La Bruja

“No! Not again!” screamed Ricky after opening the much-anticipated email.

“Pinche pendejo!” he said even louder.

“Hijo de tu puta madre!” He picked up his expensive mouse and threw it against the wall.

“Besa mi culo, puto!” He slammed his fists down, shattering the tricked out, top of the line gaming keyboard.

Ricky continued to stare at the message, the words mocking him from his computer screen. The message was topped with a large header and white font that stood in contrast to the black background. Right there, the two hated words that said, “Story Deletion.”

Ricky is all too familiar with these words; in fact, he should be able to recite the entire message from memory by now.

STORY DELETION. Your story has been deleted because it doesn’t meet the wiki’s quality standards. If you feel that it did meet the standards, please state your case on Deletion Appeal. Make sure you follow the instructions to the letter there or your appeal will be automatically denied.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RE-UPLOAD YOUR PASTA. If you upload it again, you’ll receive an ONE DAY ban from editing, as per the rules.

Ricky loves scary stories. He comes from a culture rich in the history of the supernatural and macabre. The only thing he loves more than scary stories is writing scary stories. Sadly, there is one problem. How do I put this? Well, the truth of the matter is, our friend Ricky here is, for lack of better words, a crappy writer. There is zero talent in this poor boy’s head, and the same can be said about his imagination too. His characters have no substance. His grammar is atrocious. His plot developments are nonexistent, and his word choices are, might I say, infantile. In fact, I would go as far as to say I’ve seen pigeon poop out more interesting narratives than this kid. (Sigh) But I digress.

What is truly sad about this whole ordeal is that Ricky truly believes his stories are good. No! He thinks they are great! The dark and sinister entities that inhabit the worlds he creates are far superior to anything seen in a movie or found on the internet, or so he believes. His dark tales are capable of tapping into the primordial pools of terror buried deep within our subconscious minds. That’s what he expects his readers to find from every one of his works. Whereas you and I would see it for what it is: a juvenile, uninspired, boring “piece of crap.”

Some have even gone as far as to say that his stories are so bad, looking at the words for too long will give you pink eye. One boy claimed, after being forced to listen from beginning to end, Ricky’s story gave him an ear infection. Whether any of that is true or not, it is a well-known fact that once you finish reading a story authored by Ricky, you are actually more stupid than you were before you started reading. Brain cells literally drop dead in the middle of whatever brain cells do in their brain cell lives. And believe me. It’s not just a few, but a lot of them!

Alas, Ricky will not hear it. He doesn’t like rejection, and he already has it in his head that they are not even reading his stories. He is convinced they don’t even bother to give him the time of day and automatically delete them. The tantrum builds, and his cheeks turn red as he screams out loud, “Why would they not listen to me? They never give me a chance.”

He knows this to be true. Especially in consideration of how they treat him and what they say about his stories. He angrily reads the comments.

“Bad grammar and punctuation”—But I’m new to this site, can’t you just tell me what to fix or fix it yourself?

“Misspelled words”—It’s the way my character speaks.

“Poorly written and awkward sentences”— English isn’t my first language, so give me a chance.

“The story is not creepy”—What do you mean it’s not creepy? There a freaking witch in the story! How’s that not scary?

You see, Ricky is a spoiled kid, from a well to do family. Never has he had to go without. Never has his demands not been met. Never has his ungrateful heart ever been denied a single demand. There was nothing he could not have in his pampered life. However, with such a luxurious lifestyle, he has also never had to dream or aspire for greater things. Despite its value, all the objects of his desire were carelessly tossed to the side or forgotten when interest was lost. They meant nothing to him. Well, that will change tonight. That is why I have been sent. That is my charge from mi La Dama. Tonight, I will reveal to him the stories of his people and where he comes from. I bring knowledge under cover of night. With his last breath, he will learn this final lesson, “Thou shall not suffer the cries of a spoiled child!”

And who am I? Well, let’s just say that I am someone who is “familiar” with matters such as these. So, when the boy lays his head upon his pillow and closes his eyes to sleep, he will be unaware of the small leather pouch tucked every so carefully beneath him. It will call out to her. It will summon her, and she will come. She will drink, even though her thirst for revenge can never be quenched. She will feed her hate, though its hunger can never be satisfied.

To understand the events soon to come to pass, we must look to the past. Understand this, the more days that go by, the more things stay the same. Long ago, the people of Mexico suffered from the deeds of corrupt men and endured the cruelty of the true rulers of the land— the cartels. While savagery and brutality swept across the plains and darkened the skies like a cloud of locusts, a small village near the city of Catemaco Mexico prospered. It remained a tranquil, safe haven, untouched by the evils of men.

