El 25 de Septiembre, 2008. 9:00 pm
Shelley ran. She had stopped behind the surgery for a cigarette. The flame from her lighter framed her face. A quick, sharp light which had illuminated the area for an instant. There had been something in the window; a man, whose twisted and contorted body dripped away as she watched. Like hot wax his flesh had melted from his body. All the time, those eyes had watched her. Condemned her. So, she ran.
When Toni arrived, he saw Shelley surrounded by the others. Rosa hugged her and spoke in soft, quieting tones. The older priest patted her shoulder. Manolo grinned as though he had heard the best joke ever. It would have been almost comical, except for the wet stain on Shelley’s jeans. This woman was terrified. Enough to lose control of her body.
She turned, unable to mask her surprise and anger at seeing the old man.
“Professor Blasquez. Always a pleasure. What are you doing here?”
“I warned you,” said the Professor, “you and Sanchez. Still you knew best. That aside, we need to get out of here now.”
Her laugh was forced. Vindictive.
“Listen, old man. We told you then and I’m telling you now. This show will be broadcast.”
“Have you told them?”
“Told them what?” asked Toni. “What exactly is going on here?”
“This village is haunted.” said the old man.
“Ooh, a ghost story,” sneered Rosa, “isn’t that why we’re here?”
“No, my dear, you’re here for the ratings.” said Manolo.
“No, she’s not. At least not entirely. She’s here to watch you all die.”
Stunned, they all stared at the Professor.
“It would be best you listen to me. There’s no pretty tale. Rather, it’s petty and violent. Typical of the times in which it is set. The problem is, that this story is still ongoing and has no happy ending.”
They sat round the door of the campervan on fold out seats. A glass of whiskey for each and they listened.
“Juan Antonio Rodriguez was unfortunate. He came to Pueblecito to help educate the people, but instead caused untold damage. As the Schoolteacher he was respected, and attractive to the local women. An educated man, he stood out here. There is perhaps nothing he could, or would have done differently, but his actions led to the death of many.
“Juan fell in love with one of the young women, Isabella. She was married, yet that presented no barrier. In time she fell pregnant and gave birth to a daughter, who they named Irene. Without the Guerra Civil they would no doubt have run away together, but it was not to be.
“This area was Republican and Juan joined the uprising. He fought in many battles and no doubt took part in atrocities. In nineteen thirty-seven, there were many, but particularly against the Church. This village was strictly religious and secretly supported the Nationalist Cause. When the War in the North was waged, they were quick to turn against the Republicans.
“The Nationalists pushed the Republicans back towards Santander and in the September of 1937, a terrified Juan made his way back here. By then, the whole village knew of Isabella’s shame and were waiting for him. They used the excuse of his political affiliations against him. He was captured in the Schoolhouse. There, where the surgery stands now. Boards were nailed across the doors and the building was set alight. Juan was burnt alive.
“Isabella was forced to watch. The villagers heard his vow of vengeance. From that day onwards, he has waited. Every year he exacts his own revenge on those who murdered him. Tomorrow is the anniversary of his death and once again he will walk.”
There was silence for a moment. Then Rodrigo turned off his camera.
“Did you get that?”
He gave Rosa the thumbs-up.
“Thanks, Professor,” she said, “that will give us a great intro, along with the video.”
“Fool! Why won’t you listen?”
“This is a show about the paranormal Professor. We did listen and we’re here to film it.”
“What are you and Sanchez playing at? Juan’s vengeance is against the original families. Without them, you will see little.”
“Oh, my sweet Jesus. You sent the crew last year. Who are these people?”
“Night-night, Professor,” said Rosa, as she finished her drink, “sleep well.”
Juan watched them all. They huddled together, voices buzzed like gnats against his consciousness. Any pain felt from the clergymen’s words was long past. Now, he focussed on the individuals, savouring their fear. The woman had seen him because he wanted her to. Her fear delicious. It had heightened his own burgeoning pleasure.
Who was the old man though? There was a dangerous undertone to his presence. What was left of a reasoning being disliked the closeness of this stranger to the young man. Shudders wracked his body accompanied by a howl of triumph.
He could feel the spiritual bonds weakening as each minute passed. The flames which burnt inside him were growing stronger. His devious and warped mind planned over and over what he would do. It would begin with the priests.
“W-what was that?”
“The wind, Shelley. Calm down.”
She nodded and downed another shot of whiskey. Manolo shook his head. Definitely losing it. He watched Toni and the Professor, heads bent in earnest discussion. Rosa had moved and was talking to the priests. Giving them their lines no doubt.
“Are you cold?”
His attention returned to Shelley.
“No. Want to come over here and I’ll warm you up.”
He was surprised when she agreed. Not like her at all. A strong smell of urine came with her. Christ. She could have at least changed. As he raised his head in avoidance, he saw the fog. It clung to the mountain slopes and dropped lower as he watched. The wan moonlight accentuated its unearthliness. Excellent. What a great opening shot.
SDIV El Juego Chapter Thirty Part Three
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