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CHAPTER 1 Fabio disappears

I can still remember when the terrible thing happened. It was a beautiful spring evening in our home town,
Puerto Lindo. Our mother was not home yet. She was still at work in the shoe factory. I was watering the
flowers in the backyard with the hose. My twin brother, Fabio, was playing with Picho. Picho was a small
black and white dog with no tail. Fabio loved dogs but Picho was always running away because we didn't
have enough food to give him.

Suddenly I pointed the garden hose at Fabio and Picho. "Why did you
do that, Ricardo? You've made us all wet," Fabio shouted angrily.
"Now look, Picho's running away."
We both ran after Picho, but Picho ran faster. He disappeared into the
narrow streets. We ran to the waterfront. But we couldn't find him
"I want Picho!" Fabio shouted. "You made him run away, Ricardo!" He
started to cry.
"Let's go home," I said. It was getting dark. Fabio didn't stop crying.
We sat on a bench at the waterfront and cried together.
"We'll never see Picho again," Fabio said.

Just then a big red car stopped in front of us. A man got out of the car.
"Why are you crying?" he asked.
"We've lost our dog," I said.
"Picho is my dog," Fabio said.
"Jump in the car and we'll look for it together," the man said.
"Don't go, Fabio!" I cried. But Fabio didn't listen. He got into the car with the man.
"Wait for me," I screamed. But the man started the car and drove off quickly.

My mother was just coming home from work when she saw me in the backyard. I was crying.
"Where is Fabio?" she asked with a worried look.
"Picho ran away. Fabio went with a man in a car to look for him," I said.
She stared at me with wide eyes.
"Who was this man?" she asked, trying to be calm.
"I don't know," I answered.

My mother and I went straight to the police station. The police officer was a kind man. He was about forty
years old with black hair and brown eyes.
"I'm afraid there are many cases like this, Mrs Diaz," he said. "Who knows where your child is? You see,
there are people who steal children in our country."
"Steal children?" my mother asked.
"Yes, they kidnap them, to make money. They sell them to foreigners who want to adopt children."
"Who are these people who sell children?" my mother asked.
"Lawyers. They pay the criminals who steal the children. "
"Lawyers?" my mother asked with wide eyes.
"Yes, lawyers. Now will you please describe your son."
"His name is Fabio Diaz. He looks exactly like his brother, Ricardo." She pointed at me.
"I'm taller, mama," I said.
"You aren't," she said to me. She turned back to the police officer. Her voice began to shake. "I can't think
very clearly right now. I'll come back tomorrow morning and give you a photo of Fabio."

"I'll find Fabio, mama," I said as we left the police station. "I 'll wait for him on the bench where we met the
man. I'm sure he'll come back there."
"You aren't going near that bench," my mother said angrily. "Do you understand?"
My mother never forgot Fabio. She hung his birth certificate on the wall. She looked at it sadly. I tried to
make her feel better.
"I look just like my brother," I said. "Call me Fabio now if you like."
"You are not Fabio. You are Ricardo," she said quietly.
Picho, the dog Fabio loved so much, came back to the house once. But when Picho didn't find Fabio, the dog
left and never came back.
My mother and I went to the police station once a month. But the police officer always said, "I'm afraid
there's still no news for you, Mrs Diaz."

After many visits to the police station, my mother asked, "Do you think my son is still in the country?"
The police officer looked sad. "Well, we've looked for him everywhere, Mrs Diaz..."
"Where do you think he was taken?"
"Who knows? Maybe to the United States, or Canada or Europe. People from those places will pay a lot of
money for children. They don't know that these children have been kidnapped."
"How could the kidnappers take my son out of the country without his birth certificate? I have it at home,"
my mother said.
"They make a new one," the police officer explained.
Mama stood there, staring at him.
"I'm afraid you're wasting your time now, Mrs Diaz," he said gently. "There's no point in coming here any
"What do you want me to do? To forget my own son?"
"My love for him never goes away," my mother said. "It's just deep inside me with the pain."
"You've got another son, Mrs Diaz," the police officer said. "Enjoy him."

Twelve years went by. We never forgot Fabio. We often talked about him.
"Who was born first, mama?" I asked her one day. It was my sixteenth birthday, and I was thinking about
my lost brother.
"Fabio was. You were lazy, it took you a long time to come out."
"Who was better-looking? Fabio or me?"
"You were both born ugly. You looked like two little monkeys."
"Like two little monkeys?" I said. "And what did papa say when he saw us?"
"Send them to the zoo!"
"But I don't look like a monkey now, do I, mama?"
"No. You don't. You look more like a frog!"
"Like a frog?" I asked.
"A sixteen-year-old frog," she said, laughing.

Mama looked beautiful when she laughed. She was thin with black eyes and brown hair that hung down her
back. I wished I knew how to make her laugh more often. Our father was dead. He died when Fabio and I
were only two. That was why mama had to work in the shoe factory. She worked long hours and earned
very little money. And she was still afraid that something terrible would happen to me, that she would lose
both her children.
"You have some bad friends, Ricardo," she told me. "Elviro steals. And his brother, Federico, is even worse.
You shouldn't go around with them."
"But Elviro has been my friend since I was a child," I said. "He was kind to me when Fabio disappeared,
mama, when I had nobody to play with. Oh, if only Fabio were here now."
"Fabio," my mother said, dreaming. "Sometimes it seems like it was only yesterday."
"Maybe Fabio's living with a rich family. Why aren't we rich, mama?" I asked.
"We aren't rich, but we aren't poor, either."
"We are poor, mama. Very poor. Look at the walls, look at the kitchen, look at the furniture. Everything is
old and broken. "
"People are only poor when they have no hope," my mother said.
"I have hope. And I know that some day I'll find Fabio. I will, mama, I will!"
"Just be a good human being. That's all I ask, Ricardo."
"But what about Fabio?"
“I'm sure he's a good human being too, wherever he is," my mother said.
A few weeks later I was going to school with Bernardo Rousso and his little brother, Alberto. Bernardo was
my best friend. He was short and had green eyes and dark hair. Bernardo was a good person. He always
cleaned the blackboard before the teacher came into the class. Suddenly a motorbike came round the
"Look, there's Elviro," I said.
Elviro didn't go to school any more.
"I don't want to have anything to do with him," Bernardo said
when he saw Elviro. He didn't like Elviro and Elviro didn't like
"But Elviro's a good friend," I said.
"His brother, Federico, has been in jail many times. And now
Elviro is working with him," Bernardo told me. Elviro stopped and
got off his motorbike. He was wearing a brown leather jacket. I
could see that it was very expensive. Where did he get the money
for a jacket like that?

