The Haunted Toy Store… Canto 20

Canto 20 – Esperanza Blanca Guajardo

Maria had been met at the doorway by a young pink skeleton girl ­named Esperanza Blanca Guajardo.  She had been pulled into the very ghost body of the girl, her clothes magically dissolving, and the pink skeleton being pulled inside her naked body.  She walked then, not under her own power, but by steps taken by the ghost inside her.  The panties she had been wearing were on the floor behind her as she walked into a desolate black landscape where every feature she saw was nothing but a gray and white outline, including the simple ghost dress she was wearing.

“Where are you taking me?” she asked the ghost.  It felt weird to be walking nude through what seemed like the inside of a video game more than a real place.  The nearly invisible dress she wore felt like nothing.  It was slightly cold with no wind.

“This is the first time the angel ever let us try something like this.  Always before, Imelda simply dies at the quinceañera, being stabbed to death by the gringo.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The game… from the toy store.  You know about the game, or the skull wouldn’t have chosen you.  But never did he choose someone to play the game as me in all the times it was played in the past.”

“This is the game that Yesenia is playing?  With Rogelio?”

“Yes, Imelda and Steven play it with your friends as their game pieces.”

“What are the rules of this game?”

“Imelda’s story ended as a tragedy.  It was a story that none of .us could move on from when we died.  We must replay it over and over until somehow we get it right.”

“Oh, I don’t like the sound of that.  Why do you need living humans to play the game?”

“We, the Lonely Ones, can only play out the actions we took in life.  It is the reactions of the game pieces that are the only hope of changing the outcome.”

“And what happens to the game pieces if you don’t win the game?”

“We have played this game more than once a year for a hundred and sixty-nine years.  Always the game pieces are lost and their bodies disintegrate, and their souls become a part of the land of the dead.”

“Do the game pieces get to go home alive if you win the game?”

“Those that did not die in the game.  Si.”

“What happens, then, that we need to fix in order to win the game?”

“Well, Imelda was in love with Steven.  So much in love, in fact, that they made love one night, making Imelda’s poppa feel his honor could only be restored if he forced Steven to marry her.”

“So, how did that become an unhappy ending?”

“It is complicated.  You see, Javier was supposed to marry Imelda.  But he was not a nice young man.  He beat Imelda twice while they were supposedly courting.  Imelda wanted to tell her poppa how he had treated her.  But her poppa would’ve killed Javier and then been hanged for murder.  Imelda didn’t want that.”

“What was the plan, then?”

“Imelda was hoping Steven would show up at her quinceañera and run away with her.”

“And he never showed up?”

“Oh, no, much worse than that.”

“Then what?”

“Steven showed up covered in blood.  He had a huge knife with him.  And he was angry at Imelda.  He ran up to her and stabbed her in the heart.  As she died, Javier took the knife from Steven and cut his head off.”

“That is really terrible!  How do we stop that from happening again?”

“I don’t know.  But the rules of the game have never before allowed me to have a playing piece in the game.”

“So, it is up to the two of us?”

“Yes, and the game pieces that Imelda and Steven are using this time through the event.”

“Well, let’s go talk to Imelda and Yesenia, then.”

“Si.  I am her best friend, after all.”

“Imelda’s best friend, Esperanza Blanca Guajardo.  Am I right?”

“Si, and my name, in youir language, means Hope.”

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Filed under ghost stories, horror writing, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney

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