Luis Armenta

Knick Knack



Luis Armenta is originally from El Paso, Texas but lives in Las Cruces. He currently attends EPCC for his Associates in English. His inspiration comes from his imagination and Stephen King books. He has been published before for his poetry. 

Luck Have You


Miguel was sitting tied up in a dark damp room; the cement floors were wet from the dripping ceiling. The room was muggy, yet a moldy smell also lingered. As he sat feeling sore and tired one thing came to mind. He wondered where that crystal like necklace that brought him to these circumstances was. As he wondered a thought trickled into an ocean of nostalgia about luck as he saw it. Miguel had the worst luck, and laughable at best. Sometimes though he would find the oddest things on the floor. Out of some misplaced superstition Miguel told himself that for every object he found, luck would come with it. Miguel never did well in his life he was twenty seven, but alone with no girlfriend. Another thing stood out to whilst tied up; he had no home and still no degree. All this Miguel attributed to bad luck. To him it was fates fault not his. Of course anyone with logic between their ears can tell you that wasn’t true. Serendipity was the one working with the face of fate. Luck had little to do with it. Simply it was Miguel’s stupid life choices. He could never show up to classes on time because of his crappy car. Financial aid never gave him enough because his father still claimed him as a dependent. Life was a balance, but the bad outweighed the good. Once he found what he thought was a saint’s medallion, but in a closer inspection it was revealed to be a picture of Rasputin. Then there was a day he found a gold coin until his mom informed him that it was a Mexican peso. Miguel really should have known better. After all his mom was a Hispanic, or Latino. Miguel never really thought about it. Again to Miguel that was not his fault. It was his father’s fault because he was a gringo that never told him. The one that almost topped the crystal necklace was an aunk which was large, silver and with a long steel chain. Now this particular item gave him much needed luck. In the same week he obtained his crappy car, and an iPad. He dreamed of easy money, always quitting jobs, even thought of selling drugs. His friends made it sound easy, no hours and always getting paid. Yet never to be a good old blue collar American. Not for Miguel, that was for idiots that had no talent. Miguel had talents, or so he thought. He always dreamed of being a singer. Miguel wasn’t conventional either, heck his favorite singer was Juan Gabriel. He was very fond of him. Who could forget the ballads with Rocio Durcal? Of course that wasn’t the only Knick knack that brought him such luck. The Rasputin medallion made his health improve, he didn’t get sick for a whole year (now that is hard to do now a days).Who could forget it also brought him a lottery scratch off win of five hundred dollars. That wasn’t just luck, that wasn’t just coincidence, that was a Rasputin medallion! Although the odd crystal necklace seemed different from the other Knick knacks. It was a sharp, full of purple hues, and fragile. The shape was uneven, yet it resembled an arrow. If you touched it, it was like the texture of a flower. It was tied at the top with a black string that went through a makeshift loop. Somehow the small copper loop pierced into the rock, so it could be fashioned into a necklace. The stone never shrunk from the never ending dust falling from it. They were like little cocaine particles fling through the air. The dust it excreted made him feel somewhat high, yet Miguel didn’t know what it was. That is after all how he ended up in here waiting for two men to not only decide his fate, but also his mom’s. What was even more peculiar was the stranger that sat beside him.



A muddled whimper made Miguel’s mind track back to his current situation. The noise became clearer as it continued. Finally Miguel was able to discern the voice from the stranger sitting beside him. “Where did you find it?” The stranger asked. Miguel sat back to stretch his muscles and sighed. “Find what?” Miguel responded.

“Come on kid, they told me why we are here.”

The stranger leaned closer to Miguel as he said it.

” I...I found it on campus, close to the church.”

Miguel responded.

The stranger’s leg became restless. He nervously moved it back and forth. It was a good thing Miguel couldn’t see his nervous twitches.

 “What-what school, what church?” The stranger asked.

Miguel moved his head towards the voice. “It was in Cruces the only catholic church near the college, why?” Miguel asked.

The stranger’s neck felt like it had a giant weight attached to it. He laid his head on what he could find, even if it meant Miguel’s shoulder. “I want to get out. They think I know.” The stranger replied.

“What? Are you laying on me? “Miguel asked. Miguel looked around with urgency, but couldn’t see beyond the sack over his face. The movement made the stranger lift his head. The rushing thoughts led Miguel to his mother. Was his mom ok after a brutal beating? Was she dead?

