Click here for Part I of this story, Bushwick: Parte Una.
Mom stopped halfway through the block and reversed the car back to the steps of the basement. I had to hold myself back from throwing the curse jar at her face. She said she had forgotten something. I knew it was the little prayer candle box with all her religious juju shit. I had hoped she wouldn’t notice. She looked at me and said, “I will be right back,” but she was gone long enough for me to wonder what was taking so long. Then I heard a scream, and it gave me the worst heartburn-like feeling. My mom’s scream sounded more like a wild animal that had been shot than a person. I swear my guts disintegrated that very moment. I ran out to help my mother. I almost busted my ass on the steps on the way to the basement.
“Get me out, Jorge! Get me–”
“I am here mom, hold on!”
The hallway was pitch black and I couldn’t remember where the light switch was. When I found the door I banged my body against it the way officers do on Cops, but it did nothing but hurt me. The door was still locked. My mother’s screams got louder.
“Get me out, get me out, he is here, he is coming!”
“The horns, Jorge!”
“I heard my mother’s screams growing louder as I inched along with my body pressed against the wall.”
I ran towards the only light I could see. Outside I grabbed the keys from the car and ran to the back of the van to look for a flashlight. I could hear my mother banging on the door from the car. Then I heard her scream desperately again. I couldn’t find the flashlight. I ran back into the darkness of the hallway. I heard my mother’s screams growing louder as I inched along with my body pressed against the wall. The wall continued to guide me deeper into the darkness of the hallway. Then suddenly it was completely silent, the only sound was my steps and the keys shaking on my hand. I heard the sounds of what could have been a thousand cicadas crashing against the door. I screamed; she didn’t respond. I heard desperate scratching on the floor. I tried to open the door with the keys, but the darkness made it impossible.
I located the lock and tried a key, but right when I inserted it, I heard a gasp and something being dragged across the floor quickly. I opened the door and all I heard was the chimes of the cicadas in the distance. The air drew me to the back door of the basement, which was opened. I was walking slowly, cautiously, to the other end of the basement when something grabbed the bottom of my jeans and pulled me into a room.
Mom was in the room, hunched over on the wet floor. I had never seen my mother like this before. She was wet, pale white, and silently shaking her head no. I looked at her directly in her eyes, but she was looking right through me at the brick wall. I placed my hands over her ears and shook her head hard until finally she cried, “Mijo, Mijo!”
I hugged her and helped her get up from the floor. She was shaking as I walked her to the car. We must have stayed in the car without saying a word to each for over an hour. My mother’s head was on top of the steering wheel while she cried. I stared at the building, wondering if the tenants saw the same overcast sky I always saw when they looked out of their windows, or if they could even see past the black garbage bags they used instead of glass. I wondered if they were waiting for the building to collapse with them inside.