Fallen From the Same Tree

WHAT ARE WE CAPABLE OF DOING WHEN OUR LIFE IS IN DANGER? HOW FAR ARE WE WILLING TO GO TO ENSURE OUR FREEDOM?

Fallen From The Same Tree is a novel that revolves around an inconvenient meeting between a group of seven friends and a gang that escaped from prison. Everything takes place on a farm somewhere in the Alentejo, where Francesco Monica decides to celebrate his birthday. The same farm that was elected as a place of refuge for a group of prisoners sought by police.

The house is only a scenario where we witness the events waltz and a whirl of emotions involving two groups of people stuck in a space that is becoming too small as time goes by. The differences between each other tend to worsen in times of danger, and fear will highlight the features by which each one follows its moral conduct. More than a compelling story, Fallen From The Same Tree is a reflection on behaviors, on the meager knowledge that humans have about themselves , about the social fabric, about good and evil.

Excertos

Excerpt from the 4th chapter

He was one of the first to get his food and sat down at the table by the window. The plate had rice on one side, beans on the other, and a small piece of meat in the middle. The boss arrived in the meantime, sat down and started eating, as if he weren’t there. Although only for a short time.
“The sons of bitches, the meat is as tough as nuts...it tastes like leather soles”, said Honório chewing with visible difficulty.
“How many years did you get, boy?”
“Thirteen...”
“Thir..teen...” said Honório ironically! “Damn bad luck! How old are you?”
“Twenty-three.”

Honório took another forkful, chewed, swallowed and said, making an effort to be tough:
“ You’re fucked. When you get out of here you are rotten: with any luck you’ll get hepatitis, but more than probably, you’ll get out with kilos of AIDS.”
“With AIDS? I’m not queer, man!”
“Listen to me carefully lad: today Mendes killed himself, yesterday a guy died of an overdose... So far this week, three have already gone to the little angels!”
“And what do I have to do with that?”

With the hand he used to clean his mouth, Honório grabbed Valentino’s forearm, roaring:
– What do you have to do with that? Oh you idiot, before you know it you’ll have a prick up your arse! Did you get that or do you want me to explain it better?

He looked at Valentino, noticing his look of surprise and continued:
“In here boy, there are only two types of guys: the hunters and the hunted, who are the majority. And you’ll be hunted...unless I let people know you are my protégé. Did you get that or not?”
“I got it, man”, retorted Valentino, nervously fidgeting with the thumb of his right hand.
“ What do I have to do to be your protégé?”
“To be your protégé? Did we go to school together or what? More respect, little boy! Did you get it or not?”
“Yes, I got it... boss.
“And take that fucking earring off... Before you know it, they might mistake you for a whore at Parque Eduardo VII!”

Excerpt from the 7th chapter

Having known him for many years and the fact that we never became intimate is perhaps the main reason he confides in me, nearly always at very special moments, small but important confessions. He has a golden rule: he doesn’t talk to me about his conquests, even less so about his intimate things. Almost everything I know about him is through the female friends I introduced to him who became his girlfriends. One day, however, having drunk a little too much, he said he’d never loved anyone. He’d look two or three times at a woman, he could tell what the state of her soul was by her eyes, her expression, her lips, or else from the length of her skirt, the tightness of her trousers, the neck-line of her blouse, or even from the way
she did her make-up. Besides, he always asks if I have any new female friends!

Excerpt from the 24th chapter

He dealt well with death, either he talked about it flatteringly or he mocked it slightly. But one thing was an attitude to accept it without drama, another was the reality of accompanying it by seeing it, personified in Ricardo Pombo, messing him up, obliging him to make the body disappear. «It was written your day had come», said Honório Farinha opening his heart. «It’s the law of life, my friend, there was someone who said dying is terminating being born.... Life is reined by death, did you ever think about that? Did you ever think what hell this life would be without death? Did you ever think that even stars are born, grow and die? Or did you think you were an exception? Death regulates everything, Ricardo Pombo! What neither of us imagined was I’d have to bury you, or rather, hide you! »

Honório was driving slowly, although he was feeling extremely anxious about getting rid of the body. For a second, he even had the notion he was the chauffeur of a hearse. «Contrary to what you might think, I had always specially liked you. It is strange for you to hear this, is it not? The big question, Ricardo Pombo, is that life isn’t what it seems! The only thing I can do for you is bury you, even without a coffin! Without the right to a wake, ceremonies, funeral music or even a simple wreath. If I believed in the Almighty I’d even say a prayer for you but I cannot even do that, my friend. »

