Duchy Man Valderá
(Translation: Daniel W. Koon)
http://axxon.com.ar/rev/151/c-151cuento6.htm (Scroll down.)
Axxon 151, June 2005

For Ennio Morricone

        First came a rustling, like clothes left out in the wind when the sun is high in the sky. In the bar, the half-filled glasses of whiskey on the tables remained untouched and the pistols jammed by the unexpected humidity. He had white fingers, without a trace of dust; his hair was darker than the savages’. His eyes shielded by the brim of his hat, his nose rising out of the fog of his face. He wore a dark suit, a silk bow at his collar and pearl-handled revolvers on his belt. A thin cigarette slept in the shiny crook of its holder. His pained look swept the crowd -- later someone recalled a chill in the air. When his teeth lined up in an abrupt smile the wind brought echoes of harmonicas and the far-away sound of hoofs. He got up to leave, dragging his heels, looking neither to the left nor the right, jangling his magnificent spurs. The people, who days before had heard his neck crack inside the hangman's noose, followed his figure until it became a dark splinter on the horizon. He left behind the smell of freshly printed ink, an arrogant calm and the smooth litany which inexplicably lingered on in the local ballads. Many say that it never happened, others fled the town, and weapons refused to fire for two whole days. Later the town returned to its slumber on the red sands, word of the event crisscrossing the region like a restless bandit.

        Nailed to a post in front of the sheriff's office, a poster announced the extraordinary bounty for the capture of someone whose face had vanished from the sheet leaving no trace. The page, tattered in fine strips, was lost in the wind as it indifferently lashed the vast solitude of the dusk.

Duchy Man Valderá (born in Havana, 1978). Writer, painter, illustrator and designer of theatrical wardrobe. Graduate of the Onelio Jorge Cardoso Literary Education Center, she has shown her sculpture in several exhibitions and deeply envies the Decadent artists of the 19th Century, which explains her ceaseless sighs.

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