The Darkness Within the Light
“Luz!” A voice yelled through a whisper. “Over here?”
“Who’s there!” Luz yelled as the hard pattering of raindrops from the tin roof of the backyard shed of her Grandmother’s San Antonio West Side home. Luz was about 5″ 11 and stocky with brown hair and the highlights that grew past her shoulder, wearing a pink plaided pair of pants hung from her dilapidated manicured foot that was a chipped neon green color. Her sleep tank top hung from her chubby shoulder as she flashed the flashlight as she crept through the hall as the wooden floor creaked with the sounds of thunder flashing.
The whispered voice began to giggle oddly, which had Luz gain a shiver from the eerie sound of the voice infliction.
“Who’s there!” Luz yelled as the voice began to giggle louder and more profound.
“Let’s be friends, Luz!” the voice began to say as it cracked with infliction, which had the laugh grow into progressive growls.
“I mean it!” I am not afraid to use it!” Luz said in frightful intimidation. Luz’s face grew into a panic that she attempted to conceal. Luz could feel her heart pound with a “patat, patat” sound. As beads of sweat began to fall from her face.
“I know all about your powers, Luz. That’s why I am here!” The deepening voice said in a roaring, rasping infliction. “I know your little secret!” the voice said as Luz began to run towards the door and into the pouring rain.
Her body began to drench as she made her way into the house as Luz quickly began to lock the doors as soon as she could. Luz began to rush towards the armoire cabinet, which appeared to be an old tv stand, as she began to pull her tools from her utility box.
“Sage! Amethyst. Holy Water. Una de Gato!” Luz told herself as she quickly placed the tools along with the sage, Una de Gato, and holy water into the blue lapis mortar and pestle. As she began griding as she began to chant a prayer, she completed it.
She could feel her heart pounding harder and harder as it began to glow in the bowl as she began to grind the herbs. As soon as the glow stopped, she began to pull out her mini funnel as she began to pour it into three small vials.
“Let’s hope Abuela was right about these vials being blessed!” Luz said as she began to signal the sign on her cross on her forehead.
“You’re more powerful than you believe to be, niña!” The voice said as Luz turned to the figure that appeared out of nowhere.
The woman was a beautiful Crèo woman who stood 5’8. A little shorter than Luz. With an intriguing robe that was jeweled with various crystals.
“Come with me,” the woman said as Luz began to follow. This was quickly disrupted by the grunting woman as Luz saw the dagger that pierced her torso as blood began to spill from the white dress that she wore underneath the robe. The woman fell towards the tiled floor of the main house as the thumping sound rattled the ground beneath Luz. Lightning flashed as she screamed as she saw a shadow in front of her, which was supposed to be a lonely house.
Luz turned as she looked into the mirror as her reflection was not hers, but an unknown woman that was caramel-complected with dark red lips and deep-set eyes. Luz’s screams got louder as she looked back to see the shadow on top of her.
Luz knew what she could do but went blank. By the trauma that began to flow through her veins. Feeling the sensation of anxiety and burning flowing through her veins as the creature grabbed her by the arm. Luz started to scream in agonizing pain as her skin began to sizzle, her skin began to burn with the shadow’s hands grasp.
In a quick reaction, Luz pulled out the vial and threw it to the floor. The vial shattered as a puff of smoke began to rise as the creature started to scream as it began to wither away in the dim-lit tiny hallway of the 600 ft house.
Luz heard a scratch, which had her turn in fright as the record player began to adjust as The Animal’s “House of the Rising Sun” began to play. Leaving her in much more shock to find that she was no more extended home.
She could hear the groans that had her run in instinct into the parlor of the large French Style mansion as the song began to play. Luz started running in as she began gasping in panic as she made her way through the elongated hallway of the estate.
Luz looked into the upcoming mirror to see if her reflection would finally show, but once again, an elegant Creo woman was staring at her.
Luz began to adjust her hair, which had the woman’s reflection follow, making the same shocked gestures. The same expressions Luz made. Luz heard the eerie groans get louder as the shadows began to creep up from all sides. The lightning lit up the exit as Luz bolted for the door as her life depended on it. Running into the streets of what looked like New Orleans.
