Featured SCAD Writer

Adriana Isabel Ruiz Ursula 

Adriana Isabel Ruiz Ursula is a Peruvian multi – creative woman whose dream is to put her country’s wonderful and rich history on the eyes of the world. Writing and drawing historical fiction about the important events and people that marked Peru is something very important to her and people admired her for doing so. She received her M.F.A in graphic design from Full Sail University and she is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree on Computer Animation at the Savannah College of Arts and Design. When Adriana is not drawing or writing, she likes to watch biographical movies, WW2 based series and slice of life American comedies while relaxing in the couch and eating chocolate.


Lima Days

EXT. STREET IN SAN JUAN DE MIRAFLORES AV. LIMA-PERU –

AFTERNOON.

 

MAURICIO, a 15-year-old, African-Peruvian boy wearing a dirty white and green school uniform, is walking in a fast pace in the now quiet streets of Lima. His face shows worry and anger.

 

Walking behind him, dressed in old summer clothing despite, being the middle of winter, is CIRILO, a 16-year-old Andean boy.

 

CIRILO

Mauricio!

 

Mauricio ignores him as he keeps walking. Cirilo grabs his

arm.

 

MAURICIO

Dude, let go of me! I have to call my mom.

 

CIRILO

Not until you explain what you did!

 

MAURICIO

Me?

 

CIRILO

Yes! Fucking, ignorant clown! –

 

Mauricio struggles and frees himself from CIRILO. He takes a deep breath.

 

MAURICIO

– Well… where do we start?

 

INT. BUS – EARLIER THAT AFTERNOON – FLASHBACK.

 

Mauricio stands in an incredibly crowded bus. He looks at the door as he sees how even more people are desperately trying to get inside. Mauricio is pushed into the backseats of the bus, where he crushes with Cirilo.

 

CIRILO

Mauricio, what a surprise.

 

MAURICIO

Oh, hi.

 

CIRILO

I didn’t know you take this bus.

 

MAURICIO

I do. I never saw you here.

 

CIRILO

Whatever.

 

Uncomfortable silence fills the humid air. A sudden stop from the bus makes the bodies shift from one side to the other. Cirilo and Mauricio are now uncomfortably close to each other.

 

Cirilo looks at the window to avoid eye contact. He notices two POLICE OFFICERS approaching the bus.

 

CIRILO (CONT’D)

Mauricio.

 

MAURICIO

Yes?

 

CIRILO

Are we friends?

 

MAURICIO

Well… I guess… We don’t actually talk too much in class, and, man, you are one weird, ass kid.

 

CIRILO

Ok?

 

MAURICIO

If anyone at school sees us talking together, I can kiss my reputation goodbye.

 

CIRILO

Am I your friend or not?

 

MAURICIO

Goodbye, I say!

 

CIRILO

Mauricio!

 

MAURICIO

Yes…?

 

CIRILO

Good, then, can you grab this bag for me?

 

MAURICIO

Ehhh…

 

Before Mauricio could respond, Cirilo gives him his backpack toward him. Cirilo starts sweating nervously.

 

CIRILO

This is my stop follow me.

 

MAURICIO

Wait! This isn’t my stop! Hey listen to me!

 

Cirilo ignores Mauricio as he makes his way to the exit. He barely makes it out. When he turns his head, he stares in shock as he watches Mauricio about to open the contents of his backpack to the Police officers. Cirilo runs at full speed towards them.

 

MAURICIO (CONT’D)

Hey, here is the owner.

 

POLICE OFFICER # 1

So, kiddo, is this…?

 

Before Police Officer # 1 react, Cirilo punches him in the face. Cirilo grabs Mauricio and runs.

 

MAURICIO

What?! Help! Someone help me!

 

CIRILO

Shut up!

 

EXT. STREET IN SAN JUAN DE MIRAFLORES AV – CONTINUOUS

 

MAURICIO

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the story about how my life is now ruined, thanks to a stupid asshole.

 

CIRILO

Mauricio you agreed to help me.

 

MAURICIO

I never fully accepted! Cirilo, I don’t know if your brain is too small to process information, but you just punched a fucking police officer! And you grabbed me into your mess!