“Mom, are you awake? Maria answer me!? “Miguel shouted.

Maria’s head shuddered, the sack over her face dripped with cold water.

“I’m f…fine mijo, just…tired.” She responded.

 Miguel felt hopeless. It was all his fault, his guilt made him do something out of character. Miguel slowly moved toward her voice caressing her shoulder with his head. Suddenly Miguel could hear the distinct clicking of shoes getting louder. It seemed to be getting closer and then suddenly it stopped. Miguel could make out a big dark silhouette, and could make out that he was doing something with his hands. “So have you decided who goes first?” Miguel struggled to look up to get a vague look, but it was a blurry picture. He could only see the faint outline of a bald head. The big boisterous man grabbed on to the back of Miguel’s neck gripping firmly. “How about you skinny boy?”  The big man asked. Miguel’s legs made him feel like he was standing on stilts. He was tired and could barely stand. “I can’t, you hit me to hard the last time!” The big man shouted as he pushed Miguel down forcing him to sit back down. The thudding of Miguel’s body made the stranger look franticly around.

 “I can go, I’m fine!” The stranger exclaimed.

“Oh we got a hero in our midst.” The big man said.

But the stranger knew he was not doing it for him. Miguel’s wind was knocked out of him, but he managed to gasp for breath. Miguel was thinking this could be the last time he heard from this stranger. “Wait, what’s your name?” Miguel asked. The stranger felt a violent yank, barely getting out the name. “Jonas!” Miguel felt the drift of him being pulled away and fought off the knot in his throat. It was not easy being a coward. Some people didn’t understand self preservation. To Miguel people were quick on being the judgmental ones. He knew if it was up to him, Jonas would have gone first.


Jonas was being shoved and pulled turbulently by what he made out as two men. One of the men grabbed the sack over his face and pulled it off. Jonas eyes burned from the blaze of the immense lights. It had been a while since he saw any kind of brightness. A fat bald Hispanic man with a long handle bar mustache grabbed Jonas’s face. He was gripping so tightly it made his lips pucker. “Where did he get the crystal?” The big man asked.

Jonas had not been the hero Miguel thought, this was a merely a chance for him to escape. He was a rat, but then again self preservation makes cowards of everyone.

 “I didn’t get anything, all he said is he found it on campus. In Cruces.” Jonas responded.

The man let go of Jonas’s face. “We need to find more of it, this one has worn its effect. It is not working on you guys” The big man said.      

“What do you mean it’s not working on us?” Jonas asked.  

Jonas’s eyes looked around for the other man, he wanted to take a good look at them. The other was bald as well, but he was thinner, and still a hefty size. Jonas noticed they were both wearing dark silk robes, and one didn’t have a mustache. The robes were long and black with a white rope wrapping around as a belt on their hips. The costumes reminded Jonas of  medieval monks. “What kind of fucked up monks are you?” Jonas asked.

One of the men grabbed Jonas by the hair pulling him down close to his crotch. “You better find out about that necklace. I have ways of taking dignity from a proud man other than violence.” The man swung his knee meeting with Jonas’s nose. It took a bit for Jonas to feel the pain. First he felt a warm stream on his face. Shortly after he felt blood pour from his nose, but the man struck him again. Jonas tried to swing at them, but remembered his hands were tied. This time Jonas tried to grab his face pushing down as he clenched his teeth. The pain was so immense Jonas could hear ringing in his ears. It radiated like electric shocks throughout his nose. Jonas let out a primal scream, but the beating continued. The beating was so intense his face had become sticky with blood. His nose sat crooked on his face. Every time Jonas's nose met his knee, it was like getting gum off a shoe. The man felt Jonas become heavier as he continued. Jonas's knees had buckled and the man met his eyes and smiled. “We are not just here for Miguel, we are here for you too Jonas.” The big man said.


Back in the room Miguel tried to inch closer to his mom. “Mom, we have to escape. Listen mom when…”

Miguel’s plea was interrupted by Maria’s groan. Maria’s eyes felt heavy as her neck was too weak to lift even her head. She felt cold in a hot humid room. She held on for her son though. She had to make sure her son’s life was going to be ok after this. Maria pursed her lips and gathered what strength she had to utter. “Mijo, how was the girl you met in school?”

