Votando para Uma Volta ao Mundo com Contos Mórmones

Durante o concurso Uma Volta ao Mundo com Contos Mórmones, publicamos doze excelentes histórias, ensaios, e poemas. Mas apenas um finalista pode receber o prêmio de $100 (USD). 

Pode votar de agora até o final de 4 de maio de 2019. O vencedor será anunciado em 6 de maio de 2019.

Os seguintes estão os doze finalistas com links para as histórias em seus idiomas originais e em inglês.

Finalistas em espanhol

Documentary Appendix 1” (“Anexo documental I”) by Gabriel González Núñez

TIME a particle” (“TIEMPO una partícula”) by Citlalli H. Xochitiotzin

The Wall of Time” (“La Muralla del Tiempo”) by Camila Andrea Fernández

Finalistas em português

A Sunday at Laginha” (“Um Domingo na Laginha”) by César Augusto Medina Fortes

The Secret Friend” (“O Amigo Secreto”) by Amanda Araújo de Castro

Two Missions” (“Duas Missões”) by Andreza Castro

Finalistas em inglês

Tatau” by Lehua Parker

Victor” by David Hurtado

Finalista em estoniano

“The Journey” and “Lucifer’s Monologue” (“LÄHEME RÄNDAMA” and “LUTSIFERI  MONOLOOG”) by Aivar Lembit

Finalista em Tagolog

“Shaken” by Jhasmin De Castro (read in English; read in Tagalog)

Finalistas em japonês

The Creation Workshop” (創造教室) by Mitsushige Takaki (高木光茂)

The Sound of Water” (「 水音」) by Aiko Tokuzawa (徳沢愛子)


“Two Missions” by Andreza Castro

Read the original Portuguese version here. To discuss this and other finalists, visit Mormon Lit Lab.

Two Missions

by Andreza Castro
translated by Katherine Cowley

When he was young, Arata dreamed of finishing high school, completing college, having a good job, being married and having children…now, at twenty-five years old, doing his second degree (which to him was the task of someone who did not have employment), and working as an intern, he felt like he was running out of options.

One day, as he was returning from a reunion with his friends…


At the reunion:

Yang told how he had been promoted to a higher position at his company.

Usui invited everyone to his wedding, which would occur in two weeks.

Ikura announced that he would be a father for the second time.

When the time came for Arata to give updates, he felt completely frustrated and embarrassed.

In all the years since high school, his friends had achieved their goals, but Arata’s life did not have any great expectations. He didn’t want to tell his friends that he was still an intern and that he lived alone in a single room.

“I got promoted!”

He said it with as much conviction as he could muster in that moment. Everyone celebrated for him, but beneath the façade, Arata knew it was nothing more than a lie. When the reunion finally ended, he thanked God. On the way home, he was stopped by two well-dressed young men. One had blond hair and the other dark hair. To Arata’s astonishment, they greeted him by calling him by name, even though he had never seen them before in his life. Arata greeted them mechanically and then asked how the two young people (for he noted that they seemed to be younger than him) knew his name. The pair smiled and instead of replying with “how” they began to tell the entire life story of Arata. In that moment, he realized they must be hallucinations, because they stated things about his life that no one else besides him knew. That reunion was not good for me, he thought. He returned to the path toward his house as if nothing had happened, trying to convince himself that it all existed only in his mind.

“We are not hallucinations!”

He heard the voice of one of them speaking in a mild tone. Arata quickly turned back around, with eyes open wide.

“What do you want with me? Are you some type of ghost?” he yelled at the two young people.

They both smiled and asked him to set his mind at rest, for they were only there to help. Arata decided to listen to what they had to say—after all, he couldn’t see any other alternative.

The two young men introduced themselves; the one with the light hair was called Cooper and the other with the dark hair was Akamaro. They offered Arata a solution for of his problems, but he would have to pass a test over the course of one year. For this test, he would need to travel back to the year 1846. If and only if the test was completed to the very end, then his former problems would be resolved. He instantly refused them; to his ears, the two young men were merely ridiculing him. The young men did not insist—they just asked him to bring home a small box with a pill, and if he changed his mind, to take it. He stowed the box in his pocket and returned to his house. When he arrived, he lay on his bed, completely alone, and took the small box out of his pocket.

“Back to 1846, what a joke!” he said to himself as he swallowed the pill. He was sure that it was only a prank. At dawn, he opened his eyes and saw that everything was as it had been the prior day, he smiled alone, and he began to prepare himself to start a new day. He sighed before opening the door and stepped out with his eyes closed, feeling the breeze (colder than normal) touch his face.


Arata no longer saw people walking hunched over, staring at their cell phones, nor high tech cars…the women were dressed in dresses long and wore a sort of head cap Arata had never seen before; the men, not a one of them in jeans, and they wore hats, their beards were long, and it seemed like the longer they were the more children they had. He thought that he was dreaming, that the conversation from the night before had driven him mad. He closed his eyes again and turned toward the door from where he had exited, but when he opened his eyes, the door was no longer there. Arata began to strike at the wall without thinking about what he was doing. He felt a hand on his arm, turned in fright, and saw Akamaro standing in front of him.

“So, you took the pill!” Akamaro confirmed with a calm smile on his face. Arata immediately questioned the tranquility of Akamaro and wanted to know the purpose of being here, in 1846. Akamaro explained that this would be the experience for Arata and he would be with him to observe its evolution over the course of one year. Akamaro waited until Arata finished freaking out and then brought him to the pioneer camp, where from then on they would both remain until the end of the test.

Once there, Arata perceived that there were many families, and that despite the intense cold, they seemed content to be there in the camp. Akamaro explained that all of them, now including Arata, were pioneers (of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) who were heading to “New Jerusalem.”

As he met these people, he noted that his clothes now appeared like everyone else’s. He still did not know if this was all a dream or if he was actually living as a pioneer in 1846. He understood that the people believed that God spoke to them through a prophet named Joseph Smith. To Arata, it was simple for these people to believe in the words of a prophet—they were suffering and needed some hope. Joseph Smith seemed to give them this hope.

His first month in the camp was one of the most difficult. He refused to believe that everything would work out for them in the end; it was too improbable in his mind. In his second month, something occurred which he called “the impossible,” but for Akamaro was a miracle. The first miracle.

It was the morning of the final day of the month, and Arata’s shift was ending; he had spent the night awake watching the tents on the east side. He was seated, blowing on his frozen hands, when Akamaro stopped in front of him and called for an emergency meeting. Arata did not understand how he could help, but still, he went with Akamaro. One of the members of the camp was on the brink of death because he had not eaten for three days so he could give a little more food to his children. Arata saw no solution to that problem: the man would need more food, enough food to sate him and keep him alive. The food reserve they had was for five days and they needed it to feed the entire camp. They did not have sufficient food to give to the man. Arata did not know why, but he took grains out of his pocket, grains he had saved from last night’s dinner for lunch today, another thing he did not know why he had done. He was certain that Akamaro, unlike him, would know what to do with the grains so he handed them over to him. Akamaro expressed his gratitude to Arata with a broad smile. Arata then watched to see what Akamaro and the other members would do. One of them placed the grains in a worn pan that the women used to prepare meals; they covered the pan and one of them offered a prayer. Arata felt the sensation of his heart swelling within him, and in the middle of the prayer as thanks was given to God, he felt honored and happy to hear his name. After the “amen,” he went closer, for he wanted to see with his own eyes what was about to happen. Akamaro asked Arata to take the lid from the pan. He was startled by the quantity of food that had appeared inside the pan. Happiness was stamped on the face of everyone, even Arata.

Throughout the day, people went to him with thanks, and the scene of the full pan repeated time and time again. From that day on, Arata began to have a different perspective on what was happening and he decided to fully live his one year experience as a pioneer. Many other miracles occurred and Arata was present in many of them. The desire to help others grew every day and when he remembered that his test was nearing completion, his sadness was notable. He was well accepted among the pioneers and made many friendships, but he knew that none of them, in fact, would remember him.

“The people will not remember you, Arata,” said Akamaro during a conversation with him. “But they will remember that there lived a man who gave everything to help them, and their feelings will remain forever.”

He was seated by Akamaro’s side and his thoughts were not in the place where they now were, in 2018. He heard the noise of a door opening.


He recognized the voice—it was Cooper. Cooper accompanied him to the office from where Cooper had exited. He sat in a chair in front of a table and Cooper sat across from him. Arata’s test was completed, he had passed it successfully, but the news did not bring him much joy. Cooper informed him that he could choose the job he wanted and begin his new life. Arata could not think of anything, for he wanted to continue helping people. In that case, Cooper had an idea, but he didn’t think Arata would accept it.

“I accept!” Arata responded two times, without needing to deliberate.

As he left the room to tell Akamaro he saw a young woman, who then entered the office he had just left.

Two years later, as a returned missionary, he found the woman he had seen when he finished his pioneer test. They had both been pioneers, but they did not remember each other.

His perspective on life had been much changed, and he understood that before the test he had not been prepared to have a good job, to marry, and to have the children he desired.

Now, working in his desired field, with a wife and children, he prepared himself for the day he would be reunited with the friends he had made in 1846 in the camp of the pioneers.

“Duas Missões” por Andreza Castro

Read the English translation here.

Duas Missões

Andreza Castro

Arata, quando jovem, sonhava em terminar o ensino médio, concluir uma faculdade, ter um bom emprego, casar-se e ter filhos… com 25 anos, fazendo sua segunda pós-graduação (o que pra ele é coisa de quem não tem emprego) e trabalhando como estagiário, sente-se que não tem mais jeito.

Certo dia, voltando de uma reunião com os amigos…

Na reunião

Yang contou que foi promovido para um cargo mais alto na empresa que trabalha.

Usui os convidou para seu casamento que acontecerá em 2 semanas.

Ikura deu a notícia que será pai pela segunda vez.

Quando chegou a vez de Arata contar suas novidades, sentiu-se completamente frustado e envergonhado.

Durante todos os anos após ter terminado o ensino médio, seus amigos alcançaram seus objetivos, porém, Arata permanecia em sua vida sem mais expectativas. Ele não queria contar para seus amigos que é apenas um estagiário que mora sozinho em um quarto.

fui promovido!

Respondeu com o máximo de convicção que conseguiu reunir naquele momento. Todos comemoraram, mas no fundo, Arata sabia que aquilo não passava de uma mentira.