 

CIRILO

Well, by all accounts, your completely manly screaming was the thing that got their attention in the first place. They almost caught us like three times!

 

MAURICIO

So, it is now all my fault?! You grab me like I was your accomplice! Heck, maybe not only the police…The Peruvian Secret Service! The FBI!

 

Cirilo starts to look annoyed.

 

CIRILO

The FBI… why would the U.S. care about some random Peruvian boy who cries for everything?

 

Mauricio falls onto his knees.

END OF FLASHBACK.

 

MAURICIO

My whole life is ruined because of this! How will I be able to move out of here!? My name is tainted! No country will ever want to take me in!

 

CIRILO

Mauricio…

 

Mauricio’s eyes start to water, completely ignoring Cirilo.

 

MAURICIO

I don’t blame them! Who will accept an accomplice of …?

 

Mauricio stops whining and looks at Cirilo’ eyes.

 

MAURICIO (CONT’D)

Cirilo, what is in your bag? Why didn’t you want the police to

know?

 

Cirilo freezes at the question, still holding his bag. Mauricio takes it away from him and opens it. Mauricio takes out a couple of pamphlets. Cirilo hasn’t moved during the whole ordeal. Mauricio reads.

 

MAURICIO (CONT’D)

“Revolutionary Movement Shining Path” Battle against the classist and capitalistic…system…Join the co… co –

 

CIRILO

– Communist revolution.

 

Cirilo suddenly falls, his bag thrown at his face. The papers that were inside the bag, flow into the air.

 

CIRILO (CONT’D)

What on earth?! Mauricio, where are you going?!

 

MAURICIO

I am going home!

 

CIRILO

No, you’re not!

 

Mauricio turns around, facing Cirilo.

 

MAURICIO

Listen, the national curfew starts in 2 hours. I’m having enough

problems with the police right now, I don’t want any more! Mauricio walks away from Cirilo.

 

Cirilo looks furiously at the ground and whispers.

 

CIRILO

You know too much.

 

Cirilo punches Mauricio on the face, before Mauricio can counterattack, Cirilo uses his bag to knock Mauricio unconscious.

 

INT. PUBLIC SCHOOL CLASSROOM – MORNING – FLASHBACK

In a small classroom filled with geographic posters of Peru, 20 bored students are watching a film about the Pacific War. The military conflict between Peru and Chile.

 

NARRATOR:

And that’s when our great hero, Alfonso Ugarte, saved the Peruvian flag from the enemy by throwing himself into the sea from Arica Mountain…

 

An old woman, the teacher, MISS ROSARIO, is reading a magazine in her desk. Looking annoyed as she reads. Mauricio is sleeping, his face stuck on his desk. A friend of his, EMMA, pinches his nose with a pencil, waking him up.

 

EMMA

If you keep sleeping, Miss Rosario will call you out again

 

Mauricio looks at Emma.

 

MAURICIO

Well, she doesn’t seem to care. We already know about this stuff anyways.

 

Emma smirks at Mauricio.

 

EMMA

What we were learning about then?

 

MAURICIO

The war with… Spain?

 

EMMA

Chile.

 

MAURICIO

We had a war with Chile?

 

Emma laughs a little.

 

EMMA

And you want to study abroad with that empty head of yours?

 

MAURICIO

Hey! Don’t blame me for having dreams! Is it a crime that I want to live a normal life like the people on the American sitcoms?

 

Emma tries desperately to put her hand on Mauricio’s mouth.

 

EMMA

Shhh! You will get Miss Rosario’s attention! And I wouldn’t call the American TV people normal.

 

MAURICIO

But you have to admit their lives are amazing.

 

Emma rests her head on her desk, looking tired.

EMMA

True.

 

Then, Emma smiles, changing her tune.

 

EMMA (CONT’D)

But, returning to the real world…I want to ask if you will be able to go to my house on Friday, so on Saturday you can have the privilege of helping me buy sugar rations.

 

Mauricio suddenly looks excited.

 

MAURICIO

Sugar? Like real, real sugar? Wow! It has been months since the last shipment!

 

EMMA

Yep! My dad heard from one of his buddies that sugar will arrive at the police station near my house on Saturday at 5 a.m. So, we have to be ready!

