These are the top 20 entries submitted for Casilda's Hat Contest. The winners were Rena's "Casilda's Hat" in first place and an untitled poem by Mike Kolachny for 2nd. Enjoy! Note: these aren't in any particular order. [toc title="Casilda's Hat Contest Entries" hint="Click a title to jump down to it!" style="inline CSS style"]
Casilda's Hat, by Rena
"You see, Casilda, what the Devil's work can do." The man's right hand fumbled with his rosary while the other held the white hand of one solemn, black haired girl who was watching a bonfire, with something indistinguishable at the center of it. Her little feet shifted back and forth, and her body swayed with them, in a sad, nervous sort of dance.
Brother Michael looked around the churchyard, his eyes dragging along little, insignificant details of the scene, focusing on bushes and carts and gravestones, and not the pyre whose smoke stung his eyes.
"Your Mama did the devil's work and she is suffering now, as she will suffer for eternity. Child, you must understand that this is how Satan works. He is everywhere and he might seem nice to look at, but, oh! Jesus's face is much sweeter to behold."
Casilda became very still.
"Jesus is very handsome?"
"Oh, so much more than you can imagine, Casilda!"
Her mama had described a man as very handsome once. She described him dead in a stream, with his entrails all falling out from her mama's kitchen knife three days later. Now mama was burnt like a bread left to toast for too long and Casilda supposed she would not see her anymore, not in the way that she remembered. She remembered mama always making things – teas, and poppets, and odd-shaped pendants to hang around necks and doorways, and always-good food. But Casilda supposed she would have to do without these things, because Brother Michael had burnt Mama - like toast - and Casilda might be young, but she knew Mama wasn't going to come back.
And soon there was little left too see, either of Mama or the fire, so Brother Michael led her away, into the church, past all the pews and the nave, through a doorway in the back, up a flight of stairs, into a hallway full of doors. He pushed Casilda into a room as best he could, but she didn't want to go in. She hovered in the doorway, clinging to the doorknob just above head, watching Brother Michael as he unlocked a door, and entered his own room. She turned and walked into the room that she had been told was hers to sleep in. It had bare wood floors, smooth plaster walls and one large window with two iron bars covered in chipping red paint. There was a chair, and a nest of blankets in the corner.
It was then that Casilda began to feel very lonely. She missed her Mama terribly, because Brother Michael had promised to take care of her and he did not seem so keen on making things as her mama had been. Casilda wondered if, maybe, she could find a fire and if, somehow, she could get into the fire, so she could find Mama, and stay with her in the fire, instead of with Brother Michael in the church. She spun around a few times in the middle of the room, thinking about her mama and fire and the bare little room.
Still, she wouldn't know where to find a fire, or even how to make one. Lonely as ever, she curled up on the blanket-nest, and fell asleep in the late afternoon sunshine.
It was very dark when Casilda awoke, but she knew someone was in the room with her.
A deep chuckle resounded in the room. "No, Casilda"
She grew a little afraid of that voice, but she also grew a little angry that someone had come into her room without her permission.
"Who are you?" she demanded, her little voice raised.
"Your Papa, Casilda."
She stood up, and drew closer to the chair from which the voice came. The man sitting in it was tall with very dark hair and thick eyebrows, dressed all in black, with big black boots, and a black hat - its large, flat brim tipped upwards, so the man and the girl could study each others' faces plainly in the weak moonlight cutting into the dark from the window.
"You knew my mama?"
"We knew each other very well."
She scowled deeply, her feet doing a stomping sort of dance.
"What's wrong, Casilda?"
The man's dark eyes flashed as he looked toward the door, and then they grew somewhat distant.
"Ah yes, Brother Michael…"
He took her little white hand and led her from the room, into the hall, and then into the locked room where the friar slept.
Hours later, the two exited the same room, a little bloodier for the wear, and looking quite pleased with themselves.
