Tales From The Valley

Tales from the Rio Grande Valley are a collection of stories I have written based on some creepy events that happened either to me or someone else.  I rarely visit the Valley--even to this very day and age--without some strange happenings.  I will be adding my secret visits and more far out fish tales as I can.  It's your choice to believe, or dismiss. 

 2002-2013  Pertaining to writings only.  

Witch Lady

       Once upon a time, in the remote but notorious village of Los Puertos, a small community in Brownsville, Texas, there lived a wicked witch-lady whom I had the misfortune of coming into acquaintance with. 

    Ill-fated as I had been to know people who would harm me with evil and malicious guiles of magic and sorcery, I phoned this woman for help one evening.  I had met her through a mutual friend. 

    “I can’t fight him anymore,” I told her as I sat beside the massive wood desk, feeling chills delighting at raising my skin.  I watched the circles of light from many candles dance on the pop-corn ceiling and found my senses intoxicated by the many aromatic oils on the desk.

    The witch-lady spread out 40 Mexican playing cards, a grim look on her wrinkled face, black eyes peeking through glasses. 

    “Would it surprise you...if I told you I knew the boy?” she asked that fateful question which made my heart sink away into my stomach. 

    I had a wicked, wicked young man after me who wouldn’t let me rest.  He was bound and determined to do me in with the forces of darkness.  I had no means of fighting back.  He was like the legendary warlock:  Not a friend to witches, and especially my kind. 

   “I can get rid of him for $600,” she bluntly informed me. 

    For weeks I gave this witch lady every dime I earned in order to make this monstrous fellow lay off. 

    She gave me herbs to bathe in, fumigated me with incense, cooked potions for me to drink, and alas I was rid of him!

   So I thought. 

   It wasn’t long when I’d moved away that more trouble stirred.  This fellow would not give up easily and he went right to my source when his feats of evil wouldn’t work any longer.  I was slipping away from him. 

   I had both of them after me, but eventually the boy left me alone, being that I confronted him with certain things later on and to my good fortune, he went in the Army. Amen.

   But the witch-lady had taken an interest in my life and decided to play God with me.  I kept paying her money as I noticed things would go wrong, and had those old familiar feelings of horror creeping over me. 

  She was working me over, churning me like a bad stock broker. 

  I didn’t want to believe the warnings I had about her—I had a spirit who visited me often in my dreams—Melo--and he kept telling me she was working against me.  I never knew when to believe him; he was always joking around.  Always silly.  However, other spirits warned me as well, including a Catholic priest:  A man with red hair and light eyes in a priest’s color, sitting in a churchyard garden urgently warned me of her ulterior motives. 

   It wasn’t until I went to Melo’s grave that her evil intentions were unveiled. 

   She had known my spirit friend while he was alive, and knew how I felt about him.  It was a delicate and sensitive issue for me.  The spirit refused to tell me where he was buried, but the witch-lady told me...and of course, I went to the grave at once that fateful evening. 

   Upon arrival, after what was one of the most emotional moments of my life, while standing over his grave, someone took a shot at me.  For a split second I seen my spirit friend, and the next moment I was knocked on the ground.  The shot missed me.  Had he not pushed me down, I would have been shot dead!

   I fled in terror back to my witch-friend’s house only to discover the truck which was driven by the would-be assassinator was parked in her drive way! 

   I left never to return to her.  But that did not dismay her.  She went on to send nasty letters and to bewitch me.  But thanks to my spirit friends, and to God Himself, I defeated her!

   Remember my friends; everything your abuela told you about diableras is true!  They never give up and must be taken care of right and proper...or, just wait and Karma will come to take of them.

  Some of the checks worth thousands of dollars written to this woman--money that could have went to charity, the church to help others, to fund my education...the possiblities are endless.Yes, I still have them along with her final hate letter filled with false accusations when they missed their mark at the cemetery. 