“Mom, that doesn’t matter, we have to escape first.” Miguel responded.

“Ay mijo, just answer me.” Maria Responded.

Miguel tightened his eyes to hold back the tears. The lump in his throat was being pushed down. He never told his mom about who he really was. “Mom, what’s wrong, why are you asking?” He fought the idea, but he knew his is dying.mother

Miguel noticed Maria nodding from the fabrics rubbing against her skin. Again Maria’s neck tendons trembled to even lift her head, but she managed to do it for her son.” What about that dummy you call a friend?” Maria asked.

Miguel thought about his friend more than any woman. He felt the urge to confess to his mother, but the sentiment was cut short by the footstep nearing again. Suddenly the big boisterous man spoke. “Look it’s your friend Jonas” The big man said as he tossed his limp body back in the chair.

Miguel felt the goose skin, every hair in the back of his neck stood like rods. What condition was Jonas in? He felt the subtle air from the trust of Jonas body against the chair. The man smiled again, laying his hand on his fatty hips. “Enjoy.”

Miguel heard the distancing of his footsteps and he waited to speak. The sound became so faint it was now imaginary. This was his chance to check on Jonas. “What happen, what did they tell you?” Miguel asked.

A gurgling sound was coming from Jonas throat. The blood ran down his nose into his mouth. The taste of blood reminded Jonas of when he put pennies in his mouth as a child. That familiar copper taste. Miguel could hear Jonas shuffling, unaware of what he was intending to do. “What’s happening?” Miguel asked.

Jonas was barely conscious day dreaming of his wife. “What does my actor want?”  She would ask. Jonas was no longer imagining his wife; he could now see his wife. He hallucinated the big white house he shared with her. They were both in the kitchen, and as always she asked. “What does my actor want?” That question came from him always mentioning the dramaturgy theory in sociology. “We are all just actors” Jonas responded. Jonas thought he was saying it out loud for a second, but it sounded more like muddled noise. In that moment Jonas could hear a faint voice pulling him back to conciseness.

“Jonas…Jonas?” Miguel rocked back and forth hoping he was making enough movement to get a responds.

“I…I, what happened?” Jonas asked as he looked around. He tried to rub his face, but his hands were bound. His thoughts became clear, and his head throbbed with the pounding of his heart. As he began to focus he looked around, and saw a female wearing a long black dress with floral stitching. She was slumped over with a sack covering her face. Next to her was a skinny man bound to a chair wearing an orange tank top, and blue denim shorts. He also had a sack over his face.


Jonas called out.

“Oh shit, man I thought you died!”

Miguel responded.

“Yeah, I just, I think my nose is broken.” Jonas said

“You ok?”

Jonas’s eyes were drawn to the rainbow glare on his face. What, we can’t possibly be here, why? He thought.

Jonas looked around some more.  “We’re in a church!”

“We’re in a what?” Miguel shouted as he shook his head violently trying to get the sack off his face.

“In a damn church. “Jonas responded. Jonas stood up studying the floor. I need to find something sharp. Jonas eyes went to a shiny sharp object on the floor. It seemed to be a piece of glass. Jonas heard the footsteps again, they were on their way. He sat on the floor next to the glass positioning his arms on his side. He stretched until his tendons felt like tearing.

” Got it! Wait …it’s the damn crystal they dropped.” The crystal had a jagged edge sharp enough to cut if he pressed it on the ropes. Jonas reached out to get it. He rubbed the texture of the crystal. It assimilated glass as Jonas inspected it, but something stood out. “I think this is a flower.” Jonas was too focused on the pendant, and didn’t hear the footsteps were nearing.

“Hey, I think they’re coming.” Miguel said.

Jonas franticly dragged his body across the room. Jonas tried to use his feet it, but it was too hard for him to stand by himself.