Papa led Casilda from the church, she leaping and twirling all the way, and looked down at her with a certain fondness. Dawn was just beginning to break over the dusty road outside the churchyard gates. He took a cord from his pocket and held out his hand expectantly. Casilda gave him the contents of her tightly fisted hand – three bloody teeth, extracted from the late Brother Micheal, long before he had stopped screaming. Deftly, the man strung the teeth on the cord and knotted the cord around his wide-brimmed hat.
When he removed the hat from his head, the grey dawn revealed two glistening black horns emerging from his dark hair.
"Casilda, my daughter, my own…."
"I think you shall grow up to be quite the dancer."
"Why do you think so?"
"I have a feeling, that's all. I'm usually right about these things. You would do well to remember that."
"And remember, when you go through trouble, you should always expect a payment…something in return." He fingered the teeth strung on the hat in his hands thoughtfully and placed the hat upon his daughter's head.
"And be a good girl, Casilda." He laughed, long and deep and kept laughing as he walked away from the small, pale girl with a skip in his step.
Untitled, by Mike Kolachny
On the hottest night, In the darkest place, A father filled with fright, Began to pace...
Drawing up a circle black, They cried with all their might, They tried to bring the bruja back, To help them out that night,
The candles flickered on the floor, The wax began to drip, Then suddenly appeared a door, Which opened with a rip,
The bruja entered gracefully, For one so old and worn, The parents looked up thankfully, And she looked back in scorn,
She didn't smile, She didn't frown, She paused a while, And reached in her gown,
Pulling forth a pair of shears, She cut the mother's hair, She bottled up the parent's tears, And placed the bottle on the stair,
The father held his lover close, She trembeled at his side, With a look so ghastly and morose, The bruja gazed upon the bride,
"A mistake you two have made tonight, For trying to call me here, But I'll admit I'm impressed by your valor and might, So I'll deliver this child, my dear,
Inside you lies the name from a tomb, A demon reborn in bloodied flesh, The baby writhing in your tender womb, Craves bodies new and fresh,
My sister met her long ago, In a dream of wooded hell, Her comatose body filled me with woe, And my soul I had to sell,
I learned of the fairy that kept her in sleep, That grew to chase her fast, Unable to wake, in this monster's keep, My dear sister did not last,
With candles lit and my head placed low, I fell deep into her dream, I traveled to the old hollow, The center of the woods began to gleam,
I ventured toward the eerie light, That I felt was waiting for me, When I reached the spot that was most bright, I saw the spirits flee,
How surprised I was to see them all, For I thought there was only one, The ghost of my sister, the faerie, and standing tall, Was a monster with a look of fun,
The ghost of my sister drew swiftly near, And smiled with a look of truth, She opened my palm and I gaped in fear, When she placed in it a tooth,
Solemn and still I stood as she faded, And I placed the tooth in my brooch, Looking deeply distraught and deeply jaded, The large monster was next to approach,
He flew toward me, all I did was stare, White fur, red eyes, and horns that loomed above, 'My name is Creazil and although this is rare, I bear a gift from a girl sent with love,'
He withdrew from the air a silken hat, And he placed it on my head, He turned away, slick like a cat, Moving as soundly as the dead,
Now of course I wasn't alone, There was one remaining voice, So fearful was I that I felt like stone, And I moved toward it with no choice,
The wicked fairy sneered my way, And I gazed my eyes on her's, With a demonic look that could take the light from the day, She began to speak in garish slurs,
'My name is Casilda and its time we met, I apologize for taking a life, Although I honestly cannot feel regret, I'm sorry I caused you strife,
I meant to draw you in these woods, For your magic is quite strong, When your sister came in bearing such little goods, She did not last so long...
