Silvio Manuel

Zuleica very quietly led us to the patio. She whispered that there was someone out there
waiting to meet me. The patio was pitch black. I could hardly make out the silhouettes of the
others. Then I saw the dark outline of a man standing a few-feet away from me. My body
experienced an involuntary jolt.

Don Juan spoke to the man in a very low voice, saying that he had brought me to meet him.
He told the man my name. After a moment’s silence, don Juan said to me that the man’s name
was Silvio Manuel, and that he was the warrior of darkness and the actual leader of the whole
warrior’s party. Then Silvio Manuel spoke to me. I thought that he must have had a speech
disorder – his voice was muffled and the words came out of him like spurts of soft coughing.
He ordered me to come closer. As I tried to approach him, he receded, just as if he were
floating. He led me into an even darker recess of a hall, walking, it seemed, noiselessly

He muttered something I could not understand. I wanted to speak; my throat itched
and was parched. He repeated something two or three times until it dawned on me that he was
ordering me to undress. There was something overpowering about his voice and the darkness
around him. I was incapable of disobeying. I took off my clothes and stood stark naked,
shivering with fear and cold.

It was so dark that I could not see if don Juan and the two women were around. I heard a soft
prolonged hissing from a source a few feet away from me; then I felt a cool breeze. I realized that Silvio Manuel was exhaling his breath all over my body.

He then asked me to sit on my clothes and look at a bright point which I could easily
distinguish in the darkness, a point that seemed to give out a faint amber light. I stared at it for
what seemed hours, until I suddenly realized that the point of brightness was Silvio Manuel’s left eye. I could then make out the contour of his whole face and his body. The hall was not as dark as it had seemed. Silvio Manuel advanced to me and helped me up. To see in the dark with such clarity enthralled me. I did not even mind that I was naked or that, as I then saw, the two women were watching me. Apparently they could also see in the dark; they were staring at me. I wanted to put on my pants, but Zoila snatched them out of my hands.

The two women and Silvio Manuel stared at me for a long time.


For my father-in-law who at ~80 liked Primal Scream and Screamadelica