Ya Vienen: Chapter One | Part Four
I don’t remember the drive to my Tia’s house. I couldn’t break myself from what I saw in the mirror.
The events of this morning replayed over and over.
My brain was consumed by the same two thoughts. “How could that have happened?” And my poor Tia Valéria, alone.
Once again this analytical aptitude was failing. It provided no comfort. No answers. Either I was losing my mind during one hell of a coincidence or…no. No. Just no.
I pulled up to my Tia’s house and realized I was the last to arrive. I would never hear the end of this. I have failed my duties as the eldest sobrina and nieta. The last thing I need right now is to be lectured. And worst of all… there was no way to avoid having to greet and kiss every single solitary person in the house.
After what seemed like hours of greeting and hugging everyone in my bloodline and dodging any subsequent question about my personal life, I finally had a chance to breathe.
I needed to sit down and gather my thoughts. I searched the house for a place to be alone. I ended up in my Tia’s doll studio. It was painted a soft yellow which complimented the rays of sunlight beaming through her shear green curtains. The room was lined in lace, ribbon, and the odd doll appendage. Still as terrifying as it had always been.
I walked around the room. Grabbing at random, closely examining each object I held. I was hoping to illicit some semblance of a happy memory. Nothing came. Every thought of my Tia Valéria was followed by the ghastliness I had experienced these past 12 hours.
After making my way to my Tia’s workbench I noticed a half-done doll. It was bald, clothed only by its linen body. I brushed my hand over its partially painted face. I tried to muster up an image of my Tia delicately rubbing the doll’s cheeks with soft pastels, bringing it to life with its warm pigment.
“Fuck!” I screamed dropping the doll to the floor.
I heard a loud thud.
I sighed heavily and picked up the doll. Thankfully it was still intact. I placed it back on the workbench and made my way into the hallway to see what had happened.
“Que pasó? Do you guys need help?”
There was no reply. I made my way further down the hall.
“Is everything ok?”
Still no reply. I tried to stifle the anxiety bubbling in my stomach. Why was no one answering?
Reaching the entryway to the living room and kitchen, I asked again. “Is everything ok?”
I turned the corner and gasped so hard my throat burned from the lack of moisture.
The house was completely empty. Except for one person.
There was my Tia Valéria. Blank faced. Standing as if she had been expecting me to turn the corner that very instant. We stared at each other for what seemed like minutes. She didn’t blink once. With a hard crack, she cocked her head to the side. Dirt flew from her short distressed curls, resulting in a heavy thud as it hit the floor. Thats when I noticed that she was also covered in dirt. The dark brown splotches caressed her chin. Her hands were grizzled and looked like she had been using her fingernails as a makeshift plow.
I heard another crack and saw her head was now positioned to the other side of her neck. I could still see the speckles of dirt make their way to the floor. The floor itself was littered with what looked like puddles of mud. Upon hearing yet another crack I jerked my eyes back to my Tia Valéria’s face. She was slathering fuchsia lipstick around her grin. She cocked her head once more. To my horror the gape of her mouth had grown double in size. She continued to lather the pink around the newly formed pit in her face. She began to laugh…slowly. Each chuckle was followed by a pained inhale. Suddenly she stopped. Little by little, she began to tilt her head to the opposing side. All the while letting her jaw fall to her chest at the same leisurely pace. She stared at me the entire time. *Still* not blinking. She began to laugh again. This time in a speedy guffaw. Her head flew side to side at the same rate. The laughing grew louder and louder until she began to choke.
She fell to her knees, laughing and panting at the same time. Her eyes remained locked on mine as her head fell backwards into a gurgling cackle. As she brought her head forward a heavy silence fell over the room. Her jaw swayed in the hammock of her stretched skin. Her eyes swelled with tears. So did mine. She reached a hand out towards me. As scared as I was, I missed her touch too much not to extend my grasp in response. As my fingers slid under hers she pulled me forward. With one final laugh she expelled a barrage of dirt into my eyes, nose, and mouth. Despite my oxygen deprived jolts she continued to spray until I fell backwards. Still feeling the trickle of soft earth, I —