Another tidbit of my latest chapter of the novel-in-progress: Adagio for Canon.
“Damn it, he’s late.” Sophia played with a straw, as she sat in the corner of the second level of the shopping mal. Pradera Chiquimula, that was the name of the shopping mall in Chiquimula, just thirty minutes from Esquipulas. Her time spent at the cathedral was cut short after it was invaded with soldiers.
It was dark, only the second level was illuminated, and even then only the dining hall was lit. She gazed at the starts as they were slowly covered up by a thick column of clouds. Lightning struck far away from where she was; a storm was approaching. As thunder roared, she saw him.
He was tall, wearing a tuxedo; a black tie, pinned with a golden pendant; a white mask adorned with a single red cross running across its left side; his left arm was covered with a thick leather-like material and a black glove on his hand. His shoes tapping against the floor echoed amidst the silence of the night. It was fairly late, though she still marveled at his ability to reserve this place for them.
“Looking sharp, perhaps even suspicious,” Sophia commented.
He looked down at his clothes. “Oh, am I? I am in the presence of the Governor of Petén.”
“Don’t mock my intelligence; you know that I’m here because of the letter you left in the hotel room.”
“Yes, and please excuse my arrogance, but aren’t you a bit too naïve?”
“You walked blindly into my hands…”
“No, Gobernadora, I have nothing under my sleeve but rather I have a proposition.”
“And you expect me to hear you out? First tell me your name then take off your mask.”
“I’m afraid I cannot do—”
“Then I cannot hear your proposition.”
“Gobernadora, I know that you need my help. So, I’ll be making the rules around here. I respect you, so try to hear me out. Do not force my hand, you are replaceable, remember that.”
Thunder roared as the trees bent at an angle – the wind was picking up. From the corner of her eye, she tried to distinguish a figure that sat in the darkness. Was this a trap or was it insurance?
“I know all about your issue, Gobernadora.” He pulled out a chair. Crossing his legs, he continued. “And I have an idea for a counter-measure.”
“An idea?” She stood amidst tables and chairs, peeking over and over again, rehearsing an escape route if the situation became grim.
“Gobernadora, why don’t you take a seat? Are you afraid? I can see it in your eyes.”
“Don’t be, I’m not here to blackmail you or ask anything in return. We both know who the real enemy is.”
She bit her lip. What was he getting at?
“I presume you had quite the visit back in Esquipulas.” He commented. “Or should I say, quite the troublesome visit?”
She remembered the Cathedral in the middle of a park, adorned with trees and neatly trimmed bushes. The air was cool, and the sun was high in the sky. People crawling in the ground, as a form of penance, others selling candles and ‘holy’ relics while some were taking pictures and enjoying their visit; too bad she couldn’t join them.
“Troublesome? Not in the least.” She replied.
“I do recall hearing something… House arrest? Or was it something else?” Viktor added. “Wait, yes… You are bound within the perimeter of the Chiquimula Municipality.”
“Where did you hear that?” She flicked her hair.
“—from the same people that forced you out of the cathedral.”
Guatemalan forces pushed and shoved through the pilgrims and faithful at the Cathedral, right to where she was praying. The eyes of the Black Christ stared lifelessly at her. She wanted a response, even when surrounded by soldiers wearing full body armor, riot shields and rifles.
“I see you’ve got your contacts within the government.” Sophia walked over to the window. The rain had yet to fall as the winds grew stronger and the lightening drew closer. “What is the so-called ‘Master Plan’ you keep talking about?”
“I’ll let my partner explain that to you.” He replied.
A girl appeared from the shadows. She was beautiful, her long ginger hair tied up in a pony-tail with a blue scrunchie. Her tight jeans pants and a pink top accentuated her figure.
“Wait, I know you!” Sophia’s back was against the cold surface of the window. “You were Alexander’s fiancée!”
“And you must be Sophia, I presume.” Michelle walked up to her. “I’m Michelle Langley, the benefactor of the rebellion.” She greeted Sophia.
“We’re a hidden group whose sole task is the overthrow of the false leader of the nation of Balize, and in doing so; we will be reborn as the new Republic of Belize.” Viktor added.
“A republic… And who will be the master? Every dog needs a master.”
“It’s not about us, it’s about the people—” Michelle replied.
“It’s always about someone. There can’t be a society without someone pulling the strings. Sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re wise, and sometimes they’re tyrants.” Sophia interrupted her.
It started raining, pelting the windows of the mall with great force. Sophia turned around, observing how the streets became engulfed in the down pour, becoming artificial rivers of pavement, dust and grime. She smiled, never in her wildest dreams had she pictured herself collaborating with her rival.
“Ok, I’m in. So, what’s the plan?” Sophia looked at the man with the mask, hoping to hear something along the lines of an insurrection.
“You need a sizable force to stop an invasion.” Viktor replied.
“And we’ve got your soldiers.” Michelle added.
“Petén lacks the force and not many people want to join the cause, Balize’s rebel forces are too small, unlike the glory days, and Guatemala nearly exterminated every paramilitary force after their civil war.”
“Ummmm, you’re missing something. There are people who are downtrodden and oppressed in Guatemalan society.” Sophia replied.
“They are the Mayan groups within the country.” Viktor continued. “There are the Q’eqchi’, the Ch’orti’, the K’iche’ and the Kaqchikel.”
“So, what you’re saying is that I go around these groups recruiting people who want to fight for an Ispanish colony?”
“No, what I’m saying is that you could go recruiting people who are willing to fight for a home where they won’t be oppressed.” Viktor walked over to Sophia, handing her a walkie-talkie. “You have a month before the Guatemalan government joins the Balizean war effort.”
Michelle and Viktor walked into the darkness and disappeared, leaving Sophia behind. She collapsed on the ground, staring at the walkie-talkie. They’ll be close enough to contact me, but far enough to keep out of Guatemalan reach. Clever.
She reached for her umbrella and walked out of the mall. Janet was waiting for her inside a car.
“Did you catch that last comment?” Sophia asked Janet, whose eyes gazed at the flooded road.
“Yes, and I think it’s pretty stupid.” Janet started the car. “So, where are we headed to?”
“We’re going to Jocotan; our first move will be to recruit the Ch’orti’.”
“You’re not serious—!”
“I’m desperate. We need this.” Sophia interrupted her. Her phone beeped, she received a message from an unknown number.
We have information pertaining to the Ch’orti’. It would be wise to join their ranks at their old meeting place. They hold small reunions with their leaders underneath the Radio Chortis station. It’s a Catholic radio station founded by Germanium and Gallia Belgica missionaries. It would be wise to speak directly to the man they call: b’oyom or gibnut. He’s someone familiar with our plight. Show him this image and he’ll understand who you are.
There was an image of a golden corncob. He had everything thought out. Impressive for a masked man, though the only reason Sophia trusted Viktor was because Michelle was lending her support. Michelle was no hypocrite.
“So, I guess your mind is made up.” Janet lit a cigarette.
Sophia smiled. “I’ve dragged you into another predicament.”
“There is a sizable Guatemalan force in Camotan. If we limit our influence to just Jocotan, we might be able to do what we need to do and get out of there.”
“That’s why I love you so much, Janet.” Sophia hugged her.
Janet’s cigarette fell on her lap, as she quickly grabbed it and tossed it out the window. “Damn it Sophia. Calm down, we’ll celebrate when this is done.”