Chapter One: La Purga
A group of locals are crowded into the back of a pickup truck and it flies through the mountainous country, almost floating along roads as smooth as marble. It floats up a hill, down, across gorges and through the empty valley, the latter grumbling disconcertedly as it does so. The driver and passenger are native, too; a strange air hovers about the place, inside the vehicle, outside of it and beyond into the endless mountains. Grim faces exchange grim expressions in a grimly-toned atmosphere. A Newcomer is amongst them, but adapts herself to the dynamic in order to avoid standing out. She is, however, quite different from them. Pueblos dot the valley, though the truck is presently between two of them. The rubber on the road hums, the sound fluctuating, falling and rising like waves, though less consistent. The infinite acoustics of the valley. Suddenly a change in feeling—a boy on the side of the road. Physically, he looks older than a boy, but the locals know this is just a boy; his expression betrays youth, indecision. Naivety. The boy is leaning on a rail, convulsing. The rail runs along a ridge beyond which is a vast drop into a black abyss where, for as long as anyone here remembers, all that can be seen are things spinning about in a vacuous whirl, rotating slowly into nothingness; there are all sorts of things there, slowly being sucked down, into the Other Place. It has been there, again, for as long as anyone can remember; there is not much worth noting about it anymore, for them. It is what it is. The boy is vomiting relentlessly, violently, down into this abyss. He looks almost crippled, barely standing as the truck approaches his withered soul-body. The released energy drips down his chin, onto his clothes, the ground, the rail—but all of it, eventually, goes into the abyss. It is pulled, naturally, down into it. Not quite by gravity, but some other force that has not been named. The streams evacuating the boy’s being are many-coloured and have many dimensions and he is crying deeply as this occurs. The truck slows down and the people stare out and the Newcomer carefully scrutinises the situation; she cannot see over the edge and knows nothing of its significance. Normally, people purge at home and dump the residue in private; it is a secretive but accepted affair, concealed only explicitly like sex or passing bodily waste. This is the faux pas aspect of the scene before these people. It’s rare and no one really knows what to do but gawk. And so when the truck comes to a complete stop the situation grows slightly awkward. No one does anything for some time while the boy spills himself out everywhere, violently purging from his mouth, nose and anus. For the Newcomer, this is a shock, a disgusting and baffling mess; not knowing exactly what’s going on, she eventually breaks the motionlessness of the crowd in the truck and jumps out, something like maternal instinct kicking in, and holds the boy tightly as the process unfolds. No one in the truck moves. A few eyebrows raise, but this is all. The valley releases a soft howl, though no one in the truck knows why; there is always meaning in the way it expresses itself, but none can explain this signal. They know the purging will continue for some time. They see the boy’s colour, his skin, hair, eyes and the shades of what’s coming from inside of him, and they know it will be some time before he is done; he is very ill, more-so than most. Many trucks pass through this place and so they leave without concern for the pair. The Newcomer, still comforting the boy, watches as the pairs of eyes ogle back from the truck, at her and the boy, judging, questioning, for as long as she can still see them. The hum of the engine grows softer and softer and finally fades, the only sound now the howl of the valley and the slight movements of the boy’s palpitating body. There is no noise from the process itself. Long ago, the people here began to push it into silence and a slow evolution occurred leading up to the present, in which not a single sound emits during the process. The woman has come from a faraway place; she knows nothing of anything here and sighs softly, as if for the boy, holds him and watches the splashing residue fall onto her arms and dress and then slowly slither away, like a serpent, into the great crater. She will be there for hours, but will not move; she will grow hungry, with no food; weary, embracing the boy; more confused, not knowing a thing about what is going on, but that her care is needed. She was called and so, she came. Several vehicles will approach, slow down, stare and then move on without compassion. The sky will transition many times and when finally the boy, who she will learn is an orphan of some kind, abandoned in some sense, will be drawn to her as though she were his own mother, and she to him as if he were her own son, because of course they are Mother and Child.