The claim to fame for Texas may not be haunted history. The roads stretch on for miles, inspiring minds to conjure up ghostly sights on any given night. Pilar Lopez was on such a road traveling to her new home, but her mind was not visited by grisly images, at least none imaginary.
Sighing, Pilar tapped the steering wheel and willed her mind to focus on the road ahead. Both literally and for her own unsure future. The ice cold A/C kept her alert and the music was amped up enough to wake the dead. Having got a late start put her behind schedule, so she pushed herself. The sun setting turned the sky a bruised purplish pink. She'd heard Texas was Big Sky country. That you could see the horizon touch the ground. She hadn't seen any buildings just fields or empty lots for miles. So there was truth to that statement. It seemed like to could drive right up to the edge of the world if you stayed the course long enough. Finally, a welcoming sight ahead.
Ciudad De La Muerte. "City of the Dead. Well, it beats another minute of driving." Pilar muttered. Finding directions was not that difficult. The city was shut down. The only life was the streetlamps burning. Pilar hoped there was more going on during the day. Within moments she was pulling off onto a rutted dirt road. The potholes causing her to have to swerve.
The death of a relative was a shock. Not the passing but finding out the person existed, that they had left her a home and the surrounding land. Coming to a new town with no family or friends was definitely a change from her life in a big city with her large family. Pulling up to 313 Garden Lane did inspire confidence. The house looked to be in good repair. The surrounding grounds well kept. Shutting off the engine and pulling the keys from the ignition, Pilar grabbed her purse and coffee cup. Opening the car door the first thing Pilar noticed was the air. A bit warm even though it was late evening and nothing stirred. Nothing. For country living it was quiet and that raised chills on her arms.
Reaching into the backseat for her overnight bag, suitcases could wait until morning, Pilar then shut the door and locked up. Heading for the house she walked up a short bricked path. There were wooden steps leading up to wrap-a-round patio. The creaked as she out her weight on them. When Pilar opened the screen door the spring caused then door to snap back against her foot. The dust cloud surrounding her head caused her to sneeze. When she had her eyes closed suddenly the porch light snapped on. Gasping Pilar dropped the keys. Quickly she realized, by the ticking sound, that it was set by an automatic timer. Bending to pick up the keys she set to opening the front door. The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end and tingles raced across her skin. Pilar turned and looked behind her. The night was black but clear. She could see the town lights and she knew there were neighbors not far from her. No one should be watching her though. Dismissing her nerves Pilar opened the door and made her way inside.
There was a light switch just inside the door. The staleness in the air was not unpleasant, but just noticeable. The furniture was left with instructions to do with whatever she felt necessary. Carefully making her way through the first floor and taking the protective sheets from everything Pilar was awe struck that all she surveyed, she now owned.
Perhaps her parents, God rest their souls, had favor with this relative. Heading upstairs Pilar heard a noise and stilled.
Shuff. Shuff. Shuff.
Pilar could not decipher the noise. It was faint, perhaps it was some vermin in the attic. She did not want to be defenseless, even against a rouge cat. Laughing gently Pilar brushed her long dark locks from her face and tucked them behind her ear. Heading for the kitchen which was located right off the entrance of the front door. Getting the can of pepper spray and her cell phone again she made her way to the second story landing.
Inspecting the bedrooms and such she found more beautiful hand carved furniture, some unique looking artifacts with the strangest looking symbols she'd never seen. Pilar's curiosity peaked she so she took the small statue and held on to it. Turning off the lights upstairs and focused on researching the artifact had taken Pilar's mind off the noise. Until a figure darkened the doorway across the hall.
Screaming Pilar dropped the statue and brought her hands to her mouth. With fear widened eyes her sight adjusted to the near darkness quickly. Warmth flooded her face and her heart thudded in her chest. Taking in a shuddered breath she realized was she not in any sudden danger. Pilar chided herself. The dressing mannequin would pose no threat. Lest it came to life with plans of malice.