Quando finalmente a reunião acabou e ele agradeceu a Deus por isso, no caminho de volta, é parado por dois jovens bem vestidos. Um tinha cabelos louros e o outro cabelos escuros. Eles o cumprimentou chamando-o pelo nome, para o espanto de Arata, pois nunca tinha visto aqueles caras em sua vida. Arata os cumprimentou de forma retórica e logo quis saber como os dois jovens (pois ele notou que pareciam ser mais novos que ele) sabiam seu nome.

Os dois sorriram e ao invés de responder “como”, eles começaram a contar toda a história da vida de Arata. Neste momento, ele pensou ser alucinações, pois eram coisas de sua vida, que a não ser ele mesmo, ninguém mais sabia. Aquela reunião não me fez bem, ele pensou. Voltou a caminhar em direção a sua casa como se nada daquilo realmente tivesse acontecido, tentando se convencer de que tudo não passara de coisa da sua cabeça.

não somos alucinações!

Ele ouviu a voz de um deles falar em um tom descontraído. Arata virou-se rapidamente para trás com os olhos arregalados.

o que vocês querem comigo? São algum tipo de fantasma, por acaso?

Gritou para os dois jovens. Ambos sorriram e pediram para que se acalmasse, eles só estavam ali para ajudar. Arata resolveu ouvir o que eles tinham para lhe dizer, afinal, não encontrou outra alternativa.

Os dois jovens se apresentaram, o de cabelo claro se chamava Cooper e o outro de cabelo escuro era o Akamaro. Eles lhe ofereceram a solução para os problemas de Arata, porém, ele teria que passar por um teste durante 1 ano, o mesmo teria que voltar para o ano de 1846 e somente se o teste fosse feito até o final, aqueles problemas seriam resolvidos. Ele negou rapidamente, aos seus ouvidos, os dois jovens estavam apenas zombando dele. Os jovens não insistiram, apenas pediram para que ele levasse uma caixinha com um comprimido para casa e se ele mudasse de ideia, era só tomar. Guardou no bolso a caixinha e seguiu o caminho de casa. Quando chegou em casa, deitou em sua cama, completamente sozinho, ele tirou a caixinha do bolso.

voltar para 1846, que piada!

Disse a si mesmo e tomou o comprimido. Ele tinha certeza que aquilo era só uma brincadeira.

Ao amanhecer, abriu os olhos e viu que tudo estava como no dia anterior, sorriu sozinho e começou a se aprontar para começar mais um dia. Suspirou antes de abrir a porta, saiu de olhos fechados sentindo a brisa (mais fria que o normal) tocar seu rosto.


Arata agora não via mais pessoas andando corcundas olhando para seus celulares, nem carros com alta tecnologia… as mulheres vestiam vestidos longos e uma espécie de touca na cabeça que Arata nunca vira antes, os homens, não tinha nenhum de jeans, e usavam chapéus, suas barbas eram compridas, parecia que quanto mais compridas eram, mais filhos tinham. Ele pensou estar sonhando, a conversa da noite passada o tinha deixado maluco. Fechou os olhos de novo e virou-se para a porta de onde tinha saído, mas quando abriu os olhos, não havia mais porta ali. Arata começou a bater na parede sem pensar no que estava fazendo. Sentiu uma mão sobre seu ombro, ao virar assustado, viu Akamaro em pé em sua frente.

então você tomou!

Akamaro confirmou com um sorriso tranquilo no rosto. Arata logo questionou a tranquilidade de Akamaro e quis saber o motivo de estarem ali, em 1846. Akamaro explicou que aquilo serviria de experiência para a Arata e ele estaria junto para observar  a sua evolução durante 1 ano.

Akamaro esperou Arata terminar de surtar e o levou para um acampamento de pioneiros, onde dali em diante, ambos estariam até o fim do teste.

Chegando lá, Arata percebeu que havia muitas famílias, que apesar do frio intenso, elas pareciam contentes de estarem ali naquele acampamento. Akamaro explicou que todos aqueles, inclusive Arata agora, eram pioneiros (d’A Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Últimos Dias), que estavam indo em rumo a “Nova Jerusalém”.

Ao se reunir com aquelas pessoas, ele notou que suas vestes agora era como a de todos ali. Ainda não sabia se tudo era um sonho ou estava mesmo vivendo como pioneiro em 1846. Ele entendeu que as pessoas acreditavam que Deus falava com elas através de um Profeta chamado Joseph Smith. Para Arata, era fácil aquelas pessoas acreditarem nas palavras do Profeta, estavam sofrendo e precisavam de alguma esperança. Joseph Smith parecia dar-lhes essa esperança.

Seu primeiro mês no acampamento foi um dos mais difíceis. Ele se recusava a acreditar que tudo daria certo para eles no final, era improvável demais para sua mente. Em seu segundo mês, aconteceu algo que ele chamou de “o impossível”, mas para Akamaro era um milagre. O primeiro milagre.

Na manhã do último dia do mês, estava acabando o turno de Arata, ele passara a noite acordado vigiando as barracas do lado leste. Sentado, assoprando os mãos que estavam congeladas, Akamaro parou em sua frente e o chamou para uma emergência. Arata não entendeu como ele poderia ajudar, mas mesmo assim, foi com Akamaro. Um dos membros do acampamento estava à beira da morte, pois deixara de comer por 3 dias para dar um pouco mais de alimento ao seus filhos. Arata não via solução para aquele problema, aquele membro precisaria de mais alimento, alimento suficiente para se saciar e manter-se vivo. A reserva de alimentos que tinham era para 5 dias e precisavam alimentar todos do acampamento. Não tinha comida suficiente para isso. Arata não sabia o porquê, mas tirou alguns grãos do bolso que deixou da janta da noite passada para o almoço do dia seguinte, outra coisa que também não sabia o porquê. Ele tinha certeza que Akamaro, diferente dele, saberia o que fazer com os grãos, então entregou a ele. Akamaro expressou sua gratidão a Arata com um largo sorriso. Arata apenas assistiu o que Akamaro e os outros membros fizeram. Um deles colocou os grãos dentro de uma panela desgastada que as mulheres usavam para preparar as refeições, eles fecharam a panela e um deles fez uma oração. Arata sentia uma sensação de que seu coração estava inchando dentro de si, sentiu-se honrado e feliz ao ouvir seu nome no meio dos agradecimentos à Deus naquela oração. Após o “amém”, ele foi para mais perto, queria ver com os próprios olhos o que estava prestes a acontecer. Akamaro pediu a Arata para tirar a tampa da panela. Ele se assustou com a quantidade de comida que aparecera dentro da panela. A alegria estava estampada no rosto de todos, até mesmo de Arata.

Durante todo o dia, pessoas iam até ele para agradecer, a cena da panela cheia se repetia várias e várias vezes. A partir desse dia, Arata começou a ter um olhar diferente para o que estava acontecendo e decidiu viver completamente o seu 1 ano de experiência como pioneiro. Muitos outros milagres aconteceram e Arata esteve presente em muitos deles. O desejo de ajudar aumentava a cada dia e quando lembrava que seu teste estava chegando ao fim, sua tristeza era notável. Fora muito bem aceito entre os pioneiros e fizera muitas amizades, mas sabia que ninguém de fato lembraria dele.

as pessoas não vão lembrar de você, Arata. Mas vão lembrar que existiu um homem que deu tudo de si para os ajudar, os sentimentos permanecerão para sempre.

Falou Akamaro durante uma conversa com Arata.

Estava sentado ao lado de Akamaro, seus pensamentos não estavam naquele lugar, em 2018. Ouviu o barulho de uma porta abrindo.


Ele reconheceu a voz, era o Cooper. O acompanhou até o escritório de onde Cooper tinha saído. Sentou em uma cadeira de frente para uma mesa onde Cooper foi para trás. O teste de Arata foi aceito, ele passou com sucesso, mas a notícia não o alegrou muito. Cooper o informou que ele poderia escolher o emprego que quisesse e começar sua nova vida. Arata não conseguia pensar em nada, ele queria continuar ajudando pessoas. Cooper então teve uma ideia, mas não acreditava que Arata aceitaria.

eu aceito!

Arata respondeu sem pensar duas vezes. Saiu da sala para contar a Akamaro e viu uma jovem mulher, logo ela entrou no escritório onde ele tinha acabo de sair.

2 anos depois, como missionário retornado, Arata reencontrou a jovem mulher que tinha visto quando terminou seu teste como pioneiro. Ambos tinham sido pioneiros, mas não se lembravam um do outro.

Sua perspectiva de vida havia mudado, ele entendera que antes do seu teste, ele não estava preparado para ter um bom emprego, casar-se e ter filhos como desejava.

Agora, trabalhando na área que desejava, com esposa e filhos, se preparavam para o dia em que reencontrariam os amigos que fizeram em 1846 no acampamento dos pioneiros.

“The Secret Friend” by Amanda Araújo de Castro

Read the original Portuguese version here. To discuss this and other finalists, visit Mormon Lit Lab.

The Secret Friend

by Amanda Araújo de Castro
translated by Katherine Cowley

Pedro is lying on his bed with his cellphone headphones in. His mother enters his bedroom.

“I can’t believe you aren’t packing your things.”
He hears enough of what she’s said to pull out his headphones and say, “I’ll clean it.”

She leaves the room, impatient, and he throws himself to his bed, thinking about this change of cities. To think that he will have to leave the neighborhood he loves so much, his friends, and move to a new ward and stake and have everything be new and different.

Two days pass and they are already in their new house, their new neighborhood.

Today is his first Sunday in his new ward and he decides not to talk to anyone.

On the way back to the house, his family chats in the car.

“Everyone here seems very friendly,” says his mother.
“Our classroom was quite full,” says Pedro’s fifteen-year-old sister.
“The juice was a nice welcome,” comments his father.
“And you son, what did you think?” asks his mother.
“It was fine,” responds Pedro without animation.
“You sound so excited,” says his sister.
Pedro continues to look at the view through the car window.

A few days pass, and now it’s vacation. Pedro’s mom calls into his bedroom, telling him that some teenagers from the ward are waiting for him in the living room. They invite Pedro to go with them to an activity and he accepts.

They arrive and everyone is very excited, having all sorts of fun, but what catches Pedro’s attention is a girl singing while a boy plays a guitar.