About ten minutes later, Honório Farinha arrived at what had some time before been a quarry. He was sure he could find a corner to place the body. He’d carefully cover it with stones, so as not to leave any trace. He got out of the car and went to the place but first made sure he was alone. There wasn’t the slightest sign of life to be heard. Strangely, however, the place seemed to be hiding some sinister phenomenon. He went back to the car. He opened the boot but at the precise moment that he was going to grab Ricardo Pombo, he heard a kind of moan, a noise that seemed to him to be coming from the dead body!

He closed the door again and took one step backwards. A strange anxiety overcame him. The first thought that came to him was that the deceased had come back to take revenge on him. The situation was ludicrous, he wasn’t afraid of the living but he felt his body freeze with the body in the boot. I must be tired, he mused, it is not possible, there’s no credible record of a dead body moaning. «The shitty wind, it can only have been the wind, the bastard wind» said Honório aloud. The strangest thing, ‘though, was that he felt an undefined fear invading him. He took out a cigarette, lit it and kept smoking in the dark at that deserted place, which seemed increasingly macabre to him. Then suddenly, he thought of the chance of it having been a bat fluttering.

Excerpt from the 2nd chapter
He started drawing the prison building on a sheet of paper: the four three-floor pavilions, the two workshop buildings and the administrative one, the area flanked by the kitchen and canteen, baker’s, library and finally, the chapel. Then he drew the tower where the control centre was. Guards monitored the security system from there: vigilance cameras working twenty four hours a day, two-way radios, monitors everywhere. The lights in the cells were turned off from the tower after ten o’clock and turned back on at daybreak. The steel gate, a few metres from the Tower, was the last obstacle. Honório sketched it in detail, as people and vehicles came and went through there. He looked at the time, folded the paper, putting it into one of his books in the box he used as a bedside table.
 
He’d slept badly, bitten by fleas, nothing anyone already bitten by rats couldn’t handle. It was getting hot, although it was only nine o’clock in the morning. He’d been sweating the whole night and if that wasn’t enough, he’d had to listen to his cell mate’s snoring. Either he woke up to Zacarias’s snores or those from the nearest cells, or because it was like being in an oven in there. He’d scratched his arms and legs until they were raw. He had corns on his fingers, but these were caused by the file he’d managed to pinch from the workshop. Every night, between one and three o’clock, little by little, he and Zacarias were filing their way to freedom. It wouldn’t be long before the previously insurmountable thick bars would become a nice unobstructed window. While one kept guard, the other filed. The barrier they were disputing freedom against consisted of four horizontal bars and four vertical ones. Bars having to be sawn almost to the point, where they would yield easily on the evasion day. 

He and Zacarias had been preparing the escape for months. As the night wore on and coughs, snores, whistles and gasps became regular, the pair of convicts would start working. No rush, with caution. The four bars at the top of the window were ready. In the cracks of the bars which had already been filed, Honório and Zacarias placed iron-coloured cement paste, so that to the naked eye no one would notice what they were up to. It was a paste which would give way at the first pull.
“ You know what’s missing?” Honório asked in his unmistakable high pitched voice.
“I know, boss: a bottle of ether and plastic bags, those big black ones”, replied Zacarias, as he removed the sleep from the corner of his eyes with his forefinger.
Excerpt from the 3rd chapter
Ivo started waiting for me at the Salesianos School gate. I blushed when one day after a concert he asked me if I wanted to go and listen to some music at his place. I got nervous, although I’d been thinking of it every day. I knew exactly what we were going to do. What he didn’t know was that it would be my first time.

It was so crazy waking up curled up with Ivo, in a messy room looking more like a place for a band, but from where you could see the Monument for the Discoveries and the Tagus. I awoke to kisses and caresses, unveiling unknown pleasures. When I said goodbye and returned home I already felt truly like a woman. The foundations of my world had just been altered. My eyes were bluer, skin silkier, hair shinier, senses more awake. I had the distinct feeling the following days, men’s dirty looks and desire had become more frequent. I looked in the mirror and liked what I saw. The sun was shining brighter, the sky bluer than ever. I noticed how beautiful nightingales’ singing was.

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