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No mirar detras de ti
Maria splashed water at her little brother, Carlos. The ocean was beautiful this time of year and the children had bee n playing in the water since morning. “Vamos dentro de mis hijos, come inside my children,” called their mother.
‘Viniendo, coming,” Maria called. Carlos grinned. “Race you to shore,” he said in Spanish. “No gracias,” said Maria, “I think I’ll just walk.”
“Capricho, suit yourself,” Carlos said and splashed his way toward their mom. Maria shook her head. After dunking her head underwater she began wading from the thigh deep water she was in toward the beach, sinking her toes in the sand as she went along. Then she stepped on something cold and wet. It wasn’t sand!
Maria looked down. A face looked back up at her, blank, unmoving, with an empty expression. No air bubbles escaped from the mouth. It was the face of a young boy, who looked to be a few years younger than Carlos, who had been at the bottom of the ocean far too long. A scream rose up in her throat, her skin crawled in horror and disgust. She gagged, but before she could do anything else she was grabbed by a cold, small dead hand and pulled under water. Maria struggled and kicked, air escaped from her panicking mouth, she was suffocating with horror. The think that grabbed her smiled, a terrible twisted smile. Dark lines shadowed his face and every last thing the terrified Maria seemed to be in his sightless eyes. Maria gasped in fright. Water filled her lungs, the salt burning her throat. She struggled to get up to the surface but the thing pinned her down to the sand. For three minutes she struggled, then Maria’s lungs couldn’t take it any longer. Maria died looking up at the surface of the water two inches above her face.
Melenie tried to drown out her brother, Nick, as he sang along to a song on his ipod. Her eyes focused super-hard on the worn out pages of the book she had rented form the library: Ghostly Stories to Chill your Soul. The Arizona desert rushed by through the window of the car, the dirt road caused the car to bump up and down, jostling the people inside. Nick started singing in an annoying screamy voice, Melenie gave up trying to read. “Will you cut that out!” Melenie shouted, yanking out his earphones.
“Hey!” Nick said.
“I am trying to read here!” She yelled gesturing to her book.
“I don’t really care,” Nick replied angrily, “give me back my headphones!”
“No!” She shouted, flipping her long, light brown hair out of her face. Nick grabbed for the headphones. “MOM!” Melenie screamed.
“Be quiet both of you!” Their mom screeched from the front. “Why can’t you just both shut up?” She turned around to glare at her children, her green eyes nearly popping out of her head in frustration. They fell silent. For the past year since their father’s death their mom had been stressed out, like a taunt rubber band just waiting to snap. Raising twins wasn’t easy, that’s why her mom had decided to take to Mexico for a bit to live with her sister who had moved there the previous year. Nick sighed and grabbed his ipod back and Melenie picked up her book. The rest of the drive was spent in silence.
Juan was walking home from his job at the 7-11 gas station. The Mexico sun was setting behind the mountains in the West, his white shoes kicked up dust as he walked home to his house. Suddenly, the hair on the back of his neck stood on end. An unearthly chill seemed to radiate from a person standing behind him, but there had been no one there before. He started walking faster, and then he heard a voice. It was beautiful, like a choir of angels, but there was something about it, as though one of the angels murdered puppies for a living. “No mirar detras de ti, don’t look behind you,” The voice said.
“Que’?” Juan asked, turning around. In the middle of the road stood a little boy, no more than six. He was alone, holding a stuffed bear. He looked at Juan, blinked, and then smiled. The smile was horrifying, terrible, it held Juan in it’s sinister grip making it impossible for him to move. Paralyzing him. The teddy bear turned into a switchblade gleaming in the moonlight. The boy advanced on Juan. Juan struggled to move but it was as though his entire body was in a straight jacket that was nailed to the ground. He tried to scream but no sound came out. He pushed against the bonds holding him but he was stuck, right where he was, staring at the little boy. The boy ran towards him, raised the switchblade high then brought it down. Juan never came home that night. His body was found in a dumpster behind where he worked.
