The coffer by Manuel R Terreros (1922)

The tremulous blazes, that the fire of the chimney dismissed, oscillated fantastically, on the walls of the hotel lodgings, the shade of the old gift from Alexander. Crumpled up this one in a armchair, next to the wide home, it tried to warm up his body, numb, not as much by bad weather but by the years and pains that it exceeds it. But, in spite of his proximity to the fire, it felt cold.

How many nights it would spend long hours in the same site, it determines the glance to the reddish fire! Sometimes, the ignitions logs assumed forms that its imagination exchanged with successful people and of that way turned that one home into a scene, in which the gloomy drama of its life was often imagined.

The first act, so to speak, was of little interest. After his first years, last next to his mother, he saw his life at school, sad life and without friends that much influenced his character, making it shy and dissuaded.

The second act with a dreadful picture began. On a milk of death lay his mother, the unique being of him beloved, and alongside, standing up, contemplated a severe man, almost repugnant: his father.

The other acts of the drama followed with all fidelity. Don Alexander crossed the main capitals of the world, in search of distraction; but all fled from him, as if he was an infected being: consequently its character had become sour more and more. When he returned to his house, he found that his father died. Without feeling pain, saw how the existence of the author of its days went out. The doctor indicated that there was no more resource… The priest arrived, but the dying only managed to enunciate, with great difficulty, the words:

“The coffer…!”

The hall in which it was, Alexander kept many old works of art and objects. Among them, in a corner of the room, one was a great iron coffer, with nails and rivets of bronze. This era, doubtless, the coffer to which the dying had wanted to talk about, but the key had not been able to be and the secret, if secret had in him, remained ignored.

By the thousandth time, Alexander directed his glance towards the angle of the stay, and tremble when he saw that the coffer was open. The heavy cover rested against the wall, leaving to see the very old and complicated mechanism of its lock.

Long time he remained with the old one without being able to separate from that one site his frightened eyes. Finally, delivering a supreme attack, it left his seat of honor next to the chimney, and with a fright sensation, one went towards the coffer. At the outset nothing could distinguish in the interior, but few moments later, saw a yellowish rectangle that lay at his heart. Kneeling and with tremulous hands extracted that one object. It was on, stained by the course of the time, without label of no species.

Sudden and formidable noise made him return the intimidated face, and saw again that the cover of the coffer was fallen in its site, closing it.

He returned next to the home, to read the contents of the document, but his trembling hands were of such way, that he could not verify it. After some moments, he managed to conquer relative tranquility; it opened the cover and with terrified eyes, he extracted the sheet contained inside. But it made him dizzy, and he had to lean in the armchair not to fall to the ground. He again determined the view to the fire of the home, and saw clearly the dreadful scene of the death of his mother. Overwhelmed, he watched the old one to his furtively around, fearing to be observed, and decided to deliver an attack to read the sheet; but the paper escaped from his trembling hands and fell between the flames which consumed it voraciously.

Don Alexander looked towards the corner where the closed coffer was located and it approached the chimney still more, but in spite of his proximity to the fire it felt cold.

The coffer by Manuel R Terreros (1922)


Lawndale, United States

  • Artist

Artist's Description

my translation from Spanish of a story by a writer from Spain, written in 1922. It is mysterious and suspenseful.

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