Today, like most Wednesdays, will be spent with college related work. I must also pack and prepare for my weekend signings in New Orleans on Friday and Saturday. Thursday will be spent visiting schools and libraries on the way there, doing the endless networking that we authors have to do.
Anyway, since today is Halloween, I thought I’d post a murder/horror story I had written in the past. I set the story in Dallas, Texas. Let me know what you think of it. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
BODIES IN THE TRINITY
Evil is a true thing in Mexico. It goes about on its own legs. Maybe some day it will come to you. Maybe it already has—Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
I AM LA LLARONA, AND I WEEP FOR MY CHILDREN. For centuries of nights I have wandered along the waters throughout Mexico. And yes, I walk along the banks of your Trinity River. I have strolled along your Turtle Creek, your Bachman Lake and the other waters. You are surprised to find me in your country? Do not be. No, in my lifetime, your land too was once a part of Mexico.
I am a Mexican ghost, born of a desert tragedy. On that dreadful night, when I realized my lover had abandoned us, I blew out the last candle I had lit for him and drowned my two little children, damning myself forever. But as I was a whore in the eyes of all, what else could I have done? I had given this man my virginity, my honor, my future. No one would help us—-not my parents, not the Holy Church, not the residents of our pueblo. I am forever lost now—in the night, in the madness, pain, hopelessness, grief, and loneliness. Ay, mis hijos, ¿Donde Estan mis hijos?
But I have found I am not so alone.
One night, I came upon a couple–shouting, fighting. Two young children clutched each other nearby, watching. A boy and a girl. They so reminded me of my own.
“Jorge, please, take us home,” the woman said. “The children are frightened.”
The man spat at her and threw her to the ground. “No. I do not care where you go, but you will not return with me.” He cursed, then stormed out of sight.
When I came to her, she was weeping. “Why do you weep, querida?” I asked. She shook her head and did not answer, wiping fiercely at the tears on her cheeks.
I lifted her chin with my hand so she would look at me. “What is your name?”
“Veronica,” she said.
“He was your man, was he not? And now he has left you? Answer me.”
“Yes. But who are you? Are you an angel?”
“Yes, querida. I am your angel tonight—your guide and guardian.”
“Oh, thank you!”
She clutched my legs and buried her tear-stained face in my dress. Her weeping tore my heart.
“Jorge has abandoned me. And now who will take care of my children?” She clenched her fists and held them against her face.
I sat next to her and wrapped my arms around her. “I will help you take care of them. I am your sister. Do you not see the resemblance?” I brushed my fingers through her long dark hair and looked deep into the black-pearl eyes. “I understand your pain. Look into the river. The river holds the secret. The river will tell you what to do.”
Dipping my hand into the water, I held my arm up and watched the drops slip back into the river. As she sobbed and stared at the water, I held out my hands to the children. “Come, hijos.” I led them back to Veronica, and we sat together, staring at the river. In the distance I could see the Dallas skyline, and even in our remote location, the sirens, and sounds of the city roared in my head. I knew what the mother would soon do, and so I kissed each of them and left them there by the water, and followed Jorge.
I found him leaning against a tree smoking. He smelled of tequila and beer. I stepped behind him and gently tapped him on the shoulder. Turning, he said, “Jesus, you scared me. Buenos noches.” He attempted to walk away, but I moved in front of him.
“Ah, but you would not leave me so soon? And such a handsome man.” I stroked his cheek and placed my hand on his chest. “Such very fine clothes. Surely you are able to give a woman all the things she needs.”
“So the lady wants something from me, tonight, eh?”
I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek and put my arms around his neck. “I knew a man very much like you once. Why are you here, guapo, my handsome one? You are all alone and along sad waters.”
“I’m looking for a beautiful woman like yourself.”
I could see the lust in his eyes. “Why won’t you marry Veronica?”
He pushed me away. “You know her, don’t you? She sent you? Does she think she can trick me into keeping her? Why should a successful man marry beneath himself? My family disproves of her. As they would of you.”
The arrogance in his eyes enraged me. “But she will have nothing without you.”
“She is no longer my concern.”
“I know you, Jorge, and many more like you.” I clutched him and kissed him hard, biting his lip.
“So the lady wishes to play hard?”
“You have no idea how hard I can play.” I took him by the hand toward the river. “Come, lie with me.”
He grinned. “You will not forget this night.”
“Nor you,” I said.
He struggled to live, but it was in vain. In those last moments, when I held his head under the water, I knew his thoughts. How can a woman be so strong? Will my body be found tomorrow in the dirty water of the Trinity?
You think I’m cruel. A murderer of my own children. A malevolent spirit. Perhaps. But I am no more cruel than your society, which drowns your little ones in violence, in drugs, in neglect. It is a terrible thing to lose a child. If you listen in the quiet of the night, you will hear me weep for my children, and for yours. They are all my children now. I want to save them, but I don’t know how. Ay, mis hijos, mis hijos. ¿ Donde estan mis hijos? And Dallas has many drowning children for me to cry for.