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Devil's Land

— Still remains the ghost of what has already gone and the shadow of what is soon to go—he said, without listening to me, concentrated on the smoke that came out from the earth.

That, he must have said, sentencing "smoke that must go".

—Do you see what's in there? —He said again, pointing to a ruined building rising about a hundred yards away.

—That was the church. Look at it! .There was God in it. That God who people say helps men. There is nothing left. No one here ever believed in that God or any other. They did not believe in anything.

The man spoke without looking at me.

He was a man of about sixty, according to my calculation, with his dark skin, beaten by the sun and time. Undoubtedly he was a man who had walked many roads, looking dismal. His mouth deflected one of its ends as who thinks and later, does not reveal what could wander his judgment.

I had arrived there by pure chance. I stopped to buy water, to put fuel, refill my tank. I stared at that desolate town, where the wind was crawling with a wild sound.

I went into a ramshackle station where this man was, he told me that there was no water bottles. We went out to pump an old well of which at least I could drink water that had a strange taste.

I was just quenched my thirst. In front of the station was a street in which the stones shone, on the other side a rustic place where people seemed to have sometime gathered.

At one of its side was another construction in bare blocks, inside which were tools, bits of tin, nuts and bolts on the floor.

The sun roared, like all the suns of July, drawing things with colors, but that sun was not the one I'm used to seeing.

I sat in the coarse park, shortly the man sat next to me. He stared at the smoke that silently emanated from the earth.

— There's no water— I said— by miracle there is fuel yet.

Then was when he said that there was nothing left, about the ghost and the other things. Anyway, I was not going to fix the world. Also, as circumstances indicated, I should have to be strayed,

I had gone to look for some photos, that is to try to make some pictures of a certain place that someone described like "very picturesque".

I left very early. I drove about fifty miles. I was thinking that it was not smart or economical to look for any photo that was so far away. I noticed that I had run out of gas. I grabbed the first exit I saw to fill the tank.

I needed to get some water, because I had a burning thirst.

—Where are the people here? —I asked.

— Somewhere, over there around.

I looked along that street of white stones. I thought I saw people crossing from side to side, but I realized that it was an illusion, because I'm always full of illusions.

—What else there is here? — I inquired again. My words rolled alone.

The man got up, went to the station. He came back with a newspaper.

—This was the village, the same.

I looked at the newspaper, which was streaked with gray spots. It illustrated a village with moored oxen and old cars, so I noticed the date. Nineteen twenty-one.

—This was almost a century ago! — I teased astonished, thinking that this document could have some value.

I was going to take a picture about it when the man snatched the newspaper from me.


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