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Votambas son, p.2

Votamba's Son, page 2


Votamba's Son

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Jorge, he had it up to here. He stormed right up to that old man, yelling at him, “Your tree is gone! Get the fuck out of here!” Old man didn’t budge, didn’t speak. Jorge said, “You don’t move yourself, I will move you.” Old man just smiled.

  So Jorge, he climbed up on that tree trunk. And he grabbed a hold of that old man. The loggers who were closest, they said it looked like Jorge was trying to pull him off the stump, but he couldn’t move him. Like, all of a sudden that little old man was made of steel. They say, too, that it looked like the old man’s feet were -- how the fuck did they say -- like his feet were part of the stump now, swelled up like big batatas, his toes curving down into the wood like roots.

  And Jorge, he was pushing and pulling on the old man, getting all the more pissed that he couldn’t budge him; but maybe he finally got scared right at the end. At last the old man grabbed Jorge by the throat and lifted him up in the air. Like big old Jorge was just a sack of feathers.

  No shit. Well, see, they say the little old man wasn’t little anymore. That just like that he started growing, his legs shooting up like weeds. His face was changing too, getting big and… well, fuck, I’ve only got the word of one of the loggers on this. The others just would not talk; and even the one who did was in this daze, like he’d seen el Diablo. Guy said the old man’s face had become huge and flat and round, and it had, you know, the lines and growth rings of a tree in it. That his eyes were these terrible white lights, and his teeth were big and sharp as daggers.

  And that old man -- that ogre or demon or whatever the fuck he was -- just kept getting taller, his legs stretching and stretching; and he carried Jorge up into the fog out of sight. The men heard him scream -- he only screamed once, they say. Then there was this terrible loud snapping sound that rolled through the fog, and that was it. They all ditched their tools and ran for their fucking lives.

  There. That, you see, it why the land isn’t cleared yet.

  What? Wait -- you want me to… you want me to go back down there and have a look at the job site myself?

  No. Fuck you. No way in hell.

  Oh, you bet I’m scared. Yeah, I’m just a superstitious jackass like all those campesinos. Look, I thought maybe… maybe with the tequila I could get through this. And you would just say, “Fine, let’s bring in some new guys from up north and get back to work already.” But now I can’t, because… well, there’s more, okay?

  Yesterday I got a call from our man Miguel down in Palenque. A truck came to the hospital there loaded down with eight guys, all sick as hell. They couldn’t breathe, coughing up some brown sticky shit that smelled kind of sweet, like rancid honey -- had the doctors muy confundido.

  Goddamn it, let me finish! No, it’s not some fucking new tropical disease. Why do you think Miguel even heard about it? Those eight sick guys were all our loggers. They were all there when that weird storm hit, when Jorge disappeared. I talked to them, okay? When Jorge went missing, I personally talked to every fucking one of them just to make sure their stories lined up. God knows we can’t trust the police to do their jobs; and Jorge was the kind of foreman where you figured he might die in a mutiny. Chiapas Chainsaw Massacre, you know?

  Anyway, Miguel called me again earlier today. He said that now half the sick loggers are dead. They cut one open to see what his lungs looked like. Mother of God, I tell you… they found some kind of plant growing inside him. It was like some ugly, tarry little sapling. And he… he’d been kind of wheezing, whispering something before he died. Miguel told me he was saying, “Tell Monogordo to come back to the forest. Tell Monogordo to come meet Votamba’s new son.”

  Who’s Monogordo? It’s… it’s me. That was my nickname when I was a pudgy little shit who liked to climb trees: “fat monkey.” Which of course I never told anybody. Nobody knows Monogordo is me, except for you now -- and whatever is on that goddamn mountainside.

  So there’s no way I’m going back. You shouldn’t go either; that thing knows about us. For what it’s worth, I say we just cut our losses and pull out of there. Fuck it, what’s a few million pesos more or less?

  Well, it’s your call; you’re el jefe. But I’m having no part of it. Call me crazy; fire me if you have to. I know I wouldn’t have believed it myself ten days ago. But now I see there are still some places on Earth where man shouldn’t go waving his dick around like he’s God Almighty. There are places where roads and buildings just can’t be -- and we found one of them.


  About the Author

  Jon Hartling had been writing aimlessly for many years before the stars aligned and he discovered his muse in the classic stories of H.P. Lovecraft. With the invaluable help of his wife Heather in an editorial and technical capacity, he began writing short stories of weird fiction. He lives in Wisconsin with his wife and children and dreams of one day owning a plush Cthulhu doll that’s wearing a Green Bay Packers jersey and helmet. His demented cat Nikki may or may not be head-butting him at this very moment.

  Connect with Me Online


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