But I promise you its not in vain, I am to return one day, And I will come back as a friend to help you gain, I'll earn you a decent pay,
I'll be the child you cannot bear, And yet I'll be so much more, Nothing has existed that can prepare, For the things I have in store,
Now sullenly I cannot come, Without something to help me out, I need a power vessel or I'll succumb, And my power will destroy all about,
With this energy drain, I can stay in control, But I need just one more thing, A weapon to hold, blessed with a soul, One that will make the departed sing,
Now go you forth to find these things, To aid me and my power, Be it human parts or magic rings, From cave to tallest tower..."
The bruja paused to look outside, She gazed up at the stars, Her weary face showed she often had cried, And she had battled, by the look of the scars,
"My first destination led me to meander, Where a girl lived who could not make a sound, Alas, at the bottom of lake Coriander, I found the tooth with power bound,
Next I was led to a place old and secret, Where Cupid's heart was broken, Stella did her best, and yet, Age had left its token,
All that remained of the vengeful child, Was a tooth in the depths of her lair, I took the tooth, whose power felt brazen and wild, Still more I had to ensnare,
In a broken part of history, I discovered an older grave, Like an old forgotten memory, Ms. Von Gier's ribbon was all I could save,
Finally I moved on bold and valent, To a stage long-since burned, A show had been held to display the children's talent, But flames and maddness are what they earned,
A tambourine from a little girl, Blessed with her uncanny magic, Soon enough Casilda will dance and twirl, And lead the world into something tragic,
With the ribbon tied around the hat, And the three teeth placed snug in the band, I came to find the mother that, Would seek my guiding hand,
So now Casilda, its time to rise! Come now you age old creature! Take forth from the earth, burn the stars in the skies! Let me see your every feature!
Untitled, by Hamilisha
There is a mysterious story of why Casilda has three teeth on her hat , and how they got into her hands.
It all started when her parents passed away. This had been a very tragic event for Casilda , and after that she didn't talk much and kept to herself. her grandma decided to move to a different town and start a new life. As Casilda drove from one town to the next she saw a small girl sitting under a very far away tree. The rest of the way she had wondered who the little girl was. She new that her new town wasn't that far away so she decided to go to that tree as soon as her grandma fell asleep. That night Casilda's grandma fell asleep around seven p.m. , it was still bright outside when she began her long journey. She got a little lost in the desert before she found her way back to the road.
By the time she got near the tree it was dark and the only source of light was the moon. The little girl was still sitting in the same position under the tree. This little girl happened to be Ida , but Casilda did not know that. Casilda had stayed at a distance and watched hoping that the girl would not see her. Just a while longer a young couple had seen Ida and went over to see if she was okay. As the couple calmly tried to get the girl to talk Casilda saw a creepy and disturbing shadow appear out of nowhere. Casilda's eyes had grown in terror at the sight. Then in the distance she heard the girl sing a song. Unable to understand she continued to watch the shadow move toward the couple that was trying to figure out why Ida had just started singing. The couple had there backs turned toward the shadow that was now only two feet away from them. The shadow had blocked Casilda's view of what it was doing. She turned and didn't believe the girl was not noticing anything that was going on. Then she turned back to the people and only saw bones and clothes being tossed to the side , she didn't even hear a scream. Then in the blink of an eye the shadow disappeared.
Casilda had started to back up towards the direction of her home when she saw the little girl stand up. Ida started to walk towards the direction of the bones. She then picked up the bones and threw them into a hole that had a purple light coming out of it. Casilda had not noticed the hole before even thoough it was very large. When Ida was done she walked down the road farther and farther away from Casilda's home.
When the girl was clearly out of sight Casilda went to investigate the hole , which was now gone. She thewn went and looked at the pile of clothes that the girl never bother to touch or look at. Then she picked up a hat that was sitting right on top of the small pile. it was the hat that the man was wearing. Then Casilda picked up the shirt that the woman was wearing , and then noticed three small things shining in the moonlight. Casilda picked up the objects and realized they were not small but big , bright and bloody teeth that were never thrown into the hole. She looked at them admiring how beautiful they were even though they were very bloody. She then got an idea of putting the hat and teeth together. Casilda threw the womans shirt aside and started to think of how to attatch the teeth to the hat. At first she didn't know how. then she got another idea and started picking at her nightdress until she pulled out a long piece of red string. She worked hard until the hat , teeth , and red sting were together. Then she put on the hat. After that she sat in the same spot the girl was in and felt a weird vive the entire time.
