Monday, March 27, 2017
Juggernaught: Chapter 20 - Grandson
"Antonio? Antonio, where are you, child?" spoke the lad's maternal uncle, and guardian.
"Aqui, Tio." (Here, Uncle.) said the 10-year-old.
A cool blast of Andean wind tussled his dark hair as he turned to face his elder.
"Antonio", he said, bending low to meet the child's eyes, "your grandmother wishes to speak with you." Still not close enough for the weight of what he had to say, Uncle knelt and leaned even nearer. "There are those who say she has gone crazy and that she is not long for this world."
"And what do the others say, señor?" he asked, awed.
The man's back stiffened. He considered his words carefully before responding.
"There are those who say... she is not long for this world and she has seen the stuff of Heaven!"
Antonio's eyes widened. "What do you say?"
Uncle waved away the question. "No, no, no. Listen to me: Hear what Niñera has to say, and respect her well because she is worthy of it. Yet, whatever she says, test carefully before taking it to heart. Understand?"
Antonio smiled and nodded. Then, thinking about this more, frowned and shook his head.
"Si, si, this is a difficult thing to understand for one so young. Just be careful. Can you do that much?"
To this, Antonio gladly agreed and was ushered into the presence of Niñera. She lie beneath a hand-knit cover on the simple pallet that formed her bed. Even the most optimistic among the village had to tearfully admit that she spent more and more of her day there of late.
She gestured for Uncle to close the door and leave her alone with her grandchild. This, the man did, reluctantly.
Antonio, as well, focused on his feet as he kicked at the hard dirt floor.
"Come closer, child." she said while waving her hand as if scooping him nearer.
He did as he was told until his knees were right against her bed. Still, he did not meet her gaze.
"The village - they think I am crazy, yes?"
She must have caught the face Antonio made for she continued, "And wise, they are, to be cautious, for the things I am about to say are things that have not been spoken for an age. Not since the Jacobite monks swept the land has the Lord worked so among our people!"
"Niñera?" he gasped, looking up and finally meeting her gaze.
At once he wished he hadn't. Young dark brown eyes were locked in chains of steel with the grey cloudy eyes of the old woman. Try as he might, Antonio could not tear away from the wrinkled face.
"A dream, lad! I have had a dream!" she said slowly.
"Respectfully, señora, we all have dreams. What makes you believe that this one is special?"
"When you have a dream from God, nieto, it seems more..." she fumbled for words, before arriving at, "important. Yes, it seems more important than a regular dream."
Antonio's eyebrows furrowed at this.
"Of course, one should be skeptical of such a claim. Any dream or vision must be tested against the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the people of God. This final test is why you are here."
Antonio squirmed uncomfortably beneath his red poncho.
"Ah! I see my answer already. You know of what I speak, for the confirmation is that you have dreamed the very same thing: A field of golden corn..."
"... and a raven." he finished. "Surely Niñera, somebody told you of my strange dream this month. Perhaps you heard it somewhere else, or... you have become confused from too much sun, or..."
"Of course I've heard of your dream. That is why I sent for you. But answer me this, did you tell anybody that the corn and the crow were both a girl?"
Antonio narrowed his eyes, but he did not answer.
She continued "Or did you say that they fought and made war across the whole Earth? Or that out of the pit extreme sadness and loneliness, none other than King Solomon himself rose up and stood between the two? And that he was the one who brought an end to the war and broke our family of its ancient curse?"
Antonio grew wide-eyed. He hadn't mentioned the rest of this to anybody. "But what does it all mean Niñera? Who are the women? Who is this deliverer? What is the purpose of this message?"
"The girls: I know not. Solomon: that will be revealed to you in time. The purpose: this is the other reason I called you here today."
"W-what is the purpose?"
"This message must be delivered in person. By me." She reached out and placed a hand on his shoulder, "And by you."