined, inevitable boomerang. And she would apologize.

-I would like everything to be as it was before -Laura would plead with him-. Sorry.


Dani smiled through his brick teeth. Rays of sunshine appeared to him once again in the intervals among the dark clouds impregnated with ruins. Soon. Once again it would soon be dawn.

Laura was going to come back.

Wasn't she?

The Silent Biography of Tombstones

Karlos pulled the sheet up over himself and stared at the ceiling.

-Copernicus died the very day the book came into his hands -he explained to Sara-. The very moment he obtained the book that would bestow on him the laurels of history!

He also spoke to her about the cruel irony of the biographies. And that we can never guess where the hell the night will catch us unawares.

-Copernicus changed history. But he could not know that. Can you grasp that? Are you listening to me, Sara?

Sara embarked on a gesture of tenderness, half offering an embrace. It wasn't because of Karlos. She felt nothing for Karlos. Even when he touched her. But that morning she had seen the baker's son trembling, when the young man stopped to stare at her.

-How gorgeous you are! -his words escaped from him from among his youthful sweats.

The boy did not say any more. But Sara read it in his eyes. That is why she embraced Karlos. Because she felt she was still capable of feeling. Because she was alive. And maybe yearning for a stranger's love.

Karlos got rid of his wife.

-Didn't you hear me, Sara? He died the very same day. The very same day the book reached him. My God, how cruel!

They fell asleep.

When Karlos woke up he stretched out his arm. He was surprised to find the other side of the bed empty. He called her. He went all over the house looking for her. Sara wasn't there. Karlos was even more surprised when he found the scrap of paper on one edge of the silent kitchen table. "I want a divorce," shouted out the note. "It's for ever."

Karlos fell on a chair fossilised. He hugged himself. He was cold.

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