 

Mauricio makes a happy face as Emma watches him amused.

 

MAURICIO

Count me in! I am sick of sweetening my coffee with fucking

hard candy!

 

Mauricio suddenly freezes.

 

MAURICIO (CONT’D)

Wait… Is your brother coming too?

 

EMMA

Dude, they only give, like, less than 500 grams per person.

Unfortunately, he is coming; why?

 

Mauricio blushes slightly.

 

MAURICIO

Oh, nothing…

 

EMMA

Mauricio, I have known you my whole life. I know when you’re lying.

MAURICIO

I swear it’s nothing important! I just want more people in our party, so I can bring home more sugar!

 

Mauricio feels a chalk hit his head, bruising it a little and dirtying his hair with white dust. Miss Rosario is looks at him angrily. Emma tries not to laugh.

 

MAURICIO (CONT’D)

Auch!

 

MISS ROSARIO

Mister Lopez! stop talking and pay attention!

 

Mauricio hides his head between his arms. Miss Rosario continues reading her magazine. He feels Emma poke him with her pencil again. She looks worried now.

EMMA

Mau, are you gay? Is that why you want to see my brother?

 

MAURICIO

What?

 

Emma looks at Mauricio confidently and then holds his hands.

 

EMMA

Don’t worry buddy, your secret is safe with me.

 

END OF FLASHBACK

EXT. BORDER OF THE RIMAC RIVER – AFTERNOON 1992

 

The view under the bridge that connects the two sides of the Rimac river is not a pretty one. The rocky shore area covered in trash makes it impossible to walk comfortably. However, this is why it makes the perfect hiding place. Cirilo is reorganizing the propaganda pamphlets while Mauricio is lying unconscious on the ground, using his own backpack as a pillow. Mauricio starts to wake up from his dream.

 

MAURICIO

I swear… not gay… .

 

CIRILO

I bet you aren’t. That would be a problem.

 

Mauricio fully wakes up and sits up.

 

MAURICIO

You! Where are we?!

 

CIRILO

We are still in Peru.

 

Mauricio stands up quickly.

 

MAURICIO

Don’t play dumb with me asshole!

 

CIRILO

Okay, okay… we are in the border of the Rimac River, under a bridge to be exact. If you swim to the other side of this contaminated river, you can take the bus that will take straight to plaza.

 

MAURICIO

Okayyyyyy?

 

Mauricio puts his backpack on. A sudden realization hits him, making him go pale.

 

MAURICIO (CONT’D)

What time is it?

 

CIRILO

6:10 p.m.

 

MAURICIO

What?! No… no…NO! This is bad! Way too bad! The national

curfew starts in 50 minutes! If I am not home by then…

 

Mauricio starts hyperventilating.

 

MAURICIO (CONT’D)

I am not going to jail! I am too young to die!

 

CIRILO

Chill, nobody will find us here. Nobody ever comes.

 

MAURICIO

How can you stay so calm?! Is it because it was your people who started this civil war shit?!

 

Cirilo’s eyes suddenly turn wild. He runs to Mauricio and attacks him by knocking him into the floor. Cirilo spits at Mauricio’s face.

CIRILO

What do you mean “your people”? You racist piece of shit!

 

Mauricio is in shock, but he is angry more than anything.

 

MAURICIO

I don’t know! You guys look the same and do violent stuff!

 

CIRILO

Well, at least we are doing something!

 

Cirilo tries to calm himself down. Mauricio takes advantage of this by pushing him, freeing himself. Cirilo stands up.

 

CIRILO (CONT’D)

My contact will arrive in a few minutes. Don’t you leave me until then.

 

Mauricio looks annoyed.

 

MAURICIO

Hell no! You are alone in this! Fuck this shit, I am out!

 

CIRILO

I don’t think leaving me will the wisest choice.

 

MAURICIO

It will be more stupid to stay!

 

Mauricio starts to walk away. Cirilo looks at the floor, before he starts talking.

CIRILO

Your father works at that pharmaceutical company located at the outsides of Lima. Right? Global Laboratories?

 

MAURICIO stops and turns his head towards Cirilo.

