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When Miguelín was three years old, a demon possessed him, but nobody noticed because the unclean creature didn’t force the little boy to do cruel things, to speak in a deep voice nor to spew forth in some unnatural way. On the contrary, Miguelín became, under the iron rule that blunted his will and his conscience, the friendliest and most quick-witted child the family had ever known, then the most ingenious and dedicated student, then the graduate with the highest marks in the career he had chosen, then the most-caring boyfriend, the most-faithful and concerned spouse, the best father. In addition, he devoted his free time to helping the poor and to supporting numerous just causes, he was good to his neighbors, was never greedy nor tolerated corruption, attended mass and blessed the holidays…
This exemplary life ended two minutes ago, with a relatively quick death, painless and not bitter because it crowned (at least, from the point of view of his relatives) many years of fullness.
And now the soul of Miguelín, that poor little thing, still that of a child for lack of exercise, emaciated, become almost nothing after so many years of being the property of another, shyly rises, unable to separate itself from the one who had for so long accompanied it and procured it. And the demon was satisfied, but also very nervous, because it knew that from a distance the two looked like one, from such habit and such goodness that illuminated them, but they are two and the Eye that sees all is not always looking the other way, and it wonders (the demon) if everything will have been worthwhile and if it could manage to ascend as high as Miguelín deserves. And it thinks of mystic roses, thinks of white clouds and fresh stars above clear skies, and it thinks of the dark pools of hell, of the flames and the tortures.
And what’s more, it has forgotten why it desired to rise to this height, what maleficent and magnificent plan inspired it, and which would be worse: for it to be discovered, or for it to not be discovered; for it to be cast down with the child and everything, a failure and fallen once more, or for it to spend eternity in the contemplation of the divine, increasingly removed from its nature as a devil? (It too has been bound for a long time, and it is very afraid to imagine being separated from the poor child, this snippet of spirit, this pitiful little thing…)
Translated from the Spanish by Lawrence Schimel
Lawrence Schimel (New York, 1971) writes in both English and Spanish and has published over 100 boooks as author or anthologist, including the poetry collections DELETED NAMES and FAIRY TALES FOR WRITERS, the short story collections THE DRAG QUEEN OF ELFLAND and TWO BOYS IN LOVE, or the children’s books LET’S GO SEE PAPÁ and LITTLE PIRATE GOES TO SCHOOL. He lives in Madrid, Spain where he works as a Spanish->English translator.