The footstep came to halt outside of the door. The largest man of the two saw Jonas on the floor and gave a crooked smile. The big man clenched his fists eager to punish them again. “Lookie, mouse wants to escape.” He went to grab Jonas by the back of his shirt. “Come on.”  Jonas flung his feet like he was peddling a bike, trying to get a hit on the big fat man. The man grabbed one of Jonas’s legs. He shook  Jonas violently and grabbed him by the collar making him look like a rag doll. “Hey!” The big man pulled out a pocket knife with a wooden carving of a cross in the handle. “I’ll slash you, I mean it. I will shred your face.” He glided the knife across Jonas’s neck like he was strumming a violin. Jonas felt the grace of his sharp blade from it barely touching his neck. Jonas thought about his wife, and stood to comply, but the man still dragged him.  They both stumbled through a long narrow hall that was covered from the roof to the floor with magenta colored cotton fabric. Jonas had seen this color before on priest during important religious months. His wife always dragged him to church, yet Jonas did not believe in God. The big man leaned over to Jonas ear and whispered. “This is your death, the will of God is upon us.” The big man went for a long leather whip covered with jagged pieces of glass that hung on the wall. Jonas lunged towards the man’s hand giving him a firm tight bite before he could. Jonas instincts took over gnawing like a rabid dog. The big man managed to shake Jonas off, and he quickly rose the whip and swung it. It managed to go towards Jonas’s face, striking his face again. The mustache less man watched as he smiled.


Miguel’s could feel the cold perspiration on his forehead. “I’m so scared mom.”

Miguel heard no response. He hopped over as close as he could get, but the chairs where placed to form a triangle. “Mom please, please, please. “ Miguel again heard no response. An hour had passed since Miguel could hear the whip clashing on Jonas’s flesh. Suddenly a smell traveled to Miguel’s nose. It was so distinct. He was able to discern it as lavender. “Who’s there? “Miguel asked. Someone slowly pulled off the sack on his head.

“Look on to me my son.”

Miguel eyes burned as they adjusted slowly to the light; he could only make out a tall slender silhouette.

“Look on to me my son.” The voice called out again.

Miguel blinked over, and over until he was able to regain his sight. “Thank God.” Miguel muttered. Salvation had finally come to him. Yes god delivered us salvation, Miguel thought. Miguel could see an old fragile man wearing a priest collar. He was tall with a black shirt and slacks pressed against his figure.  “Help me padre, these men are trying to kill us.” Miguel said.

The old man reached out his slender arm and touched Miguel’s face and slowly caressed it. “What a beautiful boy.”   The padre responded. Miguel looked upon him with hopeful eyes, and smiled. The old man smiled back at Miguel.   “Call me father Antipas.” The priest kneeled close to Miguel and began to untie his ropes.

“Now come with me son.” The priest held out his fragile hand full of spots and wrinkles. Miguel’s faith was being rewarded, finally he could go home. Miguel stood up, but his feet buckled. “Whoa.” The priest was able to catch him before he could fall. “I have you my son.”  Miguel leaned himself on the priest and they both walked together.

“Wait, my mother, we have to help her.” Miguel said as he pulled away.

“She’s dead son.” The priest responded.

Miguel’s eyes filled with tears. “What?” Miguel turned to uncover his moms face, the sack over her head hit the floor like a wet towel. “Mommy…despierta.” Miguel rubbed his mom’s face gently. Her face was beaten, but to Miguel she never looked so beautiful. Miguel kept her head up with his hands, and slightly shook it. “Mommy...” Miguel let his hands drop to his side, and Maria’s head dropped as well. Miguel placed a hand on his mother’s face again as tears ran down his face. Suddenly Maria’s lips began to move “Mom, what is it?” Miguel leaned over closely to make out her mumbles. “Mijo.” She muttered.

Miguel looked over to the priest cheerfully. “She’s alive!”  The priest was stoic and he began to walk towards Maria. “No, she is dead.” Antipas responded.

Miguel stared at the priest bewildered. “No, look she’s ok.”

The priest pulled a long barreled pistol, and without warning shot Maria point blank in the head. Blood splatter on Miguel’s and Antipas face. “No son she died.” The priest responded as he cleaned his face off.

Miguel stumbled away from the priest and held his arm out pointing a finger. “Fuck you, you fucking priest. Fuck you!” Miguel clenched his hands and wailed as he flung his fists at him landing a punch. Antipas didn’t  react to the punch. He managed to stop Miguel right in his tracks by pointing the gun to his face. “Calm down, now follow me my son.” Miguel collapsed to the floor in hopelessness. Tears fell onto the broken tiles mixing with his mother’s blood.

