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Our Crying Lady

Horror Story




    Now that death is near, I’m obliged to record the events that I witnessed on a dark night of December 1955 in Charala, my hometown.

    My confession will shed light on the ill-fated end of Rendon,  Charala’s shoemaker, whom I saw agonizing with his black hair turned totally white, his wild eyes popping out of its orbits, and his bloody clothes torn by bites that—so we testified in the absence of a coherent explanation, were caused by a pack of hungry dogs.

    We were playing blackjack with Crazy Yoel and One-eyed Galan at the Centenary Bakery, when Rendon came in to buy a bottle of alcohol and a box of matches. Yoel invited him to a cup of anise and Rendon, contrary to our expectations, accepted.

    Yoel asked him if they could start a medium session, as he wanted to ask a couple of questions to Gaitán, the politician abruptly murdered in 1948.

    It was said that Rendon was a wretched man, who rejected Rita, his wife, for not giving him a first-born boy. Months after, Rita and her baby girl disappeared from Charala, and Rendon didn’t give another explanation that they both had abandoned him.

    It was after eleven o'clock at night that one-eyed Galan closed the door with a knocker.

    We sat and held hands, under the warning not to scoff at what we heard or saw; After praying to a Cuban saint, Rendon narrowed his eyes until his pupils turned white.

    I noticed then that Galan was watching him with lively contempt, and the crazy Yoel with growing animosity.

We'd better invoke his wife, "Galan muttered," to see if she's still alive.

    I laughed to myself. It was then that his body convulsed grasping quite hard Yoel and Galan's hands. After launching a mute groan, we saw Rendon fainting in his seat, falling dramatically to the floor, under the table, just over my feet.

    Yoel took the bottle of anise from the next table and sprinkled it on Rendon, who reacted with reddened pupils.

“What did you see?” Galan asked.

"Someone or something prevented the summoned spirit from reaching, " he said before sinking into a catatonic state of unintelligible murmurs, his face dripping drool.

 I noticed that his pulse was altered, but his breathing was normal. Yoel went to his house, woke up two young men and ordered them to transport Rendon to the Municipal Hospital.

    We had barely taken a couple of steps from the bakery when we spotted, on his steed, Deputy Zamora on the corner. His clothes were wet.

“I'm dying!” He gasped in an almost inaudible tone before dismounting and falling heavily to the ground.

I took one of my adrenaline injections and applied it to his neck, preventing thus a respiratory arrest. We resumed our procession until we reached the Municipal Hospital, where nurses dried off and changed the deputy's clothes.

    I ordered to give serum to both convalescent patients, and put them to bed in separate rooms.

    I went out for breakfast and when I came back, around nine am, I asked the nurses about the health of Congressman Zamora.

“He wants to talk to you.”

I went in, but not without first confronting local journalists, to whom I reluctantly promised to report on the deputy's state of health.

    "You have to believe me!" Zamora shouted with longing and fearful eyes, after he applied a dose of penicillin to prevent possible pneumonia.

"They told us you jumped into the river from the bridge," I sighed.

“You know I'm not a mad man,” said Dr. W ilches.

"Did you slip off your horse?"

    “Listened!” He snapped, clutching my arm, his forehead beaded with beads of sweat, eager to express himself.

    “I was returning from a night of drinks at the Vargas home, when I saw, on the bank of the Pienta River, the slim silhouette of a maid wearing a long black silk dress.

    She was not wearing a hat or veil, as the locals do here, so I inferred that she was a foreigner.

    Her most striking feature was her milky trail of platinum hair, which undulated in the air, in the light of the waning moon, from his shoulders to his waist, attracting me like a drunken and about to capsize ship that is attracted by the blazing flames of a on-the-edge-of-a-cliff lighthouse.

    But the maiden was agile and vigorous, and the more I spurred on Marfil, my steed, the faster and more untamed the nymph undulated her forms, to the point that, in truth, I thought I saw her floating over the pebble path that leads from the bank to the main road.

    At last, I saw her stop in the middle of the Pienta Bridge, coerced by the presence, at the entrance of the town, of a Nativity with life-size statues of the holy family. Realizing her bewilderment, I approached her at full gallop.

    I dismounted and took the shoulder of the creature. The touch of silk on a solid surface made my blood run cold, but it was the sight of two sockets of endless darkness that made me sick. I was courting a skull-faced demon!

    Her hair was not blond, but gray, that of a living corpse! I cried out in horror and fell into the void. Believe me, the frozen water of the river was sweeter and warmer than the vision that watched me from the edge of the bridge.”

I nodded, comparing his testimony with that of the peasants who had found him with "Ivory", the steed that had rescued him from the dangerous eddies of the current.

"Save me, Doctor!" That monster will come back for me!

    It was then that we heard banging in the next room. The doors were bolted, and although we tried to pry the hinges to knock down the main door leaves, none of the bolts gave way to chisels.

    Meanwhile, the medical staff, the nurses, prelates and nuns crowded into the front courtyard, from where we heard Rendon's heartrending screams and a sharp blow against the broken glass.

It was only at noon that the gates were knocked down, together with a piece of wall, before the blows of twelve men with mallets.

The scene I saw will never cease to haunt me, that of the shoemaker's flied-off skin body, covered by a black silk veil as a shroud, and a small wooden box with the bones of a decomposed baby.

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