Reasons for a Disappearance by Isabel Cañas

A sun rises out of my grandfather’s garden, in between the tomato plants. He shouldn’t have risen, not at this hour. Gray, humid skies hang low overhead, heavy as the afternoon. Mom will be home from work soon. The sun god sways, golden as maíz, his gleaming brow slick with sweat. He’s going to faint, Alejandra says. So we take him into the shade of the patio and debate what to do with him. We’re only second graders, after all. Grandpa is watching football in the back room and won’t have seen us pull the god from the tomato patch. He’ll be mad when he sees how the fat July fruits have been scorched by the god’s skin. So we decide we won’t tell him. Instead, we frog march the god to the creek between Grandpa’s yard and Alejandra’s, our sandals crunching over sharp, dried oak leaves, each of us clenching our jaws as we hold the god’s burning forearms. If we cool him down in the creek, he’ll be able to speak. He’s taller than us, as tall as a grown-up; his hair is blacker than ours, and cut severely, and his nose is pierced by a shining gold ring. Fire ants part before him, arcing over cracked mud like the spread of wings. Creek water hisses when it touches his golden shins. He grimaces, then shudders, then pitches forward. A toppling tree. Weight yanks my arms from their sockets; I release. Alejandra doesn’t. Her eyes are locked on the god’s gleaming face, her hands tight around his arm, as he drags them down into the water. The creek is low in the summer, sticky with tadpoles and drought, but they fall, and fall, and fall. My throat is raw from screaming Alejandra’s name when Grandpa limps down the path of scorched grass to the creek. When he gets to my side, panting, sweat pooling in thick drops in front of his ears and staining the front of his red shirt, the only thing that’s left in the creek is the god’s golden ring.


Isabel Cañas is a Mexican American speculative fiction writer and author of The Hacienda and Vampires of El Norte. She holds a doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and writes fiction inspired by her research and her heritage. To find out more, visit