It was Paula’s mother who had the brilliant idea of digging the holes. My mother said that the State of Guerrero was turning into a rabbit warren with young girls hiding all over the place…
‘Now we make you ugly,’ my mother said. ‘The best thing you can be in Mexico is an ugly girl.’
The Narcos only had to hear there was a pretty girl around and they’d sweep onto our lands in black SUVs and carry the girl off. Not one of the stolen girls had ever come back, except for Paula.
She came back a year after she’d been kidnapped. She held a baby bottle in one hand. She wore seven earrings that climbed the cupped edge of her left ear in a line of blue, yellow and green studs and a tattoo that snaked around her wrist.
‘Did you see that? Did you see Paula’s tattoo? my mother said. You know what that means, right? Jesus, Mary’s son and Son of God, and the angels in heaven protect us all.’
At the time, I didn’t know what that meant. But I was going to find out. Guaranteed.