“Luz,” the same voice repeated. Which was closer than before.
“No, your dead!” Luz yelled as she fell back and crawled on the sidewalk with the raindrops pounding the ground.
“Come give mommy a hug!” Luz’s mom said she limped her way towards Luz in a dirt-drenched dress that would have been used for the funeral services.
“You’re not real! You’re not real!” Luz yelled as her mother’s gray-toned body began to get near. Luz pulled out the vial as she began to cry.
“Oh, mommy has heard mi amor!” Luz’s mom said as the dawning sky began to peek into the horizon of the French Quarters. “You don’t want to get rid of mommy. Mommy can make it all go away!”
Luz began to back away cautiously as tears of mourning began to fall from her face.
“You’re not real!” Luz said as she began to ugly cry as she backed away, raising the vial. “I’m so sorry, mommy!” Luz said as she threw the vial as her mother’s sweet face turned into a demonic shadow with red bloodshot eyes. The shadow demon screamed as the vial hit the floor as Luz began to cry as the figure started to fade. As Luz turned away to not see the gruesome death of what used to be her mother, she screamed as she felt the burning on both arms as a shadow held her down as the sun began to rise.
Luz attempted to break free as her screams began to fill the air as various hands from random shadows started to burn her as they held on to her. The sun started to rise as the shadows started to laugh demonically, filling the empty streets of New Orleans.
“No!” Luz yelled as she felt the immediate coldness as the sun began to rise as the shadow started to disappear, with a grin of content as they began to disappear one by one. Getting closer to Luz, she attempted to break free as the light began to beam on the one who had her restraint, still screaming in agony as her skin. She began to feel her body go flat, feeling every sensation fade, feeling her body moving down to the pavement.
Luz began to feel her body materialize into the ground as the sun quickly rose, leaving her reaching one hand. She attempted to pull herself out in the laughter of the shadows as her hand began to slowly become part of the ground.
Luz immediately woke up with the sound of her cellphone that ringed as the thunder roared in her late parent’s six hundred-foot square houses.
“Hello, Auntie Jan,” Luz said as she immediately responded.
“Are you okay? Are you safe and sound?” Jan said as she sounds panicked. “The storm was supposed to be bad. I just needed to make sure you were okay, darling? Because these hurricanes these days are getting more and more violent!”
“Yeah,” Luz said as she sighed. “I am okay.”
“What is it, sweet pea? Do you have those nightmares again?” Jan said, sounding empathically concerned.
“Of course not, Auntie Jan,” Luz said as Jan inflicted disappointment.
“Darling,” Jan emphasized in her broad southern accent that gave Luz comfort and in many times, made her nervous. Because the thicker infliction always came with a scolding. “I’ve been caring for you since you been in diapers. I know when you’re fibbing to me. So with that warning, are you going to tell me? Or am I going to have to force it out of you? Because if I drive all the way to San Antonio, you’re going to regret that.”
“Fine, Auntie Jan!” Luz said as she raised the white flag. “Yes, I am having the dreams again.” Luz began to sob as she began to recall the tragic death of her parents.
“Hunny, I know what you’re going through. I lost family too, you know. It’s been two years since they have gone missing and with the blood, they found in the house. I worry about you. I worry about your safety. I just wish you would stop being stubborn and come stay with me in New Orleans,” Jan said sympathetically as she sniffled. “We both need each other right now.”
“I know they are alive. I can feel them. Auntie Jan,” Luz said as she attempted to change the subject of staying with her parent’s family friend. Who wasn’t just a friend, but became family.
“Just stop with that, please!” Jan said as she began to weep. “With everything that you been saying is going on in that house of yours. It makes me worry that I might lose you too. I wish you would just stop being stubborn and just come stay for a while. It will do us both good,” Jan said, pleading for rationality.
“But the storm!” Luz rebutted. “And besides auntie Jan, I don’t want to impose. I mean, we are like family, but we aren’t blood. I don’t want to be a charity case!”
