In the late 1800s, Marcelino is born in a remote village in Mexico. A loving mother makes hard living tolerable until her death. Immediately after the funeral, his conniving father gives him to an uncle, who takes him to his farm in Texas. Once there, his aunt fashions him into her personal servant and whipping boy. Her sons also refuse to accept the new addition to the family. They work Marcelino like a beast of burden and quash all talk of legal adoption.
Marcelino finally runs away from this miserable existence. Newfound freedom is glorious, yet no discovery will ever ease his constant nightmares. And little does he know that those vile companions of the night have a more sinister plan in store. Very soon ruination will devour his dreams, and damnation will rule his entry into adulthood.
Maria never knew her father. Tequila and a faster gun took his worthless life prior to her birth. The upside is that his death allowed normalcy to prevail. Her first husband creats the downside that abruptly ends all happiness. What he does to Maria scars her so badly, both mentally and physically, that it forever changes her life.
Marcelino and Maria meet and quickly marry. But before they can get settled WWI intervenes. Maria’s mother will not chance losing a son. They flee to Mexico, leaving homeless Marcelino and his readimade family. To provide for them, Marcelino returns to the farm. Big mistake! They become trapped and are all mistreated.
A major conflict forces them on the road. Years of crisscrossing Central Texas provides extreme poverty, racism, and hardships beyond comprehension.
Marcelino finds permanent work in San Marcos. He sees a great improvement in their lives; what he fails to notice is a hellish nightmare taking shape. Maria has developed telekenisis, and the townspeople suspect she is a socerress. An incident at church confirms their suspicion and angers the ladies. They retaliate by hiring a Comanche witch to “fix” Maria. A crowded churchyard provides the scene for a confrontation that triggers Maria’s madness. As her violent behavior escalates, it singles out her newborn son. What she plans for him and for all her chidren is genuine insanity.
Although a harsh existence may have been depicted thus far, humor is still sprinkled throughout these pages. Children will always seek out mischief, and Marcelino certainly enjoys a hearty laugh, himself. Don’t we all?