Antipas forced Miguel up and forced him to walk in front of him. He rested the gun in the back of his head, and guided Miguel past the narrow hall. Miguel could still hear whipping. “What are you doing to him?” Miguel asked.

The priest shoved the gun into Miguel’s head. “Keep moving ass wipe…. I mean, my son.”

The priest took Miguel in a room where a UV-A light made the pictures on the walls look vivid. The room was filled with holy images and whips reminiscent of a set in a snuff film. The pictures were eyes seemed to follow Miguel around “Tell me where you found the crystal flower?” Antipas asked as he unbuttoned his shirt.

“I found it near a church next to the school.”

Miguel responded.

“I believe you. We want to make sure no one else knows though. See you should know, it’s how we keep you coming to church. It’s a drug that we put in everything we do, incense, wine, even the host. A literal opiate of the people. Or as we in the inner circle call it, Hul Gil Machina. A machine to keep you subservient.“

Miguel shook his head in disgust and disbelief.

“Don’t be so surprised, we all do it, now take off your shirt.” Antipass said.

Miguel heart pounded so fast he could see his shirt reverberate to it.

“Take it off!” The priest shook anxiously as he removed his shirt.

Miguel took off his shirt covering himself with his hands. His face was turned a light enough red that you could still see through his brown complexion. He felt shame.

The priest eyes looked hungry, he couldn’t contain the smile. “Very good, now your pants.”

Miguel looked in the priest eyes, his intensity was seeping through. Miguel slowly began to unzip his pants breaking away from the priest’s eyes. Miguel briefly noticed another door behind Antipas. He slowly pushed his pants down, and the shimmied his way out of them. The priest leaned closer and began to caress Miguel’s body with his gun. Miguel cringed and stiffened his whole body. Miguel stiffened and tightened his leg. He thought this could be his only chance to escape. Miguel swung his leg like a mule. He managed to hit the priest right between the legs. Antipas collapsed in agonizing pain making a yelping sound. Miguel leaned on to him and whispered “Valla con dios puto.” The priest sat on the floor grabbing his balls tightly trying to mustard strength to yell to his goons. Antipas felt like the wind knocked out of him. Miguel ran like a stallion through the doors of the room looking franticly across. He ran around coming across a beautiful room with rows of pews. Miguel knew he had no time to look, so he kept running past the rose wood pews towards a back door. He could see a wooden exit sitting above it. Miguel looked upon the sun and felt the fresh breeze of the summer day. He looked around some more not seeing any land marks he recognized. Was he in another part of Mexico? He thought. He felt the warmth on his skin more intensely than before. Miguel began to run, and run until he realized he was in his under wear. Miguel noticed a white Tahoe, and walked carefully on uneven pavement towards it. He tugged on the handle to see if it opened. “Yes!” Miguel exclaimed. He took the opportunity to jump into to the car. Miguel looked around for keys. Good no alarm. He began to feel nervous when suddenly he saw keys still in the ignition. What are the odds of that he thought?

Miguel could hear someone yell, “There he is!” Miguel looked back and saw a bald fat monk pointing straight at him. Without hesitation Miguel turned the key, and put the car on drive stepping on the gas. Miguel turned the wheel violently making the car tip slightly. He faced the man and stepped on the gas. Miguel attempted to run him over, but the large man sluggishly jumped as far as his stubby feet let him. Miguel managed to skim the man’s toes, but didn’t care. He kept going thinking of his escape.





Self Preservation


Miguel swerved and skidded past stop signs. He passed lights trying to find an intersection he recognized. Finally he gazed upon a sign that read Melchoro Campo.Fucking cops man  He remembered the street his mom always crossed to get to the Mercado. Finally something he knew, Juarez. Miguel sat still reflecting on his mother’s life, collapsing on the steering wheel from the rush of emotions. His sadness slowly swayed into anger. Miguel pressed on the gas making the car peel off. He continued to the Bridge of the Americas.  Miguel kept driving until he gazed upon the red and blue lights reflecting in the rare view mirror. . The side of the cop car read “Policia Federal”. Miguel threw the clutch on park jerking the car forward. As the car came to a complete stop Miguel jumped out. Miguel began to wave down the cop. Finally, it was his chance to get help.