In those days, the villages were weak and vulnerable. They could not defend themselves against the powerful and corrupt men, infected with the sickness of greed. Government and town officials lined their pockets with the sweat and blood of the poor. No justice or protection ever came for the people. Farmer’s crops were plundered and destroyed. Workers were kept in constant poverty. Their sons would be taken against their will by the Banditos, to replenish their numbers. Alas, it was the daughters of Mexico who suffered the most. Many mothers and fathers could only mourn before a single lit candle, for there was not a body to bury for the funeral. They would live their lives never knowing what became of their beloved child. Too many shallow graves sprinkled the countryside with the bones from unnamed girls.

Among this violence, all but one village suffered. Those of questionable character and darkness in their hearts would not dare enter the borders of this town, for its people was under the protection of a powerful Curandera. Her name was known from afar, and her magic was strong. The evil men knew this to be true and they would not risk her wrath upon them. This ate away at their egos, and soon they began to conspire among themselves. In secret and darkened rooms, they plotted how to be rid of this meddlesome woman.

Early one morning, the Curandera awoke to the sound of a child’s cry. It was not a cry of terror, but a cry of pain. She ran out of her small house to see a boy sitting on the dirt path that ran alongside her home. Next to him was an old bike. Hitched to the rear wheel was a weathered cart, carrying a large wooden box. He sat crying on the ground, clutching both his arm and leg. Even from a distance, she could see the two painful welts upon the boy’s skin. The Curandera knew precisely what had happened, and took a glass jar of salve from off her shelf. She went out to the boy and warmly said,

“¿Que Pasa, Mijo?” (What’s the matter, little boy?)” No answer came from the boy. A little irritated, she asked,

“¿Te pica algo?” (Did something sting you?) “¿Fue una hormiga o una avispa?” (Was it an ant or a wasp?)

Again, the boy said nothing. The Curandera was becoming annoyed. She looked carefully at the boy who sat silently before her. From the clothes he wore, she knew he was a rich man’s son; most likely the child of an elected official or a member of the town’s elite. She gently applied the medicine to the two painful stings. The skin was hot and bright red, surrounding a lump the size of a large grape. When she finished, the boy simply turned and jumped on his bike and peddled away without a word.

This angered the Curandera, and she made a mental note. In the very near future, someone will need to teach this boy some manners and the importance of respecting his elders. Shortly thereafter, the Curandera went about her day to day business and forgot about the rude little boy.

That night, after the Curandera had laid her head down to sleep, she awoke to a loud bang. Her door had been broken down by several large men. They bound her hands and gagged her mouth to prevent any chance she might utter a hex upon them. They took her wand, made out of the sacred Huatulco wood and snapped it in two. They removed her “saco de curación” (medicine bag) from around her neck, leaving the poor woman completely defenseless now.

The men dragged the woman before the town’s clergy, who were the most corrupt of them all. Denied any opportunity to defend herself, the Curandera was accused of witchcraft and blamed for this year’s drought and the poor harvest. They said she was in league with the Devil and proclaimed her to be a bruja. They sentenced her to death. The onlookers cheered upon hearing the verdict. She looked across the crowd and mourned at what she saw. The faces she had known for so long. Those faces who came to her when they were sick or needed healing were gone. In their place were hateful and dark eyes, filled with the blood lust of an angry mob.

She stood on a platform next to a short, thin coffin that stood upright. The crowd shouted and jeered as they grew impatient. She closed her eyes and tried to center herself amongst the shouts of swears and insults. The Curandera began to pray. She prayed to the Holy Mother for deliverance. She begged and pleaded to Her for protection. She pleaded with all her might. She begged the Holy Mother with desperation, proclaiming her good deeds done and a righteous life she lived. Only silence greeted the Curandera.

The crowd suddenly grew quiet, and the Curandera opened her eyes. She saw the crowd separate in the middle and make a path for a little boy. The familiar child rode an old bike and pulling a cart with a box. He dismounted the bike and walked around to the rear, opened the box that sat upon the cart and carefully removed a large burlap sack. He held the bag at arm’s length and quickly brought it and its contents to the clergyman. As the man of God took hold of the sack, the boy looked up at the woman, smiled and disappeared in the sea of bodies within the mob.

Still bound, she was marched relentlessly to the edge of town. All the way, she was beaten and humiliated by the people who followed along. She was brought before a freshly dug grave and shoved hard into the open coffin. She stared up at the men mocking her from above. Just as they were about to seal the coffin shut, the clergyman held up his large hand with the burlap sack. He flung the bag into the coffin, and the men quickly nailed the lid closed. The men picked up the coffin containing the Curandera and dropped it into the dark hole. The sound of dirt covering the coffin was loud and thunderous.

The Curandera laid terrified in the pitch dark. Just before the light had been extinguished, she saw what had been tossed in here with her. At her feet, laid the largest wasp nest she had ever seen. Soon she felt hundreds of thin legs begin crawling over her body. They angrily explored this dark prison as they searched for the one who dared to disturb them. Time slowed as the Curandera waited for the first sting to strike her. Once again, she prayed to the Blessed Mother for protection and still there was only silence.

