On a gloomy November day in Lima, 1846, gray sky spitting drizzle, during the distinguished presidency of the great Peruvian hero Mariscal Ramon Castilla, a pair of rather plain, but highly born, twins arrived screaming into this world. Credo and Quietus, two infant girls named thusly by their apprehensive and devout parents, brought a new hope and breathlessness to them.Don ____ and Doña _____had lost several young children to the plagues and pestilence of that era, then ever-present in the city. They had anxiously pledged the lives of their daughters to El Señor de Los Milagros, a powerful patron saint in Lima, indeed in all Perú.
Credo and Quietus thrived, growing strong in body and temperament. Although they looked very alike, their personalities and tastes were strikingly different. And, as time passed, and as their relationship became more complex, they were often driven by their divergent natures into extreme competition with each other.What began in childhood as playful rivalry turned by puberty into heated opposition. Each realized that her respective devotion to the Lord of the Miracles brought her exceptional powers. Credo, a faithful and loyal believer, had Hope on her side. Quietus, on the other hand, equally cucufata, reasoned that the death of the body was a leveling denominator and Fear stood by her. Arguments between the twins, once verbal and reasoned, had turned to lavish spectacles of their respective strengths, the capacity to sway the opinion of others. Family members and servants were pressed into participating.
Although both were convinced that, ultimately, there is spiritual salvation, each quibbled over the righteous path toward that end: Credo credited blind faith with salvation, whereas Quietus believed that the cross of human demise was a far more persuasive deterrent from sin, and thus the best route to eternal bliss.They began an experiment. Scouring the streets of Lima, they each sought subjects to persuade of their means to obtain celestial rapture. They kept a count of mortals, whose souls they had cajoled to their side. Fear and Hope proved equally effective weaponry in the passionate battles they waged. One, or the other, inveigled their hapless victims easily.
The results of their conflict after years of the continued crusade ended in a dead heat.Soon after the turn of the century, Credo succumbed to a poisonous concoction, meant to cure an irritable bowel, mixed hurriedly and incorrectly by a loyal but dim-witted servant. Quietus was run down by a car, indeed the city’s first (and only) motor car, which she had stepped out of the way to avoid, just as the inexpert driver swerved into her. They were buried side by side in an extravagantly embellished tomb in Presbitero Maestro.
To this day, the result of their ecclesiastical tug of war endures. Only witness the passion of the devotees in October. Alongside the multitude of hawkers and peddlers who profit grossly, purple zealots, both hopeful and fearful, abound.