Republic of Haiti, 1967
I always thanked mom for introducing my brother and I to this beat down hut. Its location in the apricot plantation fields made it a great hidden site. She first showed it to me and Gaston when we were little children; she would use it as a secret place to teach us how to read and write. My father had forbidden us to ever go to school because in his paranoid mind, he thought that we would become smarter and wiser than him and might probably start rebelling against the genocidal Prezidan. Mom would get physically abused by father if he caught her reading to us. So she took us and her teachings somewhere else. In her heart, she knew she didn’t have much time to live so she made it her life mission to feed our hungry brains with some knowledge.
As my mother’s health would degenerate to the worst, so did Gaston’s commitment. He had grown more and more passionate with father’s barbaric principles and ways that he eventually stopped caring about learning. Mom was only left with me to educate. Flash forward to now and here I am back to this hut with a traumatized girl. I rested her on the table where mother and I would have our school session. She was still unconscious until the sunlight hit her directly in her face. Her eyes opened and she slightly got up…
“I guess this wasn’t a nightmare after all” she said with tears in her eyes.
“I’m sorry” I humbly told her.
An unexpected smile appeared on her face as if I told a punch line to a funny joke. But then again simple words like “forgiveness” or “sorry” coming from a Macoute is considered laughable and unworthy to accept. Personally, I wouldn’t blame those who were hurt and lost loved ones because after all, why should they forgive monsters? Why should she forgive me? Why should I forgive myself? The only way I see her accepting my apology is if I and all of the Macoute dies in a horrible and satisfaction fashion.
“I rather be dead like my parents then to hear you monsters say “I’m sorry”. Just… just finish me off.” She begged me before looking away.
I let her discouraging comment enter my ear and I dumped it out in the other. I then walked toward the burlap bag and grabbed a couple of things.
“Here’s some bread and water. I’ll bring some more food later” I told her.
“Please stay here. You’ll be safe.” I also told her before leaving.
While I was ridding out of the apricot field, I wandered how I’m going to keep her safe and a secret from the Macoute and especially from my family.
I couldn’t have been any more relieved that nighttime had arrived. This day and the things I’ve done took a toll on me physically and mentally. There were times when other members of the Macoute would make cruel jokes and would excuse myself to a private place and just puke my stomach out. My father caught me vomiting and his only comment was…
“Your break was over five minutes ago. Stop slacking and get back to work.” He told me without any ounce of concern.
Meanwhile, my brother was quickly shinning as the clan’s top comedian… I’m not going to bother or waste time repeating the tasteless-shit-garbage jokes he said. Even though I’m related to both of them I hope and pray that down that long line they both pay dearly for their horrible crimes. I know I’m not any better as well but unlike them I will gracefully accept the ultimate punishment whenever it comes upon me. The apricot fields are a very different site at night time with all those nocturnal creatures doing their natural hobbies. As I removed the wooden flat door from the entrance, I then went inside and lit my kindle. It was dark, silent, and most importantly, empty. Like a hollowing glass bottle.
She was long gone.
I quickly got on the bicycle and rode it as if I was the pony express from one of those Western films. I went to every inch of this nation that I could think of but she was nowhere to be seen. Around here during nighttime there is a very strict curfew. Le Prezidan sends his army in the streets to make sure there’s no one plotting anything against him. However, if there was a person out in those streets then the soldiers had no choice to gun them down. It’s urgent that I found her before they do. I remembered that my father and brother took that girl’s decease parents in a spot in Quartier de Bel-Air. She has to be there.
Fortunately, I got there as soon as possible and she was there alone on her knees praying and crying to the two hanging battered corpses that she used to call mom and dad. I was quite surprised that she was able to identify them because honestly they were down right unrecognizable. Not far away were a couple of soldiers walking toward our direction. As much as I was reluctant to do so, I had to be a Macoute in order to save her. I walked casually over there and knocked her out with my pistol. I then picked her up and left shortly before those soldiers noticed a thing.
Once we got back at the hut, I ruthlessly pushed her back in…
“I know you wanted to pay your respect to your folks but you’re not safe being out there.” I told her with some frustration in my voice.
She leaned on the wooden wall and asked…
“Why are you keeping me alive?”
I knew what to tell her but I had doubts she wouldn’t believe me. So I didn’t say a word and looked away.
“Do you know Toussaint Loverture?” She then asked me.
“Yes. He was the leader of the Haitian Revolution in the mid 1700’s. My mother told me countless of tales about his great accomplishments he has done for this nation. Why?”
“Napoleon’s troops under the command of his brother-in-law General Charles Emanuel Leclerc, kidnapped Louverture and his family and brought them all to France for persecution. At the very end, Napoleon, thrown him in prison at the Fort-de-Joux in the Doubs and remained there until his death.”
“I will not let you rot in this hut forever.” I told her. “You have to let me think about a solid plan.”
“You want a solid plan?” she said. “Get me out of here… out of Haiti. I have some family in the United States. My parents were my only family here while the rest were all exiled by Le Prezidan.”
“It might be too dangerous” I honestly told her.
“If you proclaim to be a good human being, then you’ll find a way to help me. She said while looking dead into my eyes.
I’m nothing like and never will be like my own family. While giving me lessons as a child in this very hut, my mother would tell me… Ignore the fraud and listen to the truth. From the tribulations you might go through life, your heart will remain faithful and true to you. Always keep that inside you my dear son… She wants to leave this place and I’ll help her…
“Alright. I’ll see what I can do.” I told her.
