I love Halloween, in fact I love it so much that Halloween isn’t just a day, or a month, it is year around for me. I have skull garlands that hang from my window all year long, gargoyles sit on my railing, and I have a blood-red “beware” sign instead of a welcome mat at my front door. So why do I love Halloween? Because it is the one time of year when I can fly my freak flag proudly without people thinking I am a freak. It’s the one time of the year where people embrace the spooky, the unexplainable, and the downright scary.
One of my favorite stories is the tale of La Llorona. In other cultures she is sometimes called “The Woman In White” and as with every tale you can have fifty different versions of the same story. Here in the Southwest she is called La Llorona, a woman named Maria who claims her young victims by the river. This is a tale that people in our area and in our family specifically believe in whole-heartedly. My children, growing up in a Spanish/Navajo family, were raised on the belief that you do not go near the water near sundown, their grandmother and aunts are extremely superstitious.
I have a character that I love to write, Enzo. His story is slow going, eventually it will all get told, but I couldn’t resist mixing in this folk tale into his world to change his life forever. So for this retelling of La Llorona in the universe for my fallen angel looking for revenge, I focused not on Enzo but on his mate instead. I took some liberties and twisted this old folk tale in a new direction. It fit so perfectly given the name of Enzo’s mate. I couldn’t resist and I love his mate no matter how evil and insane she is.
Keeping in the theme of Halloween, in the comments below share your favorite Halloween story, folk lore, or spooky campfire ghost story and I’ll enter you into a drawing to win free e-book ARC Waking Up In Bedlam.
❤ Stay Spooky! ❤
She crouched down by the waters edge, the pull to this place was undeniable. Her fangs elongated when she heard the sound of children approaching. They were arguing and making noise like children tend to do. This time of the evening most children were safely at their dining room tables, and she had to lure them to the water’s edge. Tonight, her prey would be easy to catch. These two were ripe for the picking if they were out after twilight. Her lips curve into a wicked smile.
Rosalie’s hands shook as she reached out to pull her brother back from the water. “Tía said not to go near the water and it’s getting dark outside. We have to go home.” She tried to stop her small voice from quivering in fear but her brother grinned and pushed her away from him.
“Are you scared?” He snickered, “Then go home little baby, but if you tell tía where I am you’re going to be sorry.”
Rosalie’s tears streaked down her cheeks, “Please, brother. Don’t do this. You will make La Llorona angry, she will take you away, tía said so.”
“That is just an old story, you’re such a chicken Rosalie.”
Her little lip quivered, “But La Llorona?”
“She’s make believe, tía and tío just told us that story so that we would stay away from the water.” He shook his head, “You’re such a little kid, just go home.”
Rosalie lifted her chin and glared at her brother who was only two years older than her, “You are a little kid too, Antonio. Espero que te metes en un gran problema cuando regresemos.”
Antonio ignored her, he picked up a stone and skipped it across the glassy surface of the water. Rosalie spun around on her heels and stormed off. She had never known her brother to be so mean, he was different now that their parents were gone. When they lived in Nogales with their parents, life had been great, but after their father had been murdered and their mother gave into her grief and killed herself, they had been forced to move to Santa Fe with their aunt and uncle. Antonio’s attitude suddenly changed. His only comfort seemed to be lashing out and getting in trouble. He always tried to convince his sister to join in on his pranks and in the end she was never able to stop him. Two weeks ago he had shoved a neighbor kid into traffic, the little girl came out unharmed but very shook up. That is when their tía had told them the story of La Llorona.
Rosalie stomped her way up to where she had laid her towel and sat down. Pulling her legs up close to her chest and resting her chin on her knees as she recalled what tía had told them. Long, long ago La Llorona was once a beautiful woman named Maria, she had been out one day and left her children home alone. Bandits came and kidnapped her children and drowned them in the Santa Fe River. When the woman returned home to find her beloved children murdered she was heart broken and in her sadness she had taken her own life. That part of the story made Rosalie’s heart break, it reminded her of her own mother. When La Llorona went to heaven she was stopped at the pearly gates and God asked her “Where are your children?” She answered that she didn’t know where her children were. God had told her that she could not enter the afterlife until she found her missing children and she was turned away. Now she wanders the riverbanks looking for them, calling out “Ay, mis hijos! Ay, mis hijos!” It is said that she claims any children found wandering near the river at night and she will also come for children who disobey their elders. When she comes across wandering children she will appear to them, place her long, bony finger on their should and say “Aquí están mis hijos,” “Here are my children.” Then she drags them down into a watery grave and waits at the pearly gates for God to let her and her children enter heaven.