 

MAURICIO

What… ? How do you know?

 

CIRILO

And your mom is what? An accountant for that law firm near the church of Nazarenes?

 

Mauricio goes pale.

 

MAURICIO

You wouldn’t dare!

CIRILO

You know too much mestizo. It’s necessary.

 

MAURICIO

Mestizo? But I am black.

 

CIRILO

Your ignorance is crossing the line.

 

Mauricio breaths heavily. He puts his backpack down as he sits, looking defeated.

 

CIRILO (CONT’D)

Wise choice.

 

EXT. BORDER OF THE RIMAC RIVER-DUSK

Cirilo is walking in circles waiting impatiently. He looks at his watch. It is 6:40 p.m. Mauricio is throwing rocks at the river.

 

Cirilo mutters.

 

CIRILO

Where the fuck is that dude?

 

Mauricio hears him.

 

MAURICIO

Don’t know. Can I go home now?

 

CIRILO

You are not moving until I finish this. It’s important.

 

MAURICIO

Important? I bet that more than half of those end in the trash can.

 

Cirilo just ignores him.

 

Mauricio laughs.

 

MAURICIO (CONT’D)

You know, you should have let the police officer take that

propaganda. It will be better for everybody.

 

Cirilo turns around and starts throwing rocks at him. Mauricio defends himself by using his backpack as shield.

 

CIRILO

It’s not propaganda! It will change everything in this country! And –

 

MAURICIO

– Just say something when all this is over, I will find a way to go home without getting shot.

 

Cirilo thinks a little. He turns to Mauricio’s direction.

 

CIRILO

Hey… you know… I won’t be doing anything to your parents if you stay here. So, I guess you can breathe easy on that one.

 

MAURICIO

Oh… thanks? I don’t get it, what do you want me to say?

 

Cirilo looks angrily at Mauricio.

 

CIRILO

Hey! I am trying to make things more comfortable here!

 

MAURICIO

Just don’t talk to me llama face!

 

CIRILO

Do you have a death wish?

 

Mauricio hugs his backpack.

MAURICIO

No. But if I had one, I would watch that new Superman movie everyone is talking about.

 

Cirilo laughs.

CIRILO

You watch too many capitalist movies.

 

MAURICIO

They make this life of 7 p.m. curfews, food rations and sudden blackouts bearable.

 

CIRILO

Yeah… That is a total nightmare.

 

MAURICIO

Were you being sarcastic just now?

 

CIRILO

You mestizos don’t know what a real nightmare is.

 

Mauricio puts his backpack aside and looks directly at Cirilo.

 

MAURICIO

Excuse me?

 

Mauricio takes a deep breath.

 

MAURICIO (CONT’D)

If I go out at night they’ll shoot me. I don’t know when I am going to have running water or when a blackout will occur!

 

Mauricio takes another deep breath.

 

MAURICIO (CONT’D)

I haven’t tasted chicken, milk, sugar or a proper bread in months since they are rationed! And stop calling me mestizo that I am black! Mauricio tries to catch up his breath. Cirilo looks at him with empty eyes.

 

CIRILO

Ja…ja…jajajajajaja!

 

MAURICIO

What is so funny?!

 

Cirilo keeps laughing.

 

CIRILO

That’s it?! That is what you call a tragedy? That you can’t eat chicken?!

 

MAURICIO

What part me being shot you don’t-

 

Cirilo continues to laugh.

 

CIRILO

– What you described is paradise! You city folks really don’t know what a bad life is!

 

Cirilo eyes start looking like those of a maniac. His laugh make it even worse. Cirilo slowly walks towards Mauricio.

 

CIRILO (CONT’D)

But don’t worry, everything is going to change pretty soon.

 

MUARICIO

What are you talking about? Cirilo scoffs him.

 

CIRILO

Just be a good boy, sit down-

 

MAURICIO

Sit down?! I am not a do-

 

CIRILO

– I said sit down!

 

Cirilo punches Mauricio in the stomach. Mauricio falls down from the pain. Cirilo kneels close to Mauricio and whispers into his ear.

 

CIRILO (CONT’D)

See how easy it’s when you obey me?

