P7: Sloppy.

giphy.gif

Always hard when a case goes cold, the sweaty man says with his pot-belly big and hard as a boulder, smelling strongly of pabst blue ribbon, endless, wet layers of Marlboro second-hand smoke paining Robs over-sensitive nose, and the un-sanitized, humid flesh of a man who is unmercifully inattentive to his own hygiene. Rob mulls intellectually over the mind of man who can live so happily in the organic outcomes of his self: a sign of depression, of a mind too burdened and brimming to leave room for thoughts of cleanliness. Was this the unique torture of all those who dwelled in centuries past, to be ignorant of their own stench, tolerant of everybody else’s?

The sloppy man, loosening scents behind him of his squalid motel when he’d shift standing as if in chronic agony, also talked too much: was this a guilty mind, or an innocent one over-compensating for being helpless? When he’d smile Rob could detect the faint black outlines of the roots of dying teeth; in his own mouth, Rob skimmed his teeth with his tongue as if being in the proximity of the other man would suddenly rot his own teeth.

Used to work ‘em myself, Texas Ranger way back, and the slobs tongue worms out of his mouth to gather the foam accumulating at the corner of it.

What do you do now, luxuriate alone in motels?

The pig-man scoffs, and then answers.

I travel with my pension, spreadin’ the good word. What else imma do? Ain’t got no family, no wife waitin’ in the wings… Ashley was a nice girl, lookin’ to find herself thru Christ, said she thought she was…. Possessed or somethin’. She approached me in the hotel after she saw my dog-eared bible. Like to stay in fancy ones, sometimes, hotels, then slums like this. Gives me a sense of gratitude. Anyways, she was real geared toward the lord it seemed to save ‘er. Gave ‘er the name of a man who runs prayer group. Recall ‘em tellin’ me she left quick before they could try’n help ‘er. Guess it wasn’t what she was lookin’ for.

He’s standing in front of an adobe-colored threshold with turquoise trim. Thick black brows reminiscent of Halloween cats superstitiously arching, and Rob is uncomfortable in his dusty suit, beginning to itch, thinking too much of what could’ve happened. Rob wears his long, raven-feather black hair down today, and he feels it toyed with by the wind on his back.

But you do have a family; Rob says impassively, not a flinch.

The filthy man looks down, and Rob sees it now: the pathetic sadness, the weary eyes. The man hesitates, but then says, not any that wanna see the likes of me.

He didn’t seem to be lying, Rob thought, able to feel his own cleanliness and loneliness, and so after a few otiose questions, he took his leave, but he keeps him on the list of suspects.

The man named Rob traipses out into the loose gravel. He’d stops in the middle of the motel parking lot, dazedly, taking in the view of the blue skies, the scatter of rooftops, beyond that, sempiternal earth with tufts of Mexican feathergrass. He shuts his eyes against the flaming wheel of the sun.

Are…. are you asking around about Ashley? A woman’s tremulous voice inquires behind him.

P5: Memory.

before.

No, please… I wanna live… she’d implored, tears from both burning eyes stumbling down hotly in a race to the curves of her jaw.

The severity hadn’t settled in her features like powder in fine lines or the pores one gets as the pertinacity of age needles the helpless face and weathers the lukewarm spirit in icy gales, but keeps all pain locked behind the eyes. She takes this doggedness as a game, and only as a precaution did she weep before the few folk gathered.

They are red-faced religious zealots convinced that they’re faintly touched by something celestial, with stares like beams from moonlight towers, high and mighty and distant. Two tall-haired women feathered and coated in aqua net, basked in the vaporous, undead radiance of fluorescent lightbulbs. The man is dark and hollow, handsome in a bygone era, like a man sucked out, shriveled against his own bones, slender and tall, white as a ghost, with big eyes like a lost animal.

Mother was absent much for the lonely girl, grandmother raised her, still this pain with her where the cord that connected her to her mother ached with a phantom agony as motherless children share, and it bore a hole she walked around with like an invisible mark only others with the same hole could see. Savoring the intensity of the spirituality others felt around her, while inside she secretly remained unconvinced, ASHLEY had been around. Out and about from the reservation, or the rez, as it’s called, searching for something, and that something had found her. And when it did, she only had more questions… piled upon the other questions that had, as yet, still no answers, and nobody had those answers. Nobody. 

That thing in the plains had scratched her face up pretty bad, some kind of wolf, and ever since she’d been sick. Was it rabies? Nah… they’d given her that shot at the hospital. She’d have been dead by now if it were. She didn’t tell grandma a damn thing about the wolf, the old woman far too superstitious, said she’d fallen on a cactus.

Her ‘prayer group’ was convinced it was the devil lodged inside of her. They had to get it out of her, they’d said. And there they were; they looked surreal, like a carnival of gaunt, starved souls, staring at her.

We aren’t like that other group, they’re a cult, he says, stay away from the likes of ‘em. Only on rare occasions do exorcisms cause death, his teeth were yellow as he grinned and his clothes reeked of tobacco and thrift stores that she used to shop at as a kid, too poor and too far away to find something new.

You’re all a cult, said she, one big fucking cult, that has no idea what’s going on in this world, no more than anybody else…

You can’t go out on the full moon, few days from now, the apparition of a man says, that’s when the devil—

And although they had begged, she had left.


[ ‘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. ]


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.

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. ]


P3: Cursed.

Rob’s Notes, 24 OCT 1986.

1:38PM

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).

3:00PM

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

5:45PM

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?

6:01PM

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.

 

 

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.]