Pain from the first sting exploded over her right cheek. The sharp stinger was stabbed into her flesh. It tore through the skin and went as deep as it could. The wasp contracted its abdomen slightly, pumping its venom into its victim. It pulled out its sharp tip and again jabbed the stinger back into her flesh, for the wasp can use their stingers over and over again. Even if they have exhausted their venom, they will still pierce your skin over and over again.

She screamed in pain as she was stung again and again. They stung her eyes and crawled into her open mouth and stung her tongue. The insects crawled down her throat and into her ears. Venom filled her blood, and her skin turned red as it swelled and burned. The wasp’s poison saturated her blood causing it to thicken and burn. The swelling cut off her breathing and she began to convulse. This angered the little beasts and they stabbed her more relentlessly. Blood trickled from every puncture. Not a single spot on her body was spared from the wasp’s sting.

The pain continued to grow. Never did it lessen. She was about to call out to the Virgin Mother, then she stopped herself. Betrayal and abandonment hit her deeply causing more agony than any wasp could bestow. Anger and hate consumed the woman. She knew what she had to do. She would call out to another deity. This deity would come. She would call out for Santa Meurte.

(Santa Muerte, I call unto thee! I offer myself to thee! I deny the Holy Mother! I deny the Father! I deny the Son! I deny the Holy Spirit! Take me and I will do thy bidding!)

The Curandera laid motionless in the darkness, wheezing and gasping for air. Her stings upon her skin were stretched until it tore from the swelling. The swarm of insects continued to poke and jab with their long stingers. The buzzing of their wings was deafening, then suddenly all was silent. The scraping of long fingernails traveled down the side of the coffin. The Curandera tried to open her eyes, but her face was too bloated. It mattered not. She had not sight as the wasp’s stingers had penetrated her eyelids and filled her eyes with venom. The scraping stopped and the Curandera heard the low and ancient voice of a woman speak, “¿Que te pica, mi hija ?” (What’s the matter, my daughter?)

The crowd had not yet dispersed when the ground began to shake. The men had lingered and were congratulating themselves and laughing when the ground opened up. Black thorns emerged from the soil where the Curandera laid, and the dirt blackened with decay. All was still for a moment until a deep and inhuman moan was heard from the sky. It called to its new disciple beneath ground. The villager cowered when the low voice boomed from the cracks that spread out from the spot of the woman’s unholy grave.

(I curse you!)

(I curse your children!)

(They will taste the venom that now flows in my veins)

(When I hear a child cry, I will come)

(I will come for your children)

(They will feel my sting! I will nest within a home made from their skin. I will use their bones for stirring my brew!)

(I will quench my thirst with their tears!)

(I will dance to a melody made from a symphony of their screams!)

She let out one final wail of demonic rage until only the sound of wasp wings rising out of the ground could be heard.

Three days later, the traitorous boy with the wasp stings by the Curandera home, disappeared without a trace. It was fate that brought the two together. He had been tasked with finding a wasp nest. It was by chance that two of the insects escaped and stung the boy by the Curandera’s home. She had shown him mercy and he had repaid her with rudeness and betrayal. An empty bed was all they found, except for the small pouch hidden underneath his pillow. Within the sack, they found only a piece of a paper wasp’s nest, ash, and a lock of hair cut from the boy’s head.

She still keeps a part of him on her at all times; even to this very day.

As time went by, more and more of the children disappeared. Eventually, like the righteous Curandera, the little village died a slow and painful death. The people in that area still speak of the dark Bruja. It is told that when the days shorten and the nights grow cold, the children must be especially good and obedient. For if a child is spoiled and shows no respect, the Bruja will find you. They say she is dressed all in black and wears a cloak made of wasps. She can fly long distances and climb up walls. She will tap on your window and tempt the child to let her in. Her nails will click and tap on the window pane until the child hears her voice from out of the darkness.

So that is the story of La Bruja. She is the one I serve. She is my Lady and I serve her well. I find those children who are spoiled and rotten. I find the ones most deserving of the fate my Lady brings. And who am I? Well, that is a story for another time. However, I will tell you this, I am neither angel or demon, but I do perform God’s will. I bring balance. That is my mandate from the heavenly Father. The Bruja has no mercy. She holds dark and powerful magic fueled by an unexhaustible source of hatred and rage. I direct that rage to those deserving of it. Such hatred and wickedness cannot be allowed to roam free and go unchecked. I ensure the innocent are protected, and the wicked are punished. So listen to my words, little boy or little girl. Do what you are told. Honor your mother and father. Be on your best behavior. You don’t want to end up like Ricky here, now do you? Take heed, for if you do not, there will come a night when you will hear tapping at your window. As the buzzing of a thousand wings fill your ears, you will hear the low voice of a woman asking,

“¿Que te pica, mi hijo?” (What’s the matter, my child?)

  • Whitney Paige Moulton

    Loved it!