What a pretty girl and what a lovely voice, he thinks. I wonder what her name is. He keeps watching her. At the end of the day, the activity is over and he leaves without having any contact with her—not even eye contact.

On Sunday he is in his young men’s lesson when he needs to leave to get copies from the library. As he walks down the hall, he sees that beautiful young woman coming. She walks past him and smiles. What a beautiful smile. She seems shy, and I think I like her. I should tell her that I’ve been watching her, he thinks.

More days pass…it’s Sunday, again. At the end of the meeting his mother informs him that they will eat lunch at the house of another member.

When they arrive at the member’s house, to his surprise he discovers that it is the house of the young woman he has been watching. He feels a bit shy but is glad to get a chance to meet her. After lunch he goes to the porch and plays with a kitten, and the girl comes out to talk to him.

“He’s adorable, isn’t he?” She smiles.
“Yes,” Pedro responds, smiling, and then he sits there, not knowing what to say. Then he risks it and says, “What’s your name?”
“Liz. What’s yours?”
“Pedro. It’s good to meet you.”
“Same. Are you liking the ward?”
“I’m adjusting well. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming.”
“That’s good. If you need something, feel free to let me know.”
“Ok! Thanks!”

Two days pass. Pedro is in his house and receives a call on the landline.

“Hi, it’s Liz.”
“Hi Liz, how are things?”
“I’m good. How about you?”
“Really good. I was just calling to invite you to family home evening with me.”
“Let’s do it. What time?”
“In thirty minutes. Can you make it?
“I can. I’ll come to your house then.”
“Ok! I’ll be expecting you.”
“Sounds good.”

Pedro gets ready and meets Liz. They attend family home evening, they enjoy themselves, and after he heads home by himself. On his way home, he keeps thinking how he might approach her. He decides to start sending her email anonymously. Once he’s inside, he logs onto LDS Tools and finds her email in the ward directory.

He opens his laptop and writes.

From: Secret Friend
To: Liz
Subject: can we be friends?

Hi. How are you? I am looking for someone I can talk to and I chose you.


From: Liz
To: Secret Friend
Subject: we can

Hi. I’m good. First I want to know how you found my email? And why did you choose me?


From: Secret Friend
To: Liz
Subject: I am a very shy person

I found your email on a site, you should be careful where you leave your personal info haha and I chose you because I think your name is very different and pretty.


From: Liz
To: Secret Friend
Subject: now I am scared

I really leave my email in a lot of places haha I need to be more careful and thanks for the compliment on my name haha my dad heard it in a film and named me it.


From: Secret Friend
To: Liz
Subject: I’m a good person haha

Careful haha yes… you’re welcome


They chat quite a bit and Pedro is happy that things are going as planned.

Ten days pass and they exchange emails every day.

He goes to the chapel to play soccer.

As he arrives, he runs into Liz.

“Hi Liz.”
“Hi Pedro. How are you?”
“I’m good and you? You disappeared!”
“Wow, I’m sorry. I’m not being very welcoming, am I?”
“No worries. You already did your part.”
“I thought about you this week. I was going to call your house.”
Was she really thinking about me? thought Pedro.
“Can you give me your number? It’s easier to keep in touch.”
“Of course, why didn’t I think of that before?”

She gives him her number and she leaves saying that it will solve some things. When he arrives home, he sends a text to Liz.

SMS: I saved your number on my phone.
SMS: great, I saved yours too.

He decides to open his email and speak to her there.


From: S. F.
To: Liz
Subject: say three things about yourself

I like to play video games
I love eating French fries
I don’t like it when people walk slow in front of me.


From: Liz
To: S. F.
Subject: I like this game

I’m 16 years old
I like to sing
I don’t like it when people yell at me
How old are you?


From: S. F.
To: Liz
Subject: that’s cool haha

I’m 16 years old. But don’t ask me my name haha


They chat a little more on email. I wish I could tell you more details, but I need to summarize what happens between them.

Forty-five days pass and Pedro is growing a lot closer to Liz, both as a friend and as a secret friend. He has discovered the things she likes and has managed to impress the girl. Liz asks a few questions to see if she can figure out who the secret friend is.

Two months go by and they are very close friends.

A few days later, Pedro invites Liz to go out for ice cream.


“What do you like best, chocolate or strawberry?” she says, trying to discover if Pedro is her secret friend, because her secret friend once said that if any option is placed against chocolate, he will always choose chocolate.
“Chocolate,” he responds with a smile.
“Vanilla with chocolate flakes or chocolate?” she asks again.
“Chocolate!” He smiles. “Always chocolate.”

Immediately Liz wonders if this was already a coincidence.

“I love chocolate too,” she says, smiling.

Liz starts asking questions and bringing up certain subjects to see if the two are similar and she reaches the conclusion that they are. When it’s time to leave, Pedro drops Liz off at her house. She finds herself thinking of Pedro and realizes she is falling in love with her friend.

Pedro reaches home and wonders if it would be too suspicious to email her right now. He keeps thinking about her and how close they are to each other. And he asks himself what she might think about him.

Meanwhile, Liz is in her house, rereading the conversations from the emails and the text messages, searching for similarities between the two. She notices that the writing is different, but that the two participate in similar things. But pretty soon she grows sad because of course lots of boys like the same things, and so it must be a coincidence, but if she could choose, the secret friend would be Pedro, because the secret friend seems to like her and Pedro doesn’t.

Pedro is lying down, listening to his music, and he comes to the conclusion that he should tell Liz that he’s the secret friend even if it could put their friendship at risk.

On another day, there is an activity at the church building. Pedro watches Liz and their eyes meet and they stare at each other in a cute way. Then Pedro winks at her and blows her a kiss; she starts laughing and he feels his heart race. At the end of the activity he runs to her and gives her a big hug. They keep hugging without saying anything.

“Did you know…?” Pedro begins to say but then changes his mind at the same moment.
“What?” she asks, still hugging him.
“That I am very hungry.” He smiles.
“This isn’t a new thing.” She looks up to see his face. The two of them look at each other closely without speaking.
He still doesn’t know how to tell her, so he says, “You are beautiful!” He gives her a kiss on the cheek, which makes his heart skip out of his mouth. He pulls her affectionately on the arm and says he’ll take her home.

Pedro still hasn’t told her that he is the secret friend, and so he starts showing more affection in his emails, leaving some shyness aside.


From: S. F.
To: Liz

Good morning, love of my life! Haha


From:  Liz
To: S. F.

Love of your life? Hahaha good morning.
Speaking of love, have you ever fallen in love with someone?


From: S. F.
To: Liz

Yes, I have fallen in love. And you?


From: Liz
To: S. F.

I am in love with someone, and I’m beginning to think that he may be too, before it didn’t seem like he was at all, but now he’s been getting closer to me and I really want this to happen. When he smiles at me my heart races, I’ve never felt like this before. I don’t know if you even want to hear about, but we talk so much about everything and I just need to pour out my heart.


From: S. F.
To: Liz

You can pour out your heart to me any time you want. You were very kind to me to be my friend without knowing who I am. And with Passion, she always leaves us without ground to stand on. I know I’m being foolish, but tell me more about this passion…


From: Liz
To: A. S.

I really like him, but I don’t have the courage to tell him, and I’m also afraid that he just sees me as a good friend and I’m confusing things. I don’t even know if I should say this to you haha but once I thought you liked me. You were always a fluff with me, and I even thought that I wanted you to be Pedro because he seemed to like me only as a friend haha but I came to the conclusion that even though you like the same things, it was because boys always like the same things, and your writing was different and sometimes I would be talking to both of you at the same time… you must think I’m insane. Hahaha


Stop everything, she wrote my name, thinks Pedro. He starts jumping with happiness, thinking that he should tell her everything. Fueled by his excitement, he gets on his bike and rides to Liz’s house. His arrival surprises her.

“Pedro, I wasn’t expecting you, come in! You seem flustered.”
“Hi Liz, I’m sorry for coming here without warning, but there’s something I need to tell you.”
“You can tell me.” She gives a worried smile.
“I am the secret friend, I am the one who exchanged emails with you every day. I’m sorry. I don’t know what you’re going to think about this, especially since you opened up your heart to me today.”
“It’s you?” she says levelly, still afraid he doesn’t like her.
“But before you get worried, I want to say that I really like you.” He gives her a hug.
“Good. I really like you too.” She hugs him, still a little shocked.

The two remain in their embrace. After, they sit.

“I did all of this because I didn’t know how to win your affection. I am a bit shy, but when you said today that you liked me, I came here on impulse.”
“No worries, I think everything you did was cute, but I was just scared when you told me you did not like me.”
“Never. You are the most incredible girl I’ve ever met.”
“And you are the most incredible boy I’ve ever met.” She blushes as she smiles.

He takes her hand, and the two exchange passionate glances. He shifts a little closer to her and gives her a kiss.

“O Amigo Secreto” por Amanda Araújo de Castro

Read the English translation here.

O Amigo Secreto

Amanda Araújo de Castro

Pedro estava deitado em sua cama com fones de ouvidos mexendo no celular.  Entra sua mãe em seu quarto.

– Eu não acredito que você não está arrumando suas coisas
Um pouco entendiado ele retira seus fones e diz
– Já vou arrumar.

Ela impaciente sai do quarto e ele se joga na cama pensando nessa mudança de cidade. Que terá que deixar o bairro que tanto ama, seus amigos, mudará de ala e estaca e terá que passar por adaptações.

Passam 2 dias e já estão na nova casa,  no novo bairro.

Hoje é seu primeiro domingo na ala nova e ele pretende não conversar com ninguém.

No caminho de volta para casa.

Conversa no carro.

– Aqui todos parecem muito bem animados. – diz sua mãe.
– A nossa sala estava bem cheia – Diz irmã de Pedro que tem 15 anos.
– O sumo foi bem recepcionista.  -comenta seu pai.
– E você filho, o que achou?  – pergunta sua mãe.
– Foi bom. – responde Pedro sem animação.
– Quanta animação. – Sua irmã então diz.
Pedro continua a olhar a paisagem pela janela do carro.

Passam alguns dias, está em período  férias… A mãe de Pedro chama ele no quarto dizendo que tem uns jovens da ala esperando na sala. Eles convidam Pedro para ir a uma atividade e ele aceita.

Chegando lá, estão todos bem animados, se divertindo da várias formas, mas o que chama atenção dele é uma moça que está cantando enquanto um rapaz toca violão.