The cop stared at Miguel bewildered as stood in front of him with just his underwear. Este, me acabo de escape.” Miguel’s broken English made it difficult to communicate. He mixed both English and Spanish words making up nonsensical sentences. The cop motioned Miguel to turn around with his finger. “Espera, yo me voy. I mean I escaped, I need help.”

The cop stopped and responded to Miguel. “Help?”

“Si, so, help.” Miguel replied. The cop smiled and motioned Miguel to turn around again.

“Ok.” Miguel replied as he turned confused. But the cop didn’t wait. He rushed over to Miguel pulling his arm, and tossing him down with tremendous force leaning his knee on his head.  “Wait! Espera, yo I escape.” Miguel wondered if the cop could even understand him. The cop hand cuffed Miguel pulling him up and walking him to the car. “Agacha la cabeza.” Miguel understood to tuck his head. He complied  and made his way inside the car. Before the cop closed the door he smiled again. Miguel pressed his face against the glass yelling into it. “No, yo no soy malo.” The cop walked around to the other side of his car opening the passenger door. He looked at Miguel from his rare view mirror.” Callate.” The cop sat inside the driver’s seat slamming his door shut.

Miguel pressed his face against the gate again. “Look, listen!”

The cop looked at Miguel trough the rearview mirror. “I speck Englis you know.”

It was a rough form of English but as long as Miguel could be understood he didn’t care. 

“The cathedral, people are being tortured.”

The cop turned around to face Miguel.” Old man Antipas?” The cop responded.

“Yes the old priest, he tried to rape me, he shot my mom.”

Miguel tried to keep it together, but instead silently wept.

The cop looked upon the frail boy shaking and whispering for his Mom.

“Okay we go, but you still remain handcuff.” The cop responded.

Miguel nodded and felt a bit of relief; maybe they could at least help Jonas out.

The cop knew where the cathedral was, he had being going to it for years.

He knew nothing ever happened there, except for the drunk women they occasional carried out to cabs. 

“You sure it was the priest?” The cop asked.

“Yes, yes he wore a priest collar.” Miguel responded.

The cop drove quickly occasionally looking back at Miguel.

Miguel sat silent looking out the window wondering of a life without his mother.

“We’re getting close, when we arrive jus stay in the car.” The cop said.

Miguel looked down at his cuffs slightly moving forward waiting for the cops gaze to turn.

He moved them slightly under his rear waiting for the cop to look away to move them forward.

The cop looked over at Miguel “Oh, and kid… Antipas is waiting.”

Miguel looked over at the passenger’s window seeing Antipas at the door holding a gun and smiling.

Antipas looked over at his goons. “Get a taxi; we have another drunken girl we need to take home.”

The two fat men ran out of sight and Antipas neared the cop car smiling at Miguel.

Miguel pondered of ways to fight him off as he approached. Bite him, bite him, he thought.

Antipas went over to open the door and pointed the gun at Miguel. “If you try anything, if you even sneeze, I will shot you like your mother.” Antipas said as he held the gun at Miguel’s head. Miguel could see a battered Jonas standing in front of the cop car’s window. Miguel tried to come up with a distraction. At the moment all he could come up with is hitting him between the legs again. Miguel sprung up pushing off Antipas, and swung his leg. As Antipas dropped to the floor Jonas made his way to the cop. He slowly crawled his away around the car. He waited for the right moment to cover the cop’s mouth. The cop was to busy looking at Miguel to even notice Jonas. Jonas slowly took out a small sharp cross carefully slitting his throat while he held him down. “Like a pig.” Jonas whispered. The cops eyes widened as he closed his eyes and though about his life. Jonas layed him down slowly. The cop kept making gurgling sounds as he laid down and smiled. “You…you will never.. win” Jonas looked down at the cop and smiled. “We will.” He responded

Jonas could see Miguel running. He slowly tiptoed towards Antipas until he stood behind him. Jonas took out a slightly bigger wooden cross from one of his pockets. He tightened his grip as he grinded his teeth before striking Antipas Jonas whispered.

“May God have mercy on your soul"

Jonas swung the cross like a bat. He was reminded of his amateur baseball days. The cross bounced off Antipas head making Jonas hands feel the vibrations. The cross, and Antipas both hit the floor simultaneously. Speckles of blood had splattered on Jonas's face, he smiled and he wiped it off.

"Let's go Miguel."

Jonas reached out his hand tugging Miguel by his arm.