Can we say...almost like the Joey Fischer case? 

http://murderpedia.org/female.C/c/cisneros-dora.htm

 

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Elizabeth

  Once upon a time there was a print shop on Elizabeth Street in Brownsville, and I worked there.  The joint was creepy enough with its high roof and the rattle of small presses going, the aged structure and spicy scent of old, damp wood, crumbling mortar, and a staircase you could see in between the steps to the darkness below, each squealing under foot as you go.  There was something about that place...I guess you could say it had a ‘shine’ to it—was embodied by spirits who had no other place to go and  had found a haven within the walls.

  Oddly enough, the girl who set the type —her name was Elizabeth. 

  The typesetting machine would go down often, and Elizabeth would come over and talk to me.  She asked me why I always looked so worried.

   “I know this sounds crazy,” I began, “but I’ve got this guy working black magic on me.  I can just ‘feel’ it.”

    “I can tell you some about that,” she began, her green eyes ablaze. 

    Elizabeth described to me how her mother-in-law had bewitched her with the evil eye and made her sick.  She said she was unable to eat, and became very thin and weak.  She and her husband traveled to Mexico to seek a curandera to help her.  She said the woman cleansed her with a black chicken, thereafter sacrificing it.  Thereafter, she began to regain her health and they returned to Texas. 

    On several occasions, Elizabeth’s husband, Carlos, would pick her up from work.  He seemed like a nice enough fellow, and I had a hard time believing his mother was such a mean old bat.

    But one afternoon I saw a woman adorned in a long, black gown standing beside a rusty car outside the print shop.  Elizabeth became terrified and said that was her mother-in-law.

   I was appalled and disgusted at what I thought was a childish antic, (despite my belief in the forces of evil).  This woman was dressed to resemble a witch, and she had convinced Elizabeth she was, in fact. 

   “She’s just trying to scare you!”  I proclaimed.

    But Elizabeth bellowed out terrified rejections and insisted this woman was going to kill her with witchcraft.  She broke out in a sweat and became pale.  Her husband came to fetch her. 

   “She’s after him, too,” Elizabeth told me in a faint whisper as she crept out the door of the print shop.

   The print shop closed and I was out of job, suddenly.  I had kept in touch with some of my friends, but had not heard from Elizabeth until one night in July of 1985.  She phoned me and was terrified.  She insisted her mother-in-law had sent evil spirits to infest their home.  I could hear some very unworldly sounds in the background, ones that terrified me, haunted me for weeks to come:  Hellish groans and other frightful sounds.

 

   I never heard from Elizabeth again, and then a couple of years later I read in the Brownsville Herald (the local paper) where she and her husband had shot one another dead.  The article said they seemed to be fleeing something, checked into a mental hospital at some point, were released, then a few hours later had killed one other with separate revolvers in the same instant.

 

Danny

 

 

    Once upon a time in the outwardly prudent border-town of Brownsville, I met this fellow named Danny during the time I was employed as a secretary in a doctor’s office.

    He was close friends with a circle of people I was acquainted with, and this made for some friendly conversation. 

    He was being treated for depression, and described to me years of drug use and how he felt all ‘spent’ and ‘used’ up.  He had a quirky sense of humor, and was seemingly on the jolly side.  I had a difficult time understanding the depths of his depression.  If he had not told me about his dismal feelings, I would have never guessed. 

    Danny’s friends—, who were people I didn’t know well, came to me for a Tarot card reading.  I was a proficient diviner when I was in my early twenties.  I’d foreseen death in the cards, but I didn’t know who. 

  “It’s a blond, light skinned fellow,” I said.

   These two women read the cards themselves, and had seen the same thing. 

   The phone rang one night and one of them told me Danny had shot himself dead.  He left a note and said he loved everyone, but he didn’t want to live any more.  The woman said she burned her cards because they failed to help her foresee and possibly prevent his death.

    I was saddened over it, but I didn’t know him well, and soon forgot the ordeal. 