Soon after she got up took the hat , that was magnificantly beautiful in her eyes and headed home. The next morning she tried to tell her grandma but all she did was chuckle and say you havn't been talking for so long you dont know what your saying. then Casilda decided to wear her hat everyday so she would never forget about it.
Untitled, by Vulture's Day
One day, quite some time ago, a little girl danced in the streets. Dancing was her every joy. Her grandmother fully suported her and often told others "She danced in her mother's womb!" and her mother would gleefully agree. This wasn't preticularly true, but very likely, for anyone who'd ever met young Casilda wound know that she dearly loved to dance. In fact, the only thing that she loved more than dancing was the praise (and money) she recieved from doing so. "A natual born preformer!" some would say. "A bit expensive, but who doesn't enjoy her dancing?" others would remark. Indeed, her entire town loved her. So much so, in fact, that she grew tired of it. The compliments were all sounding the same. The demands for her dancing grew scarser and scarser until, eventually, no one asked for her dancing atol. Her grandmother would ask them "Why wouldn't you want to see her sweet little dance?" or "Don't you still love her dancing?" but the reply was always the same.
"We've seen it all before. We don't want to have to pay for what we've seen over and over again!" it soon became quiet clear that little casilda was no longer wanted, and so she left. She walked for days. Weeks. Months before she finally reached another town. It was a very busy and happy town. People were playing games, playing instruments, having celebrations of every manner, and, yes, even dancing. Casilda was happy to see another town. More spesifically, Casilda was happy to see more people. So, she began to dance. And she danced. And she danced. It wasn't long before everyone was watching. And when her dance ended, they watched even more intently,so she danced again. Over and over again she danced and danced, until she realized every one else was dancing too. This wasn't the reaction she intended at all.
She'd tug on their arms, say "excuse me," ask for a small aplause at least, but Casilda recieved nothing at all. Until, that is, an older man aproached her from behind and said "Hat's off to you my dear. Dancing like that is a rarity indeed!" And so he handed her his plain black hat. Inspired, Casilda began dancing around the hat as she'd never danced before. She danced so passionately and wildly that even the moon stared with awe. Her soul burnt with passion a fire wild enough to envelope the entire town, and so it did. The town, and everyone in it, lay in waist. But Casilda was not yet satisfied. Not until everyone worshiped her talent. It was not difficult to relocate her home town, for she was determined. She danced the entire way there, and did not stop dancing for even a moment when she arived. Her mother was the first to go, for she had always wished Casilda to be more preductive, and spend less time dancing. Then her father, for he was always too busy to watch her. And finally, the rest of the town. Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned, preticularly women who loved to dance. A firey passion overcame everyone, the town didn't stand a chance. Weman and children, people and animals alike, all gone in a burst of hellish flame. Nothing but ash remained, until
"Wait!" Casilda turned to see her grandmother, who, by some miracle, had escaped the bigger part of her tantrum. "Would you allow me to give you a gift? For I love your dancing so." Casilda looked up at her expectantly. She was certain that whatever her grandmother had in mind was nothing in comparison to her dancing. "Now understand, I have no money..." That was not a good first impression. Little Casilda was ready to end it whenever she pleased. "But I can ofer you this!" And her grandmother pulled from her own mouth her last three teeth. "Here yew aw, Cathilda." She managed to say. "The very teeth to whitchth I praisth your danthing." She took off Casilda's hat and strung the teeth around it. Placing it back on her head, she waited, terrified, for the little girls response. Looking at the teeth, Casilda smiled. And then danced. and danced. and danced.
