Friday 23 December 2016.
Time: one minute before dawn
The wind changes direction and the weather vane moves. It has been stationary for an hour. But for a moment, it returns to its normal activity. If it were a person, it would think that it hasn’t taken much effort because it normally points in one direction or another. It might ask itself about the purpose of its existence as it has scarcely moved since the end of the year, when it stopped.
Anyone who has travelled there would know that it does not usually remain still.
For most of the time, it points north-west, and the rest of the time it faces south-east. It is really a very active weather vane.
But what the weather vane should be asking itself is what is the real reason for being there.
Remodelled at the beginning of the 20th century, the building has a facade that is a work of art. Above the floors on the same corner at the junction, someone decided to erect a small tower and above it, a weather vane. It is dark in colour with the four points of the compass represented two levels below it. On the first level, there are two perpendicular bars made out of wrought iron pointing in each direction with the corresponding letters forged vertically at each end. On the second level, below, you can see a horizontal circumference in the same colour as the weather vane.
Few citizens in Zaragoza are aware of the existence of this weather vane at the intersection between Don Jaime I Street and the Calle Mayor, which is called Espoz and Mina.
Nor do the people who walk across this junction look up to watch it today.
It is early. Dawn. Only two people are walking on this corner. A man stops to look to the east at the beautiful tower of the Church of La Magdalena as the first rays of dawn cast their light upon its top.
Suddenly, he lowers his gaze to look at a group of young people running towards him. They seem very excited and are shouting out to each other.
The group quickly reaches the corner. There are three boys and two girls. A boy and a girl are holding hands. Some of them are shouting over each other. The only thing the man can make out that they are discussing is whether it is the exact time that they had to arrive.
They quickly check their watches and agree that it is the correct time. Then, one of the young people takes out a musical instrument and begins to play. The others stop and look around. A few passers-by stop to observe them quietly. Just as the tune comes to an end, there is a burst of light emanating from the centre of the junction. Suddenly, the wind picks up. As the young man plays the tune, the light gets brighter and the wind grows stronger. The boy looks on as he carries on playing. The others continue to watch the centre of the junction. With a mixture of fear and excitement, they begin to shift positions as if preparing themselves for something about to happen. The man continues to observe them. He remains motionless, not moving an inch from where he is standing. He stares at the group, arms hanging passively at his side, his body half stooped and his mouth wide open.
When the young man stops playing, in the very space where the streets converge, a dark void opens, with small revolving lights at its centre disappearing in a spiral. Without saying a word to each other, the young people begin to leap one by one, disappearing into the void.
Just at that moment, the young man holding hands with the girl, loses his balance. Their hands come apart. The boy falls as if struck down, hitting his head on the ground, and remains motionless on the pavement. The girl can be heard shouting his name, stretching out her arm towards him as she disappears into the nothingness.
Immediately the void closes, the lights disappear and the wind calms.
The man observing the scene and a woman who has approached the area, start shouting and gesticulating for help, and calling for the police while the boy remains lying motionless on the ground. No one else looks at him. No one goes to help him.
If any of the people present had looked up at the building on the corner when the portal had closed, they would have seen that a figure, who had been observing the whole scene from behind the curtains on the 8th floor, had stopped watching and had withdrawn to the interior of the apartment.
Writer: Glen Lapson © 2016
English translator: Rose Cartledge
Publisher: Fundacion ECUUP
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