    Four years later while sitting in my bedroom reading a book, this fellow came to mind.  I could not stop thinking of him all of sudden.  But the most frustrating thing was that I could not remember his name!  I thought and thought, to no avail.  I switched on the radio hoping to calm down, and as soon as I did, a voice in the speaker said “Danny Boy.” 

   “Yes!! That was his name!”  I said to myself, horrified and amazed.

   Five minutes later a friend I had kept in touch with in Brownsville (I was living in Ohio at this time) phoned and told me Danny’s aunt had seen his ghost just nights ago in her living room.  I told my friend what had just happened to me that moment.

   I’m not sure why, but this spirit contacted me for some reason.  I know he was fond of me while alive, and I liked him, too.  His death seemed so pointless.

   Perhaps he was a victim of witchcraft or fowl play?  I will never know, but I do know his spirit walks the earth restlessly, and he has reminded me this very night of his story as I write.  I dream not of him, but pray for him with the rest of the in-tranquil spirits that he will find peace. 

   I await the day I know why he contacted me….

 

  Goat Lady

 

There are as many ghost stories set in Brownsville as there are stars in the sky and if it has not been proclaimed the most haunted city in the United States, I hereby proclaim it such. 

 

Of all the tales and ghostly apparitions I beheld while living there, I believe

One of my favorites is the tale of the Goat Lady.

 Once there was a young man named Juan who lived in the countryside of a little town called San Benito.  Every weekend he’d get a ride into town with his friends and go to a strip club called ‘Camachines.’ 

  The girls were all lovely and alluring, most of the prostitutes...but there was this one particular young lady who had caught Juan’s eye.  She was the one who had no name. 

  Weekends passed, and he continued to patronize Camachines, each time the lady was even more alluring than the previous times.  It seemed her beauty and charm increased.  Finally, Juan got up the courage to stop her as she walked through the corridors of the club after her performance.  He asked her name.

“Emma” she told him.

  But when he got back to his group of friends, they warned him intently.

 His best friend, Ignacio, told him, “She has no name.  She’s lying.  That woman is evil….from the Devil.  They say she lures men in and kills them...and drinks all of their blood!”

Both disgusted and annoyed, Juan snapped at Ignacio, “It’s a lie! It’s a lie!  No woman as sweet and beautiful as Emma could be evil!”

 The group of his friends only looked on as Juan took the young lady by the arm.  She led him to a pick-up truck and drove off with him.

Emma smiled sweetly at Juan and asked, “Would you like to go dance with me?  I know of a place across the river...in Matamoros, it’s open all night.  We’ll have a good time,” she added. Juan agreed without hesitation, and they went over the bridge to Matamoros, to a quaint nightclub.  There was an open patio in the back, and Juan and Emma danced under the stars for what seemed hours.  Bewitched by her beauty, he kissed her. 

  Her lips were cold and stiff, as those of a dried corpse.  He withdrew, but only to see lovely Emma smiling back at him.   “Let’s sit,” she told him. 

A waiter brought them tequila shots. 

Juan was still very unnerved by the eerie feeling of her lips, and drank the tequila in one gulp. 

The dance floor was suddenly empty.  There was no one around. 

“We have the night to ourselves,” Emma told him, her eyes gleaming in the moonlight. 

 Juan leaned over a moment, feeling dizzy.  He heard something fall...it was a penny from his shirt pocket.  As he leaned over to get it, he saw the feet of a goat.  He slowly raised his eyes and realized his date had transformed into a half-human, half-goat creature, and loomed over him with a dagger.  Before he could make a sound, she plunged it into his throat and fed from the blood issuing forth. 

 Juan’s friends had caught up with him, but to their dismay, were too late.  Their lifeless and bloodless friend had met with the she-devil and discovered a terrible fate.

                     The End

I first had this tale told to me by a schoolmate, and heard different versions of it from others.  They simply said, “A beautiful woman would lure in young men with drink and dancing, turn into a she-devil or she-faun, and kill them.”