 

Mauricio closes his eyes from the pain and shame. Cirilo sits beside him, enjoying the view. Cirilo face shows that he just came up with an idea. He grabs Mauricio by the shirt.

 

CIRILO (CONT’D)

You know what? Sit up. We are delivering these info ourselves!

 

Mauricio looks him shocked.

 

MAURICIO

What? But it’s already –

 

CIRILO

– And I don’t care!

 

Cirilo takes a deep breath.

 

CIRILO (CONT’D)

Move!.

 

EXT. TARATA BUSINESS CENTER – NIGHT.

 

Mauricio is shivering as he continues to walk in the quiet streets of Lima. His feet are hurting from walking so much. Cirilo walks in front of him, looking frustrated. Mauricio starts to lose his patience. His annoyance is slowly surpassing his previous fear.

 

MAURICIO

You have no idea where we are. Right?

 

Cirilo turns to face Mauricio, looking mad.

 

CIRILO

That is not true, you stupid… Like if you know any better!

 

MAURICIO

At least I can tell we are lost!

 

CIRILO

Be careful of your tone towards me! Remember your place in this –

 

MAURICIO

– My place? Ja! We are pretty even here now that I think of it.

 

Cirilo looks at him astonished and angry.

 

CIRILO

Even?! Remember that I belong to –

 

MAURICIO

Did they trust you with some sort of weapon?

 

Cirilo looks at him surprised.

 

CIRILO

No. I am new, but –

 

MAURICIO

– Did your contact ever try to reach you?

 

CIRILO

That is not the –

 

MAURICIO

– And now that I see you, You are pretty skinny compared to me.

 

Mauricio forms a fist and slowly walks towards Cirilo. Cirilo was about to say something when a truck that was going full speed stops near them. A man, CESAR, and a woman, ROSA, step outside. And ran

towards Cirilo and Mauricio. Before any of them could react. Cesar approaches Cirilo and grabs him furiously by his shirt. Mauricio stands by in shock.

 

CESAR

Cirilo! What are you doing here!? You were supposed to be at the Rimac!

 

CIRILO

I was there! You just didn’t come! And I decided to –

 

CESAR

– Very careful on your words young comrade… Remember your place. You are no one to make decisions.

 

Cesar lets go of Cirilo. Cirilo falls onto the ground.

 

CIRILO

Yes, comrade.

 

A gunshot is heard. A very scared, but not hurt Mauricio is lying in the ground. Rosa is pointing a gun at him.

 

ROSA

Hey! What do I do with this one?!

 

CIRILO

Let him go! I swear he is harmless! He is a –

 

Before Cirilo could respond, Cesar hits him in the face hard. Mauricio looks at Cirilo in shock and worry.

 

MAURICIO

Cirilo!

 

CESAR

Just kill him! And do it now! We have to leave!

 

Rosa pulled her gun at Mauricio, who was crying silently.

 

CIRILO

No!

 

A loud explosion was heard. There is smoke and fire everywhere. Mauricio can’t see clearly, but he hears the screams of people in the nearby houses and the buildings being destroyed. The dust formed by the falling concrete taints the air, making it difficult to breath.

 

The lack of clean air wakes Mauricio from his shock. He notices that Rosa is gone, as well as the Cesar. Cirilo is also gone.

 

MAURICIO

“cough” Cirilo! “cough” Cirilo!

 

Mauricio fells like the ground is breaking due to persons that are desperately trying to leave the area. Still, he tries to walk in order to find Cirilo.

 

MAURICIO (CONT’D)

Cirilo! Cirilo!

 

Mauricio suddenly hears a distant cry. Cirilo is a few steps away, curled into a ball.

 

MAURICIO (CONT’D)

Cirilo…

 

Cirilo looks at Mauricio.

 

CIRILO

I swear I didn’t sign up for this…

 

Mauricio gets close to him and helps him stand up.

 

MAURICIO

I know…

 

CIRILO

I just wanted to make everything better…not this!

 

CIRILO (CONT’D)

Its all my fault.

 

Mauricio sighs.

 

MAURICIO

No, You were just another pawn.

 

CIRILO

That actually makes me feel better… mestizo.

