Alive in the fall, spooky stories sifting through my mind

Alive in the fall, spooky stories sifting through my mind

October is electric as I slink around my house, dotting sugar skulls here and there and rigging up grinning jack-o-lanterns that twirl in the wind. I come alive in fall when spooky stories sift through my mind, begging to be told, and poetry flows off my fingers pooling on the page in dark ink.

I want to tell you a story, one that’ll tickle the back of your neck, one my husband’s family tells about him, that I wrote for my book, when he was lost as a child. Take a read if you dare:

“My brother tells a tale of a night after I disappeared. All was quiet save for the sheep bleating softly outside the window, as my brother lay quietly sleeping in the dark night. My mom and stepdad were asleep and snored into the heaviness of the dark.

Out of his dreams Chucho was awakened by a voice, crying urgently. Shivers went up his spine as he lay in a deathly quiet pose, listening with ears even more intent. Maybe I’m dreaming, he thought, but no — there it was again.

He got up quietly and crept to the wooden door that was poorly constructed, letting in moonlight and wisps of cold air that permeated the room. He put one eye to the cracks in the door and waited. “Help me, Chucho!” a voice carried from down the embankment and near the river. He froze as he recognized the voice — it was Tono!

He had come back and couldn’t find his way to the house. He ran over to his mom and shook her awake as she said, “What’s going on?” Chucho couldn’t hold still as he whispered, “Tono is here! He’s outside crying for help!”

The look that passed over his mom’s face was one of hesitant hope, and she got up to look out the door. Dad awoke and grumbled for everyone to get back in bed. “No, pa, Tono is here! He’s outside crying for us!” my brother said, trying to make dad understand.

My stepdad got up as well and padded over to the door. He opened it and stepped outside into the blackest night he had seen — the moon was slowly being covered by clouds as he walked several paces out and listened. A piercing, low groan drifted up from the river along with the same cry for help Chucho had heard.

My stepdad looked back at my mom and brother standing in the doorway and turned to walk to the edge of the embankment. His eyes, adjusting to the sparse light the moon was giving off, peered over the edge to see where the noise was coming from. “Are you here?” he said gruffly yet soft enough not to carry through the night air. He could see a figure down by the water, walking slowly, almost floating. Are my eyes playing tricks on me, he thought, as he squinted to see who it was.

The moon, suddenly bright as the clouds parted, shone beams on the edge of the water, and he froze. Shrouded in white, he could see it was a woman walking listlessly by the water. Her dress drug on the ground as words emanated from her lips in a voice that was not her own — a voice that belonged to a 6-year-old boy who was lost. “Help me! I can’t find my way home!”

My stepdad could see her starting to turn her head around, and he turned quickly and ran back to the house. “Get inside!” he yelled, their faces turning to confusion. “Where’s Tono?” my mom and brother cried. “Shhh,” he whispered as we sat inside, terror etched on our faces.

Shuffling came from outside as she came closer to the small adobe home, and when she reached the door, a small voice cried in Tono’s voice yet again, “Why won’t you help me? I’ve been gone so long.”

My brother recalls being paralyzed by fear, not knowing why they couldn’t open the door. My dad held his finger to his lips and told us, “Don’t look out the cracks of the door. You must not see her face. If you do, she will take you.” That’s when they knew what my dad had seen.

La Llorona, the most feared specter in Mexico, was using the voice of my lost brother to trick us into coming outside. It’s said she is beautiful, but that if you see her face, you will perish. She will take you with her and end her prison sentence, which is to walk the earth eternally. Chucho covered his ears as she began wailing outside the heavy cement walls. As for me, I wouldn’t be found for two more years.”

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