Death never comes alone: Alicia was never in wonderland

When they recovered the body, Maria’s soul started to relax a little bit. Maria knew right then that, as hard as it always is, the decomposed matter found at the municipal landfill, sooner or later, will provide to Alicia’s family, a bit of help to recover from their loss. She had that thought being aware that no one really recovers from the death of a loved one because, only the people who we love can hurt us. 

Maria could not stop her mind: “Best case scenario: they accept the fact and learn to live within her absence and its consequences or, no, I don’t want to think of a worse case scenario”.

21 days happened between the moment of the abduction and the recovery of Alicia’s remains. 21 days were enough to kill Lourdes’ entrails: no food, no sleep, no hope for her. These 21 days felt to Lourdes like 5 eternities. 

Lourdes lost hope after the ninth day. At that moment her mind was already made: “If she dies, I die”. Exhaustion put her on bed. She slept 4 hours straight. When she woke up it took her a second to come back to reality, to her reality, to her shocking, horrendous reality. Lourdes restarted speaking with the only language available to her: tears. 

“What happens to the heart of a mother who has lost her daughter, her only daughter?”. Even though Maria knew the answer very well, she kept repeating the question over and over again. 

Maria liked talking to Alicia. This young lady had a sharp mind full of dreams. NC State student. Major in Art. Her dream: Graphic Design. Definitively creative. Alicia was very good at cooking, gardening, drawing, painting, building, hugging. 

The day before the extraction, Maria and Alicia had a conversation. That’s what neighbors do… sometimes. They exchanged ideas and complains about the latest on the immigration news. They centered the conversation around the same impossible issues: “Immigrants keep dying at the border. Everyone complains but no one talks about the real reason why people leave their countries, their home, their land. It is easier to propagate hate than to find solutions”. 

That was it. The conversation ended as abruptly as it started. Maria and Alicia, like millions of people in the country spent time doing the only thing they can do for sure about their problems: talking about them. 

Alicia’s mom, Lourdes, came to the US from Mexico in 1996. She was 25 and really good looking. She was single. Her destiny put her on a long ride from San Antonio, Texas to Raleigh, North Carolina. Lourdes was so surprised to learn how similar all the cities in US look like. The one difference she noticed was the type of fences used in rural and urban areas. “Everything else is the same”, she always would say that when referring her story. 

Once in Raleigh she started looking for a job. After two days of trying: no luck. She started to get desperate. She thought of God and decided to go to church. The priest promised her a job in exchange for sex. Lourdes was shocked. She thought of running away but there was no place to go. The priest knew that. Lourdes agreed. As soon as the intercourse was a done deal, the priest made a phone call. 30 minutes later Lourdes was working and 9 months later she had a baby. A little girl. Lourdes decided on her name really quickly: “Alicia, just like my mother.”

Maria didn’t let Lourdes to see the report of the Medical Examiner. Too crude. According to the document, her skull was cracked and presented a little perforation between the sphenoid and the frontal bones on the right side. An object was moved through the skull causing an injury in the lower frontal lobe of the brain. The Medical Examiner was nothing less than puzzled when she learned that Alicia’s, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 8th vertebrae, the right side of the ilium, the right side femur, both tibias and fibulas were all broken. More bizarre was the fact that they could not find her heart. An almost perfect circled hole was made on her chest. No heart. Nonetheless, cause of death: unknown.

3 days later: funeral home, cemetery, six feet under, heaven and, 4 years later, Lourdes finally agreed to move Alicias belongings out of her room. She was putting Alicia’s clothes in a plastic bag when she found a little notebook, black color. It was Alicia’s diary. Lourdes  read it all. The last entry was written 3 days before the disappearance. “No way to move back. I have to protect my family. I wish I knew who Alejandro was before all this. I’m sorry”. 

Lourdes without fully understanding of the note started to cry. She called Maria. Both of them read the note several times. Maria mentioned some rumor. Alejandro allegedly was a member of a satanic sect. Both of them had heard stories about this group that they preferred not to believe. Dismemberments, cannibalism, a dark god worshiping. Gruesome stuff. Lourdes never knew the condition of Alicia’s body when it was found. For Maria this was scary stuff but at the same time it made sense. 

They involved the police. Investigations started. Slow investigations. During the process 3 police officers die of unknown causes. They said the sect dark powers acted upon them. After 13 months Alejandro was arrested and sent to court. He took ownership of the killing by saying “Alicia’s soul is mine”. The judge read the verdict: life in prison, no parole. 

As Alejandro was escorted out of the court room, the air started to feel hot and smelly. An unknown but deep voice covered the environment. The voice spoke a language that no one understood. Except Lourdes who after listening the message in her head, was terrified. “Your daughter will come back to life if you give me your soul”. 

By Pepe Caudillo. 12-10-2018. ®

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