"Hello, Ricardo," Elviro said. He didn't even look at Bernardo or Alberto.

"I haven't seen you for a long time, Elviro," I answered.
'I´ve been working hard. I travel round the country," he said quickly.
"Are you a salesman or something?" Bernardo asked, looking at Elviro's jacket.
Elviro looked at him coldly. "Why do you want to know? It's none of your business."
"Do you enjoy your work?" I asked Elviro.
"I make a lot of money, that's the important thing," Elviro said. Then he laughed loudly.
"What's the use of making so much money if you get into trouble with the police?" Bernardo asked.
"I don't get into trouble with the police," Elviro said angrily.
I tried to change the subject. "Do you want to play football one afternoon, Elviro?"
"I haven't got time for childish games," he said. Then he smiled again and asked about my mother. "How is
she, Ricardo? Is she still thinking about Fabio?"
"Yes she can't help it."
"I remember Fabio very well," Bernardo said. "He liked animals."
Elviro looked at Bernardo coldly again. In a more friendly voice, he asked me,"What happened to Fabio's
"Picho has never come back to stay since Fabio was kidnapped," I told Elviro.
"Our police are terrible. They can't even find a child of four years old," Bernardo said.
"It's almost impossible to find those children. They're kidnapped by people in big organisations," Elviro said
quickly, almost too quickly.
"Does you brother, Federico, work for one of those organisations?" Bernardo asked.
"Who said he works for one of those organisations?" Elviro answered angrily. He looked at me again.
"Bernardo was born stupid and he'll die stupid," he said. He started his motorbike, and drove away.
"Why did he call you stupid?" Bernardo's brother asked.
"Because he's stupid himself," Bernardo answered.

That evening Bernardo, Alberto and I went to the beach for a swim. When we came out of the water, we
saw Mrs Adato, Elviro's mother. She was sitting with her two younger children on a blanket. Mrs Adato was
a tall strong woman. We went over to talk to her.
"Hello, Mrs Adato," I said. "We saw Elviro today."
"Where is he? What's he doing?" she asked with a worried look on her face.
"I think he's working, Mrs Adato," I said.
"Was his brother with him?" she asked.
"No," I answered.
"Elviro comes home so late that I never see him any more. I don't want him to work with Federico. I don't
even know what Federico really does," she told me. She looked even more worried. Then she said to me,
"Ricardo, you used to be Elviro's best friend."
"Yes, I was. But then Elviro stopped going to school," I answered.
"Elviro doesn't need us any more, Mrs Adato," Bernardo told her. "He's got new friends."
"He must find a good job - a real job," she answered.
"He could be a bus driver. My father was a bus driver for twenty years, and he never had an accident,"
Bernardo said.
Mrs Adato wasn't listening. She was lost in her own thoughts. I felt sorry for Mrs Adato. I wanted to help
her, but I didn't know how.

I didn't see Elviro again until the school holidays. It was Monday afternoon. My mother was at work and I
was at home. I had some reading to do for the next term. Suddenly I heard a bang on the front door. I
looked up from my book.
"Who is it?" I called.
"It's me, Elviro." I opened the door. Elviro was standing in the doorway. He looked very afraid. "You have to
help me, Ricardo," he said.
I stared at him. Then I noticed a little boy, about four years old, holding Elviro's hand. He seemed very tired.
"Who is he?" I asked.
"Never mind," Elviro said. "I want him to stay with you for a few hours."
"Are you in trouble, Elviro?"
"I don't know, maybe! Will you do me this favour, Ricardo?"
"First tell me the truth," I said.
"Where did you get this boy from?"
"I´ll tell you later. Look Ricardo, he's falling asleep."
I turned to the boy. He was a beautiful child with blue eyes. "What's your name?"
"Dario," he said in a soft voice. "Please, I'm sleepy. I want to go to bed."
"Come along Dario," I said. "Lie down in here." I took Dario to my room. Elviro followed me. Dario lay down
on Fabio's old bed and fell asleep immediately.
"Did you kidnap him, Elviro?" I asked.
"Did your brother…?"
"He did a stupid thing," Elviro said unhappily. He suddenly looked out of the window. "I have to go now. I'll
come and get the boy before your mother comes home," he told me. He left the house through the back
I watched Dario sleeping. "Fabio was about the same age as Dario when he was kidnapped," I said to
myself. I thought about Elviro too. He was such a kind and gentle boy at school How could a person change
so quickly?

