Hey there, Kaitlin!
When I saw you had entered the Prefect Fall Writing Challenge, I couldn't wait to see your entry. You did an outstanding job as usual. In particular, I love how you weaved an authentic legend native to Ecuador into your tale.
From the reason for Javier getting drunk to his choice of drink, aguardiente, there is the sense of realism. Certainly, aguardiente has a kick to it - a bit of an acquired taste. The story sort of reminds me of the Twilight Zone (in a good way) where things start off normal/rational enough and then takes that little sideways step.
And don't get me started on las viejitas and their little stories and superstitions. Some are outrageous and yet when it's dark outside, the niggling idea some might hold a grain of truth is inescapable. This is what you tapped into and brilliantly, I might add.
Overall, you had a great balance of description while interweaving bits of his aunt's cautionary tale of the Guagua Auca. This story was a pleasure to read!
Aww you're too kind. I'm glad you were excited about the idea of the Ecuadorian legend.
Aguardiente definitely has a kick. I learned that the hard way in South America. I definitely wanted to try and ground the story in reality and just have the legend slowly creep in.
I know exactly what you mean about Las Viejitas. I grew up with stories of La Llorona, El Cucuy, and La Chupacabra. Even though I know they aren't true, if you think of them at the right moment, they can definitely creep you out.
Thank you so much for the lovely review!
Hi, here for our swap.
This was really creepy. Though, I can’t say I didn’t feel sad that Javier’s girlfriend left him. That’s why he was drinking.
I wouldn’t want to cross this ‘baby’ anywhere. I hope someone saved him but I don’t think he was lucky enough to be saved. This was perfect for Halloween type story.
I can’t wait to read more of your stuff.
Thank you for the swap!
It is indeed why he's drinking.
I left the ending vague for this exact reason. I wanted the reader to decide if it was a creature or just an actual innocent baby.
Thanls for dropping by!
It's a sad start for the protagonist who missed his girlfriend Magdalena, that's why he had drunk much feeling lonely. I'd like to try sugar cane liquor once, though. :D
According to his aunt's words, it seems that there was one mysterious happening in fall. I had a chill wondering if a person feels lonely, a kind of scary or horrible demon will haunt you. It is said people have passed a story from generation to generation and they believed it was true. I have a relative who really had an experience seeing a ghost. So I believe there exist supernatural things.
It is outstanding that you set the demon as a baby, which contrasts with the magnificent scenery of the center of Quito or the large parts of the city. I wonder what it is like to have a beautiful view there. (I’m looking forward to seeing your blog about your travel, Kaitlin!)
I hope there will be someone who can save the poor protagonist. Or was he killed by the demon? (The imagination sent me a chill again.) I don’t want to see the demon hidden in the blankets. It was just like Voldemort Harry encountered more than once in the books or in the films. All in all, while babies are usually thought as they are cute and adorable, you set the opposite Halloween-ish episode for this challenge. You did a great job, Kaitlin!
Thank you for asking review swaps. Let’s do it sometimes.
Thank you for the lovely review!
I definitely think supernatural things can exist, although I don't really have an explanation for how.
The city of Quito is so lovely. I spent almost 4 weeks there and absolutely fell in love with it. I can't wait till I get the blog posts up so you can see the photos too.
I left the ending open to imagination. He could've been killed or he could be panicking for no reason. it's your decision to make.
Thanks for the swap! And yes! Let's definitely do it again sometime.
I wanted to take part in this challenge myself but the prompts didn't really inspire anything. An Ecudorian legend sounds fascinating as I know very little about South America and definitely nothing about their legends (and now I sound like a character from one of my original fictions; she would love this).
You are so good at descriptive writing. You've probably noticed my own writing isn't so descriptive (I have no visualisation abilities at all) so this impresses me. I LOVE your opening paragraph. The writing is beautiful.
And the reference to the slam of the door actually made me jump. It was such a dramatic image coming after all the previous beauty and quiet.
I like the suggestion of creepiness as he feels he is being watched. It's not dramatic or sudden, but just begins to imply something odd going on here.
There is something chilling about his return home, about the way it seems like he's home safely and away from whatever might have been watching him and then it becomes clear that the danger hasn't passed at all. There is something forboding about the "dark unwelcoming windows."