Melenie woke up to the banging of pots and pans in the kitchen. She yawned and walked out of her room. “Morning,” she said to her mom.
“Hello sweetie,” her mother said.
“Hola tia Rosa,” she said to her Aunt squinting out the window at her brother walking in the distance.
“Buenos dias,” she said smiling.
“Uh, why is Nick walking out there?” She asked her mother walking over to the fridge.
“He’s getting some milk dear,” replied her mother, we’re all out.
“Great,” Melenie said sarcastically, shutting the fridge door. She glanced around the lemon yellow kitchen and ran her fingers through her hair. “I’m going to go back to sleep,” she said walking back down the hallway to her room.
“Alright dear,” said her mother, who then began speaking to her aunt in Spanish. I should really learn how to speak that, Melenie thought to herself.
Nick walked down the dusty brown dirt road to the supermarket. He had ten dollars in his pocket to get some milk but was extremely tempted to use the money to buy some pop tarts, he really couldn’t stand all the Mexican food all of the time. He started playing the drum solo of Moby Dick by Led Zepplin, ten dollars still in his hand, when a sudden, cold breeze blew the money away. It got carried on the wind into a building that looked like it was closed down. He followed it into the building, down a hall, and into a large room with no windows. A dance studio. He picked up the money which had settled onto the floor and looked into the mirror. He saw a pale six year old boy holding a teddy bear standing behind him.
Nick, knew somehow that if the boy smiled he wouldn’t be able to move, so he ran, eyes closed, down the hall and into the open street. He heard glass shattering behind him into a million pieces, he heard a chuckle, it sounded like it came from nails scratching on glass. The boy didn’t follow him, but just in case he was there, Nick had the sense never to look back behind him as he ran, heart pounding, all the way home.
The door slammed and Melanie ran outside to the porch clutching her book. She sat at one of the chairs and looked out to the ocean. Suddenly she felt a chill and saw a 6 year old boy walking up the beach to where she was sitting. He looked lost and alone, he hugged a teddy bear tightly. Melanie looked around the beach to see if he was with some other adult, but it appeared he was completely alone. Then she did a double take at the way he had come. His feet were leaving no footprints in the sand. Melanie looked at her book, and then back at the boy. She gasped. “Um, can I help you?” she asked? He looked up “where is my mama?” he mouthed. “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Spanish,” said Melanie. “What is your name?” “Mario Rodriquez,” he mouthed, then vanished. Melanie stood on the porch staring at where the little boy was. Then she shivered and walked inside.
Melanie woke up the next morning, to an overcast sky. Her encounter with the strange boy still fresh in her mind. The light through the window made the usually cheery tomato-red walls of her room look like dried blood, the white comforter on her bed looked like the color of bones. Melanie got out of bed and walked over to her suit case to grab her Spanish dictionary. She flipped through the never-before-used pages trying to find the words the boy used. “Where es mi mama,” she muttered, sitting cross legged on the cream color carpet. After a few minutes, she found what he said: “Where is my mother?”
“Poor baby,” Melanie breathed. She wrote the sentence down on the inside cover of the dictionary and put on some clothes. Then she ran to the library to see what she could find out about Mario and his mom.
Nick and Melanie disagreed on a lot of things. The best football team, who should get the biggest allowance, etc. but the thing they disagreed on most was the super natural. It intrigued Melanie, she wanted to find out much about ghosts, monsters, and other things that go bump in the night. She wanted to meet them, study them, find out all about them. Nick was the opposite. He feared ghosts more than anything else. He couldn’t sit through a scary movie or listen to a scary story. But Nick had a 6th sense about some things. He knew Melanie had met the creepy boy and because he, being her brother knew her better than anyone else, he knew she would be at the library trying to find out more about him.
Melanie thanked the librarian and opened up the newspaper she had been handed. Inside on the third page was a blown-up picture of Mario’s face. “that’s him,” she said. The Librarian nodded and walked away. Melanie scanned the article and gasped. It read:
Mario Rodriquez, who disappeared 6 years ago, was found on the beach washed up by the ocean, dead. His captors believed him to be some sort of demon and burned him at the stake, recorded it and sent it to his mom, Anneta Rodriquez. Upon seeing the tape, his mother committed suicide by burying herself alive. Her remnants were never found.
