There I stood, alone in the sunken valley of Villaviciosa. Mountains were patted with brown lumps and birds flew above me. Horses ran wildly across the hills, singing with their mouths open wide, running past each other continuously. It was here I waited for the three hundred year old Concha. Her house was built upon silver stones and the walls were shaven logs.

I could hardly see through the old saloon hole in the yellow door, where inside there were blackened floors, closets, and iron furnaces. Finally in a blue shirt and a wee white apron, Concha arrived. Her shoes were made of wood. Surely, I followed her into her dark Spanish cave. She had lots of paintings, ones of vineyards, and Gods, and bloody bulls, swords stuck in their backs behind victorious matadors.

Would you like brandy, she asked. Yes, thank you, said I. She poured the green stuff and sat me down at an old circled table. Then she deflated, drinking brandy. I’m three hundred years old, said she. I know, said I. And you’ve come to hear your future? Yes, said I. For lately things have been stagnant and I’ve not been in a good way.

Like a donkey, Concha Miyar began galloping around the room, kicking the old white tiles with dust and spitting at the wooden cabinets. Her grey hair flew hazardously up and down and her long nose and face turned like a pendulum. I sat drinking the green brandy, swirling it around and thinking of the misfortune of Madrid and her long buildings that tore away beautiful Spanish fields. Then, just as I had become accustomed to the noises of the old woman slapping her wooden boots upon the white floor and grunting, she stopped. Calmly, she got back in her chair and stopped her sweating with a good sip of brandy.

Well Señor, said she, for now.. Yes… You want something… Yes… And you’ll get that…. Get what? She drank and I sat. I knew then she was talking about the damned girl back home who I had become infatuated with. Christ, I had sent her letters and she had responded, but bored was she and I had been sad about it. Now my heart ran through my brain like an old automobile. Catherine? Said I. Yes, Señor, said she.

That isn’t it, Señor. For love it is short. But death is long. He will with his dark horses sleep in your bed next fall.

It is now thirty days prior to the day I am to die, according to the three hundred year old Concha, a woman old was she, white like a sea shell and nearly dead. Concha was known in the good books as a mad Spanish prophet, eyes red with malice and knowledge. However, I am confident in my long life. For as long as I have the love of a beautiful woman, I will not die.


Liam Miyar Mullan