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Hispanic literature Literatura Hispana

A Hostage situation

A short story by Héctor Magaña.

A Hostage situation

Héctor Magaña

I was sitting at my desk when they called me to the scene. I thought it would be the same old song: send a group of men to dig a hole in the ground and pull out a pile of corpses, take pictures of them, then take them to the morgue, and maybe we can identify a third, so that their relatives will take them to a nice cemetery, with its well-mown and green lawn. The others to the pit of the nameless. End of story.
A family was receiving death threats at their home. The father, the mother, and the child. They were trying to get them out unharmed but there was no way to communicate with the kidnapper, identify him or know his intentions. There was no one else at the station and they called the first asshole that came their way, which is me.


To begin with, I had no idea what to do in a hostage situation. I studied law and took a course in criminology but that was all I knew. In the office, I just wrote statements and filed them or sent them to lawyers and things like that. I did pick up a gun once, but it was just to shoo away an old drunkard. Now I had to do something. I spoke with the commander who told me that they ran out of ideas on what to do. Every time they approached to enter by force, the three members´ shouts were heard, and talking on the phone with the kidnapper was already impossible. They had nothing to lose if I at least tried. The only thing I could think of was to leave a note saying, “Pick up the phone.” I slid it through the door and waited. Fifteen minutes later the note was returned to me, in childish handwriting, it said: “I don’t talk on the phone”. Great. I could only do it by notes.


We sent each other lots of notes like two elementary school lovebirds. It took me two hours. The commander was irritated but as he did not hear shots or shouts, he kept quiet. I was writing little notes telling him that I wanted to know how the victims were. He finally let me into the house. The house looked in order. I went in turning the knob, but there was no one in the hall. I went into the living room and nothing, the empty dining room, the same as the kitchen. I went up the stairs to the second floor. The parents’ room was the first. I went in and saw them tied to the bed, with a kind of vegetable fibre. I looked for the kidnapper. He was not in the closet, in the bathroom, or under the bed. I went into the next room and nothing was there either. I went back to the parents’ bedroom. Shortly after I heard a voice, a high-pitched female voice. I thought it was the parents. No, they couldn’t talk. The voice came from near the bed. Suddenly I noticed. A small woman was sitting on top of a table lamp.


The tiny being sitting on the lamp was wearing a plaid skirt with overalls, a staff, and a hat. She was just like Yumiko Kokonoe in Miss Comet. I thought for a moment that it was a collectible figurine or something, so I just took it. Then she spat on me. I was like an idiot, I admit it. That tiny being was there and for some reason, it was in the form of a television character. Probably “The Professor” was there too, but I realized that idea was stupid. She seemed like a fantasy to me, but two fantasies were impossible. The world can allow itself some nonsense from time to time. Still, my first question was just as absurd: “Are you Yumiko Kokonoe?” She looked at me for a moment and then began to crack up with laughter. She was what she was, that’s what she told me. Aha, now what do I do? “You want to know about them, don’t you?” “Yes”.


She told me that she came from the Eastern Star. She was here when the Spirit of Creation was distributed throughout the world, but he should not be confused with God. She did not know if God existed. She was the manifestation of the Cause-Effect phenomenon. I told her I did not understand anything. She told me that she made 1 + 1 equal to 2. “Very well,” I said, not knowing where she was going with all of this. “Why did you kidnap them?” She told me that the problems of the Eastern Star were increasing. The Cause-Effect phenomenon was disappearing and they needed more Cause-Effect. After studying various subjects, she realized that the family could produce enough amount of Cause-Effect to take it all to the Eastern Star.
How did she know they had such ability? She only told me that inside them was the seed that was used to make Cause-Effect. “The soul? Don’t talk nonsense, the soul has nothing to do with it. I already told you that I don’t know anything about God and their souls”. “Alright, alright. How will you get the seed of Cause-Effect out of them?”. “Very easy, pay attention.” She moved her magic staff and the bodies began to tremble, to convulse. Their mouths began to detach as bubbles white as milk came out. Their bodies began to tear as if they were fabric. The blood spurted out. It stained the ceiling, the walls, the windows, and the entire floor. She and I got bloodstained. Then what was left of the body began to boil. The organs were scattered on the bed and she walked over to where the intestines were and pulled out a small green ball. “Mission completed,” she said. A blinding light invaded the room and disappeared.


I was left without understanding what happened. I heard the voice of my commander: “Don’t move a hair, asshole.” I felt the barrel on the back of my neck. I realized that I had a short-range explosive in my hand. I don’t know how it got into my hand. Two nonsenses: the world had gone mad.

Héctor Magaña

Héctor M. Magaña (Mexico) is the author of stories published in magazines (Los no letrados, Monolito, Noctunario, Revista Almiar, Elipsis) and literary reviews in magazines such as Criticismo. He has participated in the literary creation workshop of Fernanda Melchor. He is currently studying at the Faculty of Letters of the Universidad Veracruzana.

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