"About the Teeth...", by Hanawie
"Mummy!" Ichabod called happily, a wide smile playing on his face. "Mummy, it's happened!" "What's happened, darling?" His mother asked as she came into his room. "I've lost a tooth!" He said, showing her the gap between his teeth. He then held up the tooth and turned it over in the light, proud of himself.
"Oh, isn't that wonderful, dear?" She kissed his forehead gently, keeping well away from the bloody baby tooth in her son's hand. "Now the Tooth Faerie will come."
"The Tooth Faerie is…well, she comes when a little boy or girl loses a tooth. If you put your tooth under your pillow before you sleep, she will take it and give you a shiny new coin in return." His mother explained, petting the boy's hair and sitting with him on the bed.
"Oh…" Ichabod wasn't sure he liked the idea of that, but the temptation of a coin, and the candy he could buy with it, was too hard to resist. "Well, all right!"
He started to put the tooth under his pillow, but his mother stopped him.
"Let's…let's – er – clean that up, shall we?" She said. "You don't want to give the nice Tooth Faerie a dirty tooth, do you?"
Ichabod shook his head vigorously, suddenly feeling very loyal to this Faerie.
Mother and son went to the bathroom where they washed the tooth of the blood and dried it with a towel.
"Shall we wash it with soap, too, Mummy?" Ichabod asked, looking up at her with his big, dark eyes.
"No, no. I think this is good enough." She said, now washing her hands. She was terribly squeamish, and the thought of touching her own son's blood made her pretty pale skin crawl.
The pair lifted Ichabod's down pillow and gently placed his tooth on the mattress beneath it.
"There, now," Ichabod's mother said, smiling. "In the morning, we shall go to town and pay a visit to the candy store."
Ichabod embraced his mother happily, gratefully, and went out to play.
He met his friend Oscar at the end of the street. The boys had been friends all of their lives and played together as often as they could. Ichabod bragged about his lost tooth and about the beautiful, shining coin the Tooth Faerie was to bring for him. Oscar listened with a quiet awe. He was a shy boy, and hadn't any friends but Ichabod and his next-door-neighbor, Casilda.
The boys played till dusk. They had asked for Casilda to come play, but she was not home. Her old grandmother shooed them from the doorstep with a grimace. In the end, they had gone home to ready themselves for bed, Ichabod talking animatedly about his excitement.
Ichabod's mother tucked him in, gently kissing his cheek.
"Mummy, what if I'm too excited to sleep? Will she still come?"
"Of course, darling," She said, handing him his stuffed monkey. "But you still must try to sleep."
"Goodnight Mummy. I love you."
"I love you too, dear. Sweet dreams."
When Ichabod's mother went back into his room at midnight to switch the tooth for a coin herself, she opened the door to a sight that she would never forget. Her son was dead, lying n a puddle of his own blood. It stained the pillow around his head in a ring like a halo. His mouth was open as if he were still trying to scream. She fainted, her body crumpling into a heap on the floor.
The funeral was held three days later. Ichabod's mother and his schoolmates said their final goodbyes. Casilda waved sadly to her fallen friend and dropped a daisy onto his little casket as it was lowered into the ground. Oscar wiped tears and boogers from his face, his thin shoulders shaking with sobs. As if on cue, the sky opened up and it began to rain, giving children and their parents an excuse to run to their cars early.
When they were the only ones left, Casilda and Oscar embraced sorrowfully.
"Casilda…I think I know how Ichabod died…" Oscar whispered quietly.
"How?" Casilda asked her eyes wide with wonder.
"I…I think it was the Tooth Faerie." He said quietly, hoping she wouldn't laugh at him.
She merely greeted the comment with a bemused expression, thoughtfully considering what he'd said.
"He kept saying she was going to come while he slept. And…and I don't know how else he could have died…"
"I'm scared…" He said under his breath.
"It's all right, Oscar." Casilda said, patting her friend's shoulder. "We just won't put our lost teeth under our pillows, and then she won't come."
