Read the winning entries
Armando Rendon, Somos en escrito's editor hands the winning prize to the first place winner, Gloria Delgado.
Check over the next few days for the rest of the finalists for 2019's Extra Fiction Contest.
Saturday, 22 April 1747, dawn is breaking
It’s early Saturday morning on this market day in the Villa of Aguascalientes in central Mexico. The town’s main plaza quickly fills with campesinos, white cotton-clad farmers and craftsmen leading strings of donkeys or driving high-sided wooden carts filled with baskets of produce or pottery. All head towards the tianguis, the traditional marketplace where, from time immemorial, generations have sold and traded their wares. Other vendors, working together in companionable silence, quickly set up tiendas, awnings made out of the same white cotton manta as their clothing. The canvas tiendas, supported by bamboo poles, will shade and protect their goods and customers from the anticipated afternoon heat. Aside from creaks and groans from wooden wheels and the braying of a recalcitrant donkey or two, the plaza is relatively quiet. After all, the Rev. Dr. don Manuel Colón de Larreátegui sleeps in the rectory nearby, and it would not do to disturb the esteemed pastor’s slumber.
Off to the opposite side of the plaza, gleaming pink-gold in the first rays of sunlight, stands the grand church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, Our Lady of the Assumption. Even after some twenty-five years of construction, the cathedral still lacks its two bell towers, but that project will have to wait until more funds become available. Regardless, the recently dedicated cathedral is the pride of Aguascalientes. At the moment detritus from several unfinished projects lies in tidy heaps inside the vestibule; outside, some immense elaborately carved wooden doors stand leaning against the walls, waiting to be installed. But everything will be cleared and completed before the celebrations in honor of Our Lady’s feast day in mid-August. The reverend pastor, a very capable administrator, will see to it.
Felix, one of the church caretakers, an elderly indio with a crippled leg, sings softly to himself while he sweeps and gathers windblown leaves and debris from the front of the church into a large costal that he keeps propped open with a second equally worn spiky twig broom.
Two campesinos, young farmers each leading a string of donkeys burdened with goods for market, pass nearby. In one smooth graceful gesture the men remove battered straw hats, bow respectfully towards the cathedral, cross themselves, replace their straw sombreros, adjust the brims back to the particular jaunty angle each prefers. Only then do they turn to greet the white-haired caretaker in their traditional, formal nahua way. “The light is good, the light is upon us. Buenos días, don Felix. At it already?”
A Story of the Fourth Crusade