Village By Poulos

“They are taking me to Poulos tomorrow for a check up.” Maria rested her hands on her enlarged stomach and sighed.

“Do you want to take some of those dried banana’s I made?” Natalia folded the threadbare towel and sat it next to her other clothes.

“Oh, thanks. I love those.” Maria looked worried though, and glanced away.

“What?”

“Just it’s only been 5 months and I’m already look like I could give birth.” Maria scrambled around awkwardly to stand up. Natalia stood up and held her hand out, but Maria ignored it.

“That doesn’t mean anything.” Natalia followed Maria to the door of the small house and let her outside.

“I’m still worried, though. I will see you when I get back.” Maria waved and walked away down the dirt road towards the center of the village.



“Have you seen Maria?” Natalia held a small bag of the dried banana chips. The chief of the small police force in the village just smoothed out his mustache and shook his head.

“She the pregnant one?”

“Yes. She has dark hair, kind of curly.” Natalia was getting annoyed. The village wasn’t big enough to not know someone.

“Omar said he was leaving at day break to take the girl to Poulos.” Omar, a transfer man, would have been the one to take her.
“Oh, I just wanted to give these to her.” Natalia lifted the bag and little and turned to leave.
“Wait, what are they?” The chief’s gruff voice made her freeze and turn to face him again.
“Dried banana chips.” Natalia dug her nails into the bag, in case he tried to snatch them. In the village, men were superior, especially if you were on the police force.
“Let me have them.” He held out with bear paw of a hand, waiting impatiently for them to be dropped in his hand.
“They are for Maria, I have no more.” Natalia looked around, hoping someone would come to her aid, but the small square was oddly empty.
“I don’t care, hand them over.” He furrowed his bushy eye brows down, glaring at her.

“No.” She held them behind her back protectively, and glanced around for her quickest escape, but the officer grabbed her arm, holding on so tight she was afraid her arm would come off.

“Failure to follow orders from a police chief, eh? Well, let’s see how some jail time does you.” Fear was visible on Natalia’s face, making the man laugh a deep chested chuckle.



Natalia sat in the small jail cell, the police chief sitting in his chair, watching her and the other prisoner, Miguel. Miguel had been in for weeks, caught stealing for his family.

“Miguel...” Natalia started to ask, but the chief interrupted her.

“No talking.” He grunted, scratching his beer belly.

Natalia watched as he swallowed a handful of her banana chips. The crumbs got stuck in his mustache and she felt anger boil in her, but that had already gotten her in enough trouble.


The next morning, the chief was gone, but a small tray was by the cell door. Natalia stood from the wooden bench, gasping at the soreness in her back. The tray had an apple with some worm holes in it and a piece of barely cooked chicken that even a child wouldn’t be satisfied on. Natalia sighed and lowered herself slowly to the floor.

“What did you get?” Miguel’s rough voice came from the other cell and Natalia grimaced.

“An apple and a piece of chicken.”

“They stopped giving me meat a week after I was in.” He sounded depressed and Natalia glanced down at the small portion of protein. Picking it up she scooted to the wall and held the chicken through the bars towards Miguel.

“Take it, you have had much worse than I have.” She heard him walking slowly to where she sat and reached his arm out and for a moment, their hands touched Natalia felt a spark.

“Thank you.” He said and she pulled her arm back in, glad he could not see her blushing. She had not known Miguel much, but his mother and many sisters were always well taken care of, his father had been killed during a hunting trip. Miguel was a couple years older than her and she had never found him interesting.


The rest of the morning went with talking and joking, but it all stopped abruptly when the chief returned to his seat.

“Morning prisoners.” He grunted and then pulled his hat down over his eyes and he was asleep in moments.

Natalia picked up the core of the apple and picked the seeds out. She flicked one easily through the bars and it hit the man’s mustache. She heard Miguel stifle a laugh. She flicked the next one, and this one bounced off his flabby cheek and he jumped in his sleep.

“Wha..” he said sleepily and brushed his cheek and pulled his hat back. “What is going on?” He stood up, making the floor creak beneath him.

“What do you mean?” Natalia asked, already hidden all the seeds under her dress. The chief looked uneasy and he walked from the room, slamming the door behind him.

“Good job, Natalia.” Miguel complimented her and she blushed again at the way her name rolled off his tongue.

“Thank you.”



The rest of the day went uneventfully, until the evening. The door to the jail flung open and the chief walked in, his footfalls echoed around them.

“Visitor for Natalia.” The chief sat down in his chair and the very pregnant looking Maria waddled in.

“Natalia, what have to gotten yourself into?” Maria had worry lines written all over her once flawless face and Natalia wondered if she was worried about something else to.

“It doesn’t matter now, how did your check up go?” Natalia was pressed against the bars, glad to be seeing her friend. Color drained from Maria’s face, but she just shook her head.

“We talk about it later, I have an idea at how to get you out of here.” Maria turned towards the chief, but Natalia grabbed her arm and looked into her friend’s green eyes.

“Try to get Miguel out, too.” Natalia knew his mother and sister were suffering without him.

“I will,” Maria nodded, then turned to the chief. She motioned for him to follow her.

After they had left the room, awkward silence surrounded Natalia and Miguel.

“You know what, Natalia, I have always liked you, but now I think I like you even more. When I saw him dragging you in here, I knew things would be changing.” Miguel sounded like he was about to cry with thankfulness. Natalia was not sure what kind of “like” he was talking about, but she was happy he liked her at all.

“I just know your family probably misses you, and you have suffered long enough.” Natalia’s voice came out softly, shyly.

The door from the rest of the police house opened and the chief strutted in, thumbs tucked in his pockets.

“Well, prisoners. Your getting out in the morning.” He walked over to the lantern, and turned it down till it went off.

“What did she give you?” Miguel asked. The chief stood in the open door of the police house and in the dim light coming from the small window and the rest of the house, Natalia could see him grin.

“A baby.” He replied, and shut the door, locking it. Natalia’s stomach dropped and her heart felt like chains were wrapping around it, and getting tighter.


The next morning, Miguel and Natalia stumbled outside to the waiting Maria. Miguel hurried over to her, wrapping his now scrawny arms around her in a big hug.

“Thank you so much, Maria.” He pulled back and turned to Natalia. He hugged her to and whispered in her ear.

“I will see you soon.” Then he turned and ran towards his home. Maria and Natalia stood alone in the square, staring at each other.

“How could you give up your baby for us?” Natalia felt guilt raising in her throat.

“Natalia, I’m having twins.” The situation changed. In the village, if you had twins they killed the weaker one. “Now I know that both my babies are alive and that my best friend is not in jail.”





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