CHAPTER 3 Elviro explains

Later that afternoon I was in the kitchen. I heard footsteps. I looked up and saw Dario standing in the
doorway. "Where's my mama?" Dario asked. He began to cry.
"You're a big boy Dario. Don't cry," I said softly.
"Take me home."
"I don't know where your home is."
"We live on a big farm. We have cows, chickens, horses and dogs," he told me.
"Who took you from the farm?" I asked.
"Two men."
"Where were your parents?"
"They were working in the fields," Dario answered.
"Didn't you scream?"
"No. The men said they were going to buy me an ice cream. "

I was worried. Where was Elviro? It was almost five o'clock. My mother would be home soon. I heard a
knock at the front door. It was Bernardo and Alberto. I was glad to see them.
"Who's this little boy?" Alberto asked, when he saw Dario.
I told them the whole story.
"You must take him to the police," Bernardo said.
"I don't want to go to the police," Dario cried. He came over to me and held my hand tightly.
I looked at Dario. "He looks like Fabio," I thought.
Suddenly I had the feeling that my brother had come back home again.
"Do you want to hear a story?" I asked him.
"Yes please."
"Once upon a time there was a little boy called Fabio. He had a dog called Picho."
"Picho?" Dario asked.
"Yes, Picho. Fabio always took Picho to school."
"The dog went to school?" Dario asked.
"Yes," I said. "Fabio kept Picho in his schoolbag. When the teacher said, 'Take out your books,' Fabio took
Picho out of his bag. The teacher used to ask, 'Who's going to learn more today? Fabio or his dog?' All the
class used to laugh."
Dario laughed too. Alberto whispered something in Dario's ear. Dario laughed again.

"There are two cats in the backyard. Dario and I are going to give
them a shower," Alberto told us.
"Don't be stupid, Alberto. That's a cruel thing to do," Bernardo said.
Dario and Alberto ran out into the backyard, laughing.
Bernardo followed them. I heard a door opening in the house. It
was my mother, coming home from work.
"Welcome home, mama," I said when she came into the kitchen.
She began making some coffee. Then she looked out of the window
and saw Dario playing with Alberto and Bernardo.
"Who's that little boy?" she asked.
"He looks like Fabio, doesn't he?" I said.
"Don't be silly, Ricardo. Who is he really?"
I told her everything.
"You must take him to his home, right away. His parents must be very worried about him," my mother said.
"But I promised Elviro that I'd keep him."
"We aren't going to be part of a crime, Ricardo. We're going to tell the police about this," she said.

Suddenly Elviro came running into the house.

"There are two people waiting for me in a car outside. Where's Dario?" he asked me.
"What are you going to do with him?" my mother said.
"I'm sorry, Mrs Diaz," Elviro said quickly. "I can't answer any questions. I have to take Dario with me."
"If you take him, I'll go straight to the police," she said.
"Do you want Elviro to go to jail, mama?" I asked.
"If you go to the police, the organisation will find out," Elviro said.
My mother looked at him calmly. "So?"
"They may try to punish you, Mrs Diaz."
"Punish me, how?" she asked.
"They'll kill you, and they'll kill me, too, if I go back without the child."
"You're a criminal, just like your brother," my mother shouted.
I ran out into the backyard. "Go quickly and bring Elviro's mother here, before something terrible happens,"
I told Bernado. Bernardo hurried away. I went back into the house. I tried to be calm, but I could feel my
heart beating.
"Is Dario out there?" Elviro asked, and looked through the window. He saw Dario playing with Alberto and
ran out into the backyard. "Hello, Dario. I'm going to take you back home to your parents. Come with me,"
he said. He took Dario by the hand, but Dario pulled away from him and began crying again.
"Can't you see the child doesn't want to go with you?" my mother shouted.
Elviro took Dario in his arms and started to leave. But at that moment, Mrs Adato walked into the room.
Bernardo was behind her.
"Elviro, I want you to take that child back to his parents," Mrs Adato said sharply.
"But mama, I can't. There are two men out there waiting for me."
"Where did you sleep last night, Elviro?" she asked.
"On the beach."
"Where's Federico?"
Elviro let go of Dario. "He was arrested last night," he told her.
Mrs Adato looked at my mother sadly. "What kind of children did I give birth to?" she asked.
Elviro looked down at the ground.
"Who kidnapped this child?" she asked.
"Federico did," Elviro answered, still not looking at his mother.
"And what did you do?"
"He asked me to hide the boy. So I did."
"How could you do such a thing? Have you never thought of the honour of our family?" Mrs Adato shouted.
Elviro said nothing.
"Tell me the truth. Where does this child live?" Mrs Adato asked.
"On a farm in the valley. It's about an hour's drive from here," Elviro said slowly.
"What were you going to do with the child?"
"Take him to another family. He'll stay with them for a few weeks until the organisation is ready to take the
child out of the country. The organisation pays the other family very well."
"Where does this other family live?"
"On another farm not far from here. It's called Souza's Farm," Elviro answered.
"You must take the child back to his parents," Mrs Adato said.
"How am I going to take him back without a car?" Elviro asked.
"Take him there by bus," Bernardo said. "My father has still got his old bus."
"But there are two men out in the car waiting for me. How can we get past them?" Elviro asked.
"Don't worry about them. We'll go through the backyard," I told him.
Elviro went into the front room and looked out of the window at the two men in the car. "They're reading
the newspaper. Let's get out of here quickly," he said. We all went out quietly through the back door.

"We'll never get anywhere in this," Elviro complained when
he saw the bus. Most of its windows were broken.
"My father drove this bus for twenty years, but I don't think
it looks that old," said Bernardo.
"What if the two men follow us," Elviro asked.
"Well, nobody's following us now," I said.
"Get on the bus, everybody," Alberto said. We all sat on the
dusty seats. My mother sat with Mrs Adato. Then we saw
Mr Rousso. He had a thin face and a dark moustache. He
was about fifty but his eyes were young and full of life. He
was wearing a big sunhat and pyjamas. "My father wears pyjamas day and night," Bernardo said.
"This way, papa," Alberto said proudly, as he led his father to the bus.
"Does anybody know where we're going?" he asked.
"Start driving," Elviro said. "Then I'll tell you."

Mr Rousso started the engine. He was really a very good driver. He drove carefully and not too fast. Elviro
kept looking behind to see if anybody was following us. It was dark but there was a bright moon. My mother
was talking to Mrs Adato. "Fabio is still in my thoughts. Perhaps I'll find him some day," I heard her say. "I
really hope so," Mrs Adato said. Suddenly a dark look came to her face. "I'm glad that at least my sons
didn't kidnap him," she said. "They're criminals now because their father was weak. He couldn't give them a
good education and I was always busy in the kitchen."

