P4: Canis Major.

The strange, stubborn man named Rob pursuing answers to his unusual questions galore had taken his leave hours ago, yet all the big-eyed adults, bloodshot from their reefer, worried themselves aloud in speculation over whether or not he would return; perhaps, equipped with more questions. The moon, full and white, pasted on a black, peerless sky is potholed by radiant galaxies overhead, and they weep together.

Gazes tearful and others in disbelief scanned whereabouts the flatlands and black mesas rose in the night, unseen, spooked as they clutch their few children nearer; a bonfire palpitates, glinting in their furrowed, anxious eyes.

Poor Ashley, the sunbaked, grinning man says; the skinny man, the scraggly man, the reeking man, whose stench is of male musk and unwashed scalp.

I wish she could’ve been here, with us, says he, as he passes crimson solo cups to all present in the bizarre gathering. The hippy-women with their long hair and their careworn dresses allow the few children to sip first; the baby coos, as the mother guides a wetted finger into its mouth.

For this, he says.

Long after midnight, the cold land is frighteningly quiet as the entirety of that motley group lies dead with their sightless eyes gawking uncannily to constellations they’d hoped the soul might venture to, embracing each other by the vanishing fire.

All dead save for the fussing babe in its mothers cold arms, whose lonely, alien cries begin to attract curious prairie wolves.


[ ‘Girls That Vanish At Night: New Mexico, 1986′ is the continuation of a short horror series told episodically by Samantha Lucero. To catch up on series 1, go here. ]

P3: Cursed.

Rob’s Notes, 24 OCT 1986.


Wasn’t the girl? Mother caused a scene, told her step aside, give me her name, name: Corrine Green, worried, sincere … girl showed when younger man name: Carlos Almada, teenaged, brought daughter Virginia to scene. Mother and daughter wept: hold onto each other, could’ve been you. Ask them about local area– pretty quiet, few strange people, Adam, Serena, Bradley, house on the corner with overgrown lawn, at night driving home with windows down, the overfamiliar sound of howling.

Girl is Jane Doe (for now?). Local P.D + F.B.I. not allowed to meddle in Native American Affairs, girl believed to be from nearby reservation, few girls gone missing over the past 6 months, marks on face hidden underneath red dress -was covering-.

We’re F.B.I., but we can meddle…

Jane Doe had object in right ear:

* small, red glass bead.
* inserted post-mortem into vagina, western diamondback rattle.

where was she?

  • few girls visit “spiritual retreat”: source, Carlos, seen up by flock of trailers (weirdoes?) out past Cedar Mountain, drugs?
  • strangers on the Turquoise Trail, tourist time.
  • local sex offenders, one in jail at presumed time of murder, other at work.
  • face hardly recognizable; mortician repaired, make-up, good pictures to ask around, thank Halley with coffee. no sexual assault; no sign of struggle; ‘animal’ tore face apart.

(not the animal they think).


Find out her name, she deserves a name—cursed, have to do all work tonight. Full moon tomorrow.


At night, nothing in the roads but travelers to or from destinations, mostly Colorado and Texas plates. I sit and watch to get a sense of the land; to get an idea of what could be behind the curtains.

Nothing out there, that’s what makes it beautiful. If there were more of anything, more people, more clutter, it would spoil everything with noise, lights, garbage, emotional pollution—the outer land would show the insides of the minds that filled it. Man builds his empire with his mind, but from his heart. And you can see inside the true hearts of men by looking at their cities, you can know the man who built it, the man who lives there, by knowing what kind of place a man loves and stays in: this place is open, quiet, the mind fills with thoughts the way the mouth fills with saliva. You become a passenger.

The people have a sense of waiting; waiting for what?


I arrive in time for a ceremony at the (cult?) retreat. Cedar Mountain.

Tall, slender man, dingy long hair, never stops grinning, caucasian. Don’t like the look of him. Women in all white, four of them, flowers in their hair, small children holding hands, two toddlers, one infant in a woman’s arms. Questions to ask:

Have you ever seen this girl?

She ever come out here for one of your ceremonies?

Ask all present, even children.





