Juego con los Muertos

21 Oct

“As you know, Bob…”

…recently on Fridays I’ve been participating in Madison Woods’ 100-word story challenge along with the #FridayFictioneers.  Normally I try to stick with the 100 words, but this week I had a story idea that just didn’t want to squeeze into those confines.

Trust me, I tried.

My story this week came to 200 words.  Bah!  Double whammy.

So here’s the inspiration image Madison shared for this week, which has a pretty cool story behind it on her website:

I like the idea that this marble came from someone who’s no longer around, so I played a bit with that.  I guess my story celebrates certain upcoming festivities a little early, but oh well.  It’s still in the spirit of the holidays. 🙂

Haha, spirit…no pun intended.


Anyway, I hope you enjoy!


Juego con los Muertos*

Coming home from work, Ana paused on the terracotta pathway to observe a trail of dirt leading to the front door.

It was open.

When she went inside her eldest child, Carlos, shot up from the kitchen table, clutching some recently-snuffed candles and a large old book.  His eyes were wide, face unnaturally pale.

“What were you doing?”


“Where’s your sister?”

He shrugged then scurried away.

Ana frowned.

The trail led upstairs towards conversing voices.  She found a battered stone marble—somehow familiar to her—before her daughter’s door and picked it up.  Turning it over, she called out cautiously, “Cecilia…who’s with you?”

The girl giggled.


Ana opened the door, surprised to find a dusty skeleton adorned in a dress and pearls.  It sat at a chalk circle that had been drawn onto the floor, playing a game with her daughter.  It reached a creaky limb out to Ana and said sadly, “Mi hija.”**

“Mommy, Mommy!” Cecilia cried.  “I’m teaching Grandma how to play with her marbles!”

Ana thought she’d about lost hers.

Suddenly gathering her wits, the candles, book and pale face began to add up.  Ana dropped her purse and binders, her voice escalating uneasily:



* Juego con los Muertos translates as “Game with the Dead” in Spanish.
** Mi hija means “my daughter.”


27 Responses to “Juego con los Muertos”

  1. unspywriter October 21, 2011 at 11:05 AM #

    Well, that creepy–in a good way! 😉


  2. unspywriter October 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM #

    My fingers are faster than my brain. “Well, that was creepy…” If I could type I’d be dangerous.


    • Tiyana October 21, 2011 at 12:20 PM #

      LoL, I totally read it with the “was” in there anyway! Didn’t even notice. 😉 (Funny how our brains work.)

      Thanks for reading, Maggie! Heading over to yours now.


  3. jshill October 21, 2011 at 11:17 AM #

    Well done. Nothing bad ever happened from reading a book…


    • Tiyana October 21, 2011 at 12:21 PM #


      Thanks, J.


  4. The Lime October 21, 2011 at 12:01 PM #

    I LOVE the end, and I can just see this little girl sitting there with her grandmotherly skeleton. I’m glad you went with 200 words. It was worth it.


    • Tiyana October 21, 2011 at 12:27 PM #

      Yay! Glad you liked it, Rylee. 🙂

      I really did try to fit it in 100 words before, but I couldn’t figure it out how to distill it without skimping on essentials. Even around like 150-ish it still felt underdeveloped…


  5. susielindau October 21, 2011 at 12:48 PM #

    I love this! The creepy dead skeleton grandma still taking care of the grandchildren! I also like the detail in the description. Well done!


  6. mahjira October 21, 2011 at 1:41 PM #

    Wow!! I got chills reading your story. I love a good ghost story and this one I loved! I think it was also tender that her grandmother got to spend time with her granddaughter. 🙂 A chilling tale – but also sweet. 🙂


    • Tiyana October 21, 2011 at 2:30 PM #

      I guess I’d never thought of it as sweet before, lol. It’s always interesting to see what these stories mean to other people.

      Thanks for reading, Mahjira!


  7. Madison Woods October 21, 2011 at 2:00 PM #

    Wow, LOVED your 200 words! And I’m glad you gave us a translation at the bottom, I’d guessed wrong but I would have googled it if you hadn’t 😉 This was well-written and so neatly complete in a short space.


    • Tiyana October 21, 2011 at 3:23 PM #

      Thanks, Madison! Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂


  8. dmmacilroy October 21, 2011 at 3:28 PM #


    That was very good. Was Carlos’ last name Castaneda? I’m wondering so please tell me.

    Loved your story and your were right about the extra hundred words. Sometimes you just need them.




    • Tiyana October 21, 2011 at 4:11 PM #

      Hiya, Doug. Thanks for reading. 🙂

      Ya know, I was actually trying to think of a surname at one point but never settled on one. Don’t think I would have ever thought of Castaneda, but I like it!


      • dmmacilroy October 21, 2011 at 4:16 PM #

        Are you familiar with the works of Carlos Castenada? If ever someone captured him as a child, it was you in your fine story.




        • Tiyana October 21, 2011 at 5:01 PM #

          I thought you might be referring to a real-life figure, haha, but I wasn’t familiar this name. No, I’d never heard of him before.

          After your comments, though, I kind of feel like I should look into him! He sounds interesting. 🙂


          • Madison Woods October 21, 2011 at 7:33 PM #

            you should definitely look into him. magical realism at it’s best, and hard to decipher truth from fiction…i leaned toward truth.


  9. Robin Hawke October 22, 2011 at 1:38 PM #

    Muchacha! Love the story, love grandma, Robin


    • Tiyana October 22, 2011 at 1:53 PM #

      Thanks, Robin! Glad you enjoyed the story. 🙂


  10. T. S. Bazelli October 24, 2011 at 9:19 AM #

    A little late, but oh! 200 words seems like so much more than double 100. There’s far more story in here. It reminded me of a horror movie preview hehe. (not a bad thing)


    • Tiyana October 24, 2011 at 10:29 AM #

      Heh. It could be the start to a very interesting story…

      Thanks for reading, Theresa!


  11. Jay Noel October 24, 2011 at 9:56 AM #

    Hard to fit a story into 100 words anyway.

    Oh man, that was funny AND creepy at the same time. Thank goodness Cecilia wasn’t teaching grandma how to do the Cupid Shuffle.


    • Tiyana October 24, 2011 at 10:29 AM #

      Haha! Now that would have been funny. 😀


  12. deshipley October 24, 2011 at 2:58 PM #

    “Ana thought she’d about lost hers.” — LOL, perfect line.
    Sounds like Carlos definitely needs a talking to, thought at least Grandma seems harmless enough. (Or is she?…) A follow-up to this story really could go in so many directions.


    • Tiyana October 24, 2011 at 8:21 PM #

      Can you believe I rearranged the second half a few times just so I could work that line in? Haha. And you’re right: a continuation of this story could go in several directions…

      Thanks for reading, Danielle. 🙂


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