Author's Note: The characters do speak European Spanish, just so you are warned. I am sorry if my Spanish is not correct.
Dear, dear reader beauty does not mean beauty. The face of evil often wears the mask of the evil. Do not fall for the Devil's tricks. Enter now to read my sad, sad tale.
I walked along the countryside taking in the fall landscape. The sun was hidden behind dark clouds and it looked as if rain would soon be upon us. Rain had not fallen for months now. This drought had caused the landscape to be dead. There was neither sign of life nor any sign of hope. It was just nothing, just nothing at all.
I sunk down in the hip high dead grass. It was threatening to break. It was so fragile, just like a baby bird. "Dios, salvo nosotros. Muestre alguna luz y amor en nosotros. Muéstrenos alguna misericordia," I whispered as I looked up to the heavens. "Por favor, Dios." I sighed and stood up.
Our small farm was close to the dead grass. It was a rather modest dwelling. We had a simple barn that was threatening to fall in. An ancient, decaying wooden fence surrounded the barn. Instead, the fence was two old mares, a gray mammy goat, and an old milking cow. My father had worked hard to get our small collection of animals, but that was years ago. Now, they were worth nothing. Our home was just a simple, wooden dwelling. The downstairs had two rooms, a living area and my parents' bedroom. Upstairs I shared a small loft with my sister. Almost everything was owned was ancient or handmade.
I opened the wooden door that remained me of a barn. It was a half door. Today, only the bottom was shut. The top was open in a sad attempt to catch a nonexistent breeze. Anita, my sister, was hopeful that things would change and left the door open in that attempt.
"Mama, Papa, I'm home!" I called as I threw my shawl on the chair next to the door. "Estoy en casa!" I walked through the house. No one seemed to be around. "Anyone?" I listened. It was quite. Everyone must had already left for the day.
I sat down at the table and took a piece of stale bread out of the basket. I bit in to it. It would have been better if it were fresh or if it had some butter. We had not had butter in months. Just a little dab would have been heavenly.
A little bit of wind came through the door. It knocked the basket over and sent the gas lamp to the floor. The lamp broke into hundreds of small pieces. I jumped to my feet and looked out the door. Nothing else appeared to be disturbed, not even the dust on the ground. That was rather odd. Where had this breeze come from? I did one final sweep and slammed the top half shut.
"Viento estúpido," I muttered as I walked back to the table. I had decided to blame it on the wind, even though I knew w that it was not the wind's fault. Nothing else made sense and if offered me confront to place the blame in something. This like this time of starving.
I finished my bread and went in search of something else to do. There had to be some sort of housework for me to do. Anything, just anything. I needed something to keep my mind off the dull ache of hunger. I just needed something to do.
I walked over to the window and looked out. The storm cloud was closer now, but the sun remained. I sighed and stood there for several minutes. A dark shadow in the shape of wings stretched over the barnyard. Wait, wings? I blinked, but they were gone. It just was not possible. It was probably just a strange cloud. Without any more thought, I slammed the window shut and darkness encircled the room.
I turned to walk back over to the table.
I looked up. Something was in the loft. It was too big to be a mouse.
Something had been knocked over. I looked up the at railing that surrounded the loft. I did not see anything, but the loft was deep. Something could have been hiding up there and I just could not see it. Things tended to blend in with the shadows. I stood on my tiptoes. Nothing.
I really did not want to go up there and see. What if it was a thief? What if it was a murder? I shook my head. My wild mind was getting the best of me. I had to stop it and come back to reality. I went over to the wooden, creaky steps and began to climb up.
"¿Hola? ¿Quién hay?" I called as I climbed another step. The steps were so loud that whatever was up there probably had ran away in fear. I was trying to keep my voice calm and gentle. I did not wish to frighten it. "No tengo daño malas intenciones. ¡Prometo! "
I paused; there was no answer. The movements seemed to have stopped. Maybe it had left. I listened very carefully. There was still nothing. I did not know if I should keep going up or turn back around. I stood there for several minutes thinking about this.