In a way, I think my lack of knowledge about Ecudor made this story even more enjoyable because I had no idea whatsoever what was coming. I must google and find out what exactly this demon means.
Thanks for the swap!
Aww thank you! I try really hard with description. I love being able to visualize things while I read.
Yeah. I like subtle horror much better than blood and gore. I think psychological creepiness is much more effective than jump scares, so I'm glad the creepiness and tension sort of just built through it.
Ah. Enjoy! There are tons of awesome Ecuadorian legends and myths.
Omg, I was stoked to see what this was about once I clicked the link, as I spent a little while in Ecuador myself a few years ago. Though I didn't know anything about this myth prior to reading this! Anyway, I'm here for our swap!
This is so good. Very appropriately spooky for Halloween - you kept up that tone so perfectly by setting the story at night and how the tales his aunt told him are floating around in his head. Isn't it always when you're walking alone in the dark that you remember all the creepy stories you've ever heard? Or every sound just sets you on edge? (A few months ago I did a night hike alone up Mt Whitney, and literally EVERY sound I heard, or movement I saw out of the corner of my eye, I was so sure it was a bear, bc the person at the visitor center the previous day had warned me about bears so much XD) And I love that you've really focused on that feeling here, how the streets are empty without the vendors and everything's eerily quiet, so the sound of the baby - which could easily be just a normal baby - has him hurrying home. Ah it's perfect.
I also really love the way your own travels influenced the story as well, like how the Basilica scrapes the sky and the detail about the brightly colored building facades (something I love about a lot of South American cities!) This story is wonderfully grounded in its sense of place.
The ending is absoutely perfect, too. Like, it's impossible to tell based on the ending whether this was actually a demon that just got Javier, or whether the story merely ends with Javier freaking out at seeing an actual baby because he's caught up in the stories his aunt told him and because he's a little drunk. I love that it ends with that unsolved as to whether it's true or not, that's perfect.
i did see one possible error - in the beginning his girlfriend is Magdalena, and when she's mentioned at the end she is Maria Elena.
Anyway, this is such a great Halloween story and I loved the way you worked your travels into the prompt and how you used the legend in your story! I really enjoyed reading this! Thanks so much for the swap! ♥
Ah! Isn't it such an incredible country? I loved it there so much! I spent roughly a month in Quito.
Definitely always when you are alone in the dark that you start to remember the creepy stories. I know the feeling about the bears. I had that through most of my roadtrip around Canada and Alaska.
I'm glad the ending came across ambiguous. I didn't want it to be concrete as I wanted the reader to be responsible for the outcome.
Thanks for the catch on the name! I went and fixed it.
Thank you again!
I kept on checking for this to come through the queue! It was really good. It’s refreshing to read something other than Harry Potter XD Another reason I enjoyed this is that I’m currently listening to an audio course on the ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica. I know Ecuador is in South America and not Mesoamerica, but it’s still kinda close right? Haha. I’m the kind of person that enjoys connecting dots between things I have learned/experience/read.
There’s so much I liked about this, I don’t know where to start!
The italicized quotes from his memory of his aunt telling him about the ghost story really set up the story well. It’s like they were stepping stones: with each new quote, the scary factor increased. Something happened, and then the quote, and then I knew the story’s horror was building.
The guagua auca is terrifying. You conveyed that well. I’m also impressed that you create such a good horror story in less than 1000 words. I don’t think I’d be very good at writing horror (though I’ve never tried, so…). Regardless, by the end it’s definitely scary. I mean, not the I’m-an-adult-and-I’m-hiding-under-my-bed level of scary. But you build it up so nice! Yes, I think that’s what I’m most impressed with -- the steady build-up to him finding the guagua auca. ‘Cuz I knew it was coming. The reader knows! But that’s the suspense! And you deliever, and it’s good!
Written for RvG November. Go GOLD!
Thanks for dropping by! <3
Definitely kinda close. It's always nice to be able to connect dots.
Ah. I'm glad the quotes from his aunt worked okay. I was worried they might make things too choppy.
You should definitely give it a try! I always thought I could never write horror, but now I've tried to write every genre! You never know what you'll come up with.
I'm really pleased that even though you knew the scare was coming that it was still suspenseful.
Thank you again!