This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
by Bryan Costales
Genre: Literary Fiction
Nao © 2009 Bryan Costales Page 1
Nap by Bryan Costales
The taste of rice, black beans and Lizano salsa loitered inside Luis Escabon’s mouth after lunch. He idly licked the last of delicious taste from his lips and swallowed one ﬁnal, satisﬁed time. His hands lay folded over his comfortable belly. The midday sunshine of San Jose, Costa Rica warmed him. The stone step on which he lay felt cool and smooth, a ﬁne contrast to the warmth from above. He smelled mud drying from a heavy rain the night before and the smell reminded him of his youth. Those summers as a young boy staying with his own mother up high near Azul the volcano. He and his half-brother Taki would run up the long curve road uphill through morning fog so thick whole trees would vanish. He had only ever seen such fog as a boy. Drippy wet fog and sometimes actually cold fog. They arrived home a little late for lunch and found Taki’s Mom waiting there to pick them up. “There you boy’s are,” Taki’s Mom said as they both stopped just inside the doorway. Luis’ Mom had been washing dishes. She turned to the boys and smiled. “Summer’s over,” she said. She sounded sad. “I packed you both bag lunches to take with you. I know it’s a long trip and its so much hotter down there.” Luis hugged his mom. “I wish we all lived together.”
© 2009 Bryan Costales
“I wish your dad hadn’t died,” she said and gave him a squeeze. Luis remembered the drive back down toward the coast and Taki’s Mom’s home. A long ride back toward school and away from the volcano that would kill his Mom that summer. Luis opened his eyes and closed them again. A nap. That would be good. A brief nap, no more than ﬁfteen minutes. After that he would have to get up and bust up stones again. Rebuilding steps, he thought, the same as yesterday, the same as tomorrow. He eased open his eyes, but the sun was too bright so he closed them again. A child’s voice intruded. “Daddy?” It was a boy’s voice. “Is that man sleeping?” “No.” The father’s voice was deep and booming. It sounded like the voice of a big man, a powerful, enduring father. “He’s just taking a nap.” Luis rolled his head lazily to that side. He shaded his face with one hand and looked. A short, older man walked away using a cane. The man held hands with a young girl in a bright pink dress. The girl skipped as she walked. Luis chuckled, two wrong guesses. Luis faced skyward again. Eyes closed, he refolded his hands and relaxed. Taki? Now why had he thought of Taki? His half-brother, the son of his Dad’s ﬁrst wife. His older brother, who he thought of as his lost brother. Taki now lived up by Arenal under that great active volcano. Arenal where his mother died when the volcano erupted years ago. Odd choice for a place to live. Too high. Too cold. Too dangerous. Luis felt a chilly breeze. The air smelled unusual with a hint of smoke. Just a nap, he thought. Just a few minutes then back to work. Luis felt cold, a deep cold that seemed to seep from his bones. He opened his eyes and stared at a grey sky. White feathers fell towards his open eyes. Could that be snow? He felt the white ﬂuff settle, tiny bites as each landed on his face, like insects bites. A child’s voice intruded. “Daddy?” It was a boy’s voice. “Is that man dead?” “Yes.” The father sounded weary, beaten. “That’s why we have to stay awake. It’s too easy to sleep in the snow.”
Nao © 2009 Bryan Costales Page 3
You’d know that if you ever bothered to call me. it was a huge plume of smoke. I own a Japanese restaurant here. “Hola. I think the wind is blowing southeast toward you. maybe months. I mean you haven’t called me once in twenty years. He didn’t recognize the number but he answered anyway. “Strange dream. Instead he opened his eyes and realized the sun had moved behind a cloud. It almost looks like snow. Near Arenal? Did Taki still live there? Did it erupt again? Luis stood and looked at the work that lay spread around him. They would be working there for weeks yet.” Nao © 2009 Bryan Costales Page 4 .” Luis didn’t know what to say. far to the north. Snow falling over the jungle. Everything looked a little red. He pulled it out and looked at the screen. or for my son’s birthdays. gray tinted with red.” “Are you okay? I just noticed the smoke. Luis looked at the cloud again.” “I know.” Luis remembered the dead man in the dream. “Luis? Is that you brother? This is your half-brother Taki. for my birthdays. Luis felt his mobile phone vibrate. the steps. Removing cracked old stone steps and replacing them with newly carved steps.” Luis sat up and stretched.” Luis wanted to turn his head to look. The plaza was wide. “Maybe you shouldn’t stay there. The strangest thing you could ever see. It’s turning the sun red here. Not even for Christmas. “Are you okay?” “I live in Monteverde now. Maybe it isn’t safe. occupying almost a whole block. He probably fell asleep watching the snow fall. He felt rested and was warm again after the dream. the town. The sun appeared the wrong color. He and the other workers were breaking up the old steps behind the National Museum. It wasn’t a cloud at all.“But the man’s eyes are open. He muttered. the endless work around him. Not for my wedding. Ashes from the eruption are falling here.” he said.” “I don’t live in Arenal anymore.
I really mean that. They smoked and joked with each other and weaved around the piles of broken stones. “I don’t blame him of course.” Taki laughed. Bye Luis. I would love to have my wife and son meet you. It didn’t seem as big now. I mean I tell him I have this half-brother that nobody has ever seen. “Well half-brother. I’ve told them about you but my son claims you don’t exist. I remember you curled up on my Mom’s sofa.“Now don’t sound like an old woman. He looked again at the distant cloud of smoke. Luis put on his usual orange hard-hat. It’s just this eruption. you were sent away to that church school because of the way I was to you.” One of the other men misunderstood.” “Okay. Stay in touch. I was older than you when she was killed so I remember it more. Please stay in touch.” Luis dropped the phone into his pants pocket. In a way I guess I called to let you know I don’t blame you for never calling. I remember you being sent away after that.” Luis watched the other men walk back to the work site. “Funny call. I gotta work now. The others are coming back. “Yeah.” “Bye Luis. the real reason I called you is because this eruption reminded me your Mom.” “Maybe you can come visit sometime. I’ll try. Well it reminded me of the short time we were together. Bye half-brother. “That’s okay. I remember you cried yourself to sleep that night with only my Mom to comfort you. then Taki continued.” Nao © 2009 Bryan Costales Page 5 .” “Is that why you called? To remind me?” “No. “I don’t remember you that much either. It’s my fault you see. clear plastic goggles and worn canvas gloves. Of course I’m safe here.” he said to Taki. It reminded me of what an awful older brother I was to you as a child.” “Okay. Funny color. He looked at the red cloud again.” The phone went silent for a moment.” “Maybe.
hefted it and swung. past. Originally Published 1/31/2009 on bcx. He picked up his sledge hammer. he has been writing a bi-weekly short story for almost two years. and future novels. and Peridot Books. He was back in his endless rhythm again. And for the ﬁrst time in a long time wondered why they had really sent him away.org Published 6/30/2010 on Scribd. shift his grip on the handle. chief of which is the O’Reilly “sendmail” book. and again.Luis laughed. in the Banyan Review.com Revised 7/7/2010 on Scribd. swung and thought. as a kindle download. and again. also called the “bat book” because of the picture of a bat on the cover.com About the Author Bryan Costales is author of several technical books.bcx. In order to hone his craft. Those short stories are available here. Luis now thought about Taki. And while he worked at his endless job.com/novels/ for his current. he hefted again. Nao © 2009 Bryan Costales Page 6 . He has written short ﬁction for over thirty years and has been published in Cantaraville Six. Micro Horror. Luis swung and thought. and on his own web site at http://www.org/ blogs/saturday/ Also see http://www. Clang against stone.bcx.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.