My solution to the problem was just to stand there doing nothing. I did not know what to do. In every story that I had read, doing something did not usually end well for the main character. My gut was telling me to just stay there or to turn back down the steps. My gut was very undecided; it just could not make up its' mind.
So, I just stood there.
After standing there for ten minutes, I grew really bored. I knew that I had to do something. Anything would work at this point in time. I took a deep breath and decided what I was going to do. I was going to go up the steps. I was going to face whatever was waiting for me at the top of those stairs. I hoped that it was nothing.
At least, there had better be nothing.
I went up the stairs and entered the spacious loft. The loft looked like it normally did. There was two beds with handmade quilts on either side. In the middle of the room there was a four drawer, wooden dresser. There as a small, closed window over the dresser. On the dresser there sat a small basin with an empty pitcher. Next to the dresser, the was a very small chest that contained items from our childhood. There was an oval rug that covered the centre of the floor that was turning dull with age.
Somehow my eye was driven to the window. It was open. It had not been open a few seconds ago. I walked over to it and peered out. Nothing, there was nothing. Just as I was about to walk away from the window, the same black shadows of wings soared over top of me. I stepped back breathing hard.
The wings were not the smooth, feathery wings that I always pictured. They were ruff and jagged. Patches of sunlight shone in certain places of the wings. It was similar to that of a soldier who had been shot numerous times during battle. They reminded me of a demon from Hell wings. The local church had pictures of such demons engraved on its walls. Often times attached to those wings was something so beautiful, but, yet, so evil. The demon attached to the wings always looked angelic, but was the opposite. It was an evil angel.
I stepped back over the window and looked back out. I excepted to see something, but did not. I did not know if I was relieved or not. I was torn. Seeing something meant that I was not just seeing things. It meant that I was sane. I did not want to be labelled as the town loco.
I stepped away from the window for a few seconds, then went back. The wind was blowing a playful way. The dust was dancing in mini-twisters. It was so peaceful. It was as if no evil could touch it. As I watched the wind's dance, I felt the sudden urge to go out and dance in it myself. I do not know why I felt it, but something inside of me really wanted to out and dance in it.
I raced down the stair and ran outside.
The dust surrounded me, but did not make it impossible to breath. It did not covered mine in its' fine layer of grim. It was strange. It was almost like magic. Wasn't magic supposed to be evil? It was beautiful; it did not seem like it could be evil. Beauty was never evil.
"Maria, Maria, viene baile con nosotros," little voices said. They sounded like small children. I did not know where they came from nor did I really care. I did as they commanded and danced. I could not help it. I had to dance.
"Maria, Maria, baila con nosotros hasta la muerte," the voices commanded.
I did not question what they said. I would dance until death. I was the follower and they were the leader. That was just the way it was going to be. Nothing on this earth was going to change that. Heaven and Hell were not going to change that either. I just danced.
"Justo, Maria, baila con nosotros hasta el fin. Baile con nosotros como los alas del ángel vuelan sobre usted. Baile con nosotros hasta que pueda no aliento. Baile con nosotros hasta que su cuerpo sea suave como la pluma de un pájaro. Baile con nosotros hasta que venga. ¿Por favor Maria?" the child-like voices sung to me. "Baile con nosotros."
Fair, Maria, dance with us until the end. Dance with us as the angel's wings fly over you. Dance with us until you cannot breath. Dance with us until your body is soft like the feather of a bird. Dance with us until he come. Please Maria? I danced as the world around me turned dark. No more did it look welcoming. The voices were not longer speaking to me. I paid none of that no mind. I just danced as I was ordered.
The darkness had begun to encircle me. The shadows were reaching out toward me. They wanted me; they were haunting me. I knew this, but could not escape my dance. I could not stop dancing. It was the dance of my life.
I felt the shadows touch me. They felt like evil, like all of the pain and suffering in the world. It felt like death. I did not death even had a feeling. It was the decay of life; it was the end of everything. I did not like it. I wanted it to go away. I did not wish to feel all of this suffering. I just wanted to feel all the good things, not the bad. Heck, being numb would be better than this feeling. Being numb meant being nothing.
