La Llorona

A story about a young boy who is determined to lasso the ghost of La Llorona and prove she is nothing to be afraid of.

Published in 10,000 Tons of Black Ink in its debut issue:

December 2007

La Llorona

by April Galarza

When Señor Delajolla was a young boy growing up in Mexico, there was a story about why you should never go out past Don Alberto’s south pasture after dark. La Llorona was there and if you saw her face you would never know happiness again.

When Sergio first heard about the weeping woman, La Llorona, he couldn’t stop thinking about the mysterious black ribbon flapping in the wind, caught in a splinter of wood on the gate. It was said she was back again wandering the dusty riverbed with her blood-red robozo wrapped around her shoulders and her black braid thick and swinging against her back like a snake hanging from a tree.

As he closed the gate behind him he saw the ribbon and clasped it in his hand, catching it from the wind. The second he held it the pain sharpened in his stomach like someone grabbed a fistful of flesh and was twisting it. It felt like he had been running hard and fast without taking enough breaths. He ran into the house clutching the ribbon in his fist like a moth that might fly away.

When he told his mother how he felt she admonished him for being so foolish. She stood on her tiptoes and pulled a green glass bottle from the plank shelf above the fireplace. She popped the cork of the bottle and held it under Sergio’s nose. It smelled of cilantro and honey and something earthy like moss. As the smell rose through his nose and inhaled into his lungs the pain in his stomach was eased. “Now get that thing out from under this roof before you bring La Llorona to our doorstep,” his mother said.

She sat him down on the bench and reminded him curtly that now that his Papi was gone he was the man and somewhere in the night, outside the shutters and white scrubbed walls of the little house were things no Catholic should ever lay eyes on.

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