Excerpt from Chapter One of "The Bravo Chronicles."
Bravo’s dreams began and ended as they always had, in a ring of death. A faceless, hooded Ferryman flowed across the calm river, bringing a thick fog behind him. His high pitched call echoed over the silent waves. Bravo was startled at the vision of this demi god who offered the services of his vile vessel. A God to the skeleton people of the underworld, the ferryman’s help was ignored. Bravo tried to cross the river on his own, always on his own. A strong swimmer in his youth, he would dive, jump and play in the desert canals as a child that surrounded his Buckeye home. Later those talents would land him on the swim team, some say he was “part fish.”
The town of Buckeye was more of a settlement founded by drifters and dreamers. The invisible people of the American southwest; Buckeye’s native population comprised of Toltecs, Yaquis and Chicanos. Until the late 1970's, there was no electricity or paved streets in this forgotten part of the desert; just sand, dust, and dry air to fill the Arizona horizons. Bravo dreamt of flying heroes and villains stalking the landscape of his childhood. Little did he know in his youth he could have changed the skyline with a thought, maybe a word. He knew he was different as a boy. Once when beaten by a much bigger, freckle-faced kid called “Pecas,” he wished the husky boy dead. Pecas, days later, was found floating down the Maricopa aqueduct. Belly up, his eyes and signature freckles had been plucked out by the black buzzards of the deep Sonoran.
Little Benny first heard about Pecas when his Uncle Andy, a sheriff's deputy, was one of the policemen on hand to drag the swollen body out. Benny was Bravo's sidekick and would often stay over for dinner. Chata, Bravo's aunt, made killer chile rellenos, but Benny loved everything she cooked. Benny knew Bravo was different as he would have nightmares as well. Bravo’s dreams cured and created nightmares. But he was just a boy, brown and invisible. What did he know about dreams? Perhaps he too was a God the skeleton people would one day worship in the land of Mictlan, the Aztec underworld.