Casa de la Vieja Zoe

Casa de la Vieja Zoe

A Story by Debby Pillitteri

A short story about two boys visiting a legendary haunted house in Mexico.

Some people swore that the house was haunted. Takes the town a whole year to even think about the building, every Day of the Dead. Casa de la vieja Zoe, that's what we call it round here. The stories have been told for lifetimes; Abuela Emma heard the stories from her Grandma Mariana, and she was told of Zoe's house from her Grandfather Basilio, who was told by his brother Jesus, taught by his father Elija, with caution to never near the house. Naturally, yearly, the tales grow more intricate and span out to a crowd of increasing narrators.
Me and Tulio were two of those raconteurs. Sí, señor. 2009, the year known to us for this unforgettable night. We were eating his mama's tacos, sitting across from the house, watching its eerie aura, waiting, wondering, for something to happen. Nothing did, and our last bite ended, so we thought we'd go make something happen. The gray rotting colour was ugly enough, nothing moved but the bright green leaves in the wind, the shutters were dead, the broken windows, the glass shattered, still shining in splattered pieces on the roof top; surely, the proof of someone's lost soul.
Tulio grabs the pink spray can and runs up to the side, starts outlining something. I walk up to the building, too, carrying the black, green and orange.
"Me pase ese negro... Thank you."
I head inside and shuffle around, there's a couch in its single frame, mold eating at every corner of the walls, a thick layer of dust and debris covering the floor. I find some old china in a cabinet, whatever is left in one piece. Oh, so beautiful. Smash. A gust of cold air swirls around me, as if laughing at me; there's a faint voice in it as it rubs my ear, a little girls giggle. Weird.
I bring two plates out to Tulio, toss one and hand him the other. He paints a sad face on it, laughs and throws it, too. I see he's made a Day of the Dead skull on the side of the house, pink spinning around green for the eyes, orange stars for the cheeks, intricate circles to create the bags under his eyes.
We go inside and go straight to Zoe's room from when she was a little girl, erupting in pink fluffy old decor. As soon as we step through the doorway, we hear her scream, just a scream, like someone is chasing her, attacking her. It's absurd and terrifying; a chill sinks from my neck to my tailbone, and makes me shiver and shake like a wet dog.
"Uhh, pass," Tulio says and we run out the room, bolt for the back door to leave, but then...
I spot a door with scratches, deep gnarly scratches on its front, locked, safety latches all up and down the doorknob. Tulio bumps into me and turns to see what I'm looking at, walking up to it peculiarly. What in God's name is behind that door?! There's a sense in the air that tells us to desist, that this isn't our place; maybe it's Tulios saying, "Dude, don't. Come on, let's go," or his pulling on my jacket, but I gotta know what's in that room!
The bolts and clasps are rusted and fall off with a nudge of the door. I ease it open and it creaks, loud and obnoxious, then suddenly it swings wide open, BANG!, right against the wall. An old tattered noose hangs breathlessly in the center of the room, newspaper articles posted everywhere, layered on top of each other so that not even a square inch of the wall is visible. A skeletons head's leftover in the wreathe, the spine through it, but the rest of the bones have fallen to the floor. RAPE sprayed in big bright red letters covers and entire wall, coated on top of the clippings. Neon green electric streams from the ceiling are pulled in to the top of the rope, twisting and leading down to the loop, twirling and warping the whole noose in the form of a tornado, pieces of the backbone fragment and splinter at the edge of our feet.
"GET OUT!!!" Zoe yells at us, just her voice through the walls.
We're attracted somehow to the bones and we get closer and closer to the rope; closer and closer and the wind gets stronger, the noose gets brighter, what is that? Red paint? Blood! Blood oozing out of the ceiling, out of the borders of the walls, and the RAPE sign, bleeding, too, dripping and cascading in red, puddling under our feet. Tulio and I grab hold of the rope and!...
Carlos and Tulio never made it home. Their families grieved their absence. No one knew where they were last, but deep down everyone figured the same thing; no one ever spoke or neared la Casa de la vieja Zoe anymore. Nothing was ever the same again after that.

© 2014 Debby Pillitteri

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Added on February 5, 2014
Last Updated on February 5, 2014
Tags: legend, haunted, scary, house, spirits, ghost, mexico, boys, visit, spray paint, old, Spanish, fictional, fake, short story