 

MAURICIO

I am black Cirilo… Black.

 

The two children start walking towards the ambulances and police cars that were arriving.

The History Behind “Lima Days”

 

I remember that when I was 5 or 6, my mother told me a very interesting story that happened when she was a teenager. She told me, between jokes, how she and her best friend had to sweeten their drinks with “Peritas” (Little Pears), a type of hard candy that has the shape of a pear, because there was no more sugar in the house. At the time, I thought the story was no more than that; a funny anecdote about two best friends that did a weird taste experiment one day; because, if they wanted sugar, they could have just go to the store that was at walking distance from her house and buy more, right? But of course, as I grew up, the stories “grew up” too, and soon I found out that what my mom and her friend did that day was not a matter of teen laughs.

 

Thanks to the stories my mom told me, I learned that for 20 years, Peru suffered the most violent civil wars and by consequence, the hardest economic recessions, during its republican history. It all began on July 1980, during the first national elections after 11 long years of military dictatorship. It was supposed to be a time of hope for the Peruvian people but in the little town of Chuschi, located in the province of Ayacucho (Peruvian countryside), things were descending into chaos, as the Communist – Maoist Terrorist group “Shining Path” ordered the burning and the destruction of not only the electoral pamphlets, but of the buildings as well, and while in this first terror attack, there were no deadly victims, Ayacucho was declared on an “emergency state”. It is important to mention, that once upon a time, “Shining Path” was actually the official Peruvian Communist Party, but everything changed for them when a man called Abimael Guzman assumed its leadership and transformed the party into a bloodthirsty guerrilla.

 

Inspired by Mao’s Chinese revolution. the goals of Abimael Guzman were clear: To replace the current government with a communist one by any means necessary.  Soon, Shining Path’s terrorist attacks expanded besides Ayacucho’s border, but to the entire Peruvian countryside and rainforest provinces, which became a bloodbath. It was pretty common to hear in the news about entire villages losing half of their population and then finding them on common graveyards; about Shining Path taking over entire towns and killing off everyone, even entire families, that could possibly mean a threat; the little boys kidnapped and turned into child soldiers; the Ashaninka tribes that were wiped out of existence because, Shining Path wanted to use their lands as a cocaine plantation; It all became your everyday news.

 

But, while all of that was happening in the countryside and rainforest provinces; where was Lima? You see, for a long while, Lima became some sort of “safe heaven” in a country devasted by the civil war. Shining Path didn’t touch the City of the Kings for quite a while, but that didn’t mean that everything was good. The attacks to Lima where subtler, but still put a stir on the population daily lives. My mother has very “special” memories of the infamous national curfew; she told me that, in order to avoid getting stopped by the police, if you needed to go outside after the curfew, you needed to make a white flag, stick it onto your car (or carry it with you) and drive slowly towards your destiny. If you didn’t do this, the consequences went from instant incarceration to death. However, compared to the rest of Peru, the curfew, mixed with strict food rationings and the shortages of electricity and water, weren’t so bad.

 

Unfortunately, that didn’t last very long.

 

“Lima Days” is set on that fateful 16thof July of the year 1992, when 2 vehicles equipped with 250 kilograms of explosives, exploded on Tarata Avenue, a high-class neighborhood and business center located on the Miraflores district. The terrorist attack killed 25 people and seriously injured more than 200; at the same time, the bomb either destroyed or heavily damaged 183 houses, 400 business and 63 cars. This attack was unfortunately, the beginning of a long week of terrorist attacks that heavily damaged Lima and costed the lives of more than 40 people and several damages on private property. The Tarata incident also opened the doors of Lima to Shining Path, were it enforced a brutal control of the city that went strong even after the capture of Abimael Guzman the 12thof September of the same year.

 

And that is exactly what I wanted to capture while writing “Lima Days”: That moment when the terrorism enters the Peruvian capita with the Tarata attack and everything turns for the worse. We see this change and what the city is already going through with the eyes of the characters: Mauricio and Cirilo, as they adventured themselves in a city under siege on that fatidic 16thof July were everything they knew was challenged and the landscape of Lima and the entirely of Peru was forever changed.

 

 

Comments are closed.