Read Nightfire! (The Corvette Nightfire Prequel) Online

Authors: Daniel Wetta

Tags: #corvette, #drug cartels, #creel, #car thieves, #copper canyon, #tarahumara, #chihuahua mexico, #orinaja mexico, #presidio texas, #running indians

Nightfire! (The Corvette Nightfire Prequel)

BOOK: Nightfire! (The Corvette Nightfire Prequel)
2.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

(The Corvette Nightfire Prequel)


By Daniel Wetta


Copyright 2014 Daniel Wetta

Smashwords Edition


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For the novel
Corvette Nightfire
related to this story:



Slap-slap-slap-slap…the feel of this sound
resonated throughout his body. They were running on a level expanse
of rocky path high on the mountainside before the trail took yet
another descent towards the valley. Rahui took intense pride from
the sounds of his huaraches (running sandals) on the rocks and
dirt, as these played in his memory, even years later: He was ten
years old, and already he could keep up with his mother. They had
run for half a day, and he was still with her. They would be done
before dark, because the weather was clear, and the crisp spring
air refreshed them. His little brother lagged behind. Rahui and his
mother stopped from time to time, until he was in view, and then
they ran on, pausing again when they could no longer hear the boy,
two years younger than Rahui. The father was ahead of them by far.
Probably he had only a short ways to get to the village of Rahui's
cousins' family. His father was fast and had been on many winning
teams of the
rarajipari races in which the males
competed with men from various villages.
From past
experience, Rahui knew that by the time he, his mother and brother
arrived at his relatives' cabin, his father would already be
feeling the effects of the "tesguino" shared by Rahui's uncle: The
corn beer would have his father talking too much and looking

"Watch out for chabochi," Rahui remembered
his mother telling him for the first time on this particular run.
The chabochi were the non-Indians, and since the great war had
ended three years earlier, in 1945, the chabochi seemed to be
encroaching at an alarming rate in the Copper Canyons. Rahui had
heard his parents say that all chabochi were evil. They cared only
about material things for themselves, and they did not believe in
the sharing: the kórima.

That would be so sad
, Rahui thought.
Happiness only comes from the sharing.

He remembered thinking about the chobochi a
lot on this particular run. Time and again, the chabochi had
invaded the formidable canyons of La Barranca del Cobre, the Copper
Canyon, in the state in Mexico which his mother had told him was
named "Chihuahua." The Spanish chabochi had conquered the Indians
centuries earlier and had imposed their Catholicism upon the
Rarámuri indigenous people. They had proclaimed a loving and
compassionate son of a god who would save them, apparently in
exchange for the land that the Rarámuri inhabited. The indigenous
people had adapted the new beliefs into their own cosmology. These
days, his mother had explained, the chabochi coming in were
Mexicans who were claiming the resources of their land as their
own. Some were especially bad people who were growing marijuana and
poppy in the mountains.

"They have brought us a language that they
want us to learn. They make us use words for which we have no
letters. They are confused people. They name us in Spanish but use
our Rarámuri names for places. They do not even call our people
correctly. We are the Rarámuri, the running people, but the
Mexicans and the outside world call us the Taramuhara. They are
confusing even us. Our own people are naming their children with
Spanish names. In Spanish, your name, my son, is Día," his mother
told him.

He had to learn how to pronounce that because
there was no letter "d" in his language. The Rarámuri had a pretty,
lazy language that rolled with many colorful "r" sounds. Día was
the word for "day." When Rahui first saw Luna, he connected the
meaning of his name to the sun. The Rarámuri believed that the
father-God was the sun. The moon represented the female-God. He was
struck by a lightning bolt of love the moment he first saw Luna. He
pointed to her when the families were arriving at the meeting place
on this particular trip and asked his mother who she was.

"Her family is friends with your cousins,"
she answered. "The girl's name is Luna. It is a Spanish name, by
which they call her. It means, 'Moon.' She is a beautiful child.
She casts glances at you, Rahui." His mother laughed, expecting
that he would be embarrassed.

But he wasn't embarrassed. He told his
mother, "If she is called by a Spanish name, then I also want this.
She is 'Moon' and I am 'Light of the Sun'. From now on, call me

If his mother had examined his face at that
moment, she might have seen the nascent glow of comprehension in
Día's eyes: he was staring at Luna and instructing his destiny to
steal her.

That year his father's team won the
rarajipari race that lasted two days. The men bulked up on the corn
beer and slept at intervals the day before the race while the women
cooked. The woman's race started when the men's race began, but
theirs lasted only a day. Their race day was merry and full of
conversation and giggles among the teams. The men were intense
because their race was important. The running was the meaning of
life for the Rarámuri. It marked their identity. It was their way
of communicating among their people so sparsely dispersed in the
forbidding canyons, mountains, and hills. The running Rarámuri
carried the Word.

Along the path to the village that held the
finish line of the men's race, people placed torches to mark the
way for the nighttime running. Each team of men kicked a wooden
ball the entire route of the race. Día's father finished first. He
walked to a tree stump and sat, and young boys came up to him and
began to massage his legs and feet.

The previous day, the team of Día's mother
also had won the women's race. So this was the special time that
Día remembered until the day that he died: He was old enough to
understand his coming manhood. He witnessed the triumph of his
parents in their prime. He saw Luna for the first time and stole
her heart with the look in his eyes.