Que menina bonita e que voz serena,  pensa ele. Qual será o nome dela? Fica observando. No fim do dia, acaba a atividade e ele vai embora sem ter tido nenhum contato com aquela moça, nem mesmo visual.

Domingo está na aula dos rapazes,  quando precisa sair para pegar umas impressões na biblioteca, quando vai andando no corredor, vê aquela bela moça vindo, ela passa por ele e sorrir. Que belo sorriso. Ela parece tímida e eu pareço que estou apaixonado.  Preciso confessar que tenho observado ela,  pensa Pedro.

Passam mais alguns dias… é domingo, novamente. Ao término da reunião, sua mãe avisa que eles irão almoçar na casa de um membro. Pedro não via a hora de chegar em casa e percebe que vai demorar um pouco.

Quando chegam na casa do membro, para sua surpresa, descobre que está na casa da moça a qual ele observa. Ele fica um pouco tímido, mas feliz por ter a chance de conhece-la. Após o almoço ele sai para varanda para brincar com um gatinho e a moça vai lá falar com ele.

-Ele é adorável,  certo? – sorri.
-Sim. – sorri e responde Pedro, e fica sem saber o que falar.  Então arrisca e diz – Qual é seu nome?
– Liz e o seu?
– Pedro,  prazer em te conhecer.
– Igualmente,  Está gostando de nossa ala?
– Estou bem adaptando, vocês são bem animados e receptivos.
– Que bom, se precisar de algo, pode contar comigo.
– Ok! Obrigado!

Passam dois dias, Pedro estava em casa e recebeu uma ligação no telefone fixo.

– Oi, aqui é Liz.
– Oi Liz, tudo bem?
– Tudo sim e você?
– Muito bem,  eu estou te ligando para te chamar para ir a uma noite familiar comigo.
– Vamos sim, que horas?
– Daqui 30 minutos…  Pode ser?
– Pode, eu passo na sua casa então.
– Ok!  Te espero!
– Tá bom!

Pedro se arruma e busca Liz. Vão à noite familiar, se divertem, depois ele deixa ela em casa. Voltando para casa, fica pensando em uma maneira de se aproximar dela. Então decide que começará enviar e-mail em anonimato. Chegando em casa, entra no site dos membros da ala e consegue o e-mail dela.

Abre o notebook e escreve.

De: Amigo Secreto
Para: Liz
Assunto: podemos ser amigos?

Oi. Tudo bem? Estou a procura de alguém que eu possa conversar e te escolhi.


De: Liz
Para: Amigo Secreto
Assunto: podemos

Oi. Tudo sim. Primeiro gostaria de saber como conseguiu meu e-mail? E por que me escolheu?


De: Amigo Secreto
Para: Liz
Assunto: Eu sou uma pessoa mais tímida

Eu consegui seu email em um site,  cuidado onde deixa seus dados pessoais haha e eu escolhi seu você porque achei o nome mais diferente e bonito.


De: Liz
Para: Amigo secreto
Assunto: fiquei com medo agora

Eu realmente deixo meu e-mail em muitos lugares haha preciso tomar mais cuidado  e obrigada pelo elogio do nome haha foi meu pai que escutou em um filme e quis colocar.


De: Amigo Secreto
Para : Liz
Assunto : eu sou do bem haha

Cuidado haha sim…  De nada


Eles conversam bastante e Pedro fica feliz por as coisas estarem saindo como planejado.

10 dias se passam e eles trocam e-mails todos os dias.

Ele vai à capela jogar futebol. Chegando lá, encontra Liz.

– Oi Liz.
– Oi Pedro. Tudo bem?
– Tudo sim e você? Sumiu!
– Nossa, me desculpe…  não estou sendo uma boa recepcionista, né?!
– Fique tranquila. Você já fez sua parte.
– Eu pensei em você nessa semana.  Iria ligar em sua casa.
Quer dizer que ela pensou em mim? pensou Pedro.
– Você pode me passar seu número?  Fica mais fácil de manter contato.
– Claro, por que não pensei nisso antes?

Passa o número dela e ela sai dizendo que vai resolver algumas coisas. Chegando em casa ele manda um SMS para Liz.

SMS: salvei seu número aqui.
SMS: que ótimo, salvei aqui também.

Decide abrir seu email e falar com ela por lá.


De: A. S.
Para: Liz
Assunto : diga três coisas sobre você

Eu gosto de jogar videogame
Eu adoro comer batata frita
Eu não gosto quando andam devagar na minha frente.


De: Liz
Para: A. S.
Assunto: gostei desse joguinho

Eu tenho 16 anos
Eu gosto de cantar
Eu não gosto quando gritam comigo
Você tem quantos anos?


De: A. S.
Para: Liz
Assunto: ele é legal haha

Eu tenho 16 anos.  Mas não me pergunte meu nome haha


Eles conversam um pouco mais no e-mail. Eu queria poder contar mais detalhes, mas preciso resumir.

Passam 45 dias e Pedro está bem mais próximo de Liz, tanto como amigo quanto como amigo secreto. Ele tem descoberto as coisas que ela gosta e assim tem conseguido impressionar a garota. Liz faz algumas perguntas para ver se descobre quem é o amigo secreto.

Passam dois meses e eles estão muito amigos.

Passam mais alguns dias e Pedro convida Liz para tomar sorvete.

-Qual você mais gosta, chocolate ou morango?  – Diz Liz tentando descobrir se Pedro é o amigo secreto, porque esse amigo uma vez disse que qualquer opção colocada com chocolate, ele sempre vai escolher o chocolate.
– Chocolate. – responde sorrindo
– Flocos ou chocolate? – pergunta novamente.
– Chocolate! – sorri. – sempre chocolate.

Logo Liz pensa que isso já coincidiu.

– Eu amo de chocolate também. – diz ela sorrindo.

Então Liz fica fazendo umas perguntas e entrando em alguns assuntos para ver se os dois se parecem e ela chega à conclusão que sim. Na hora de ir embora,  Pedro deixa Liz em casa.  Ela se pega pensando em Pedro e acha que está apaixonada por esse amigo.

Pedro chega em casa e fica pensando se não seria muito suspeito enviar o e-mail nesse mesmo momento. Fica pensando nela e como os dois estão próximos. E se perguntando o que será que Liz pensa sobre ele.

Enquanto isso, Liz na sua casa, reler as conversas no e-mail e as mensagens de texto procurando semelhança entre os dois. Porém, percebe que a escrita é diferente, mas que os dois compartilham de coisas parecidas. Mas logo depois fica triste por pensar que meninos gostam das mesmas coisas, então deve ser só coincidência, mas que se ela pudesse escolher, esse amigo secreto seria o Pedro, porque o amigo secreto parece gostar dela e Pedro não.

Pedro deitado ouvindo suas músicas chega a conclusão que deve contar para Liz que ele é o amigo secreto mesmo que isso possa colocar a amizade deles em risco.

No outro dia, tem uma atividade na capela. Pedro estar observando Liz e os olhares deles se encontram e eles ficam se encarando de forma fofa. Então Pedro pisca para ela e manda beijo, ela começa a rir e sente seu coração acelerar. No final da atividade ele corre e a abraça forte. Eles ficam abraçados sem falar nada.

– Sabia…?  – Pedro começa a falar e desiste no mesmo instante.
– O que? – pergunta, ainda abraçados
– Que eu to com fome. – sorrir.
– Isso nem é novidade. – olha para cima para ver o rosto dele. Os dois ficam se olhando bem próximos sem falar nada.
Ele fica sem jeito e fala
– Você é linda! – dá um beijo na bochecha dela, o que faz seu coração faltar sair pela boca. Ele puxa ela de modo carinhoso pelo braço e diz que deixará ela em casa.

Como Pedro não consegue falar para ela que é o amigo secreto, começa a demonstrar mais carinho, deixando um pouco a timidez de lado.


De: A. S.
Para: Liz

Bom dia, amor da minha vida! haha


De: Liz
Para: A. S.

Amor da sua vida?  Hahaha bom dia.
Falar em amor…  você já se apaixonou alguma vez?


De: A. S.
Para: Liz

Eu já má apaixonei sim e você?


De: Liz
Para: A. S.

Eu estou apaixonada, estou começando achar que ele talvez esteja também, antes não parecia, mas agora ele tem se aproximado mais de mim e eu quero muito que isso aconteça. Quando ele sorrir para mim meu coração acelera, nunca tinha acontecido isso antes. Eu nem sei se você quer saber sobre isso, mas a gente conversa tanto sobre tudo, precisava desabafar.


De: A. S.
Para: Liz

Você pode desabafar sempre que quiser.  Você foi muito gentil comigo sendo minha amiga mesmo sem saber quem eu sou. E sobre a paixão, ela nos deixa assim sem chão. A gente fica bobo, mas me conte mais sobre essa paixão…


De: Liz
Para: A. S.

Eu gosto muito dele, mas não tenho coragem de falar, também tenho medo de que ele me veja apenas como uma boa amiga e eu estar confundindo as coisas. Eu nem sei se deveria falar isso para você haha mas uma vez eu cheguei a pensar que você gostasse de mim. Você sempre foi um fofo comigo e até pensei que queria que vocês fosse Pedro, porque ele parecia gostar de mim só como amiga haha mas depois cheguei a conclusão que apenas os gostos de vocês eram parecidos,  porque meninos gostam de coisas iguais,  mas a escrita era diferente e também  porque já conversei com vocês dois ao mesmo tempo…  você deve achar que sou uma doida. hahaha


Peraí, ela escreveu meu nome, pensa Pedro e começa a pular de felicidade, pensando que deve contar tudo para ela.  Aproveitando a empolgação, pega sua bicicleta e vai a caminho da casa de Liz.  Chegando lá, ela se surpreende.

– Pedro!  Não esperava você aqui,  entre! Você parece agitado.
– Oi Liz, desculpa vir assim sem avisar,  mas precisava te dizer uma coisa.
– Pode falar! – sorri preocupada.
– Eu sou o amigo secreto, fui eu que troquei e-mail com você todos os dias, desculpe. Eu não sei o que vai pensar sobre isso, ainda mais que abriu o seu coração hoje.
– É você?  – sem reação e com medo dele não gostar mesmo dela.
– Mas antes que fique preocupada, eu gosto muito de você – abraça ela.
– Que bom, também gosto muito de você. – abraçando ele um pouco chocada.