Pilar bent to pick up the statue. "Ow." A piece had chipped off and she pricked her thumb. No matter. Pilar stuck her thumb in her mouth, tasting the slight coppery drip of blood bloom on her tongue, sucking to stop the bleeding. Still curious as to the origins of the statue Pilar made her way downstairs to the kitchen. Preparing a quick meal of noodles in the microwave she then sat in front of her laptop on the table. Realizing how tired she was getting once she sat Pilar thought, "Maybe I can wait to check this out." Already starting to cook her noodles though gave her time to kill anyway.
Pilar did her best to describe the statue in her search. The first few links went to scientific study sites that didn't make much sense. Then:
To view original archives visit the western branch of the School of Hieroglyphically Written Studies.
On March 13th (3/13) of this year an astounding discovery was made, and lost. What many consider to be a quote previously unknown and possibly cursed end quote statue. Said to be used in rituals to bring prosperity to the bearer the statue was found to be missing from its exhibit upon opening the Sacred Rites and Blessed Arts museum. The curator, prided in sharing with the world not only rare artifacts but often re-enacting the actual rituals, is to say the least devastated at the lost of this one of a kind piece of history.
The microwave buzzed and Pilar went to get her meal. A stolen, no rare one of a kind, and stolen artifact innocently sat on the kitchen counter. She may not know this deceased relative but stealing is stealing. At that moment the phone rang. Pilar slide her phone open and checked the ID. "Hi Sis." Pilar grinned.
"Nice of you to call and say you made it. Nah, none of us are worried sick!" Seki shrilly delivered her message of concern but Pilar knew she was not really that upset, it was just her nature.
"You know with me, no news is good news." Pilar stirred her noodles, blowing to cool them.
"Pepe, you know that's not right. Your driving all the way-" Pilar cut her triade short with a quick.
"Seki I am tired and I am fine. Love you and talk to you tomorrow k?" Seki exhaled softly, resigning. Pilar smiled and knew that all was well in the world again.
"Love you Pepe. Night." They hung up and Pilar continued with her meal. Glancing at the statue again she thought, "Could this be a replica?" She'd find out in the morning. Right now it was eat, shower and bed.
The clock striking 3 AM should not have startled Pilar from a sound sleep, but it did. Considering she had spent the last 10 hours driving, was 10 hours of blissful oblivion to much to ask? Actually a noise besides the clock bothered Pilar.
Grabbing her robe and slipping her feet into her bedroom slippers, Pilar went to investigate.
Shuff. Shhhuff. Shuff. Shuff. Shuff.
Pilar had not found the source of the scuffling. No open windows or any way she could see for an animal to nest. Without visible proof to worry Pilar was not afraid.
The strange markings suddenly came to mind. The words Hiífa. Neíhee. Siíla. Echoed in her conscious, although Pilar never recalled hearing them, or even hearing their translation.
The clock read 10 after 3 AM. Pilar was just about done checking the upstairs and turning to head downstairs.
Shuff. Shuff. Shuff. Shuff. Shufffffff.
Now the sound seemed to vibrate the air. Something was going on and Pilar felt a heavy ball of ice form in the pit of her stomach.
Forgetting her search Pilar thought to just get her keys and leave. The flutter of air to her back made Pilar want to turn and see who was running their hand up her spine. Of course she was alone in the kitchen. The pitch black almost smothering her. Her only source of light was the dim glow of her cell. Why couldnít she remember where the light switch was. Pilar felt panic splash into her veins. The warmth of adrenaline almost numbing her body.
Not even considering what possibly caused the sensation Pilar grabbed her purse and laptop, having no trouble remembering their location, the keys were in her hand ready to use. Turning for the door, Pilar stopped, and everything fell from her hands but did not make a sound. Her senses paralyzed in fear. She was rooted to the spot. From the corner of her eye the glowing numerals on her cell read 3:13 AM.