Andean Express

Andean Express by Juan de Recacoechea Read Free Book Online

Book: Andean Express by Juan de Recacoechea Read Free Book Online
Authors: Juan de Recacoechea
Tags: Ebook, book
with the darkness and the silence, but it was impossible to move. His legs didn’t respond and when he tried to shout, his throat went dry like a desert sandpit. There was nothing to be done. An evil force was leading him to the thick rock, which he was supposed to blow up with dynamite. His sweaty hands grasped the dynamite stick while Alcón, his mine buddy, chipped away at the rock with a pick. Alcón was making strange noises that sounded like wails. When he determined that the dynamite had been inserted deep enough into the rocky wall, he lit a match and they both started to run. The nightmare would pause there, with him escaping in slow motion. Then the other nightmare would begin, the one Rocha would see while waking up. The subsoil was slippery, the sticky underbelly of a mountain suffering at the hands of men tearing apart its insides. Rocha was desperately stumbling and falling. He would try to pull himself up, but he had lost time. No sooner did he succeed in standing up, than he heard the boom of the explosion and the burning gust propelled him several yards forward. Alcón shouted and pointed to the arch above, which was coming undone in thick and rough sheets of rock that were crashing down on both his legs. He managed to save his right leg, but his left leg got jammed under an enormous rock, turning it into a gelatinous, irrecoverable mass.
    It’s all that asshole’s fault. If he hadn’t sent me into the mines, I’d still be standing on two legs.
    Rocha placed the crutches under his armpits and started to move from one side of the cabin to the other. Someone knocked on the door. The slightest noise could provoke a certain desperation in him.
    â€œWho is it?”
    â€œI have your lunch.”
    Rocha opened the door and let the waiter enter.
    â€œOne chairo soup, one large plate of meat, and a cup of applesauce.”
    â€œWhat time is it?”
    â€œOne o’clock, señor. You said you wanted the late lunch.”
    â€œRight . . . right,” Rocha said, then handed the waiter a tip and closed the door.
    He ate the soup and devoured the meat and accompanying French fries. As he savored the dessert, he thought again about his tragedy.
    My nightmares end tonight. Once I take him out, I’ll go back to sleeping like I used to. I’ll sleep for hours and I’ll dream about quiet lakes and beautiful eyes that love me. About the lush forests of Beni and rivers that look like the sea. All the things I lost because of that bastard—
    Moments later, another knock on the door. It was the waiter coming to retrieve the tray.
    â€œCan I get you anything else?”
    â€œNo . . . nothing,” Rocha said. “I’m going to rest.”
    â€œAre you all right?”
    â€œI have a fever,” Rocha lied. “But I’m sure that tomorrow, on the coast, I’ll feel better.”
    â€œThere’s nothing like being on the coast,” the waiter said, and disappeared.
    Rocha lay down. It was cold and his stump hurt. Sharp, stabbing pain shot up and down his leg. He rubbed the affected area with some ointment, then propped his head on a pillow and tried to picture Alderete, just as he was the day he went to visit the guy in the mining company office to ask him for a job. Alderete was his half-brother. They shared the same mother, an indigenous woman who had been the lover of Nazario’s father. Edmundo’s father was a carpenter from Oruro who died of a lung infection. Before succumbing to a terminal illness, his mother had advised Rocha to visit his half-brother, who seemed to have a good thing going in the mineral trade. He was an accountant and handled a lot of money. Rocha, who was going through hard times, had become little more than a drunken hobo who wandered from one place to another selling textiles and other odds and ends. He didn’t think twice, and as soon as he had collected a few pesos, he headed for Potosí. Alderete worked

Similar Books

Tale of the Dead Town

Hideyuki Kikuchi

Carnal Slave

Vonna Harper

Bone Crossed

Patricia Briggs

A Cook's Tour

Anthony Bourdain

Hollywood Blackmail

Jackie Ashenden

Worry Warts

Morris Gleitzman

Defying Desire

A. C. Arthur