Rosalie squeezed her eyes shut, just thinking about the story made her scared. She couldn’t watch Antonio anymore but she could still hear him throwing rocks out into the water, taunting the spirit. Suddenly there was a chill in the air, Rosalie shivered and kept her eyes closed tight as she rubbed her arms to try to keep warm. “Antonio! Let’s go back to tía’s house, I’m cold!” She paused, “Please?” When no answer came, her little heart pounded in her ears, “Antonio?” Reluctantly she opened her eyes, Antonio stood on the bank of the river, eyes wide, skin ghost white; he wasn’t moving, wasn’t doing anything except pointing. Rosalie followed the direction his finger was pointing in and saw nothing. She stood up, anger flared through her as she stormed down to him and slapped him in the arm, “That wasn’t funny, Antonio! You scared me!” He didn’t move, didn’t blink, Rosalie poked his arm but he was stiff as a board. “Brother?” Fear crept back into her voice, “Brother! Stop this, it isn’t funny!”
She felt something touch her shoulder, something bony and cold. Rosalie didn’t want to turn around. Her eyes filled with tears as she gripped her brothers arm, tugging on it, “Brother please, help me!” But he never even took a breath.
“Aquí están mis hijos,” The woman’s voice was soft and accented but it wasn’t Spanish.
Rosalie turned around, tears streaming down her cheeks as she dropped to her knees before the spirit, “Please, I’m a good girl. I didn’t want to come out here. My brother is good too, he’s just.” She paused, “Please let us go. We promise to never come to the river again.”
La Llorona shook her head and bent down, “I am sorry but I can not let you go. You are my child. I have come for you and only you. Your brother will return home.”
Rosalie sobbed, “But why?”
The woman reached out and tucked a loose strand of hair behind Rosalie’s ear and whispered, “Because you are mine, and I will take care of you for all of eternity.”
Rosalie shook her little head, whimpering and pleading as the woman scooped her up in her arms and carried her into the river. The ice-cold water was nothing compared to the fire in her lungs as she struggled for air. She kicked and trashed trying to break free of La Llorona’s tight grasp but nothing worked. Her screams for help and mercy went unheard as the river and La Llorona dragged her down to her watery grave.
Maria sat on the couch with Rosalie’s head resting in her lap. It would take awhile for the girls soul to reenter her body and Maria took this time to sooth her child as she laid peacefully in her lap. She hadn’t thought about taking the girl last night at the riverside. Since she had learned about the legend of the Llorona and the extremely superstitious nature of the families living near the river she had used it to her advantage. The Santa Fe River had been her feeding ground for decades. Most of the time she didn’t feed from young ones like the girl and her brother, mostly she targeted teenagers or bullies. There was still a small part of her that couldn’t give into her darkness, but last night she had been hungrier than usual, she had intended to devour both of their souls and drag the bodies into the river. The boy had been full of anger, when she had started to suck his soul from him he had called to her, offered her his sister instead. That is when Maria had stopped and let him live. Granted she knew it wouldn’t be much of a life, he would be in a coma for months and when he finally came around he would have to answer the heart breaking questions of what had happened to his sister, did he kill her, did she fall into the river? And he would tell them that the Llorona took Rosalie, no one would believe him and he would have to live with the guilt for the rest of his life.
As soon as Maria had touched Rosalie’s shoulder an overwhelming desire to keep the girl filled her. That had never happened before, she was no longer hungry, her heart ached to hold the little one, nurture her; but after the corruption of her own soul how could she care for a living child? That is when she made her decision, she killed the girl and then made a deal with the reaper who came to gather the child’s soul. He would return the soul to the girl if Maria would agree to owe him one, so to speak. She agreed immediately.
She knew Enzo would be angry, her fallen angel had quite a big heart when it came to children, but he would forgive her. She gave a wicked grin and continued to stroke Rosalie’s hair. He would forgive her because he always forgave her.
Grand Prize Giveaway for Souls Around The World Blog Hop:
A Sony Touch E-Reader, preloaded with books
Follow the rest of the hop here!