[ ‘Girls That Vanish At Night: New Mexico, 1986′ is the continuation of a short horror series told episodically by Samantha Lucero. To catch up on series 1, go here. ]




P2: Mother.

The heavy rain outside becomes mere mist.

There’s a strong pulse of music in the night and it throbs through to the wet bones of the lonely earth. Through the feet of the intoxicated, curly-haired dancer-women in their woven huaraches who can feel ovals of dirt invading their shoes and the tall dark men that employ Kiwi polish to fruitlessly shine their finest, dusty boots in the hot afternoons, it pounds. Yet here those very fine boots are, dustier still in the sinking curtains of dusk. The tavern revelers outpouring, phantoming about them traces of Tres Flores and off-brand ladies’ imitation designer perfume, dance in the vaporous scent of their own body odors following them out onto the road.

A woman in mid-laughter catches the ankle of the unseen deceased, as if it is some otherworldly detail that rose up suddenly from the landscape un-belonging there. She falls theatrically backward into the mud, crying out in a surprise that is drown by the croon of music. Soon a scream rises that can be heard by all, and sooner still the scream is a contagion that inflicts horror on all the others surrounding; they see the melancholic display of the nude, dead girl, and her covered face, but none of their eyes want to admit she’s real. They plant themselves dumbly. Once opining accordions growing limp in their notes, until the musical instruments cease all their merry song-making and silence pervades; the night is at once terrible.

An hour later, men are kneeling near the pill-white sheet with the body rooted still beneath. The white sheet drapes the dead only in dignity for the gawkers, for that miniature crowd of a small town. Men half-alive and half-dead themselves watch with their weeping women at their chest. Men in important suits, with men of lesser importance in police uniforms, keep the gatherers back.

One of the duskier-skinned, important gentlemen in a suit is diligently taking notes near the body. He overhears a conversation between two cops behind him:

No one’s gunna care about a little Indian girl dyin anyways, one says.

This shit happens all the time, no one’s gunna find out who did it – gunna end up on some unsolved mysteries bullshit, says the other.

I do, the man once taking notes says as he stands up, puts his fountain pen into his coat pocket, and carefully closes his notebook, and I will. Now, when you say this shit happens all the time, how many times we talkin? And why wasn’t it reported to the Bureau?

Mi bebe!  A larger woman panics through the sleepy crowd, heaving herself with the trickling sound of costume jewelry as she elbows thoughtlessly through, mi bebe! Mi bebe, Virginia!



to be continued … 


[ ‘Girls That Vanish At Night: New Mexico, 1986′ is the continuation of a short horror series told episodically by Samantha Lucero. To catch up on series 1, go here. ]

P1: The Red Dress.

MADRID, NM: 22:39 hrs.


The body is ordered quietly alongside the miry vein of the dirt road, surreptitious, unnerving in the forlorn look of it for seeming uncannily etched there or precisely carved and pale-painted, right into the southwestern landscape; it is grotesquely exquisite.

The body has ceremoniously rested here a long while, awaiting discovery with a mute patience, and in its dreamless death it doth rest eternal; some elsewhere realm they say the ancestors embrace her troubled ghost. Here the body she left behind lies with spatters of old, dried blood being wetted and carried red and away by baptismal raindrops soldiering over her. The young hands are draped aesthetically on bruised ribs, and she seems coldly to glow in the defunct amnion of night. A girl too soon returned to earth with filth caught beneath the fingernails; a hint at an earlier struggle evidently not won. The face and the head are covered with what they’ll eventually come to know as her own red dress, and the unclothed hips take the voyeurs eyes downward to naked, outstretched legs the warm color of cozy adobe homes, posed rigidly straight together down to the ankles underneath the telling shine of a shy half-moon. A shock of dark pubic hair blots the onlookers eyes.

No reveler drunk in their nightly rapture of dancing in the packed mineshaft tavern takes note of the dead, for they’ve yet to fan their merry-making out of the moist wooden doors, and into the pouring streets.

Here the crowd come now, with a cojunto accordion at their backs wafting out, ecstatic and oblivious.


to be continued … 





[‘Girls That Vanish At Night: New Mexico, 1986′ is the continuation of a short horror series told episodically by Samantha Lucero. To catch up on series 1, go here.]