Suddenly the shadows parted and a young man stepped into the ring. Once, he was inside he I saw that he was the most gorgeous human being to ever walk this face of the earth. He was god-like. He had soft brown hair that stood up in all the right places. His eyes were black pits, but not at all frightening. They reminded me of home and of warmth. His skin was flawless and white. It was like that of a doll's. He was lean with no awkward features. He was flawless and did not seem to belong on this earth. Even though he looked young , I could tell that he was ancient. He was an ancient power that could command the heavens.
"¿Eres dolido?" he inquired. His voice was soft, but, yet, it was filled with power. He sounded sincere as he asked about my well being.
I did not understand why he was asking if I was hurt. I touched my hairline and stickiness. I lowered my hand so that it was eyelevel. It was covered in red, red from my blood. I did not understand how I was bleeding. I did not even remember hurting myself. "Si, soy fino." I laughed for unknown reasons." ¡Me siento tan estúpido!"
The stranger touched my wound with gentle and soft hands. "¿Por qué?" He was running his fingers near the wound now. It not hurt anymore nor could I feel the soft pain.
" Porque, yo no me sentí. Estuve en mi propio mundo pequeño-" I stared in and stopped. I put to hand to my forehead. The blood was gone and was the wound. I looked back at the stranger, who was smiling now.
"¿Todo mejor ahora, no?" he inquired through his smirk.
Still touching where the wound had been, I nodded. "SÍ."
He touched my cheek. "Me llamo Adriano."
I was still awed by the disappearance on my wound, but managed to spit out my name. "Me llamo Maria."
He smiled. "Sé."
This puzzled me. How did he know my name? If I had meant him before I am positive that I would have remembered him. He was one of those people who was impossible to forget.
The voices had started again. They were not the same as before. This time the voices sounded like those of teenage girls. " Maria, Maria, corre tan rápidamente como usted puede. Pronto, usted no podrá al aliento." They sounded desperate. They wanted me to run or I would not be able to breathe soon.
Adriano looked at me. He was probably wondering why I was not responding to him. He looked away and listened. I knew that he could hear the voices. His warm face turned to death. "Por favor, no les pague mente. Ellos no saben lo que hablan de." He sounded unconcerned as he told me to pay them no mind. However, there was something in his voice that made me think otherwise.
"¿Tu los puedes oír?" I asked.
He nodded. "Son el trabajo del diablo." His tone of voice was not welcoming. Somehow, I believed that they were the opposite of what he was saying.
I nodded as if I believed him.
"Maria, Maria, no le cree. Nos mató todo y la matará. Desea su alma." The voices sounded very desperate now. Their voices were growing higher and higher. They were almost shrill.
Adriano stepped forward and reached for me. I stepped back. He smiled. "¿Eres espantado?"
I did not respond and just kept stepping backwards.
He kept coming. "No, espantado,por favor."
I kept backing up. Soon, I backed into the barn. I looked around for somewhere to go, but there was nowhere. The shadows surrounded me and Adriano was still coming. Once he was close enough to touch me, he pinned me against the barn. He was rough, but very gentle. He smiled and drew my head up to his. His lips parted. I knew what he was going to do.
"Mi amor," he whispered as he inched closer.
I was trying to get away. I was not his love nor would I ever.
He leaned in and kissed me. It was not a loving kiss. It was making me weak in the knees. I wanted to collapse, but he was keeping me upright. I could not breath and felt my heartbeat slowing. I felt my body shutting down. None of that was the worst of it. I could feel my body being pulled apart. My soul was leaving me. I was escaping my shell. No, no, no!
"Si, si, si," Adriano whispered into my lips.
I was slipping. Darkness was caving in on me. Life was leaving me just as it had left my homeland. I felt my soul come out of my body.
Adriano let my lifeless body fall to the ground. "Maria, Maria, pertenece a mí." He reached into his pocket and took out a flask. The shadows surrounded my soul and forced it into the flask. He smiled as he capped the flask.
He walked out into the centre of the barnyard and spread his black wings that had blended into the shadows. He did one final sweep of the barnyard and thrust into the air leaving the dust to settle in his wake.
Dear, dear reader. I hope you take heed to my story and take my warning in to account. Do not fall for the evil angel. He is the mark of evil.