In the town where my lolo was raised, no one was allowed to talk at night.
“I can still hear the sound of its iron cart,” my lolo used to say.
Growing up with him was strange. When we were kids and we would make a sound at night he would run towards us and make sure we were quiet, trying not to make noise himself.
I always regretted asking him why.
In that town it traveled at night, pulling its iron cart. The cart was filled with the skulls of its previous victims.
“The ones that didn’t know how to keep their mouths shut.”
The way my lolo told the story, I knew that he had lost someone to it. He never spoke of it much, but sometimes, at night while he was asleep I could hear him.
“Ernesto, my brother Ernesto, leave him alone.”
He told me it passed by their house. His brother was brave and foolish, he thought he was invincible. The truth of youth was strong within him.
“He challenged the monster and paid the price.”
Lolo would always go on about the price. How it was something that was paid when it got its way. I never understood what it really was until he explained.
“It would not matter to us had the monster only taken lives, but it took something that only death should claim.”
My lolo’s brother had lost his soul to it.
Now, I don’t really believe in things like souls and monsters that listen in the night, but after lolo died the sounds began.
I could hear the skulls knocking against each other in its cart. I could hear the screams of its victims, begging for their eternal release. I could hear the last gasp of my lolo, pleading for his brother’s life.
“Please, take me instead.”
I wish the sounds would go away. I don’t know why they followed lolo and why they’re following me. I try to ignore them, but I can’t.
Every night they get louder.