Last week I used the Words for Wednesday Challenge from Delores at Under the Porch Light to create a story. Readers commented, requesting to know what happened to Grandpa after Maria got on the bus to South Dakota. I didn't know! His fate was at the mercy of the this week's Words for Wednesday prompt!
Using the prompt, I wrote a sequel - and was even surprised myself by the turn it took.
This week’s story can be read without background information, but I recommend first reading: Part 1: Facing Insurmountable Odds.
Maria was exhausted as she stepped down onto the rain-dampened road. Clutching her bag, she thought about how ironic it would be if she brought it all this way, only to forget it on the bus. She pictured the bag, with the smuggled papalo hidden in its lining, going back through customs into Mexico, and traveling the reverse steps of what she had just accomplished.
Her musings were interrupted by someone across the street, barely visible in the darkening shadows of evening, calling her name. It was her brother. He was double-parked in the lot, and was waving her over.
Maria exchanged pleasantries with Mateo, in the manner which people do when they are related and haven't been together for some time - but don't really like each other.
“Thank you for picking me up” said Maria, getting into the car. She was genuinely appreciative of the ride. “How is Grandpa?”
“He's pretty bad,” said Mateo. “The doctors want to do all of this stuff, but I don’t think it will make much difference. His skin is becoming a darker yellow by the hour. His liver really must be sick. He's very restless and he keeps asking for you every two minutes. He's convinced the method of treatment the doctors recommend won't work unless he eats that papalo you are bringing.”
Maria smiled, “Well, that is why I am here.”
Mateo banged the steering wheel violently with one hand, and shot a look of anger at her. All attempts at reconciliation were over. He snarled, “Grandpa is stubborn as a burro - and just as stupid as a donkey too! But you, you are like the fox. Smart and sneaky. You have it all figured out, don't you - poisoning him with that probably lethal herb, but making him think you are the best grandchild ever to bring it to him. You - -”
Maria interrupted her brother’s rant. She shouted, “WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO INSINUATE?” Getting a grip on her anger, she lowered her voice to nearly a whisper. “You think I dropped everything and came all this way - at Grandma's request - to bring the papalo from our farm in Mexico so that I could POISON our already possibly dying Grandpa?! Are you crazy - or what?”
“I’m not crazy,” said Mateo. “I'm on to you. I have been for a while. You’ve figured out how much that hacienda in Mexico is worth, and you love living there. You’re seeing this as the perfect chance to make sure Grandpa is so indebted that he will leave his whole estate to you. It must have seemed almost too good to be true - an opportunity to provide exactly what he wants, but with deadly intentions. You know your herbal remedy won't work quite the way he expects. Did you really bring papalo, or something even more lethal? Grandma and Grandpa haven’t seen that plant in so long, they probably wouldn't even recognize the real thing.”
Mateo slammed on the brakes at a red light. Maria reached behind her and grabbed her bag, then threw open her door and got out. “I've had enough of this. I'll find my own way to the hospital.” Without a backward glance, she walked away, looking for a cab.
Do you think Mateos is right about Maria?
This story is totally fictitious and may not contain accurate factual information. I had never even heard of papalo, until I did an Internet search for “indigenous plants of Mexico.”
The Words for Wednesday Challenge supplied the following word prompts:
insinuate, method, reverse, pleasantries, donkey, darker
An option to use the phrase “darkening shadows, deadly intentions” instead was also provided.
Some writers challenge themselves by trying to incorporate all six words and the phrase into the story. This week I enjoyed doing that also - but I broke the phrase in half.
This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!
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