About the Mystery

(Copyrighted Material)

20th century Araçoiaba da Serra São Paulo, Brazil
Iron mine in the outskirts of Sorocaba. Year: 1945.

Miners were hard at work amid the sound of drills blasting holes in the ground. The enormous tires of the delivery truck maneuvered through the rocky red earth, halting for its final pickup of the day. With his arms folded across his chest, Juan Gomes watched, entranced by the rhythmic flow. This wasn't exactly the big break he had expected with relocating but finding work was something to be grateful for.

Most said his family had been too fortunate. As brutal as the civil war had been, not a single Gomes lost his life in it. When friends and even cousins on the other sides of their family perished, the Gomeses, as those of old would say, waxed strong. They had lost friends as well. Some were incarcerated for supporting the Republic while others sought refuge in France.

According to some, the Gomes family was powerful; to others, they were cowards for never taking a stand for anything. However, minding their business was what the Gomeses knew; and if that kept them alive, so be it. Juan didn’t know what to make of it. All he knew was that he had to leave Spain because it was in dire straits and after having survived a war, he was not about to lose his family to starvation.

The truck veered off the grounds, hauling away the final batch of blasted ore for crushing, and leaving dust fumes behind in its trail. Juan covered his mouth and nose with his worn damp rag. Blinking away dust from his eyes, he made out an image of a lanky man approaching from the fumes

'What are these?' the man asked, pointing to the heap of Iron fines the truck had left behind.

'Oh, those are just waste,' Juan replied, coughing. 'It came from the iron. I see you are new to this.'

Ignoring Juan's last statement, the man continued. 'Waste? It'd be a shame to throw all this away,' he said, grabbing a handful of the powdery substance and staring intently at it.

Juan's brows furrowed. 'Are you the new guy?'

'I'm sure we can use this for some good.'

There was a small smile on the man's lips as he rubbed the particles together between his fingers. A sudden chill came over Juan as he watched the mysterious man stroll off without another word. Just then, a mighty wind blew over the entire work site, ruffling through the heap of fines. He heard someone yell from a distance, 'a storm is coming!' as he struggled to keep his gaze on the man. There had been something sinister about his voice and the fact that he did not reply to a single question. Although it was difficult to see through the turbulence, he knew he was not imagining what he saw next. The winds had nearly flattened the heap of fines and its particles drifted towards the mystery man.

- Excerpt from prologue