Os dois ficam abraçados. Depois sentam.

– Eu fiz tudo isso porque não sabia como te conquistar, eu sou um pouco tímido, mas quando você falou hoje que gostava de mim, vim pelo impulso.
– Sem problemas, eu acho fofo tudo isso que fez, mas só fiquei com medo quando me disse de você não gostar de mim.
– Jamais, você é a menina mais incrível que eu já conheci.
– E você é o rapaz mais incrível que já conheci. – sorrir com vergonha.

Ele segura na mão dela, os dois trocam olhares apaixonados. Ele se aproxima um pouco mais dela e a beija.

“A Sunday at Laginha” by César Augusto Medina Fortes

Read the original Portuguese version here. To discuss this and other finalists, visit Mormon Lit Lab.

A Sunday at Laginha

by César Augusto Medina Fortes
translated by Katherine Cowley

As we did every Sunday, my siblings and I rose early and attended church. After church, after eating, we started making our plans, because the afternoon was always reserved for us, the children of the Ribeira Bote and the Ilha de Madeira, to visit Laginha Beach. I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do on the Lord’s day, so I would hide from my mother, because if she knew what I planned we would fight about it.

I left to find my friends. There were no boundaries and no rules. We entered the front door of missus Maria of Valentim and left through her back gate, passing through her home to reach Ilha de Madeira—the neighborhood called Island of Timber—where we invited our friends Johny de Carola, Aristides, Tino, Djoy and others. Jair of Fátima always wanted to go with us, but his mother rarely let him. Ivone of missus Ciza was always willing to come and would join the front of our line.

After informing our friends in Ilha de Madeira, it was time to head over to 10th Street. For a shortcut, we would enter the back gate of missus Sabina’s house and leave by the front door, which put us directly on 10th Street. Our families were all friends and we could enter one house or another without problems, as long as we greeted everyone with civility. Civility was something we never lacked, for if we were lacking the adults had permission from our parents to chide us and then we would immediately follow their orders.

On 10th Street we called for them—Paulo of Mr. Jon Bloco, Rogério, Chimaz, Papai, Livramente, Nelsa d’Ya, Valdemar of madame Alice, my brother Joselito, my cousins, the twins Paulo and Jorge, Sílvio, as well as Renato and Dixa of Poia, Djão of madame Linda, Jair, Gui and Paulo of missus Mari of Lurdes, Nelson, Zé and Didi of madame Montinha, Zé of madame Rosário, Ligim of madame Eduina, Ligim of madame Polina, Johny of madame Teresinha, Didi of madame Olívia and many others, the group large and increasing in size as we passed, whistling, by the doors of different families. We had a whistle as a code and when one of us gave the tune, the person inside would return it and quickly open the door. We would all gather together on the street and make sure no one was missing so that we could head to Laginha Beach. Our route took us through the Alto de Sentina, Alto de Mira-mar, Praça Nova, and then to Laginha itself.

On the way we would play games, as all children do, and one of those games was to push. Near the restaurant called Sodade, someone remembered to give a push to Jorge of Mana and he went down with such force that he fell against a gate. The gate opened, and as the house had a few steps, Jorge tumbled down the stairs until he stopped in the middle of the backyard. The lady of the house was startled by the noise and went at once to help Jorge get up, and she asked him if he was alright. Jorge of Mana, as he was clever, said that he might soon faint. The poor lady went quickly and brought him a sweet bread and a cup of juice. Jorge ate and licked his lips. Once we were out of there Zé of missus Montinha said, “Caramba. Jorge is lucky even in a fall. Seriously.”

And so we continued on our path to Laginha. We passed the Superinha factory where they make a soda that, for us, was the best in the world. Near the technical school, we discovered a date tree bursting with dates, yellow and sweet, ready for us to eat. It was time for our fruit shooters, Valdemar and Tchitchi. They picked up stones and threw them into the bunches, and then those that were youngest of our group picked up the dates that fell on the ground and distributed them to everyone. From there, we caught sight of the beautiful sea of the Laginha. But the walk from there to the beach was a torment. The tar seemed to melt in the hot sun, and we, with our bare feet, would always skip across because of how it burned us. There were times when some of us ended up with blisters on the soles of our feet.

Finally, we would arrive at the much desired Laginha beach. Everyone ran for the water. We competed, diving and jumping in the waves. After, we went to our “diving board”—the jumping point at the Stone Pier. We would make a line and all of us would jump and when we dove into the water, it was mandatory to swim through the tunnel under the dock. João was almost always the first to pass through it and the others would follow him. When we reached the other side, we arrived almost out of breath, but happy. I remember there was one time when we all traversed the tunnel, but when we rose out of the water we were missing someone, Nelsa d’Ya. Valdemar quickly dove down and went to find him. He had been stuck in a narrow part of the tunnel, for Nelsa d’Ya was a big guy.

Once we had gotten over our scare and we had Nelsa d’Ya on dry land, we began to laugh until we fell onto the sand. As children, we found it a great joke. Funny things always happened to Nelsa d’Ya. After spitting up some water, he soon began to do somersaults, something he was very good at.

In the meantime, Kunhanha had the crazy idea of scaling the Electra sea water abstraction plant to the top of the tower, where we could jump into the water. Climbing up wasn’t difficult. The older ones helped the younger ones until we’d all succeeded at reaching the roof of the building, which must have been around ten meters high. From that summit, we could take in the whole of Laginha beach, which was full of people. They looked like a group of little ants stretched out across the beach. We could see the entire Bay of Mindelo and some ships unloading winter corn, coming from the United States and going directly to the silos of MOAVE, where it would later be distributed to the population fleeing famine. The sun was strong as it hit our skin, but we could not remove our feet from that rooftop, with a view that would please any tourist and for us was free.

After all the good parts, now came the bad part. Climbing down the side of the building was impossible. The only way off was to jump into the water. From the top, we could see the water down below and I was engulfed in terror. We all regretted accepting the challenge. And I kept asking God to help us in this difficult moment. No one took the first jump. We were all afraid. And suddenly we heard a noise in the water: “Tchiluf.” We went to see; it was João who had taken the leap. And Zé of madame Montinha yelled out, “What a rogue!” And João yelled from below, “The water is good and warm. You can jump.”

And from that moment, they began jumping, one after another, like dolphins. Only Sílvio and I stayed there, too afraid to jump. Our fear was if there was any iron in the water we would be impaled, for we had dived there earlier and we knew that in this section there were many iron plates and scraps on the sea floor. We didn’t want to risk it. We stayed there, watching our friends, down below, playing in the water, and we, trapped by fear on top of the Laginha water plant. The sun began to set behind Monte Cara and night covered Laginha beach. Now we could see almost nothing, from there at the top.

It was then that we heard a voice, it was Didi of madame Montinha shouting, “César of madame Mari D’Vinha and Sílvio of madame Rosa, set aside your fear. You have to jump. If you don’t, you will be left here alone on the beach of Laginha.”

In that moment, we realized it was “now or never.” We took each other’s hands, we closed our eyes, we said a prayer to God that he would protect us, and, screaming, we leapt out, cannonball style. We abode in the air for an eternity before we reached the water. We hit our “tails” with great force on the water. You see, it was literally a leap in the dark. It was a lonely affliction. We swam and reached our friends, who had already been waiting for us for quite some time. And we, full of pain in our butts, were still to be ridiculed. They rolled on the sand with so much laughter, every single time they saw us walking with our hands on our behinds, rubbing at the pain from the cannonball jump.

And we set off towards Ribeira Bote, our beloved neighborhood. We entered our home quietly, afraid to take a beating from our mother. She must have been very worried with all of life’s problems, for she did not even notice us. Which was just as well, for we didn’t have any more space for any more smacks, with the size of the pain we already felt. We took saltpeter, we ate our dinner, and we went to sleep dreaming of Laginha.

“Um Domingo na Laginha” por César Augusto Medina Fortes

Read the English translation here.

Um Domingo na Laginha

César Augusto Medina Fortes

Como todos os domingos fazíamos, eu e os meus irmãos, levantamos cedo e fomos à igreja. Depois da igreja, almoçamos e começamos logo a preparar porque a tarde era sempre reservada para nós, as crianças de Ribeira Bote e ilha de Madeira, para irmos á praia da Laginha. Eu sabia que não era a coisa certa a fazer no dia do Senhor, por isso, ia escondido da minha mãe, por que se soubesse iria brigar comigo.

Saí a procura dos meus amigos. Não havia fronteiras e nem proibições. Entrávamos na porta da frente de nhá Maria de Valentim e saíamos no portão, passando assim para Ilha de Madeira para convidar os nossos colegas Johny de Carola, Aristides, Tino, Djoy e outros. Jair de Fátima sempre ficava com vontade de ir connosco, mas a mãe raramente o deixava. Ivone de Nhá Ciza, estava sempre disposta e ia na linha da frente.

Depois de avisar os amigos na Ilha da Madeira, era hora de passar para a rua 10. Nós, para encurtar o caminho entrávamos logo no portão da casa de Nhá Sabina e saíamos na porta de frente, que dava direto na rua 10. As nossas famílias eram todas amigas e podíamos entrar na casa uns dos outros sem problemas, desde que cumprimentássemos com educação. Educação, era coisa que não nos faltava, porque se faltasse, também os adultos tinham autorização dos nossos pais, de nos repreender e nós logo acatávamos as suas ordens.

Na rua 10, chamávamos, o Paulo do senhor Jon Bloco, o Rogério, Chimaz, Papai, Livramente, Nelsa d’Ya, Valdemar de dona Alice, o meu irmão Joselito, os meus primos, os gémeos Paulo e Jorge, Sílvio, também o Renato e Dixa de Poia, Djão de dona Linda, Jair, Gui e Paulo de Nhá Mari de Lurdes, Nelson, Zé e Didi de dona Montinha, Zé de dona Rosário, Ligim de dona Eduina, Ligim de dona Polina, Johny de dona Teresinha, Didi de dona Olívia e muitos outros, pois, o grupo era grande e aumentava a medida que passávamos na porta de uma família e íamos assobiando. Nós tínhamos um assobio como código e bastava um de nós dar o assobio, que o outro respondia de lá dentro de casa e rapidamente abria a porta. Todos nós juntávamos na rua e víamos se alguém estava a faltar, para podermos rumar a praia da Laginha. O nosso trajeto era Alto de Sentina, Alto de Mira-mar, Praça Nova, Laginha direto.