Suddenly we heard a noise behind us.

"Look at that car!" Elviro said. "It's following us."
"Drive faster, papa!" Bernardo said.
"I can't drive faster," Mr Rousso said.
"You can, papa," Alberto said. "You're the best driver in the world."
"Why are those men following us?" Mr Rousso asked.
"They're criminals, that's why," Bernardo said. The car was getting closer and closer.

Suddenly there was a loud noise.

"What was that?" Alberto asked.
"They're shooting at us," Bernardo said.
"Nobody's shooting at us. It's just a flat tyre. We have to stop," Mr Rousso said.
The bus stopped and the car pulled up in front of the bus. Two young men got out of the car. One of them
was fat and wore rings on his thick fingers. The other man was small with a pale face.
"Elviro," the fat man shouted. "Come out."
"Stay where you are, Elviro," Mrs Adato said.
"They'll shoot me if I don't go out, mama," Elviro said.
"We're waiting, Elviro," the small man shouted. We all felt helpless. Elviro looked at his mother and got off
the bus.
"What were you trying to do?" the fat man said, and hit Elviro in the face.
"If you hit my son again, I'll kill you," Mrs Adato shouted through the window.
The fat man looked at her coldly. The thin man got on the bus and took Dario. Dario screamed. The two
men pushed Elviro and Dario into the car. As they drove away, we could hear Dario's screams.
"Bernardo, Alberto! Come and help me," Mr Rousso shouted. Bernardo helped his father change the tyre.
Alberto held an electric torch so that they could see.
"What do we do now?" Mr Rousso asked after the tyre was changed.
"The men must be going to the other family on the other farm that Elviro talked about," I said.
"But where is it?" Mr Rousso asked.
"Elviro said it was Souza's Farm," Bernardo said.
"Souza? I think I know where it is. But why do I remember it?" Mr Rousso said.

We got back on the bus and drove for almost an hour through the darkness. Mrs Adato was crying. My
mother was trying to calm her. Then the engine began making a terrible noise.
"We're running out of petrol. Now, where Souza! I remember now," Mr Rousso suddenly shouted. "There
was a place that sold petrol on this road. It was near a house called Souza's Farm."
He turned into a smaller road and drove for another few minutes. "The place that sells petrol is up there,"
Mr Rousso said, pointing. We drove past a small white house with some trees around it. There was another
house with a bright green and red electric sign very close to it. Mr Rousso stopped the bus when we got to
it. I pointed towards the white house. "Is that Souza's Farm?" I asked Mr Rousso.
"I'm not sure. It was a long time ago. All I remember is that it was somewhere around here," Mr Rousso
"Is that where they've taken my son?" Mrs Adato asked.
"We're going to find out," I said.
Bernardo, Alberto and I began walking towards the white house. "Come back, boys," Mr Rousso said.
"Ricardo? What are you doing? Those men are dangerous," my mother said.
"Don't worry. We're only going to look around. Perhaps it isn't even Souza's Farm," I told her.
We walked towards the house. There were some lights on upstairs and the curtains were open. There was
a tree near the house.
"Let's climb this tree inside the house." I whispered. "We'll be able to see.''
We climbed the tree easily. "I feel like Tarzan," Alberto said.
"But don't shout like Tarzan," Bernardo whispered. We saw Elviro lying on the floor of a small room. There
was a piece of cloth in his mouth and his legs were tied up.
"Where's Dario?" Alberto asked.
"He must be in another room," Bernardo said.
"Maybe Fabio stayed here too before he was taken out of the country," I thought.

Just then the two young men walked into the room where Elviro was. They took him off the floor and put
him in a chair. But they didn't untie him. The fat man hit Elviro twice across the face.
"If I had a gun," Alberto said, "I would shoot them both. "
We saw the two men come out of the house and carry Elviro to a car. It was the same car we had seen
before. "Why are they leaving Dario behind?" Bernardo asked in a whisper.
"Remember what Elviro said. They're going to keep Dario here until they're ready to take him out of the
One of the men stayed with Elviro in the car. The other man went back into the house again.
"What are we going to do now?" Bernardo asked me.
"We have to get back to the bus," I answered. We climbed down and ran towards the bus. Mr Rousso was
paying the man who sold the petrol. Mrs Adato was still crying. "Where have you been?" my mother asked.
We told them what had happened. "Look! The car is backing out into the road," Alberto shouted. "We'll
follow the car," Mr Rousso said.
"Let's see where the men are taking Elviro."
"But we can't leave Dario here," Alberto said. "Nothing's going to happen to him, at least for the time
being," my mother said.

CHAPTER 5 Where is Dario?

We could see the rear lights of the car. We followed it for half an hour, but we kept far behind, so the men
wouldn't notice us. The car began to climb a long hill. It slowed down, and stopped outside a small cafe. We
stopped, too, further down the hill near a bend in the road. The bus was hidden by some trees. Two men
got out of the car and hurried into the cafe.
"Elviro must still be inside," I said.
"But why are they leaving him alone in the car?" my mother asked.
"Who knows? Maybe they have to meet someone. But his arms and legs are tied and there's something over
his mouth. They know he can't move or speak," I told her. Mrs Adato began to cry again. Then I had an
idea. "I'll go and puncture the tyres of the car with my penknife. Then the men can't come after us. But first
I must free Elvira."
"I'll help you," Mr Rousso said. "You can't help Ricardo papa, you're too…!" Bernardo started to say. "Old?"
Mr Rousso said. "What if I am old? My legs are a bit weak. Otherwise, I'm in good shape, just like the
bus!" "We're wasting time," I said. " Those men won't leave him alone for long." When we got to the car, we
looked inside. Elviro was lying on the back seat.
"The doors are locked, Mr Rousso," I said. "How can we get into the car?"
"Leave it to me. I'll do it," Mr Rousso said. He put my penknife into the lock on the door. I heard a 'click'.
"Now open the door," he said proudly. "But be quick!" I climbed into the car and cut the ropes around
Elviro's hands and feet. Then we took off the heavy piece of cloth that was around his mouth.
"Come on Elviro," I said. "Get out of the car - hurry!"
"Let me help you with the tyres," Mr Rousso said as Elviro climbed out of the car. He put his hand on mine
and together we pushed the knife into the rubber. I heard the sound of air coming out of it.
"I'm as strong as an ox," Mr Rousso said proudly.