I have also heard this tale in the form of a male faun who waits on a lonely bridge for unsuspecting travelers.   Remember what Little Red Riding Hood’s mother warned her about before she left the house...Don’t talk to strangers.  That goes for you guys, too.   Nighty-night, kiddies.  And stay tuned for more Tales from the Valley here in Internet Land…

 

 

The LLornona

 

I am certain there are as many versions of La LLorona as there are stars in the sky.  She has appeared as maiden, mother and crone, virgin, harlot and martyr until she has nearly reached the status of saint. 

   In Latin culture she is like a sort of Santa Clause or boogey man; a story that children are raised on:  If you don’t be good, La Llorona will get you….

   In modern times, alleged murderer Susan Smith has often been referred to as La LLorona, as she drowned her two children by locking them in a car which was pushed into a river. 

   Here is my favorite version of her tale….   

   There once lived a very beautiful young woman near the Rio Grande River, sometime in the late 1800’s, before the Civil War.  She was a laundress, but because of her great beauty, she hoped that one day she would find someone rich to marry so she could have a better life.  

    Boys from both sides of the river came to court her, but most of them had very little to offer, and the young woman, whose name was Maria Martinez, refused their gifts and proposals in hopes that one day she would meet someone wealthy and of power and influence. 

     While washing other people’s clothes for money at the riverside, she spotted a young man riding along the riverbank on a well-bred horse.  He saw her, rode over, but Maria was so struck by the fact of that which she had wished for was now before her eyes, she ran home with her laundry.    It didn’t take long for the young man to catch up with her, and, fascinated with her beauty, he asked her to marry him without delay. 

    Maria’s father accepted the proposal for his daughter to marry, being that the young man, Juan Cortez, was a wealthy Spaniard with ties to royalty.

    After six years of marriage and two children, a boy and girl, Maria’s beauty became even greater, but Juan grew tired of her, and sought out other ladies’ companionships.

    Furious with his antics and promiscuity, Maria, in a rage, brought her children to the river where she once washed other people’s laundry, and drowned them.  Recovering from her moment of insanity only to find what she had done, out of grief, she returned home, took out her husband’s gun, and shot herself dead. 

   Thereafter she walked the riverside, in search of her own children which she had drowned….

    Throughout the years she has appeared as a hitchhiker, a chaperone, a foreteller of danger and bad events, and materializes as a reflection of their own personalities, to those for whom she appears.

 

Mr. Skeleton

 

Mr. Skeleton was born Bonito Sanchez, October 6, 1912, in a small town called Los Gatos in northern Mexico. (About 12 miles away from Saltillo).  Left to care for himself at an early age, he soon fell to the left-hand path, with the lure of easy money and became a criminal at the age of fourteen. 

  Caught stealing from a local market, he was put in jail at 15, then escaped by loosening a rusty bar on the prison window and squeezing out. 

   After associating with various gangs and professional criminals much more experienced than himself, he acquired a nag (a worn-out horse) and took up the profession of kid-napping high-class women for ransom money.  However, most of his plots fumbled miserably and the women he kid-napped either got away or foiled him in one way or another. 

   While traveling to the Texas-Mexico border, he got skin cancer on the bridge of his nose from riding in the sun without a hat, and had to have a piece of his nose removed….

    Once he reached the border, someone recognized his butchered face from a wanted poster and took a shot at him.  The shot missed, hit a tree, sending pieces of buckshot into his eye which had to be removed and was replaced with a marble.  (The marble was stolen from a local store in Brownsville).

    Having failed at being a criminal, Bonito found a job as a brick layer.  He did such a good job, his boss gave him a Mercedes Benz hood ornament made into a necklace as a gift.  This was 1932, and yes, Mercedes had hood ornaments back then, even.  This was a 1930 model.