No caminho fazíamos as brincadeiras que todas as crianças fazem e empurrar era uma delas. Perto do restaurante Sodade, alguém se lembrou de dar um empurrão no Jorge de Mana e ele foi com tanta força que bateu num portão. O portão abriu-se e como a casa tinha alguns degraus, o Jorge continuou a rolar escada abaixo até parar no meio do quintal da casa. A dona da casa assustou-se com o barulho e foi logo ajudar o Jorge a se levantar, perguntando-lhe se estava tudo bem. Jorge de Mana, como era esperto, ele disse logo que estava a sentir que iria desmaiar-se em breve. A coitada da senhora foi rapidamente e trouxe-lhe um pão com doce e um copo de sumo. O Jorge comeu e lambeu os lábios. E de lá de fora o Zé de nhá Montinha retorquiu logo: – “Caramba. O Jorge tem sorte até numa queda. Sinceramente”.

E lá continuamos a nossa caminhada para a Laginha. Passamos na fábrica de Supirinha, onde tinha um refrigerante, que para nós, era o melhor do mundo. Perto da Escola Técnica, encontramos um tamareira carregadinha com tâmaras amarelinhas, doces, prontas para serem consumidas por nós. E aí entrava os nossos atiradores de serviço, Valdemar e Tchitchi. Apanhavam pedras e atiravam para os cachos e nós os mais novos, apanhávamos o que caia no chão e distribuíamos para todos. Dali, avistávamos o lindo mar da Laginha. Mas andar de ali até chegar a praia, era um calvário. O alcatrão parecia que derretia-se com o sol quente e nós com os pés descalços íamos sempre a saltar, porque queimava muito. Tinha vez, que alguns de nós ficávamos com bolhas na sola dos pés.

Por fim, chegávamos à tão desejada praia da Laginha. Todos corriam para a água. Fazíamos concurso de mergulho e de salto nas ondas. Depois íamos até o trampolim na Pedra de Doca. Fazíamos filas e todos saltavam e quando mergulhávamos, era obrigatório passar no túnel por debaixo do trampolim. O João quase sempre era o primeiro a passar e os outros o seguiam. E quando saíamos do outro lado, chegávamos quase sem fôlego, mas felizes. Lembro-me, que certa vez, todos nós atravessámos o túnel, mas quando subimos, estava a faltar alguém, o Nelsa d’Ya. Valdemar rapidamente mergulhou e foi buscá-lo. Ele tinha ficado entalado numa parte estreita do túnel, pois, Nelsa d’Ya era corpulento.

Depois de termos ultrapassado o susto e com o Nelsa d’Ya em terra firme, começamos a rir até cair na areia. Como crianças, achamos aquilo com muita piada. Sempre as coisas engraçadas aconteciam era com o Nelsa d’Ya. Depois de ter cuspido alguma água, ele logo começou a dar saltos mortais, coisa que ele era muito bom a fazer.

Nesse meio tempo, Kunhanha teve a maluca ideia de subirmos na casinha de captação de água do mar da Electra e dali de cima de uma torre, fazermos saltos para a água. Subir não foi difícil. Os mais velhos foram ajudando os mais novos até que todos conseguiram atingir o terraço do edifício, que deve ter por aí, os seus dez metros de altura. De lá de cima, contemplamos toda a praia da Laginha, cheia de gente. Pareciam formiguinhas estendidas na praia. Pudemos ver toda a baia do Mindelo com o seu Porto Grande e alguns navios descarregando milho de segunda, vindo dos Estados Unidos e que iam diretamente para os silos da MOAVE que depois era distribuída para a população para escapar da fome. Sentíamos o sol forte na nossa pele, mas não arredávamos pé daquela esplanada que qualquer turista gostaria de ter e para nós era de graça.

Depois de toda a parte boa, agora vinha a parte má. Descer do edifício era impossível. A única forma era saltar para água. De lá de cima, víamos a água lá em baixo e metia muito medo. Todos arrependemos de ter aceite o desafio. E eu sempre pedindo à Deus que nos ajudasse naquele momento difícil. Ninguém dava o primeiro salto. Todos nós estávamos com medo. E de repente, eis que ouvimos um barulho na água: – “Tchiluf”. Fomos ver, era o João que tinha saltado. E o Zé de dona Montinha gritou logo: “ah infame?!”. E o João gritou de lá de baixo:-“Água está muito boa e quentinha. Podem saltar”.

E a partir daquele momento, começaram a saltar um atrás do outro como golfinhos. Somente eu e o Sílvio ficamos lá, com muito medo de saltar. O nosso medo, era se tivesse algum ferro e nos espetasse, pois tínhamos mergulhado antes e sabíamos que naquela zona tinha muitas chapas e pedaços de ferro no fundo do mar. Não quisemos arriscar. Ficamos lá, vendo os nossos amigos, lá em baixo, brincando na água e nós presos de medo, em cima da casa d’água na Laginha. O sol começou a pôr-se atrás do Monte Cara e a noite cobriu a praia da Laginha. Já não dava para ver quase nada, de lá de cima.

Foi então que ouvimos uma voz, era Didi de dona Montinha gritando:- “Ó César de dona Mari D’Vinha e Sílvio de dona Rosa, deixem de medo. Vocês têm que saltar. Se não, vão ficar aqui sozinhos na praia da Laginha”.

Naquele momento, percebemos que era “agora ou nunca”. Seguramos as mãos um do outro, fechamos os olhos, fizemos uma oração à Deus que nos protegesse e gritando, lá fomos nós num salto no estilo “bomba”. Demoramos uma eternidade no ar até chegarmos na água. Na queda batemos com o “rabo” com muita força na água. Pois, foi literalmente um salto no escuro. Foi uma dor só. Nadamos e fomos ter com os nossos amigos, que já estavam à nossa espera por muito tempo. E nós, cheios de dor no rabo, ainda fomos troçados. Rolaram na areia de tanto rir, cada vez que nos viam a andar com a mão na parte de trás, esfregando a dor do salto “bomba”.

E partimos em direção á Ribeira Bote, a nossa querida zona. Chegamos de mansinho em casa, com medo de levar uma surra da nossa mãe. Talvez preocupada com os problemas da vida, ela nem deu por nós. Ainda bem, porque já não tínhamos mais espaço para levar umas latadas, tamanho era a dor que ainda sentíamos. Tirámos a salitre, jantámos e lá fomos dormir sonhando com a Laginha.

“The Wall of Time” by Camila Andrea Fernández

Read the original Spanish version here. To discuss this and other finalists, visit Mormon Lit Lab.

The Wall of Time

by Camila Andrea Fernández
translated by Vilo Westwood

“Children, what is the significance of your name?  Does it come from some ancestor, like a grandfather or grandmother?” the primary teacher asked the children.  Yuan did not know why he was named, which made him curious. That Sunday afternoon, he asked his grandfather.

“One of our ancestors was named Chu Yuan-Chang.  He was an emperor, founder of the Ming dynasty,” said his grandfather. When he saw Yuan’s excitment, he continued. “The Ming, in the 15th and 16th centuries, were those who erected the Wall of Ten Thousand Li.”

“Why did they decide to build the Wall?” asked Yuan.  The story had captured his attention so much that his noodles were getting cold.

“Well, at that time, battles were so common and different states built walls to defend themselves.  When the empire unified, the Ming dynasty made all the little walls into one, and thus they created the Great Wall.”

“Today in Primary they told us that we had to get to know our ancestors, that we needed to make a family tree,” said the boy with a distracted air while he ate his noodles.

His grandfather sat thinking a moment and then continued eating.

That night, Yuan got ready to go to bed and his grandfather went to see him in his room.

“Have you heard the legend of the Wall of Time?” the grandfather asked with the same tone of mystery he used when he was going to tell a story.  Yuan immediately raised his eyes with the sparkle of a child full of curiosity.

Tian, his grandfather, started the tale: “A long time ago, when people still wrote their genealogies in enormous leather books, one man hid his genealogy between the rocks of the Great Wall with the intention of erasing his name from history and starting over.  Nevertheless, his ancestors saw his actions and did not want to permit this, such that the Creators, the Gods, decided that from that moment, the Wall would be a place where they would keep records of all the ancestors of all people, including the man who had hidden his name there.  Although the legend also says that you can’t see the change in the Wall of Time—as it had been called from that time forward—except when there is a planetary conjunction. Only then can the names of the ancestors of those who are present be seen, since it was on just such an occasion that the man hid his genealogy.”

“What’s a planetary conjunction?” Yuan asked.

“It’s when the planets align, so that they seem to be in a straight line in the sky.”

“And when do you think this will happen again?”

“According to some astronomers, the conjunction will happen within 30 days from tomorrow,” said Tian with the same sparkling eyes as his grandson.  “We do not have a Book of Memory for our family, because it has been lost with time, so that I don’t know the complete genealogy of our family . . .   but in the Wall of Time surely you will see it.”

“And how is it that we can see our ancestors?”

“Some say that they appear to us as spirits. Others say they are projected, like a movie, over the stones of the wall. But no one has ever told what they saw, and the rumors are stronger than the true stories.”

“We could go, right? For Christmas?” Yuan said excitedly.

“Of course we’re going to go!  And on the way we’ll visit your aunt,” answered his grandfather.

For Yuan, the month flew past, and the trip to Peking was the longest he could have experienced:  he slept, ate, and slept again, until at last they arrived.  The city was larger than Yuan had imagined, although it seemed a little like the city where he lived.  The buildings he could see were gigantic.  With his aunt they went to visit the most famous places of Peking:  The Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, until it got dark and they returned to their house.

“We’re going to spend Christmas with Aunt and then go to see the wall, all right?” Tian said to his grandson, who smiled in response.

The aunt made all kinds of foods for Christmas dinner and they ate happily.  After the food, they sang “Silent Night” next to the window, and afterward they went outside to see the artificial lights.  They watched the stars until Yuan went to sleep, then Tian picked him up and took him to his room.  The following morning, they ate breakfast and Tian expained to his grandson when they were going to the Great Wall.

“So, tomorrow morning we will go to the Wall of Ten Thousand Li, and at night we will wait to see what happens.”  Yuan got very excited: all that day he was preparing things, packing and unpacking the bag he was going to take.