“Handcuffs, I still have handcuffs."

Jonas looked back at Miguel’s wrist.

"Fuck, let me check the cop, and why are you in your underwear? You know what, I don’t care.”

Jonas felt trough the cop’s entire body quickly trying to feel for keys.

In the belt clip he saw a mountain of keys holstered together.

"Fuck, dam it, listen Miguel we'll get you out."

Jonas looked around to see if any of the men were coming.

"Follow me." Jonas motioned to Miguel.

Jonas and Miguel ran to the nearest car.

"Check the doors Miguel."

Miguel tried his best to tug at the doors with his cuffs.

"Locked." replied Miguel

"Check the back."

"Locked too, lets just run Jonas."

"No Miguel they'll catch us."

Jonas knew they would not get far with Miguel cuffed up.

"Let's go back to the church." said Jonas.

"What! your crazy, I am not going back." Miguel shouted.

"Miguel please we need to make sure we can escape. We need to flee as fast and far as we can." Jonas responded.

"No let's just run, come on." Miguel said as he ran slightly to the street before Jonas ran after him.

"Wait!” yelled Jonas, but Miguel kept running.

Miguel and Jonas ran to a park near the church stopping and crouching after seeing a yellow cab.

The faded yellow cab made its way into the church driveway not noticing Miguel and Jonas.

The two fat men could see Antipas bleeding on the floor. They both struggled to get out of the car stumbling to Antipas's body.

"Shit, shit, they escaped."

Antipas gave a faint groan murmuring something inaudible. 

"What is it?"

"Let them go...”

The two men looked over at each other they knew it was almost time.


Jonas jumped up first running towards the yellow taxi. Miguel had struggled to get up from the handcuffs following Jonas behind. The two heavy set men noticed them struggling to pull out their guns. One of them managed to shoot off a round just before Jonas could reach the taxi. Jonas looked back seeing Miguel on the floor, but he kept running. Jonas ran and ran until he reached the taxi. He slammed the taxi door noticing the other man's gun in the seat. Jonas had a choice to help Miguel or go home.  Jonas put his window down and began shooting at the men making them run for cover. Jonas looked at Miguel on the floor.

"I have to get home Miguel, I have to go, I’m sorry!” Jonas shouted.

He shot off again not aiming at anything. He was trying to ward them of like bad spirits in the night.

Miguel could see the men cocking their guns again.

"Go Jonas, just go!" yelled Miguel. Miguel managed to stand up and ran towards the men as Jonas watched from the rearview mirror as Miguel faded into the distance. Jonas could hear random distant shots, but Jonas didn’t look back.


 Jonas drove to the nearest police station, and ran inside. He collapsed in front of some cops. “Holy shit, help him up.” One of the cops said. They all rushed to help Jonas. He closed his eyes and knew he was finally going home.  




Home Sweet Home


Jonas was finally going home after the initial intake at the police station. He refused medical service, and they made him sign some waivers. All Jonas wanted was a warm bath to soothe his aches. His body felt like it was put trough a marathon. Jonas gathered his thoughts, and the sheriff was nice enough to offer him a ride home. Jonas rode in the back of the car thinking about Miguel.  He worried, but it slowly faded as he approached his big white house. He stared at the big white door before closing the cop’s car door behind him. He didn't look back, and he never intended to again. He hoped that the cops would find Miguel, but Jonas didn’t feel guilt. After all self preservation makes everyone a coward. This was Jonas new mantra, and from now one he was only going to look to the future. No more past. Jonas noticed something peculiar as he approached his driveway though. His wife’s white Tahoe was missing. Perfect he thought, I can’t surprise her anymore. Jonas walked out of the police car walking to the doorway, and reaching under the mat. An extra key is always handy. It was his wife's idea to put it under their. Jonas thought that wasn’t particularly smart, but he was happy to be home nonetheless. She was more beautiful than clever, and Jonas was ready to be with her again. Jonas locked the door behind him looking around the house; it was like he was experiencing it for the first time. It was just like he remembered, immaculate. Everything was perfect, a little too perfect. Nothing was moved or dusted. Usually his wife was a stickler for those things. Jonas walked

Around noticing the amount of dust around the house. He walked over to the kitchen seeing the backdoor open. Why would she leave without closing the door?