 

    The working life seemed too dull after a while, and Bonito began looking for easy money again.  So he began playing dice and cards in a saloon that opened up in a little town called San Benito.  It seemed that his luck had turned for the better—he often came out the winner.  But someone didn’t like his winning streak, and he was shot twice in the chest while getting a drink of water from a well outside the saloon. 

     Bonito had one surviving family member—his sister Marta, who took his body to rest in a mausoleum in Matamoros where she paid yearly dues to keep him in one of the drawers.     When she met her death in 1961, her sons did not wish to continue payment for his burial space, so he was up for eviction—to be buried in a mass grave with unknowns, so the next paying family could use the burial space.

  The remains of criminals and unknowns have been a favorite for the practice of necromancy for centuries, mostly, because no one will miss the bodies if they are removed. 

  In some parts of Mexico, it is common to remove old bodies which are unattended by family and bury them elsewhere.  Some families can’t afford to keep loved ones in these burial places, and lose them to other arrangements. 

  Human bones are sold on the black market for those who practice Palo mayombe/necromancy and don’t have the time or desire to go digging up graves.  One carpel bone from the hand can sell as much as $25.00 from a store that carries such products. 

A powder called polvo hueso de muerte is prepared for certain practices from human bones.  This practice originated in the Congo.

 Was Mr. Skeleton a real person?  Of course, he was as real as the headless horseman who did indeed live at one time.  But…I think he belonged to the Indians out there.  No dark workings of Palo were ever mentioned in the San Benny Grimoire.  Only the bits about Santa Muerte, Mexican witchcraft, cave air or mal aires, and practices from Europe.  There were a few Egyptian, Aztec and some Caribbean beliefs, Santos or Santeria which had its very own spin in the Valley.  Someone picked up some of these things on a trip to Louisiana in the 50’s, visiting voodoo priestess Lady B.  

 

  The Secret Visit In September of 2008

 The day has come not longer than a week ago when I returned, after all these years, to see the ruins of someone else’s dreams hobbling there on edge of the highway, the cornfields providing no comfort to its misery.

  Highway 281 that lead to the blue house is still there, much unchanged, faded road lines and pavement which brought me to what was once a mysterious and fearful place filled with horrible ghosts that I could see, and in turn, could see me.  Starting out on that journey now, with my old eyes which have been reborn with new insight and vision,

I drew down that familiar yet forgotten path to San Pedro.  Scruffy mesquite trees came in patches to my right, and sometimes left, and the broken farmhouses greeted me like old familiar street beggars that one would often patronize.  The air was clean and sweet, yet some stagnant rot lurked on the wind from to tiny pools and soggy spots the recent hurricane had left.

  I hit a straight stretch of highway for a time with gentle curves and seen River Bend trailer park on my left.  At last I came upon the yellow sign with the black arrow and I knew I was almost there—I braced myself in anxiety and anticipation for what I might see coming up beyond the brush and tall grasses.  My ears were deaf but my sight was clear as I slowed to walking speed, then pulled over and stopped at the roadside.

  It was still there.

  The remnants of the brick garage, now paled and gaunt, a pole still propping it up, was like a very old and decrepit man standing there with his cane.  The sun and weather had bleached it so badly it was no longer a brown brick, but tan-ish.  I put my fingertips to my inward turned lips as not to make a gasp or a cry, or any sound.  My eyes took in the sight as they would have had I seen an old friend now struck and eaten with disease.

  I went to the back were the laundry room once was and no longer found traces of powered soap as I ran my fingers along what was the remains of a shelf.  I watched for small animals, snakes, tarantulas, perhaps a bird to be hiding in the grasses or in the faltering structure, but there weren’t any to be seen. Only the trees, grass, sky and moist air seemed to be present; these and nothing more.

  Emptiness, loneliness, solitude, sorrow, abandonment lived in this place, and when I stepped into it, these things swallowed me then birthed me again to the ever-present silence that caused my deafness to all else.  I reached out to what ever pleasure may have existed at one time here, but it only groaned at me in its agony, its misery, and asked me not look upon it any longer, but remember it as the youth it had once been.