She agreed to not escape and to stay in the hut while I try to come up with some sort of a plan. Her name was Geneviève Anne-Jean. She’s in her second year at the University of Haiti, the same university that Le Prezidan graduated from. She likes to read novels. In fact the book she’s reading at the moment is Sans Famille volume two. I’ve asked nicely if I could borough the book but she said not until I live up to my promise. Well at least I have her full trust and a sequel to look forward to.
The only way she could leave Haiti was by boat. Now the question is how to get her on a boat. The import and export ships would do. My nation is not known to do great business with outsiders but when it comes to our natural resources such as coffee, rice, beans, legumes and others we’re among the leaders in the Caribbean. We might not be a perfect civilization but we do treat nature and its offspring with love and dignity. I guess one can say, that’s the only good thing this poor nation does. After checking the shipments schedules at the Warf harbor, the next ship that departs to the United States will be in two days. Judging from the incompetent guards and my Macoute credentials, I shouldn’t have any problem sneaking Genevieve on that boat.
Two days as passed and it couldn’t have come any sooner. I admit those couple of days were the most intense I ever endured in my life. However, on the bright side Genevieve will finally be able to leave this place. As I rode my bicycle in the apricot fields I felt something wasn’t quite right. Maybe it was the weather messing with me or maybe I was exaggerating and worrying too much. The wooden flat door was moved and there was a voice of a man inside. I pulled my pistol out and rushed in the hut. There was my big brother standing tall and giving me a look of disgust…
“Father begun to be suspicious ever since he took his pistol back. He was more than ever after you burned down her home. Now I see how dead right he was. You used our mother’s favorite place to keep this bitch?” My brother says.
Without any remorse in the world, Gaston had beaten Genevieve to a point that she was all bloody. I ignored my brother’s comments and immediately went to her aide. She was barely breathing…
“Mother, may her soul rest in peace would be disappointed to see how his baby son grown up to be a weak pathetic disgrace to this family. I can imagine what Father will do to you once he hears about this fine mess” My brother included.
I continued to ignore his cold comments and desperately tried to wake this girl up. She slowly opened her eyes and held my hand tightly and whispered…
“Mattia and Remi became best friends and they went on to have great adventures. In the end Remi marries Lise and they have a family” She said while loosing up her grip on my hand.
“Merci et au revoir Bon Macoute.” She last said before going to sleep forever.
I failed. She’s dead and my brother was very satisfied. I’ve always believed that there was some hope but my brother killed any remaining there was. I guess it is my nature to be a monster and take human life without remorse. I might as well act upon my true purpose. I snatched my brother’s machete and ruthlessly pushed him against the wall…
“I’m a disgrace? No. The real disgraces are you and that demented old man.” I bluntly said while holding the blade on his throat.
“You wouldn’t dare make your first kill your own flesh and blood” He said.
“Mother never received an honorable farewell because you two never bothered to give her one. But that’s alright because now she’s in a better place than she ever was when she was here.”
“What’s next Remy?” he grinded. “Escape from your shameless family and start fresh? If you do then you won’t be any better than us remembering mother”
“You’re wrong… I’ll bring her dreams to life.” I told him.
Gaston spitted directly in my face and literally disowned me as a brother. So I slashed his venerable throat with his own machete. I hated that I had to be the one to serve the cold dish of irony to my own brother, but now the innocent ones that had fallen in the hands of Gaston’s murderous ways may now rest in peace.
I buried Genevieve in a remote location only inhabited by nature and seated next to her grave thinking how will I confront my father. As for my brother, I couldn’t care less if a bunch of hungry dogs eats his entire flesh. I rode back home and there was my father standing next to the gate drinking his beer. He gives me this look of disappointment but as soon as he saw the blood on my hands he dropped that bottle and snatched his pistol off his waist belt…
“You’ll be doing the both of us a great favor so pull that trigger and end this nightmare” I coldly said.
“Where’s Gaston you bastard. WHERE IS MY SON?” He screamed at me.
I pull out Gaston’s machete out of the trailer and thrown it at my father’s feet. The blood leftover on the blade turned my father from loud and vengeful to speechless and broken as he gotten on his knees and barely attempted to touched his son’s bloody weapon.
“Him, the Tonton Macoute, Le Prezidan and you can all burn in hell.” I said with a merciless tone in my voice.
“Your death won’t be on my hands, but on the ones you betrayed. That I guaranteed.” He said with tears of sorrow running down his face.
“Then let it be.” I last told him before riding as far as my bicycle can take me.
I’m a wanted man and all the fire power from the army and the Macoute will do at nothing to find me and kill me. Unfortunately for them they’ll be unsuccessful on doing so because I’m no longer living in that country. A nice handyman who was visiting his relatives saw my deep personal struggles and agreed to take to his home in the Dominican Republic. Once we got to the border I was fearful that I might become another casualty of the Antihaitianismo discrimination but luckily the handyman had a great comedian side of him and had little trouble with the guards. On the road to his house, the handyman told me he will give me shelter, food and an honest job but most importantly he also said…
“Right now Haiti is not a good place but it is your home, your heritage and your heart. Pray and pray and pray hard that things will be for the better one day.”
He gives me a good tap on my shoulder and continued to drive. I took his words to heart and took a very long look at the plantations we were driving by. I then looked inside my bag and saw Genevieve’s Sans Famille novel volume two…
“I’ll be back home one day.” I said in full confidence.