Like any other night, I was willing to go to sleep. Little I knew about how this story would end, just like little I knew about how real were the events I experienced in that unknown lapse of time. Like one of those times you feel so lucky you wonder if you're conscious or if it's just a product of the subconscious.
I woke up violently, as Tony was by my bed shaking me recklessly while he was saying something about nightmares. First thing I saw -on my room's ceiling- was a shadow, which -I'd swear- was shifting its shape continuously, until it ended in the shape of a spider; a spider approximately the size of my head. Suddenly, Lupita came into my room, with a friend of hers whose identity I failed to recognize. I remember hearing her name, which is now blurry in the dead zone*. Her looks, nevertheless, are still latent in my mind: Black died hair with an aquamarine tone on some tufts, decorated with fantasy jewelry which was somehow attached to the smooth black-and-greenish waterfall. The only thing I did was kiss her hand softly, clowning around a little. The young woman asked me now if I had slept with Lupita, a question I could not answer given my confusion. I only answered I didn't remember doing anything, just like I don't know how it is that I had apparently woken up in a room which wasn't mine. The dawn had already arrived.
I couldn't help noticing the pastel tones in the decoration of the room we were in, just like I couldn't help noticing the windows weren't the same as my room's. These changes let me realize I actually wasn't in my room anymore.
Noticing my parents were at "home", my first instinct was to take Lupita's friend and, somehow, making her and me go out the window at the same time. I fell to the ground and stayed there, hoping my dad didn't see me, but I only managed to make eye contact with him; hiding didn't make sense anymore, so I stood up, willing to find out what was going on.
I entered a room with a big screen inside it, on which a movie was playing at a loud volume. Lupita's friend was the one using the TV. Alarmed by the strident noise, I lowered the volume a little, strangely making it sound louder.
A while later, Lupita and her friend had left already. The only idea wandering around my head was going to school. I looked at the garage and there was a white SUV truck, a white car, and my friend Oscar's car -a blue Volkswagen Jetta. Bewildered once again by the weirdness of the events, the most logical thing I could think about was that he had also slept in the house, but had left moments before my awakening.
I was now in Roman's -another friend's- car heading to school; I told him to get me back "home", for I had to take Oscar's car. Roman only laughed and he just kept hitting the gas -kidding, of course-, until he eventually took me back to where we had started our trip. Just before we arrived, I got a call from my dad; I answered without hesitating. What I heard next made my heart jump out of my throat and everything I had presumed suddenly made sense in a terrible way.
"Son, today we'll eat at a restaurant", said a voice with a lower tone than the one from my dad's voice.
"Okay, where are we going", I asked.
"Dunno, where would you like to go?", the voice asked, just as my dad would actually ask; but he wasn't my dad.
"Dunno, you tell me", I answered, just as I used to answer in these where-to-eat situations.
"We got him... Bring the money", the voice said calmly, and then the call ended.
I then knew what was going on. They'd apparently kidnapped my father. To my surprise, as Roman was leaving, I noticed two -unarmed- men using a hat like the ones some "narcos" used. The location and appearance of the house had changed once again, and my mother, my brother, and my sister were there with me. Both men brought my dad; hands tied, but he was apparently intact.
"You have twenty minutes to give us the money, or...", said one of the men -who had no hat anymore-, as he took a knife and pretended to cut his index finger, slightly pointing at my sister. "And don't even think about undoing those ties. The people who sent us will be arriving here twenty minutes after you pay us, and if you open your mouth, they will take care of all of you."
Panic didn't manifest in me, nor in my mother nor my brothers, but I could somehow feel it eating my bowels, until I suddenly saw the figure of a bald man -who appeared to be my neighbor- approaching. He was using glasses, one of those shorts that barely get to your knees, a polo shirt with horizontal bars of different tones of green, some kind of expedition boots, and white socks. He was carrying a short rifle, while he made a "hush" sign with his hand. I knew what was coming next, and I couldn't be happier.
The first shot sounded as if the weapon worked with hydraulic pressure instead of gun powder. A tiny hole opened in the forehead of the man with the knife, whose eyes turned white as a little scarlet stream came out of where his thoughts lived. The man with the hat was shot right through his neck seconds later.
We were all grateful with our neighbor, but we were worried as well, so we got inside our house -which was suddenly our actual house- through a door that took us directly to the kitchen. We released my dad's hands, as we heard a vehicle approaching. We all knew who it was. The intellectual authors of the atrocity we had just evaded.
It was a black Suburban. A suited man and a suited woman got out of the car. As they were getting close to the entrance of the house, I took a knife from the kitchen. My family entered my parents' room as the suited characters ordered to give them the money. It was as if my dad's life was suddenly "forgiven."
Their life didn't have the same fate. I entered the kitchen quietly to find our invaders distracted. I felt my blood freezing seconds before the knife landed and entered the man's hindhead. And frozen was my blood already when I slit the woman's throat, which I divided afterwards, just as divided was her body now in "head" and "everything else". I quickly got another knife to repeat the division on the man this time.
I walked quickly towards my parent's room, with the knives in my hands. "I killed both the man and the woman. They're in the kitchen", I told them coldly, holding the weapons which had assisted me during this crime. "I've beheaded them. We gotta clean this now."
My parents looked relieved.
We went out the house, walking to the white SUV.
"Where are we going now?", I asked my father. "Anywhere but Mexico", he said. "I gotta get out of here any way I can", he said, worried.
My mind and my stomach turned upside down, as I felt my face shifting its expression. Even as I wanted to, I couldn't imagine where we were going to end; I couldn't imagine my next stop, my next home, my next shelter. I could only think about her and the time that was going to pass before I saw her again, if I ever did. Then I woke up. "I had the most horrible dream," said the text she received.
*dead zone: Term used in Stephen King's "The Dead Zone", referring to the "place" in the main character's head for the memories he couldn't recall.