For seven years I was confined to La Cueva. There, He forced me to be a pupil to his lessons in black magic. I did it to save my soul. Or so I thought. You may or may not believe me. But I don’t give a damn. You have not lived under my skin. Felt the agony. You don’t know what it was like. The angst my mind, flesh, and bones endured. The barrenness of my soul, while I was there.
For seven years I witnessed how six other pupils surrendered their almas to Him. But I managed to save mine. How, you wonder? I was a keen apprentice, but it was love what saved me, mind you, not what He taught me.
I transformed, you may say. Hid in plain sight from Himself. I suffer from visions, still. Nightmares of the grotesque image exuding when rage engulfed him. His blood-thirsty eyes. The scorching ire emanating from his face. The scent of sulfur. I can still feel the wrath of his fury penetrating my skin. Inhabiting it. The raw infestation of vermin. A flaring burn.
He hunted me intently. I reckoned fortune must have favored me in some way or another. But this was beyond fortune. Believing the iron gate was my escape, He hassled outside and dashed down the steep cobblestone hill towards the San Esteban Convent, searching for me. He left the gate ajar. The fool! I took my chance. As I fled, my chest pounded all the way to my eardrums. My lips savoured my freedom. Finally!
I made it out of that infernal place! I escaped the binds of the cavern that had imprisoned me for so long. I only had to go as far as the Catedral Vieja. He could not fetch me there, you see, for Evil was not welcome in a sacred place. He knew this.
His senses were masterful, indeed. I could hear the echo of his screams. Feel the reverberation of his guffaw.
“Alonso, what art thou doing? Mine pow’r is supreme to yours and argal thou shouldst be mine sub’rdinate?” He commanded I could only leave when He said I could, and not one second earlier. That He was the master of my soul.
At the sensing of the slightest shift, He sprang to clench his claws on my body. Well, on what He thought was my body. You see, I was a model student. My body never left La Cueva. Not through that heavy iron gate, anyways. Only my shadow did. He captured my shadow, while I remained free to escape Him.
Townspeople’s rumors are that I am a wizard, for I am a shadow-less man. For this, I am shunned, shamed, and often prosecuted. But this is not what enables my magic. My powers live in my genes. They were a gift passed on to me from my ancestors. I am certain this is one of the reasons why He chose me.
I was once His student, but I am not evil. I limit use of my magic to the times I am left without choice, as when I must save my own life. Also to find her, wherever she may be.
And I am not returning to that forsaken cave. Not ever.
* This is an unedited excerpt of my work in progress (WIP) “Alonso’s Curse,” a historical fiction novel with elements of time-travel, fantasy, and romance taking place in Scotland and Spain.
Copyright © 2019, Yasmin Tirado-Chiodini. All Rights Reserved.