And this was the time that he received the
most impactful warning about the evil of the chobochi from his
mother: "There are those who come from Sinaloa. They climb into the
hills and take the lands of our people. They grow poppy and
marijuana, and then they enslave us and make us run the harvest
across the border to the gringo country," she told her son. "If
they approach you, run higher into the mountains. Do not let them
fool you with their sweet words or scare you with their guns. Do
not hear a word they tell you. They will trick you, because they
use bad or weak Rarámuri who have learned their Spanish to speak
for them."

As she told him this, Día felt a stir of
cognition in his soul, portending a dark destiny: Luna would be his
light, and the chobochi were to be his night. His mother's
admonishment left him feeling privately terrified.


He grew up looking more chobochi than
indigenous. When he married seventeen-year-old Luna at age
nineteen, Día was strong and filled out, not skinny like many of
his Rarámuri friends. He liked to wear his hair long and straight.
In a few years he wore a mustache. His mother told him that, at
sometime, one of his Rarámuri ancestors must have married a Mexican
with Spanish ancestry. He didn't have European features like a
Spaniard, but he was tall like some of the men from the north of
Spain and like many of the gringos whom they had seen. As Día
matured, his body and appearance grew to reflect the influences of
the outside world of Chihuahua, in Mexico, and of Texas and New
Mexico in the United States. It was because he got bit by the
chobochi and traveled their paths. Luna clung to him and went
everywhere he went.

The seduction of the roads was what had drawn
Día into the foreign world. His family and generations of ancestors
had run the often faint paths of the mountains and canyons. They
had eluded the civilization that had kept coming their way. For one
hundred years the chobochi had been building the one passenger
railroad through the harsh stoniness or verdant thickness of their
land. It connected Chihuahua, the city, with the Pacific Ocean in
Sinaloa, and it passed through dozens of mountain tunnels and
bridges in the land of the Tarahumara, as the chibochi called Día's
people. It was finally completed in 1962. It made stops in
Divisadero, where the passengers disembarked to gawk at the canyon,
and in Creel, which in Día's youth was a lumber village. The day
that Día first saw Creel was as important a day as when he first
had set eyes on Luna. The wide dirt boulevard in the middle of the
town allowed the cars and trucks to pass to and from a world that
the young man could not even imagine. Día stared with wonder at the
broad flat road. He saw a running path well defined.

Surely only goodness can be at the
opposite ends of a road such as this
, he thought. He conveyed
his opinion to Luna, who believed him.

Then, when he was sixteen, in Creel, he met
the two older Mexican youths who affirmed what he had suspected:
that the chibochi paths led to unimaginable wonders. The young men
had arrived in a powerful black truck and were dressed in clean
cowboy clothes and boots. Día made a quick assessment:

Maybe the chobochi don't believe in the
sharing and are selfish people, as my parents say. But maybe Luna
and I can get good things for our people in the outside world and
teach them how to deal with chobochi. If the outsiders see us
strong, maybe they will respect our ways. We should instruct the

The youths were from Sinaloa. Día saw that
their eyes had been assessing his body. Through short sentences and
gestures they communicated a teasing challenge: They wanted to
race, and they pointed to a sign that could be seen about two
kilometers from them on the road. Only one ran. The other leaned
against the truck. It was hardly a contest. Día stopped half-way
and waited for the older boy to reach him, and then he shot off
ahead to the sign and remained until the youth arrived. The other
boy drove the truck to them and indicated that he would race Día
back to the town. But when Día started to run, the two jumped in
the truck and gunned it past, bathing him in a swirl of dry road
dust. Día got the message: the Indians might run for days, but the
roads and vehicles of the chobochi sliced time and distance into
moments of flying scenery.

While his father traded articles in the town
and drank with friends, the boys put Día behind the wheel of the
truck and instructed him in its operation along the wide road to
the end of the town. At first the truck jerked and shook and cut
off as Día missed gear shifts, but quickly he got the hang of it.
The windows were down, and the rush of wind against his face as
they sped forward was far stronger than any breeze that he had
experienced in the running. He felt the hardness between his legs
that only Luna had given him before.

Before they left him that day, the youths
strapped a pack on Día's back.

"This for you," one attempted in his
language. "To help you carry things. Keep this, but meet us here
again. One day you run for us with this on your back. Then you have

When he showed his father the backpack later,
the man shook his head. "The boys gave you this because you won the
race?" he asked. Día knew that his father did not believe his lie,
but he felt a strange shame and did not want to tell the whole
story. He had an intuition that the thrill of what he had felt in
the truck should be private. He thought that he would only tell
Luna. His father stared at him, shrugged, and handed him a

It was months before he saw the young men
again, and Día had turned seventeen. He had left his family to go
on a run, he had told them, and to visit cousins. He wore the pack
he had been given. But instead of going to see cousins, he went to
Creel. He did not even confide this to Luna until after he returned
days later. He saw the chobochi faces staring at him as he walked
through Creel, and in just a couple hours a black truck pulled to
the shoulder of the road where Día sat cross-legged. The two young
men jumped out of the truck to greet him, as did a third, an older
Mexican man whom Día judged to be about thirty years old. They fed
him and then put him in the bed of the pickup and drove him north.
They stuffed his bag and explained that he was running out of
Mexico across the border. He met a man who took the bag in the
middle of the night. When he ran back, they picked him up the next
day from a hiding place in a roadside shrine, a wooden structure in
which he squatted beside a battered statue of the Virgin of
Guadalupe. It protected him from the sun and the cold wind. They
drove him to a lumber yard on the skirts of Creel and showed him an
old Chevrolet pickup truck with a flat tire under a lean-to. They
told him that it was his and that he could keep it there. They
laughed and gave him another bag to take home.

BOOK: Nightfire! (The Corvette Nightfire Prequel)
2.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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