Tuesday, December 22, 2009

EL DIA DE LOS REYES ~ By Angel Zapata of Harbinger*33

{The Day of the Kings}

~ by Angel Zapata

Edward placed hay under the bed for the camels of Kings. His three boys went outside and fetched pails of water to quench the thirst of animals. They set them down on each of the porch steps. After wiping wet hands on the back of their jeans, they ran back inside their small, warm home. Edward met them in the narrow foyer.
“What’s their names again, Poppa?” His youngest son, Gilbert scratched his head.
“Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar,” Edward said patiently. “Three Wise Men just like there are—” he paused to point in tandem with each spoken number,” one, two, three of you.”
“Oh, brother.” Aaron, his eldest, rolled his brown eyes. A week earlier, he had celebrated his twelfth birthday. This was all baby stuff to him now. “Tell ‘em, Pop.”
“Tell him what?”
“That they ain’t REALLY comin’.”
Gilbert gasped.
Edward raised his eyebrows.
“They’ll be here, Gil,” Ricardo voiced, unconcerned. He was two years younger than Aaron. He flicked his head in his big brother’s direction. “Don’t listen to him.”
Gilbert sighed in relief.
“Whatever.” Aaron crossed his arms.
The evening before, they had gathered with friends in Casa de los Sueños Park. Street vendors with an endless stream of helium-filled balloons illuminated the dusky sky with a myriad of brilliant colors. Edward purchased three and handed them to his sons. His two littlest ones withdrew neatly folded slips of red paper. They fed the white balloon strings through holes punched in the corners of their letters and tied secure knots. Written on the carefully penned notes were the innocent wishes of delicate hearts. Edward counted to three and each boy released his magnificent herald. They watched them rise toward heaven until the night clouds swaddled them into the folds of darkness. Aaron’s balloon carried no message.
“Anyway,” Edward said dramatically, “we best be getting ready for bed, so go on and run that bath. Tonight the Magi return. And in the morning, the gifts they bear will be yours!”
An explosion of excitement and a flurry of undersized arms and legs blew past him. Only Aaron remained with his father and there was an old sadness seeping from his young eyes.
“Something on your mind, son?”
“I never told you this, Pop,” Aaron confessed after a brief hesitation. “But you wanna know what my wish was last year?”
He unsuccessfully suppressed the tremor of his lips. “I wished the Kings would bring us back our Queen.”
Edward sighed heavily and grasped his son’s shoulder. His wife, Milagros had passed away almost two years ago. She was his angel, and when the breast cancer had at last brought them both to their knees, he alone had witnessed her winged ascent into eternity. Aaron had taken the death of his mother the hardest.
“Oh, son.” Edward smiled gently. “That’s something I wish for every day.”
They hugged and cried in the quiet light.
An hour later, prayers had been voiced and everyone was ready for bed. Edward kissed the little ones and tucked them in. He walked Aaron to his room.
“I don’t believe in them anymore,” Aaron said in the threshold. “Is that wrong, Pop?”
Unlike his brothers, no hay was strewn under his bed awaiting the placement of gifts.
“No, son. It was inevitable.”
Aaron nodded his head and closed the door.
At just after midnight, Edward began his annual transformation into Magi under the steadfast eye of his heavenly Queen. He knew the wrapped gifts in his hands may never equate with Frankincense or Myrrh, but that didn’t matter.
His children were pure gold.

(c) Angel Zapata, 2009 ~ of Harbinger*33 . . .  where, when fortunate, you shall read MORE!  

* * * * * *
He had me at "innocent wishes of delicate hearts" . . . 
He had me when he graced my request as the perfect accompaniment to Ian's delectable Christmas piece. He had me when his writing first moved different senses within me ~ guess that's all the time I come across an Angel piece to softly read and breathe in.

Yes ~ That's Angel. Aboard the Harbinger*33 where his distinct openess knew something spectacular was taking place when a synergistic group of writers added not just words and signature voices to a book and ongoing promotional-publishing destiny . . . he was the very first to point out ~ (typical Angel'ing) ~ the out-of-the-ordinary results which could ensue in spirit. (How true, how true).
Angel's collision into a target of words merging meaning to remembrance, takes you to a time-paused place always. To me, this is a higher form of grace, even in humour or horror, but always in the depth we're left to fathom as readers . . . past the first sighting of mere finangled words. He puts a warmth where eyes seek pathways, and then come up for the shine.
Angel Zapata often disregards the three second rule and has been known to eat any holiday's candy from the floor regardless of how long it’s been there. Recent fiction and poetry has appeared online and in print on Flashes in the Dark, The New Flesh, The Legendary, Negative Suck, the Toe Tags Horror Anthology, House of Horror's Best of 2009 Anthology, Morpheus Tales, and Flashshot. Treat yourself to MORE ANGEL @ A Rage of Angel < right there where his blog tenders and tests thoughts for all they're worth. 
Topsail thanks to you Angel . . . Your dedication to the craft of writing is surpassed only by the noble manner you hold up fellow writers with an innate humble but oh-so-classy fellow supportive nature. Honoured we all are that your particular view of the world is shared aboard Harbinger*33, sailing to its publishing journey of manifesting destinies.

~ Delights of all Holidays; FairWinds, Favourable Seas

~ Absolutely*Kate
and readers desiring Angel's rages and pure gold 


Crybbe666 said...

What a wonderful, joyous piece. Angel, I wish I were half the father Edward was, but I am glad my son isn't as negative as Aaron!! Fantastic festive story!!!

Laurita said...

This was beautiful. The warmth of the father as he continues on for his sons is palpable, and the undercurrrent of grief winds its way through. I enjoyed the description of their traditions, and how the father emphasized their importance.

A delicate touch with this one, Angel. Well done.

Harry said...

A touching story Angel, sad but sweet. I like the baloon tradition "innocent wishes of delicate hearts"
Good tidings to you & yours!

FreshGreenKim said...

His children were pure gold.

So are you... thank you!

Michael Solender said...

warm and simply beautiful - milagros is indeed a miracle..

Jodi MacArthur said...

The emotions you stir, Angel. Amazing the gift you possess. Kings, Queens, Angels, Magis and children of pure gold and delicate hearts all released with the magic of heralding balloons.

I'll remember this story for a long time to come. Excellent.

Carrie Clevenger said...

I really enjoyed the cultural additions to this old tale, with a definite twist. Magnificent.

EC said...

A touching tale of tradition and truth. Maturation is tough enough, without the added struggle of loss - Edward is an angel! His Queen is shining bright.

Anonymous said...

Angel, this is a new side of your talent. I loved the references. This was perfect for the time of year.

Unknown said...

Angel... your prolific nature still amazes me. You can even spin a holiday yarn. You must have a little story generator tucked under your pillow... Keep 'em coming.

Tuonela said...

Vivid, wise and so gentle, and truly evokes the Christmas spirit. My family has lost some Kings and Queens in the last few years, around this time, and it continues. At least the bringing together lends strength, as you have shown. Cheers, Angel - Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Poignantly beautiful. You are a master at storytelling!

Wonderful addition to the stories that honor this time of year.

Paul D Brazill said...

That was a suprise and a wonderful one too!

Madam Z said...

Though three little boys had the misfortune of losing their mother, they have great fortune in having a father as kind and loving as Edward. You wove the story well, Angel.

Laura Eno said...

Beautiful piece, Angel. The quiet love of a family, steadfast even in misfortune.

Allie said...

I like the use of the magi instead of santa. Classic piece.

Bernard said...

Good work AZ