About 'When The Dust Settles'
| Well, I guess I may as well start with one of my more recent items and tell you the strange way that this story came about. Be warned, if you have not read the story this will be a spoiler in most regards.|
This whole story came to me in a dream. But it was a rather unique dream, as it was told to me. Hector, the main character, was staring at me all glassy eyed and deeply intent that I understand fully what he was trying to say. Needless to say his English was rather poor, but having lived in Texas for most of my life I was able to comprehend. The telling started out in a jail cell, one resembling what you would find on death-row. It was narrow, painted a horrible tan color with a stainless steel cot extended from the wall and matching commode and sink. The cell felt lifeless except for the very dark-skinned man sweating and near panic. His eyes, gestures and mannerisms displayed a need, a desperate need that someone, anyone hear his 'truth' to the events that had happened to find him in that brown cell. As his story progressed the cell became darker as if clouds had blocked out the tiny slit of a window. As the ominous facts of the tale were told the more uncomfortable I became and the darker the small room appeared. By the end of the dream Hector seemed less tangible as did his surroundings. I no longer felt like I was in a cell but rather adrift in a void where I watched him bob in the air as if held up by invisible strings. As if his telling was releasing him from his mortal constraints allowing him to pass on into a death that had already happened. I remember promising him that I would write his story, even though at the time I felt unclean after hearing it, but I asked for more data, specifics. He pointed at maps and scenes that seemed to appear in my mind's eye. Then he just faded.
When I woke the next morning I literally had a very bad taste in my soul that echoed in my mouth. But I had made a promise. I hopped online and started looking at maps. I needed to find where Hector was from. I have traveled around Mexico and personally seen some of the squalor and filth that some people accept as normalcy. That alone offsets most puritanical and american minds. 'How can people live like that?' Is it better than the alternative? Do they know better? Or do they just know better than the puritanical? But to delve deeper into secrets kept over decades by those who can't see farther then their corrugated tin roof could display something much more wicked to those who claim some kind of morality in their hearts. But how can we judge? This was not our lives. This was not our secrets. This was Hector's world. A lean-to village of dust that spiraled around in eddies displacing all color but for the one he knew best, the earth. What could be more primal and real. What an amazingly small colorless world. It could not only ingrain opposed moralities, but make histories of the unacceptable. And how twisted would those histories appear in the neighboring bright lights of a 'morally conscious' America? And Hector not being advanced enough to even see the juxtaposition he was treading.
I have been to most of the places that Hector ventured through and have even lived in Houston. I hope that I was not too unkind to these places because they have their charms. Houston, even though I found it too spread out and somewhat neglected was filled with some of the best people I have met in my life. El Paso is a town of sleeping beasts with Juarez conjoined like a Siamese-twin, but not really foreboding. There were a lot of facts I tripped over in the telling of Hector's story. Like the horrible deaths of all the young women that cross into the US for work. And you can visit places in that desert where there are small wooden crosses for these women. Please, look up more info on these tragedies and be aware of them, they are real and I hope someday they can come to an end. These are true horrors that no one should have happen! Also there was a murderer caught several years back who did ride the rails killing women. I don't know what happened to him, but hopefully what happened to Hector. This is a true evil. So there was a lot of truth intermingled with this tale, but because of the way I received the telling it had to be written with its horrific slant. Yes, I have to confess, I felt very dirty the whole time I wrote it, but I felt that the promise was real. Even now, revisiting the process I can feel that dirt. There was times when I felt too unclean to even finish writing it, but what is a story without its end. I showered more than normal while I wrote it also, truthfully!
I wanted, also, to help the reader understand an awkward truth that sometimes is present in evil. About how sometimes the perpetrator doesn't understand that they are doing wrong. (This also made me feel dirty) I mean we have run-a-muck insane killers all through stories, but Hector wasn't insane or run-a-muck. He was just doing what he had been taught. Now this might seem insane to us, but he never knew better and who was going to teach him? That was when the creature showed up. I have had a lot of people ask if the creature was real or not or comment on how cool of a psychological tool the creature is. But the truth is that Hector saw it. Maybe it was some latent human morality trying to breach Hector's conscious mind and tell him that he was starting to realize that what he was doing was evil, but he just saw the creature. Like he says 'he didn't do anything wrong' he couldn't see himself as the creature. The creature killed. But, thankfully Hector got what I believe he deserved, whether he realized it or not. And in the dream it did not seem as if he understood what had happened to him. He still claimed innocence as he faded into the memory of a ghost.
I hope you enjoyed this 'behind the scenes', and if you did please let me know. Truly this was a rough story to commit to words and I did feel dirty all through its telling. I hope you read more!