The day they were going to leave, they said goodbye to Yuan’s aunt and took the bus to the Wall of a Ten Thousand Li.  When they arrived, both were surprised by how big it was.  The staircase they were supposed to go up seemed to have no end, but still, they climbed.  When they arrived at one of the towers, they looked and couldn’t see an end to the left or the right.  They spent the whole day long exploring the Great Wall, until night fell, and then they sat in one of the towers to wait.

Tian had already been asleep for some time when Yuan heard a noise outside the tower.  He stayed quiet, waiting, listening to the whispering of a breeze, when, through the shadows, an animal appeared:  it had the body of a lion, skin of a fish, and horns of a stag.  Yuan recognized him as the Qilin, one of the mythological beings of Chinese culture.  The being came slowly closer and after smelling it, licked his hand.  Suddenly everything was very confused: the stars began to whirl and the Wall moved along its length like a serpent.  Yuan fell on his back, and with his sight fixed on the heavens, he saw the planets aligned, the conjunction, and then he fainted.  When he woke he saw the same being, the Qilin, at his side, observing him fixedly.

“What are you doing here, child?” said a nearby voice.  Yuan looked over and recognized a soldier.  The man extended his hand and got up with a jump.  “Get to the tower right now!” he said and pushed him toward the tower.

Yuan looked around right away and saw that he was surrounded by soldiers. A torrential rain was soaking his skin and he felt disoriented, which got worse when he arrived at the tower and didn’t see his grandfather laying there.  He saw a rock extending over his head, which gave protection from the enemy army’s catapults, and saw various soldiers crouching on the wall shooting arrows.  He snuggled into one of the corners of the tower and observed the same scene for hours until a man approached, bent down and gave him a plate of food.

“Hello, little one.  I am Dalai.  What’s your name?” he asked in a sweet voice.

“I am Yuan, sir.”

“I’m going to take you to the house,” the man—Dalai—responded. Dalai went away and, a few moments later, came back with a bag and signaled to Yuan to follow him.  The Qilin was no longer there.

Yuan followed him through underground passageways, until they arrived at a street surrounded by pastures.  They did not talk on the way, and when they had spent several hours and Yuan wanted to fall defeated onto the field, the man stopped.  They slept a little and then continued the journey through another day.  Then they arrived at an enormous complex, the Forbidden City—but were not stopped. Soon they entered a grand palace, called the Palace of Supreme Harmony.  Dalai took Yuan through different hallways toward a big room.

“This is your room.  You will stay here until I come to get you.  You can bathe and sleep a little,” said Dalai, then he went away.  Yuan bathed and fell exhausted on his bed.

The next day he was brought to a gigantic room, where there was a throne and, sitting on it, a man with a long, white mustache and beard.  Dalai knelt down and bowed.  Yuan copied the gesture and then was introduced.

“Emperor Hongwu, I present to you someone who appeared after the rain: Yuan.”  The emperor, with the dignified posture of a king, was not disturbed during the presentation.

“How did you come to the Wall?” the Emperor asked Yuan.

“I arrived with the Qilin, Emperor.”  The Emperor was surprised at this answer and asked him to tell more.  Yuan told the story, and when he had finished, the Emperor sat stunned.

“You realize you have traveled through time, right, boy?” Dalai asked him when he took him back to his room.  Yuan kept his gaze on the floor, absorbing what had happened.

“How am I going to get back?” he asked, confused.

“I know how you will go,” said a trembling voice from the door.  It was an ancient woman next to the door. “You came with a purpose—to get to know your ancestors, right?  Then what you will do is come to know them.  You will start tomorrow morning in the library.”

“But we don’t have a book of genealogy,” said Yuan.

“You do here,” responded the old woman.

The next morning Yuan went to the library and found the old woman seated with an old, thick book in front of her.  They began to read name by name, from the parents of the emperor and his forefathers, until they found blank pages.

“What are these pages?” asked Yuan.

“These pages are those that have not yet been written, they are the ones our descendants will write.  They are those you will write.”

“But if we don’t have this book, who will remain to do it?”

“Don’t you wonder why you came to this time period?” asked the old woman. But when Yuan turned to look at her, she had vanished.

At lunch Yuan got to know the son of the Emperor, a serious and cold man.  They spoke little and later the man got up and left.  Afterward they saw him riding toward the Wall.  Dalai took Yuan to the Wall and when they were about to arrive, the boy saw a man hiding a book in the tower where he had been with his grandfather.  It was the man of the legend.  Yuan called to him from afar, and the man turned, startled, and let the book drop.  The man tried to find it, but it was in vain—in the darkness of the night he couldn’t see, so he got down from the wall and fled without Yuan being able to stop him.

When Yuan got to the tower, he looked until he found the book and saw it—without doubt, this was the book of his family.  He took it between his hands with the intention of returning it, but then he said, “How will I go back to my house if not today?” He thought for some minutes, and at last decided that he thought it would be better to return to the palace to return the book of genealogies, although it would stay there forever.

When they returned, the old woman was waiting for them in the doorway, and with open arms and a smile, took the book and replaced it in the library.  Later, they were in the interior garden of the palace, where they found the Qilin, who walked beside the old woman.

“Can you take me home?” Yuan asked the woman.

“I can’t, but he can,” said the woman, pointing to the animal.

“Thank you.”

“Thank you, for bringing us the Book of Memory.  Don’t forget me.  My name is Chen, and I am the mother of the Emperor.”

Then, the animal approached and licked the boy’s hand.  The stars started to whirl and Yuan fainted.  When he woke up he found himself in his house—as his grandfather was telling the legend.

“And thanks to this boy, who brought back the book, the Gods decided that since this time, the Wall would be a place where all the genealogies of all people would be recorded,” said Tian, finishing his tale.

“What was the boy called?”

“The legend names him He-who-appeared-after-the-rain,” but some call him “the angel of the Wall.” 

Yuan laughed and went to sleep.

“La Muralla del Tiempo” de Camila Andrea Fernández

Read the English translation here.

La Muralla del Tiempo

Camila Andrea Fernández

—Niños, ¿qué significado tiene su nombre?, ¿proviene de algún antepasado, como un abuelo o abuela? —Preguntó la maestra de primaria a los niños. Yuan no sabía por qué se llamaba así, lo que le dio curiosidad y le preguntó a su abuelo ese mismo domingo al mediodía.

—Uno de nuestros antepasados se llamó Chu Yuan-Chang. Fue un emperador, fundador de la dinastía Ming. —Dijo su abuelo, que, viendo el rostro apasionado del niño, prosiguió— Los Ming, en los siglos XV y XVI, fueron los que erigieron el Muro de los Diez Mil Li.

— ¿Por qué decidieron construir el Muro? —Preguntó Yuan. La historia había captado su atención a tal punto que se le enfriaban los tallarines.

—Bueno, en esa época, las batallas eran algo común, y los diferentes estados construyeron murallas para defenderse. Cuando el imperio se unificó, la dinastía Ming hizo que todas las pequeñas murallas constituyeran una sola, y así se creó el Muro.

—Hoy en la Primaria nos dijeron que teníamos que conocer a nuestros antepasados; que teníamos que hacer el árbol familiar. —Dijo el niño con aire distraído mientras comía los fideos. Su abuelo se quedó pensando un momento, y siguió comiendo.

En la noche, Yuan se preparó para dormir, y su abuelo fue a verlo a su habitación.

— ¿Alguna vez escuchaste la leyenda de la Muralla del Tiempo? —Dijo su abuelo con el mismo tono de misterio que usaba cuando estaba por contar alguna historia. Yuan enseguida levantó los ojos con el brillo típico de un niño lleno de curiosidad. Tian, su abuelo, comenzó el relato: —Hace mucho tiempo, cuando las personas aún escribían sus líneas genealógicas en enormes libros de cuero, un hombre, escondió su genealogía entre las rocas del Gran Muro con la intención de borrar su nombre de la historia y comenzar de nuevo. Sin embargo, sus ancestros vieron sus actos y no quisieron permitirlo, por lo que los Creadores, los Dioses, decidieron que desde ese momento, esa Muralla sería un lugar donde quedaran grabados todos los antepasados de todas las personas, incluyendo al hombre que había escondido su nombre allí. Aunque hay un punto clave en esta leyenda, porque no todas las noches se puede observar este cambio en la Muralla del Tiempo, como se le había llamado desde allí en adelante; sólo cuando ocurre la conjunción planetaria se puede observar a los antepasados de quien esté presente allí, ya que fue justo en una ocasión como esa cuando aquel hombre escondió su genealogía.

— ¿Qué es una conjunción planetaria? —Preguntó interesado su nieto.

—Es cuando los planetas se alinean, de modo que se ven todos en una línea recta en el cielo.

— ¿Y cuándo crees que pase eso de nuevo?

—Según algunos astrónomos, la conjunción pasará dentro de treinta días a partir de mañana. —Dijo Tian con los mismos ojos brillantes que su nieto. —Nosotros no tenemos el Libro de Memorias de nuestra familia, porque se perdió hace tiempo, así que no conozco la genealogía completa de nuestra familia… pero en la Muralla del Tiempo seguramente puedas verla.

—Y, ¿cómo es que podemos ver a nuestros antepasados?

—Algunos dicen que se nos aparecen como espíritus, otros dicen que se proyectan como una película sobre las piedras de la muralla, pero nunca logran contarlo, y los rumores son más fuertes que las historias verídicas.

— ¿Podríamos ir, no? Para navidad. —Dijo emocionado Yuan.

— ¡Vamos a ir! Además, así visitamos a tu tía. —Respondió su abuelo.

Para Yuan, el mes pasó volando; y el viaje hasta Pekín fue lo más largo que podría haber experimentado: durmió, comió, y volvió a dormir, hasta que al fin llegaron. La ciudad era más grande de lo que Yuan había imaginado; aunque se parecía bastante a la ciudad donde vivía él. Los edificios eran a su vista gigantescos. Con su tía fueron a visitar los lugares más famosos de Pekín: La Ciudad Prohibida, el Templo del Cielo, hasta que oscureció y volvieron a la casa.

—Vamos a pasar la navidad con la tía y luego vamos a ir al Muro, ¿está bien? —Le dijo Tian a su nieto, quien sonrió como respuesta.

La tía hizo cantidad de comidas para la cena de Navidad, por lo que cenaron felices. Luego de la comida, cantaron “noche de luz” junto a la ventana, y después fueron afuera a ver los fuegos artificiales. Miraron las estrellas hasta que Yuan se durmió; entonces Tian lo alzó y lo llevó a su habitación. A la mañana siguiente desayunaron y Tian le explicó a su nieto cuándo iban a ir al gran Muro.

