The other marshal stood in the middle of the kitchen looking around. There were not many places to hide. He opened the refrigerator, knowing that it would have been suicide for someone to lock themselves in there. Nothing. Because the marshal was bored, he opened up all of the cabinets. Again, nothing. Not even food. He walked over to the stove. There was a math paper on it with problems and solutions that he couldn’t understand. He studied it for a moment. The boy had been here.
Antonio drew back to sneeze, just as the marshal placed his hand around the handle of the stove. He would check it; there was nowhere else to look, so he pulled it open…
“Charlie! Let’s go!” the senior marshal yelled from the living room. It startled him, and he looked away from the opened oven and missed Antonio’s face staring up at him. The marshal let go, and the door came up and crashed hard against Antonio’s face, just as he sneezed. The noise covered him. Antonio thanked God.
“Thank you, Mrs. Florentino,” the senior marshal nodded. Diane handed him back his pen and clipboard. She was angry, but at least they left without her son. Diane wondered why they had not arrested her. They would be back.
Antonio opened the bathroom door, and there was his strong mother lying in the bathtub crying like a baby. He told her that he would never let them take him away from her. He promised. Diane looked up at him. She was beginning to feel the mirth of defeat. It was as though the Devil himself was whispering sinister dooms into her empty ears. Tears burst from her eyes. “What have I done to deserve this?” she screamed in anger and covered her face. “What? What? Why, Antonio? Why is this happening to us?”
Antonio didn’t have an answer for her and knew it was better to just let her sulk in despair. He knew that a hug right now might destroy her, so he stepped back and listened hard to her pain and suffering. When the screaming became too much, he covered his ears and let the madness have its way. Antonio listened for an hour, until his mother was all cried out. Then Antonio removed his hands so the evil spirits could leave him. He tried to be strong, but somewhere in his heart, a tiny seed of hatred had been planted. It would either die, or it would forever live with him…