First Love – Part 14

First Love coverExcited about their new game, the passengers in the “Cool Car” have a lot of fun playing their characters.

“Chip jumps in, swinging his sword and laying waste. You fight heroically, slaying the crows one by one. Their purple blood makes the grass slick and you’re afraid to fall. The blood seems acidic, but fortunately, your clothing protects you. Suddenly, out of nowhere, completely by surprise, you get past the giant crows only to find yourselves at the entrance to a dungeon.”

Their adventure continued, whiling away the hours until the next rest stop. They babbled about the game over lunch, ignoring the strange looks they got from the rest of their group, and the restaurant in general. To them, it had become as real as the tables and booths around them.

Clayton had an amazingly fertile imagination. He led them through a great adventure, randomly deciding if they were successful or not. Sometimes, he used Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide something. Other times, he would pick a number from one to ten. Based on their choices, he would tell them the outcome.

They had a wonderful time, laughing and talking until they arrived at the small mission church in Chimayó. The building looked like something out of a Spaghetti Western. It was a squat, adobe building with a bell in the tower. The doors were heavy wood reinforced with iron strips across the boards. The evening sun lingered behind it, outlining it with silver and red gold. It wasn’t quite 6:00 when they got out of the cars, groaning and stretching. The boys nearly fell down when Maddie and Patti bent over, touching their toes. Craig snapped his fingers to get their attention.

“Girls, maybe not in the middle of the street?”

Blushing, they stood, apologizing. The mean girls watched the proceedings with interest. Claire was furious that the ugly girls were getting more attention than she. In a huff, she stalked off toward the door of the church. She hadn’t quite reached it when it bounced open and a short, wiry Mexican man came out. It was hard to tell his age. Though he sported wrinkles in his well tanned face, his hair was sleek black and he walked with energy. He wore jeans, a plaid shirt and a straw cowboy hat that looked as if it had seen much better days.

Smiling, he clapped his hands. “I thought I heard you out here. I’m Reverend Jose Fajardo. Come over to the Sunday school building. This is where you’ll be staying while you’re here.” He led them to a tall, poured concrete building that looked more like a bunker than a church facility.

“I know it doesn’t look like much.” He saw the disgusted looks on the faces of Beverly, Claire, Denise and Jane. “It’s not fancy, but we got it at a great price—free.” He chuckled, rubbing his hands together. “The owner was thinking of tearing it down, but we convinced him to donate it to us for a sizable tax deduction. He also helped us fix it up.” He leaned over to Craig. “I think he was trying to atone for something.” He clasped his hands, grinning. “But who looks a gift horse in the mouth, eh?”

They got their things and followed him inside. He led them through a common room to a wide stairway. This was worn wood suspended on a metal framework. The railing was beautifully scrolled cast iron.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

 

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