The three of us ran quickly back to the bend in the road, where the bus was. Bernardo and Alberto carne
out and hugged their father.
"You're a hero," Alberto said.
Mrs Adato was kissing Elviro and crying. Mr Rousso started the bus and turned it around. "Look! the two
men are coming out of the cafe," Bernardo suddenly shouted.
"I don't think they've seen us," Alberto said. "Hurry up, papa," Alberto said as we drove off. "Drive fast!" As
the bus moved off, I heard Elviro shouting "Idiot!"
"Who are you calling an idiot?" I asked him. "Myself, for getting into such a mess," Elviro answered.

The next morning Elviro and I went to the police station.

"I'm doing this for my mother's sake," Elviro said.
Captain Oswaldo listened to Elviro's story carefully. He was a tall, middle-aged man with grey hair. I sat in a
chair in the corner of the room. "Where is the kidnapped boy now?” Elviro told him.
"Let's go there right away," Captain Oswaldo said.
We got into a police car. Captain Oswaldo drove very fast. We soon left Puerto Lindo behind us.
After a time Elviro said, "That's the house where they're keeping Dario."

We got out of the car and walked over to the house.

"Open up. Police!" Captain Oswaldo said in a loud voice. An old man opened the door.
"Where's the child?" Captain Oswaldo asked.
"Two men came this morning and took him away," the old man said. He looked afraid. We went into the
house. Captain Oswaldo looked in all the rooms but he found nothing. "I think the boy has been taken to
Gabriel Cori," Elviro said. "His office is at Camino Real 5. He is a lawyer who works with the organisation."
"Let's go there then," Captain Oswaldo said.
We drove back to Puerto Lindo. The captain spoke on the radio in the police car and asked for help. "If Dario
has been taken to Cori's office it means one thing. The lawyer already has a client who wants to take the
boy out of the country," he said.

Four police officers were already waiting in front of the lawyer's office when we got there.
"Two of you stay right here," Captain Oswaldo said to them. "And everybody else come with me."
We walked into the lawyer's office. Mr Cori was about sixty with not much hair on his head. There was a
gold ring on his little finger. He looked at Elviro with hatred and fear in his eyes but said nothing. He was
sitting at a desk and writing something down. A young man and woman were sitting in the room.
"Who are these two people?" the captain said, pointing to the couple.
"They're my clients from America. They're here to adopt a child and I'm preparing the papers."
"Who's the adopted child?" Captain Oswaldo asked.
"Oscar Segura."
"Can I see his birth certificate, please?"
"Here it is. I don't understand why you're asking these questions," Mr Cori said smoothly.
Captain Oswaldo looked at the papers carefully. "Where's this Oscar Segura? I want to see him." Captain
Oswaldo said.
"He's sleeping. I don't want to disturb him," the lawyer said quickly.
"Arrest Mr Cori and this couple," Oswaldo shouted at one of the policemen.
The American couple looked very shocked.
"Wait," Mr Cori said. He was very worried now. "This isn't the right way to do things. I must talk to my
clients first. " The lawyer whispered something to the couple. They walked out of the room. They looked
very angry and upset.
"Now Mr Cori, bring that boy here!" Captain Oswaldo said. The door to the next room opened. Dario walked
in with the two young men who had kidnapped him. When the boy saw me he ran to me with his arms wide
"Ricardo! Ricardo!" Dario shouted loudly. He held my hand tightly. Captain Oswaldo pointed to the two
kidnappers and Mr Cori and Elviro. "Take these men away," he told his police officers.
"Please, Captain Oswaldo, can I talk to Mr Cori first?" I asked.
"Make it quick," Captain Oswaldo told me.
"Mr Cori, do you remember Fabio Diaz, a four-year-old boy? He was kidnapped twelve years ago."
"Kidnapped? I have nothing to do with kidnapped children," Mr Cori said sharply.
"We'll check his books," Captain Oswaldo said to me, as we left the office. "Come to see me next Monday.
Maybe we'll have some information for you. "
I thanked him and looked down at Dario. He was smiling. I smiled back, but inside I felt sad. He was going
home to his mother and father. I would miss little Dario. He still reminded me of my own lost brother.

The next Monday, I went to see Captain Oswaldo. He had some
big news for me.
"The lawyer used false papers in his dealings.There's a Fabio in his
books who was kidnapped twelve years ago," he told me.
"That's wonderful news!" I said. "He was adopted by a Graciella
and a Henri Dubois."
"Graciella? Is she from this country?" I asked.
"Yes, she was born not far from here. She went to Canada when
she was young and married Henri Dubois."
"So Fabio's living in Canada."
"Yes, in Montreal," he said.
I was very happy. I wanted to share the good news with someone. "Can I see Elviro, please?" I asked the
Captain. "Only for five minutes," Captain Oswaldo said. I talked to Elviro in a small room. He looked pale and
tired. "How are you Elviro?" I asked.
"I'm in a real mess now. I hate everything about myself."
I told Elviro the good news about Fabio. "I wish I could go to Canada and see him," I said, "but have no
"I have some money at home," Elviro said. "I'm sure there's enough for your plane ticket. I earned it by
working for the organisation. Tell my mother it's inside my brown shoes in my wardrobe."