 It was then, at this moment, I realized the blue house had, at some point, become a faded child-hood monster that now posed no threat of conquering me.  It was then I realized how small and meager it was, and that it had renounced all of its powers and was merely a sad, decayed, unhappy memory that had once been someone else’s dream.

  I clamored back into the car reaching for my bottle of water, dehydrated from my tremendous fears which diminished like a pad of butter would have in a hot pan.

  My journey took me on down the road where the second house was still standing—the house which was once an office.

  A scraggly drunkard milled about and called to me with words I couldn’t hear.  When I stood there at the end of the drive way, he staggered into the shadows and my deafness was completely lifted by the closing of a door.

  Trees had grown all around and the un-kept grounds prayed for tending.   I was displeased and disinterested by the sight and went on to Sabas Cavazos Cemetery.

    Cemetery Road

  The graves were all tended and the grounds kept neatly, but the archway over the entry to the country resting place was badly rusted.  Statues of saints, seven day candles, plates that had held food, and small gifts left on graves were there just as before.

  People passing in cars and trucks craned necks to see a white woman standing under the archway of a Mexican cemetery.  I ignored them and moved forward.

  Before my eyes I realized there was a white house—may have been the caretaker’s house—I had seen this house in dreams for years and was going mad trying to think where it would be.  The spirits had shown me this for at least the passed eight years.  At last I had peace because I now stood before it, knowing it was a real place.

  My hand rested on the side of the archway, and I looked in at the spot where Melo rests.

I didn’t have it in my heart to walk over to his graveside, even though it had been many years since my last visit.  I gazed on from the short distance.  I hadn’t any flowers, or a letter to read him, or anything offer.  I was unprepared emotionally and in every other way to approach him.  I thought about the things he had built, the places he’d lived, and I knew he could see them, and in disgust, had abandoned them.

  Approaching him was never any less than a revering experience, even on this day, and fourteen years later after New York City, falling towers, many adventures and misadventures, the death of my unborn child, grandparents, uncles, aunts and father, all of my wry and wit within, Melo had not relinquished his power over me, and my heart poured.

 The memory of his ghost was not at all frightening and I found myself smiling a little.

  Oya fanned her skirts then, the wind picking up. [Oya is the goddess of the cemetery and the four winds in Africa.  When the wind blows it comes from all directions in the cemetery.  This is when the Africans believe Oya is fanning her many metaphoric skirts.]

She had fanned them the other times I came and blew over the small arrangement of pink, silk flowers someone had left near his grave marker.  I kept sitting them up, but they would turn over again in the wind.

  Having nothing to offer him, or the other spirits of the cemetery in order to gain their blessing upon entry, I decided to leave this sweet visit for another day when I would be ready, and perhaps, he would be ready for me to return.

  I vanished back to San Antonio, where I now live, without a trace of  my presence in Brownsville, leave the few who seen me, but knew not who I was and certainly were left to wonder.

  I went to sleep that night wondering if I would be haunted by dreams of a frightening kind, or a vision, or a ghostly presence.  To both my relief and my dismay in some ways, peaceful and uneventful sleep embraced me bringing dreamlessness. I awoke the next day to sit at my kitchen table over a steaming coffee mug, watching across the room.  The large painting of Melo starred back at me, the soulful eyes I’d drawn for him somehow gleamed from the picture, and I said like I always do when I sit there and have my coffee, “Hello, Daddy.”

  As I reflect on the fear and horrors inflicted on me in earlier days, I realized that we sometimes make the tiniest of shadows in our lives into the most ferocious of monsters.  In reality, though, they are still just tiny specters which become our masters.

 

The Second Secret Visit 2014

 

  The end of May is a good time to remember all that has passed, and perhaps to join hands again with those who have crossed to other side. October is not the only time to remember the roads behind us and the spirits which have walked along those journeys beside us. The final days before the emergence of summer holds a good constellation for touching with things we’ve once been acquainted. 

