by Jonay Quintero Hernández 

I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I couldn’t ask anyone for help. Police, judges, the social services, the whole bloody welfare state, none of them could effectively help me with this. If I had told my friends, the ones I’ve got left, they would have said to me, “Are you stupid? Why do you let him treat you like that? Report him!!” Yeah, I bet they are right, but things look much easier when you look from the outside, don’t they? I couldn’t tell for sure, but probably those same phrases have come out of my mouth at some point in the past. They didn’t have to just be scared everyday about me, but about Amelia’s future; they didn’t have to face the blows, the insults, the lack of options, a future, being certain that the only way to get out is death. Sounds dramatic but that is the way I saw things; that was my reality.

What I needed was not good advice, nor anyone patronizing me and not supporting me during the bad moments… I just wanted someone I could rely on. When things really got out of hand, you just don’t know how to react…

Last night things were really rough. He wasn’t drunk; he didn’t use drugs either. Miguel was always “a good boy,” respected by family, friends and workmates. After all these years I’ve come to believe that his own addiction was violence, more specifically, violence towards me. Somehow he had always managed to live this ‘double life’ in which he was on the one hand a respectable father and colleague in the streets and, on the other, a real monster at home. That day he had had an issue at work, of course, I’m sure he didn’t say a word there, but he entered ready to explode at me…

“I’m fed up with those bastards not knowing their jobs and trying to teach me mine,” – and I think he proceeded, “and why are you cooking this for dinner? Am I supposed to eat this trash?? Are you stupid??” – I believe I should omit the long list of insults that came afterwards.

The next thing I remember is him grabbing my neck so hard that I thought he was going to break it. I fought as hard as I could, but he was much stronger. I kicked, punched and scratched in despair but he wouldn’t stop pressing. Everything began to turn dark… I felt the temptation to give up… it would be so easy!… but I remembered my child, my poor Amelia, and suddenly something bizarre, dark and fearful rose up in me. I decided that I’d had enough of that situation and enough of Miguel. I found at that point the courage necessary to face an event in which my very survival and Amelia’s was at stake. I began to feel around me while being suffocated by Miguel, in search of I don’t know what. I touched something that seemed to be heavy and metallic, and in my last adrenaline rush I hit Miguel hard on the right side of his head. After the first blow, the pressure around my neck was released, but I had never dared to fight back before, and the anger welling up inside me just didn’t let me stop.

I kept on hitting him, over and over again, until he was unrecognizable. I was exhausted and dizzy… so much so that I couldn’t avoid vomiting. I cleaned my mouth with a tissue I found nearby and tried to put myself together… Luckily enough, Amelia hadn’t come out of her room; the poor child was used to hearing noises late at night, and I had instructed her many times not to leave her room no matter what.

I hadn’t realized I still was wielding the murder weapon in my right hand, so I looked at it and it turned out to be a chess trophy Miguel had won at the age of 14. Who could have imagine then, that prize earned by him would put an end to his life thirty years later?

Thoughts slowly began to arrange themselves inside my head… I had to get rid of the body before breakfast. The flat was very small and there was no way I could hide it from Amelia or anybody else coming to visit. Anyway it would start to smell in no time. “How did they solve this sort of thing in the movies?” I said to myself. “Dismemberment? Sulfuric acid? Throwing the corpse into the river with a stone tied to the neck?”

It was 3:45 a.m. and I had to move fast. I cleaned up the blood stains on the floor and wrapped the body in plastic from a mattress we had bought last month. I started to pull the body, but it was far too heavy for me. Even so, I managed to make my way to the main door, went out of the flat and was heading towards the lift when I heard something. I looked back and there he was, Mr. Evelio, the neighbor across from us, staring at me and my strange burden. Since the plastic was transparent, Miguel’s bleeding body could be seen… “Oops! My fault!” I was completely frozen, couldn’t speak, nor move either. I was at Mr. Evelio’s mercy…


Maybe it’s because of my work, but in this industry you soon learn that not all human lives are worth the same. I knew that piece of shit, Miguel, would end up like that at some point. I had to contain myself to not tell Luisa, “Why did it take you so long?” when I saw her dragging her husband’s corpse. Instead of that, I stupidly said good night, to which she mouthed an almost inaudible good night. To resolve the situation, which is needless to say rather compromising, I assured her, “Don’t you bother, I will handle this.” I took the body and went to the lift. Luisa remained in the corridor completely astonished, I told her, “Go clean your home and when you’re finished, go to bed. We will talk about this tomorrow.” She couldn’t reply more than a feeble “Okay”.

Outside, I walked to my car carrying the body on my shoulder, put it in the trunk and drove eight miles away up to a descampado I knew. Then I dug a hole, put the body inside and covered it with soil again.

The next morning I went to the door in front of mine and pressed the doorbell. Luisa appeared very nervous… “I just wanted to thank you, Mr. Evelio, for everything you have done for us…” “You’re welcome. Listen. This evening, it is very likely that his family reports his disappearance to the police. Very soon the cops will be around here asking questions. I cannot stay here to answer them because of the business I work in. By tomorrow afternoon, they will start to consider me a suspect in the crime and will close all the country’s borders. There will be pictures of me in every port, airport, bus or train station of Spain. They won’t find the body any time soon, I hope, but I don’t want to talk to them. Anyway, I’m missing the place I was born and raised, it’s 2,000 km from Madrid and I wanted to suggest you and Amelia come with me… maybe… if you want…” “What place is that Evelio?” “The island of El Hierro”…

In the Middle – An International Transposition (Fiction)

Introduction to In the Middle – An International Transposition, edited by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey

January: Forgetting – Turkey, by Seyit Ali Dastan

February: The Unreal in Real – Armenia, by Armine Asryan

March: Catching Water – Argentina, by Javier Gómez

April: Unwanted – South Africa, by Toni Wallis

May: House with a Stucco Ship – Ukraine, by Gennady Bondarenko

June: A Girl Pedaling – Cuba, by Marilin Guerrero Casas

July: The Last Day – Poland, by Pawel Awdejuk

August: Through my Hands – Venezuela, by Veronica Cordido

September: Amelia’s Euphemism – Spain, by Jonay Quintero Hernández

October: Until Love Do Us Part – Uruguay, by Alejandra Baccino

November: A Journey to the Edge – Lebanon, by Rayan Harake

December: I Used to Smoke – Russia, by Kate Korneeva

Background – Context

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

More work by Jonay Quintero Hernández

Extremism Is Now the New Hype – Jonay Quintero Hernández

The Fear of Not Knowing – Jonay Quintero Hernández

Embracing Instability – Jonay Quintero Hernández

Emblems and stories on the international community

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world


Cover photo: Madrid, Spain – Barrio del Pilar – Yana Demenko (Shutterstock)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

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