Then Melanie looked toward the bottom of the page. Scrawled in messy handwriting was: W Vacio St PLEASE COME ALONE she grabbed her bag and ran to catch a cab.
Nick ran, out of breath, into the almost-empty Library. Quickly he found one of the Librarians. “have you seen my sister?” He asked urgently.
“No speaka eenglish,” said the librarian quietly.
“Small, uh, picano nina, uh hair,” Nick said gesturing to his hair. “Azul eyes…” he looked at the Librarian hopefully. After a moment she replied.
“Si,” she said, gesturing to Nick to follow her. She led him to the table where Melanie had been sitting. “Gracias,” he said. Nick picked up the dictionary he recognized from Melanie’s room and opened it. “Find his mother” was written on the front cover. Nick picked up the article. “Oh!” he said dropping it on the ground. The face of the boy was staring back at him. Then it grinned.
“Christo, sacarme de aqui!” screamed the librarian. Nick looked down at the bottom of the page. the messy handwriting was melting off the page until all that was left was Vacio St and come alone. Nick ran out the door to hail a taxi.
Melanie arrived at an empty corn field. It was the right address. “Gracias,” she said and stepped out of the car. The taxi driver drove off. “Hello,” Mario mouthed. “thank you for taking me here.” He can speak English! Melanie thought with surprise, but said nothing. She cleared her throat.
“You’re welcome,” she said. They arrived at a mound of dirt. Next to the mound was the mother’s name, Annetta Rodriquez, carved in a large rock in messy writing. “I’ll just leave you alone,” said Melanie, staring to walk away. Mario grabbed her hand.
His skin was cold as ice, dead, and flaky. His grip was like iron, crushing her hand, “Ah!” Melanie gasped. Mario smiled. Her eyes widened in horror, her breath quickened, she panicked, but couldn’t get her legs to move. Tears started streaming down her face.
“This isn’t like all the other horror stories you read Melanie Jones,” said Mario squeezing her hand tighter. “Now, why don’t you stay for the show?” he turned back around and looked expectantly at the dirt. Melanie whimpered.
Nick leapt out of the cab and threw money at the driver. He crashed through the cornstalks, his feet pounding on the dirt. Rain began to fall from the sky, millions of tiny droplets wizzing like tiny cold daggers through the air. Nick slipped on the mud. “Ah!” he screamed sprawling to the ground. He looked up. The boy stood clenching Melanie’s hand looking excitedly at a mound of what was now mud in front of him. Melanie stood beside him crying in pain and fright. Nick pushed himself upright, mud was splattered everywhere and rain drops were like rivers sending streaks of cleanness down his face. Something under the mud moved. Nick watched, frozen with horror, as the thing clawed it’s way out of the ground. It was disgusting, with rotting flesh and a face purple from suffocation. It had tattered clothing that clung to its body like limp rags, cockroaches crawled in and out of its slimy black hair. “Mi nino,” It croaked, addressing the boy. The boy smiled “Thank you for bringing us back together again,” It said, lightly touching Melenie’s face. Melenie jumped back eyes wide with fright and disgust. The two embraced. Then they turned to Nick. “It seems we have a visitor,” said the thing.
“No!” Melenie shouted “Please don’t hurt him!” Tears streamed down her face, she tugged with all her might at the hand that was holding her, then it disappeared. She collapsed to the ground, sobbing. She heard to voices in unison say “No mirar detras de ti, don’t look behind you,” and she knew it was too late for one of them. To save her brother’s life, she tried too look, but Nick beat her to it. Then the mother killed him while Mario kept him immobilized “I’m sorry,” she sobbed, and she thought she could hear her brother say it’s okay, but maybe it was just the wind. The voices cackled, and left, and Melenie was left alone with the body of her twin brother, Nick, in an empty cornfield.
A month later, Melenie and her mom drove back home alone.