—Entonces, pasado mañana vamos a irnos al Muro de los Diez Mil Li, y a la noche esperaremos a ver qué pasa. —Yuan se emocionó y todo aquel día estuvo preparando cosas, armando y desarmando el bolso que iba a llevar.

El día en que iban a partir, se despidieron de la tía de Yuan y tomaron el colectivo hasta el Muro de los Diez Mil Li. Cuando llegaron, ambos se sorprendieron de cuán grande era: La escalera que debían subir parecía no tener fin, pero aun así la subieron. Llegaron a una de las torres y observaron: no tenía fin ni a la izquierda ni a la derecha. Pasaron el día entero recorriendo la gran muralla, hasta que llegó la noche, entonces se sentaron en una de las torres a esperar.

Tian ya se había dormido hacía tiempo cuando Yuan escuchó un ruido afuera de la torre. Se quedó quieto, esperando, escuchando cualquier susurro del viento, cuando por el umbral apareció un animal: tenía cuerpo de león, piel de pez y cuernos de ciervo. Yuan lo reconoció como el Qilin, uno de los seres mitológicos de la cultura China. El ser se le acercó lentamente y luego de olerlo, lamió su mano. De pronto todo el entorno se volvió confuso, las estrellas empezaron a girar, y la Muralla a lo largo se movía como una serpiente. Yuan cayó de espaldas y, con la vista fija en el cielo, vio los planetas alineados, la conjunción; entonces se desmayó. Cuando despertó vio al mismo ser, el Qilin, a su lado observándolo fijamente.

— ¿Qué haces aquí, niño? —Dijo una voz cercana. Yuan observó y reconoció a un soldado. Éste extendió un brazo y lo incorporó de un salto. — ¡Vete a la torre ahora mismo! — Dijo y lo empujó hacia la torre.

Yuan de pronto se vio rodeado de soldados, con una lluvia torrencial mojándolo y una confusión que empeoró cuando llegó a la torre y no vio a su abuelo acostado. Vio una roca pasando sobre su cabeza que provenía de una de las catapultas del ejército enemigo y a varios soldados agazapados en la muralla tirando flechas. Se acurrucó en una de las esquinas de la torre y observó la misma escena durante horas hasta que un hombre se acercó, se agachó, y le dio un plato de comida.

—Hola pequeño, soy Dalai. ¿Cómo te llamas? —Preguntó con voz dulce.

—Me llamo Yuan, señor.

—Te voy a llevar a casa. —Respondió y se fue. Al poco tiempo volvió con una bolsa e hizo que lo siguiera. El Qilin ya no estaba.

Yuan lo siguió por pasadizos bajo tierra, hasta que llegaron a un camino rodeado de pastizales. No hablaron durante todo el camino, y cuando ya habían pasado algunas horas y Yuan quería caer rendido en el pasto, el hombre paró. Durmieron un poco y luego prosiguieron el viaje durante otro día. Entonces llegaron a un complejo enorme, la Ciudad Prohibida; aunque no se detuvieron y entraron a un gran palacio, llamado el Palacio de la Suprema Armonía. Lo llevó por distintos corredores hasta una gran habitación.

—Ésta es tu habitación. Te quedarás aquí hasta que venga a buscarte. Puedes bañarte y dormir un poco. —Dijo el hombre y se retiró. Yuan se bañó y cayó rendido en su lecho.

Al día siguiente lo llevaron a un salón gigante, donde había un trono y sentado en él, un hombre con barba y bigote largo y blanco. Dalai se inclinó y lo reverenció, Yuan lo copió y luego fue presentado.

—Emperador Hongwu, le presento a aquél que apareció desde la lluvia, Yuan. —El emperador, con un porte digno de un rey, no se inmutó ante tal presentación.

— ¿Cómo llegaste al Muro? —Le preguntó el emperador a Yuan.

—Llegué con el Qilin, emperador. —El emperador se asombró con tal respuesta, y pidió que le cuente más. Yuan le contó toda la historia, y cuando hubo terminado, el emperador se quedó anonadado.

—Te das cuenta que has viajado en el tiempo, ¿verdad, muchacho? — Le preguntó Dalai cuando lo llevó de nuevo a la habitación. Yuan se quedó mirado el suelo, asimilando todo lo que había pasado.

— ¿Cómo voy a volver? —Le preguntó, confundido.

—Yo sé cómo volverás. —Dijo una voz temblorosa que venía desde la puerta. Era una anciana que estaba junto a la puerta. —Viniste con un propósito: conocer a tus antepasados, ¿cierto? Entonces lo que debes hacer es conocerlos. Empezarás mañana por la mañana en la biblioteca.

—Pero no tenemos un libro de genealogía. —Dijo Yuan.

—Aquí sí. —Respondió la anciana.

A la mañana siguiente Yuan fue a la biblioteca y encontró a la anciana sentada con un libro grueso y viejo ante ella. Comenzaron a leer nombre por nombre, desde los padres del emperador y sus ascendientes, hasta que encontraron páginas en blanco.

— ¿Qué pasa con estas páginas? —Preguntó Yuan.

—Estas páginas son las que todavía no se escriben, son las que nuestros sucesores escribirán. Son las que tú escribirás.

—Pero si nosotros no tenemos este libro, ¿quién se lo quedó?

—No te preguntaste ¿por qué volviste a esta época? —Inquirió la anciana. Cuando Yuan volteó para mirarla, se había esfumado.

En el almuerzo, Yuan conoció al hijo del emperador, un hombre serio y frío. Hablaron poco y luego el hombre se levantó y se retiró. Después se lo vio cabalgando hacia el Muro. Dalai llevó a Yuan a la gran muralla, y cuando estaban por llegar, el niño vio a un hombre que estaba escondiendo un libro, en la torre donde él había estado con su abuelo. Era el hombre de la leyenda. Yuan le gritó de lejos y el hombre se dio vuelta, pero se asustó y dejo caer el libro. Intentó buscarlo pero fue en vano, porque en la oscuridad de la noche no pudo ver, por lo que se descolgó de la muralla y huyó sin que Yuan pudiera detenerlo. Cuando llegó a la torre, buscó hasta que encontró el libro y lo vio: sin dudas, era el libro de su familia. Lo tomó entre sus manos con la intención de devolverlo, pero luego pensó: “¿Cómo volveré a casa si no es hoy?”. Pensó durante unos minutos, y al fin tomo la decisión que creyó mejor: regresaría al palacio a devolver el libro de genealogías, aunque él tuviera que quedarse allí para siempre.

Cuando volvieron, la anciana estaba esperándolo en la puerta, y con brazos abiertos y una sonrisa, tomó y guardó nuevamente el libro en la biblioteca. Luego fueron al jardín interior del palacio, donde encontraron al Qilin, quien corrió al lado de la anciana.

— ¿Puedes llevarme a casa?

—Yo no, pero él sí. —Dijo señalando al animal.


—Gracias a ti, por traer a nosotros el Libro de Memorias. No me olvides. Mi nombre es Chen, y soy la madre del emperador.

Entonces, el animal se acercó y lamió la mano del niño. Las estrellas comenzaron a girar y Yuan se desmayó. Cuando despertó se encontraba en su casa, y su abuelo le estaba contando la leyenda.

—Y gracias a este niño, que devolvió el libro, los Dioses decidieron que desde ese momento, esa Muralla sería un lugar donde quedarían grabadas las genealogías de todas las personas. —Dijo Tian, terminando el relato.

— ¿Cómo se llamaba el niño?

—La leyenda lo nombra como “aquél que apareció desde la lluvia”, pero algunos le dicen “el ángel del Muro”.

Yuan se rio y se durmió.

“TIME a particle” by Citlalli H. Xochitiotzin

Read the original Spanish version here. To discuss this and other finalists, visit Mormon Lit Lab.

TIME a particle

by Citlalli H. Xochitiotzin
translated by Elayne Petterson

A thirty-three-year-old man, in extreme weather, deserted, fasting, scarce water, scant food, he has a perfect body, it doesn’t matter if he understood the signs beforehand, the pain he feels overwhelms his whole imagination, it is immense, it started in the first hours of the day. Still bewildered in his prayer he asks, without losing consciousness, he looks at the scarlet color of a drop of blood on the palm of his hand, it is the picture of the shadow of suffering. The trunks of the olive trees shudder, the leaves of the trees cry with him. Sky and silence are held in a breath. In the distance the stars plead, sparkle, the light accompanies him with expectation. They sense desecration, it fills the bowels of the earth with trembling and he watches the blood fall from his eyes, he observes drop by drop; a kaleidoscope of horror, yells, hunger, anxiety, unrest, thousands of years under the scarlet shadow on Cain’s doorstep; siege. He stops twenty-one centuries later, broken voices in two giant trucks, shrouded with screams they burst, tens of bodies wrapped in black plastic, boys, men, women, the shouting hurts his stomach, he cries, they cry together. The jasmines around them shake, the sky moans, there is no time it’s all the same.

The wind is perfumed when he awakens, the ritual will begin, his atonement. The men sleep through the longest night. Beyond this time the trailers reek, it is the stench of the hyenas, the corpses are multiplying: Africa, Palestine, Syria, Greece, Turkey, the beaches of Italy, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, El Salvador, inside the window of time, no pain will be distant to him.

He looks at his disciples – wake up – wake up, wake up, he utters three times, he continues his walk. The men will awaken, the stars bristling in the darkest night announce the dawn. The prayers intonate piety, it comes to the awareness of every single mountain, rock, river, flower, animal, to every one of the disciples in the coming centuries. A prayer is heard: As you have been faithful…  so the blood of this age will not touch you…

The leaves fall slowly, the sky and the stars have rhythm, the pain shakes everything. It has begun. The men are still sleeping, they will wake up, HE knows, they will wake up.

The blood falls drop by drop to the earth, the birds shiver, the sea murmurs, beyond in another time; The lion next to the lamb, the bear next to the horse, the asp by the child. All pain, hate, impiety would burn the offender, petrify their faces, only the one who listened has his name. However, everyone heard, not everyone listened.

Tonight carries centuries and centuries in every one of his steps. Only the one who sharpened his ear has his name. He walks step by step through the garden, he waits for a kiss on the cheek.