“A charity case!” Jan said in frustration. “A charity case! Girl! I have seen you grown up into a woman. I changed your diapers. I looked after you when you were sick. You even stayed with me during the summers when your family had to go back to visit family in Mexico. Are you really trying to get a New Orleans whooping?” Jan said in frustration. “You might not be a little girl, but I have no problem giving you the big easy!”
“Sorry, auntie Jan, it’s just,” Luz said as Jan rebutted.
“Regardless of whether we are blood or not, we are family!” Jan said. “I worry about you. You have been put through the wringer, and it concerns me that you, well how do I put it nicely,” Jan said. “You’re going a little cookoo.”
“I’m not going cookoo!” Luz said in the offense.
“I mean, those dreams are making you lose sleep, right? And knowing you, the storm is just adding to your anxiety, right?” Jan said in empathy. “And with your persistence and the fact that they just stopped looking for your parents. I know you are obsessively trying to solve this disappearance case yourself.”
Luz scuffed as she said, “I hate when you’re right?”
“Are you seeing the shadows again?” Jan said as she paused in concern.
“You know I just tend to ignore them these days,” Luz said as she looked around in fear.
“Do you remember the time you were at the house in a storm like this, and I told you how to make them go away?” Jan said in empathy.
“But they don’t go away this time, Tia Jan!” Luz yelled in confused frustration as she began to cry.
“That’s it, young lady. I am driving over to San Antonio to get your stubborn ass. An Auntie knows when to intervene and knows when her niece is lying,” Jan said as the keys began to wiggle on the phone.
“It’s two in the morning,” Luz said as Jan rebutted.
“So!” Jan yelled.
“But the storm!” Luz replied, trying to find a reason that she already knew Jan always had a rebuttal for.
“I’ve driven in hurricanes before. And the storm will be clearing by the time I get your stubborn ass away from that house and the bad juju,” Jan said as Luz projected.
“Auntie Jan, you know I don’t believe in that shit. It’s just something people use to feel like they have control,” Luz said as Jan became infuriated.
“Don’t you dare talk ill of your heritage, you foolish girl You’re? Abuela was the most respected Curandera ever known. Don’t be disrespectful and spit on her grave,” Jan replied. “I wish you could see how powerful you really are. But in your stubbornness of needing to fit in. You deny your whole heritage!”
“And that’s the reason why Abuela was murdered! Why are my parents missing! How can I embrace something if something bad happens because of it!” Luz said as she began to cry.
Luz paused as she sniffled as she heard the car start as she heard the gravel and tires hit, which meant that Jan was pulling out of her driveway in Sidel.
“Are you really driving in this storm,” Luz said in frustration.
“You think I was playing, hookah!” Jan said as Luz could hear the wind in the background. Which meant she was on the highway, which was a few blocks from where Jan lived.
“You’re really going to do this! I lost my family. I don’t need to lose you either!” Luz said as Jan rebutted in playfulness.
“So now I am family?” Jan said as Luz began to laugh. “You got two hours hookah! You better have a bag packed and get those animals of yours ready to go.”
“You want me to take my rescues?” Luz said as Jan rebutted.
“I’m a bitch but not a motherfucker!” Jan said in defense.
“Maybe I should stay in an Airbnb,” Luz replied as Jan got infuriated.
“That’s ridiculous!” Jan yelled. “Why do you have to be silly when I got so much room over here. Unless you just don’t want to stay here and you have other reasons. Otherwise, I don’t understand. Just get your butt over here!”
Luz heard a noise outside as her neighbor’s light turned on. As she looked towards the wall, she saw a growing shadow that had her jump out of bed and quickly turns on the lights. She began panting as she began to run through the empty house as she turned on all the lights.
“What is going on!” Jan said in concern.
“Nothing,” Luz replied.
“Sure, I will be there as soon as I can. Leave the lights on, even when you fall asleep. I still have the key,” Jan said in empathy. “Knowing you, you only got five hours of sleep in the last week.”
“How do you know?” Luz said in shock.
“An auntie always knows!” Jan replied kindly.
“Thanks, Auntie,” Luz said as she went back to bed as her dog followed. “And the next thing we are going to work on is that pride and stubbornness!” Jan said as she hung up the phone.