I didn't want to take the money, but it was the only way. I left the police station and went to Mrs Adato's
house. She showed me where Elviro kept his brown shoes. There was more than enough money for a plane
ticket. "Our name as good people is more important than all this money. Take it, Ricardo," she said. "I'll pay
Elviro back some day." I said. I told Bernardo about my plane trip. He was very happy for me.
"Does your mother know you're going to see Fabio?" Bernardo asked me.
"No, I don't want to tell her anything. What if Fabio doesn't want to see me? She'll be very sad then. And if I
tell her where the money came from, she'll be angry."
"Well, you'll have to tell her something." Bernardo said. "I know, tell her you're going on a fishing trip with
my cousin. I know he needs some help at the moment. He's often away for one or two weeks at a time.
That will give you the time you need."

I went with Bernardo to get my passport and I bought some warm clothes and a suitcase. Then I went over
to see Captain Oswaldo. "Your brother lives at this address in Montreal," he said as he gave me a piece of
paper. "I'm very grateful, sir," I said.
"How's my friend Elviro?"
"He's in a special camp for youngsters who have been in trouble. He's learning a trade there."
"And Mr Cori, the lawyer?"
"He 's going to spend a lot of time in jail."
The next evening at ten o'clock I said goodbye to my mother. My flight to Montreal was at midnight, and
Captain Oswaldo was taking me to the airport. "Please be careful, Ricardo," my mother said as I was
leaving. "I hear Bernardo's cousin is a good fisherman, but the sea can be dangerous."
"If only she knew where I'm really going," I thought.
'I´ll be careful, mother, I promise," I said aloud.

Montreal looked beautiful. It was covered with snow.

Everything was so clean, but the streets seemed almost
empty. "This isn't like my home town, where everybody is
always outside," I thought. I took a taxi to Fabio's house.
Half an hour later, I was standing in front of a big building
with coloured glass in the door. The door was locked. It
was snowing and it was very cold. I waited for about a
quarter of an hour. Suddenly I saw a young man coming
out of the building. He looked just like me! My heart started
beating very fast. There he was - my twin brother. At
first, I couldn't speak. I wanted to apologise for making
Picho run away. But I didn't know what to say! Fabio
didn't look at me as he walked past.
"Fabio?" I called.
"Yes," he said, stopping.
"Hello," I said,
'I´m sorry do I know you?"
"Don't you remember me, Fabio?"
'I´ve seen you somewhere before, I'm sure," Fabio said.
"Yes, you certainly have. Look at me carefully," I answered.
"Why is that you look so much like me?" Fabio asked.
"You look a lot like me too," I said.
"But I'm a bit taller!" he said.
"Not much. Just a bit!" I said.
"You could almost be my brother. But I don't have a brother."
"Your mother is Graciella Dubois isn't she?" I said.
"How do you know that?"
"Excuse me, it's very cold out here. Can't we go inside, please?"

Fabio's apartment was on the twentieth floor. It had three bedrooms. "This is my room," Fabio said. It was a
small room with some furniture and an Indian rug across the floor. "You said something about my mother,
Graciella Dubois. How do you know her?" Fabio asked. "I didn't say I know her. My name is Ricardo Diaz.
I'm you twin brother, Fabio," I said.
"My twin brother?" He looked very shocked. "Yes!" I said again, "Your twin brother."
"But my adoptive parents told me that my real parents were killed in a car accident and that they had no
other children."
"That's not true," I said.
"You mean, my adoptive parents lied to me?"
"No they didn't lie to you. The lawyer who took care of the adoption lied to them. You were kidnapped,
"I was kidnapped?" Fabio was looking more and more shocked.
"Don't you remember anything?" I asked.
"Very little. I was only four years old when I was adopted. I remember I was very unhappy. But I thought
that was because my parents had just died. That was what I was told."
"Your real mother is still alive today," I said.
"Is she! "
"Do I have a real father, too?"
"No, he died when we were two years old," I replied.
"All this is too hard to believe."
"Look at this photo," I said, showing him an old family photo. "It was taken when we were two years old. I
don't know which is you and which is me!"
"And who's this woman smiling?" Fabio asked.
"That's mama. Her name is Mathilda Diaz."
"She looks beautiful. I can't believe all this. Does mama think about me sometimes?"
"All the time," I said. "It makes me very jealous!"
"This is the most exciting day of my life," Fabio said, looking at me carefully. "You look fine for a twin
brother Ricardo! " "And you look fine for a twin brother too, Fabio!"

"When you met me outside I was on my way to the library," Fabio said. "I have to get some books from
there. Can you wait here? I'll be right back."
"Of course," I said. "You must be hungry. Here's some food," Fabio said, taking things from the fridge.
"Can I have a wash first?"
"Of course, I'll give you a towel." A small brown dog came in. "I'll feed you in a minute, Picho," Fabio said.
"We used to have a dog called Picho," I said.
"Really!"Fabio said, "I love dogs. I'll talk to you more later. I must go now." I hugged him."My dream is
finally coming true, I've found my twin brother."