Jonas walked upstairs and noticed the faint sound of water. He walked over to the bathroom slowly opening the door. Jonas was worried it seemed his wife had left in a hurry. He ran downstairs to reach the phone speed dialing her number.

"Come on, come on."

The phone rang and rang, until someone picked up.

"Mr. Jonas, it's your friend Antipas, it seems you left in a hurry and forgot someone."

"Jonas..?"Jonas knew that voice, it was that of his wife’s

"That's right Jonas you left her. She thought she could convert you Jonas, she wants you to believe."

"You sick fuck, you sick fuck!?" Jonas yelled.

Jonas kept yelling, but Antipas had long hung up. Jonas fell to his knees letting the phone drop to the floor. He knew then that it was fate's way of telling him that he should have looked back. His wife was now the past and his future seemed uncertain. Jonas stood up and reached for the phone again. He laid his hand over his mouth and let out a whimper.

“You good Jonas?”

Jonas looked back and saw the same men from the church standing behind him.

“She’s waiting.”



Hul Gil Machina


“Jonas, wake up, dear.”

“For God’s sakes, Jonas, we're in church.”

Jonas was leaning his head on his wife’s shoulder. His wife tried to nudge at him to no avail. She knew he would have fallen asleep anyways, but the issue here was the drool.

“You can at least pretend to believe.”

Jonas lifted his head slowly. He could feel the cold drift against his cheek.

“I’m sorry, did I drool again?” Jonas asked.

Jonas looked at his wife, and he noticed her eye were swollen. Jonas grabbed at her face frantically checking her. “What the hell happened?” Jonas asked.

His wife shook off his hands. “I’ll tell you later okay?”

Jonas’s wife pointed to the alter. She believed in God, but Jonas needed convincing in her mind. She respected his belief system, but she couldn’t imagine not believing in a God. She often wondered who God was. Life was filled with purpose, and therefore a system was in place. A system that needed to be withheld. What made people inherently bad or inherently evil? She didn’t know, but to her Jonas was not a lost cause. Jonas was different, therefore he needed saving. He always saw people as the problem. People are the devil, not some dill hole with horns. The way he saw it was these old priest had the horns. They were all horney for young kids.

Her stream of consciousness was interrupted by the choir. They sang an old hymn, but one of her favorites, “Old Rugged Cross.” Jonas stood still with his hands in front of him. He leaned over to his wife. “I can’t remember how we got here?” Jonas said.

His wife smiled. “Well. We sat, we stood and the choir sang.”

Jonas shook his head and leaned closer. “Like what were we doing before this, I don’t remember coming here.” Jonas replied.

“Just enjoy the sermon Jonas.” His wife replied.

Jonas leaned back and tried to remember. As hard as he tried he could not produce a thought. Jonas never enjoyed the sermons, all he cared for was his wife. It made her happy, and that’s all that mattered. Before they could sit though two alter boys came out. One of the two boys stood out to Jonas, he was thin and lanky.

“I think I know him.” Said Jonas.

His wife looked over at him confused. “Of course you do silly, we come here every week, it’s Miguel, remember?”

Jonas looked down and rubbed his chin. “Miguel…”

His wife leaned close to his ear. “Miguel has been saved, I have been saved. Jonas it’s time”

Jonas fell back into the pew, he felt a cold flush on his face. His pale skin went paper white.


Jonas felt all his memories rush into his mind. He remembered Miguel, his mom and running away. “But you got kidnapped.”

Jonas’s wife smiled. “No silly I was being saved.”

Jonas looked back at the people. He could see everyone’s blank expressions. They stared forward as if nothing could sway their attention. People swayed back and forth with the hymn.

“Ugh your high aren’t you Jonas. I can see the pendant dust on you.”

Jonas looked down at his shirt. “Pendant?” He asked.

Jonas reached into his pocket and pulled out a sharp jagged  crystal flower. At certain angles it resembled a real crystal. The choir stopped abruptly as Miguel went up to the podium’s microphone. “Jonas, it’s your lucky day.”

Jonas looked anxiously around. He could see a tall lanky old man in a black robe approaching the podium. He raised his hands and head up giving praise to a God.

Jonas heard a name come to his mind. “Antipas,” He whispered.

Antipas approached the mic and smiled. “Jonas...are you ready to join the world?”


©The Acentos Review 2020