The Key for Dreams Foretold

Francis Drake torched and sacked Valparaíso in 1578. The last to be hanged at the harbour gates was feeble-minded washerwoman Anabel Rojas. Just before swinging from the rope, she divined that merciless epidemics would befall the coast for centuries to come. Salvation would appear only when three keys were found; their proper use curing the deadly ailments.

The assembled crowd watched the swinging wretch with the peculiar silence that marks generations brought up to be blindly obedient to Divine providence. All went away with the dread of disasters burgeoning beyond the horizon.

The third epidemic began in 1934 by rendering all who had embarked on love games unable to call an end to them and go to work. Two weeks later all curtains, all balconies, and all walls emitted laments, screams, and cries for help. Just two men were spared this agony, being sent in search of the third miracle key. When they finally returned with it, most Valpinos had breathed their last. Survivors had empty eyes that looked as if they had stared meaningfully into the eyes of God.

The Key for Dreams Foretold was stolen from the jewellery box belonging to the swarthy Dolores Segovia while its proprietress pondered the unreasonableness of happiness in the arms of Nasko H., an adventurer, smuggler of love stories, and world-renowned counterfeiter of silver yearnings.

Exhausted from playing between the sheets, the lady took refuge in the only maze that offered a way back: dreaming. Leaning on his side, his eyes open, Nasko H. could clearly observe what the proprietress of the body and of the key was dreaming. As the dream progressed, alarm invaded his heart until, near the dream’s end, he became convinced that only theft would help him extricate himself from the affair with tolerable consequences.