She came for you once.
You weren't more than seven or eight, but you were able to push her away all the same, terrified as you were.
It was one of those cold wild nights in October when the wind is unruly, violently throwing dead leaves against your house and the air is full of the scent burning cedar from chimneys. The day had been full of too many ghost stories at school, greedily gobbled up on the playground even as you knew you would pay for the cheap thrills later. It was so much easier to speak of ghosts and monsters in the daylight; but at night, the nightmares would come. Each shadow seemed to move of its own accord. Each creak that filled the midnight silence seemed like more than just the settling of your home's old bones around you.
That was how La Llorona found you. She was the woman you had learned about through playground gossip: the cursed creature doomed to search for her children on the banks of the Rio Grande, a victim of her own pride and shame, drowning her sorrows in rage as she drowned her children, her own life in that muddy water.
You thought it was the wind howling at first. You had woken with a start, foisted out of your nightmares by the wailing just outside your window. You pulled your covers tighter around you. Then it was scratching at the window; your neighbor's pine tree reaching its thick branches across the dividing wall and scraping against the panes. Nothing strange about that, you told yourself. It is only nature running its course.
But then you began to think of that neighbor and the swimming pool in the backyard. You began to think of the child that was taken into its depths never to come back. You had seen that child at the bottom of that pool once, felt the tug on your heel as you tried to break the surface (there was no mud to obscure the sunlight rippling across the water). It was then you knew you could never cross that wall again.
Perhaps it was La Llorona that took him and keeps him there still. With that thought, the howling wind became her cries, the branches at your window, her fingernails trying to claw her way in. Coming, coming for you. You vowed never to listen to the ghost stories on the playground ever again--a short-lived promise--and you vowed never to let yourself become like the child still at the bottom of the pool--that one you kept.
You felt your home around you; the warmth and the love and the security etched into the bricks and the inside of your rib cage. The violent howling outside was no match for it. It--she--could not get in. Slowly, the wind died, the scratching at your window stopped. The creaks in your home were once again the sighs a living dwelling makes. Eventually, sleep found you. It was your home, you realized years later, that protected you and protects you still.
Now, older, maybe even wiser--but still no less susceptible to thrills of a good ghost story--you carry your home with you (deep inside your chest, sewn into each breath) protection against the forces that would pull you under.
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