  On May 24th I made a journey to the Valley.

  I’d put it off a year because I’d received some communication from people I’d known that were not much in my favor from long ago,  and I opted for some time on the shores of Galveston, which all worked out very nicely for me.  The later year took me on a beautiful journey to College Station in which I made acquaintance with some gracious people.  That was a visit long overdue in which I will save this story for some other time. 2013 had been an interesting and eventful year.

 When arrived in Brownsville Saturday evening I expected to feel the friction and anxiety of all the energies which were there—but I didn’t.  Maybe it was because I had finally agreed to something—I had finally given someone some things he’d been asking for. Maybe it was because I’d been able not just to hear, but to truly listen, not only to the spirits around me, but to my very own soul. 

 I had no recollection of where anything was and relied on maps and OnStar to get guide me around.  I’d lived there for six years and visited numerous times.  My dreams had pulled me to the countryside more nights than I could ever recall, yet the streets and scenery stirred no recollection of anything until I made my way to Ruben M. Torres Boulevard, also known as FM 802.  I stopped by my old house on Sugar Grove and seen it was in pretty good keepings.  The foliage and shrine with a Madonna inside made it seem much more quaint and inviting than it was before.  I remembered how much I had suffered in that house, how much I’d been oppressed, but those memories left me and were replaced with: Ha. I’d won.  I’d defeated all of the people and horrors which had plagued me back then; they could never hurt me again. Letting that slip away in a bubble of both victory and gratitude, I drove off to see the remains of The Blue House

  The sun was shining gloriously down through the overgrown brush and trees, a sort of glow and light from the heavens awaited me as I rolled down the car window and gazed over, motor rumbling softly, the wind stirring some of the branches and rustling the wiry grass and weeds below.  It hadn’t rained so the musky smell of the spongy ground was replaced by the sweet fragrant air of the country.  A few bricks from the old garage made a small tower beneath the mesquite tree to its right, a frame of wood clinging to it for dear life in vain as a small sinking ship may look on the horizon. 

  I had made my way back, somehow, to the very spot I’m always summoned to.  Deep shadows within the wells of sunlight played a stark contrast against one another, but despite its evocatively bleak demeanor, the abandoned spot was devoid of spirits. Alone and forgotten, it no longer had the strength to cry out to anyone, nor even to weep for itself.  It was simply alone now, unattended and meaningless to all who happened to take notice.  It had become as I had; a memory of sorts, someone who existed but had meaning for no one, had  a connection to no earthly person, was visible yet dead, belonging solely to the world of all that is in possession of those who have passed away to a quieter state of being. 

  I survived the gunshot in the cemetery that day in 1993.  I’d survived the attacks of enemies when I was in Laredo.  I’d survived New York City and the falling towers of the World Trade.  I survived three surgeries and a heart attack.  Somehow, I’d made it back home alive. 

  “I’ve come back to you,” I whispered to the patch of trees and falling bricks. “I’ve come home.”

  At that moment I felt a slight tap on my wrist.  My watch stopped working at 11:11 A.M. 

  I didn’t visit the cemetery this time either.  I don’t know when I will be ready for this visit, but I know I will be lead there when the time has come for it.  All events have been laid out; I’m certain of it.  Perhaps it’s just as tedious for spirit as it is for the human I still am.  All has been carefully planned and to deviate without direction would be a terrible err. 

  The visit strengthened me--I’m no longer afraid of anything.  The worst has happened, the unimaginable suffering has ended, and along with the dead I now have peace.  Every dirty underhanded trick that was played, every curse on our heads, every ill-fate has been lived out and we’ve overcome it.  Death has no mystery when the sun is shining so brightly on her robes.  The veil has been lifted and the gates have received us.

  Very few times come in our lives when we’re completely happy. 

  This time was one of them.