Fabio left and I took a shower. Then I sat down and started eating. At that moment, I heard someone
walking into the apartment. It was a woman, about forty years old. She looked beautiful. "She must be Mrs
Dubois," I thought. She looked quickly through the kitchen door, then she went to hang up her coat. "Why
are you eating now, Fabio?" she called out. "Why aren't you waiting for father?" "I… I was very hungry,
and…" I began to say. She came back into the kitchen. Then the look on her face changed.
"Wait a minute! You're not Fabio! Who are you?" she said. She took a step away from me.
"I'm Fabio's twin brother, Mrs Dubois."
"Fabio hasn't got a twin brother! What are you doing here?"
"Please let me explain, Mrs Dubois," I began.
"Yes, please do. I'm listening." she said, and she sat down at the table. She looked very serious. Then I told
her how Fabio was kidnapped. She put her hands over her face, and was silent for a moment. When she
took her hands away, the look on her face was sad. "Mr Cori told us everyone in Fabio's family was dead.
We paid him a lot of money."
"He's in jail now." We talked for a long time. "At first we had many problems with Fabio," she explained. "He
missed his family. He missed his dog too. So we bought him a new one. He called him Picho."
I smiled. Then I told her I had come only to visit Fabio. "I know he belongs here with you now," I said. For
the first time, she smiled at me. "I think you understand how a mother feels," she said. "Now I'm going to
phone my husband."
I went to Fabio's room. I lay on Fabio's bed and fell asleep. Some time later I felt a light kiss on my cheek. I
opened my eyes. I saw a pretty girl wearing a tracksuit. She was perhaps sixteen. I closed my eyes again
and hoped she would kiss me again.
"Wake up Fabio! We're late for our tennis game," she said. Then Fabio walked into the room. Her mouth fell
open. "What's going on here?" she said. "There's two of you!"

Fabio explained everything. The girl's name was Alice. "So you're Fabio's twin brother!" she said, and kissed
me again. Alice was really beautiful. I wanted to ask Fabio if she had a twin sister who could be my
girlfriend. Fabio hugged me and turned to Alice. "Who's better looking? Ricardo or me?" he asked her.
She looked at us both carefully. "Ricardo's better looking while he's sitting down and you're better-looking
standing up, Fabio!"
We all laughed.

Later on I met Mr Dubois. He was a red-haired man, aged about forty-five. He shook hands with me but he
didn't seem very happy to see me. He looked worried. We all had dinner together that evening. Mr Dubois
seemed more friendly then. He told me that he worked in a hotel. Mrs Dubois was a teacher. "We aren't
rich, but we live comfortably," Fabio explained later that evening.
“You speak our language well," I told him.
"Of course I do. I speak it with my mother all the time." I noticed that he spoke French and English with Mr
"You must be very clever!" I said.
"So are you. And you speak English, too. Now tell me about yourself and mama," he said, laughing.
The days passed quickly. Fabio and his family showed me round Montreal. Everything seemed beautiful and
clean. They bought me lots of presents too, mostly clothes. But then the time came for me to go home.
They drove me to the airport.
"Come and spend your next holiday with us," Mr Dubois said. He was very friendly now.
"Yes, I will if Fabio can come to visit us too," I told him and Mrs Dubois. They both smiled. We got to the
'I´ve had a wonderful time," I told them. Before
they left I asked Fabio about Alice.
"She's got a test. She couldn't come to the
"Are you going to marry her?" I asked.
"Marry her, what a question!"
"If you aren't, I will!" I said.
Everybody laughed. I got on the plane. I
thought about Fabio and his family.

They were nice people. I thought they liked me.

I wondered if Alice liked me too. When I got off
the plane, Bernardo and Alberto were waiting
for me. Mr Rousso was there, too. He drove me
home in his old bus. My mother kissed me when I walked into the house. It was wonderful to be home
again. 'I´ve got some presents for you mama. Do you like this dress?" She looked at the dress.
"Where did you buy this? I don't understand," she said.
"And I've got some photos for you mama. Look!"
"Photos of a fishing trip?" She looked at them. "Where is this, Ricardo? There's snow on the ground!" I didn't
say anything. I just smiled "Where have you been, Ricardo?" she began. But then she stared at one of the
photos. "Why are you standing on the right and also on the left in the same picture?" she asked.
"Don't be silly, mama. I can't stand on the right and also on the left at the same time."
"Which one is you? And who is the other one that looks like you?"
"Don't you know, mama?"
“Why do you appear twice in the same photo? And where was it taken?" she said. She was starting to get
"The person who looks like me is Fabio. The photo was taken in Canada, mama." She looked at the photo
again. "I don't believe any of this. It's some kind of trick. Why did you lie to me?" she asked. I tried to
explain why I had told her I was going fishing with Bernardo's cousin, but she didn't understand. And she
refused to believe I had really found Fabio. She was hurt and angry.

The holidays finished, and I went back to school. I worked hard. Sometimes I thought about Dario. I
wondered where he was and if he was happy. Then one day I received a letter from Fabio. He said that he
was coming to visit us. His flight would arrive on Saturday, in two weeks' time. The weeks went by quickly.
When Saturday came, I said to my mother, "We're going on a bus ride today, mama."
"Another bus ride?" she said. "No thank you, I haven't forgotten the last one when we went after those
"We aren't going very far this time," I said. Then Mr Rousso arrived with his bus. Bernardo and Alberto were
sitting inside.
"Hello, Mrs Diaz," Mr Rousso said smiling. "Today is going to be a wonderful day. Please get on the bus."
"Why?" my mother asked.
"You'll know soon enough."

"Why have we come here?" my mother said at the airport. Fabio had just got off the plane. I saw him
looking for us. I hid behind a wall.
"Where's Ricardo?" rny mother asked. "Look! That's him over there. He's holding a red bag in his hand,"
Alberto said, and he pointed to Fabio. "Don't be silly. Ricardo hasn't got a red bag." She didn't even look at
Fabio. But just then Fabio saw her and walked towards her.
"I'm Fabio. Ricardo showed me your photo when he was in Canada," he told her.
"Stop playing games with me, Ricardo," my mother began. "Where have you… wait a minute. You aren't
Ricardo! "
"I really am Fabio. Can I kiss you now?" Mama stared at him, and I came out from my hiding place.
"Fabio! Is it really you? Was Ricardo telling me the truth?" She touched him as if she couldn't believe he was
really there.
"Yes, mama. This is me, Fabio. Your son."
She began to cry. At the same time she hugged and kissed Fabio again and again. Fabio looked very happy.
"I told you that some day I'd find Fabio, didn't I mama?" I said.
Then I introduced Fabio to Mr Rousso and to Bernardo and Alberto. We all got on the bus and set off home.
Fabio sat next to mama. They held hands.
"Have you any photos of yourself when you were a little boy?" mama asked Fabio.
"Oh yes! Here are some. Look. This one was taken inside our apartment," Fabio said. "I was seven years
old. I'm with my dog Picho."
"Picho?" mama said, surprised. Then she began to

On the first night Fabio couldn't sleep. I looked out of

the window and saw him walking in the backyard.
"Can't you sleep, Fabio?" I heard my mother saying to
"I can't sleep either," I said, coming into the
backyard. It was very peaceful there. "I remember
now," Fabio said. "I used to play with Ricardo here."
"Yes and he teased you all the time," my mother said.
"Now he teases me. He went to Montreal but he told
me he was going on a fishing trip. He thinks I'm
"Oh, mama, how can you say a thing like that?" I said. "I like to tease you because I love you."
"I can remember other things now. I used to play with Picho on the beach. It's funny how things come back
to you," Fabio said.
The next day I showed Fabio round Puerto Lindo. I told him the story of Dario's kidnap.
"It was Dario who led me to you," I said.
"Let's go and see him," said Fabio.

So, two days later, we took a bus out of the town and went to visit Dario and his family.
"Ricardo!" Dario cried as soon as he saw me. "Tell me the story about Fabio and Picho again!"
"I can do better than that, Dario. This is Fabio," I said.
"You look just like Ricardo!" Dario said. Dario's mother came out of the house. "You must be Ricardo," she
said to me. "Dario talks about you all the time. We're so grateful to you. Please, you must all stay for lunch.
Dario, go and take your father from the big field." After lunch, Dario's parents gave us some vegetables and
fruit to take home. "This is a great country. People are so friendly!" Fabio said as we were leaving. My
mother spent hours in the kitchen preparing delicious meals for Fabio. I had never seen her so happy
"I can't eat so much," Fabio said.
"I'm trying to make up for the meals you haven't eaten with us!" my mother told him.

The days passed quickly. One evening we walked to the waterfront. The sun was going down over the sea.
We sat down on a bench. "This is where you were kidnapped. We were sitting on this bench when it
happened. I thought mama would kill me when I came home without you," I told him.
"I like mama very much," Fabio said.
"How do you get on with your mother in Canada?"
"She's very kind and understanding. She's been very good to me."
"What about your father?" I asked. "I have arguments with him sometimes. Mostly about my studies. He
thinks I spend too much time on sports. I love tennis."
"And you also play tennis with Alice, don't you?" I said.
"Oh yes! She's my best partner."
"And the best-looking girl in Canada!" I said.
Fabio was silent for a moment. Then he went on. "My parents in Canada were afraid I would never come
back if I visited you here. But I love them, too."
"Put your best clothes on, Fabio," I said one bright sunny afternoon. "Carnival begins this evening." That
evening, we walked towards the town square with Bernardo and Alberto. The streets were full of people.
They were already dancing and singing.
"Everyone looks so happy." Fabio said.
"That's because we love dancing and singing," Bernardo said.
"Bernardo sings and dances in his sleep!" Alberto joked.
"I don't know these dances," Fabio said. Alberto showed him the steps. Half an hour later, we were all
dancing and singing with the other people. "Look at that beautiful girl in the white dress," Fabio said.
"Go and dance with her." I said. He went over to the girl and invited her to dance.
"Look! He's dancing beautifully," Alberto said, "just like one of us."
"You can see he was born in this country," I said.
"The girl's name is Maya," Fabio told us later. He went back and danced with her again. From that evening,
Fabio spent a lot of time with Maya.
On the night before Fabio went back to Canada my mother prepared a big meal.
"Have you said goodbye to Maya?" I asked.
"Seven times," Fabio said sadly. We were in the backyard. The rich smell of summer flowers was
everywhere. Mama was in the kitchen, singing.
"All this singing is for you, Fabio," I told him.

"What does Fabio really think of me?" Mama asked me the next morning. Fabio was packing his bags.
"He thinks you're wonderful."
"And is his mother in Canada wonderful, too?"
"Are you jealous of her, mama?"
"A bit," she answered. "She's raised him. And she's raised him well."
"You haven't done too badly yourself, mama!" I said. "Look at me. You've done a pretty good job!"
"Maybe," she laughed.
"Would you like Fabio to live here with us?" I asked her.
"I want him to be happy. If he's really happy in Canada, he should live there," she answered. There were
tears in her eyes.
Fabio finished packing. He looked sad and so did mama.
"I'm not coming to the airport, but I've got one more present. It's your birth certificate. Take it with you.
That way you'll remember us," she said.
"I'll never forget you. You and Ricardo have made me very happy," Fabio answered. "You'll never know how
happy you've made me," mama told him.
Mr Rousso came to take us to the airport. Fabio and mama said goodbye once more. Mr Rousso started the
engine and drove us away.
"Mr Rousso! This isn't the way to the airport," I said.
"I'm sorry Ricardo, I asked Mr Rousso to take me somewhere first," Fabio said. A few minutes later we
stopped outside a small house. "I'll be right back," Fabio said. We waited for twenty minutes. I thought
Fabio was going to miss the plane. Then we saw him coming out of the house carrying a lot of flowers.
Maya was at the window with her family. Fabio blew kisses to her as he got on the bus.
When we got to the airport I gave Fabio some earrings.
"Are these for me?" Fabio asked.
"Of course not. They're for Alice."
"For Alice? Are you in love with her, Ricardo?" I didn't say anything. I just laughed. I hugged Fabio warmly.
"Remember you have a twin brother in Canada," he said.
"And you remember that you have a twin brother in this country - and a sweetheart!" I added.

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