"Casilda, if I lose a tooth…will you keep it for me?" He asked, looking up at her.
They shook hands and embraced again, deciding finally to head home to get out of the rain.
The following summer, Casilda and Oscar played blithely in the park. They ran through the trees as fast as they could, racing to the swings. The swings were their favorite. They were old and rusty, but more fun than any other part of the park.
"I'm going to beat you, Oscar!" Casilda called.
Oscar turned to look at her, wondering if she had caught up with him. When he turned, he didn't see the tree right in front of him, and crashed into it. He fell back, feeling dizzy and bruised. He tasted blood in his mouth.
"Oscar!" Casilda yelled worriedly, running to him. She helped him up and he wobbled precariously. He spit and three broken teeth hit the ground with a wet sound.
The two looked at each other, their eyes widening as they remembered the pact they had made. Casilda picked up the broken teeth and tied them into her hat, where they have stayed ever since.
The Black Tambourine, by clockwork-aristocrat
It blew into town on a sickly wind, a ragged shadow that carried a stench so fowl it made dogs lame. The townsfolk knew not of it's nature, nor of it's purpose, but they knew well enough to protect themselves. They painted their doorposts with lambs blood, shut their blinds, and sat in their dark homes, praying that the thing did not smell them out.
It stalked the dusty streets, day and night, and when it found the odd meal, the sickening crack of their bones could be heard for miles. None had the time to scream. Sunrise, sunset, the thing scuttled and dragged itself through alleys, across roof tops, along streets, hunting. It could wait for it's prey. It could wait for them, pale and shivering and terrified, to come sneaking out of their holes, desperate for food, for water, for help.
And they did. One by one, they did. Of course, it took time, but it had all the time in the world.
Then, one evening, the clouds rolled in. Looming puffs of grey, they banked on the horizon for days, then surged forth, prostrating themselves over the town, a blanket of roaring thunderheads. Those who remained safe in the town were confused, terrified as they were, for this kind of thing did not happen. Rain did not come to their dry, dusty village, especially not at this time of year. "Perhaps it is a sign," they whispered. "A sign of God's favor. He will take this thing away from us, and make us safe again. He will let us live." And for a moment, despite the sound of guttural moans outside their doors and windows, and that awful stench hanging in the air, they had hope.
It is funny, how easily blood may be washed away in the rain fall; how much doors being crashed through can sound like the clap of thunder; how screams, normally so blood-curdling, can mingle so harmoniously with tearing winds and pouring rain.
When the clouds dispersed, retreating beyond the horizon from whence they came, only three houses, packed close to each other like little blocks, remained untouched. They stood, lonely, silent, and out of place, amongst the blood-smeared and corpse-ridden wreckage of a town once prosperous and happy.
The thing went to the houses, one by one, and sniffed them curiously. It prodded the doors, clawed at the windows, peered down the chimneys-- nothing. Still as stone and hunched like only a monster could be, it sat in front of the houses for exactly one more day. Then, on the same ill wind the blew it into town, it left.
Only when they were sure it had left, did they pack what they had left, and marched, a thin and pale procession of mortified survivors, towards the edge of town. The old woman had said it would be bad… that the town had not followed procedure when they made their own transaction with the little girl… but they had not thought it would have been like that. Still, per instruction, and without anywhere else to go, they stocked up food and supplies. The little girl came with them, and like a doll dressed in black and red, she danced atop their roofs, around their houses, on their doorsteps and in their parlors. The old woman assured them that it would be safe, that they were prudent to follow her advice and trust in the predictions-- that with her dance, the thing would not harm them when it came to feast on the people of their village.
"But," they said, shifting nervously from foot to foot. "We do not have money to pay you. We are a poor, modest people, struggling to get by. How can we possibly afford your services?"
The old woman had sat in her chair, in her home that smelled of incense and rot, looking at them, and thinking. There was a moment of silence, and in that moment, the little girl (Casilda, they thought she had heard the woman call her) wandered into the room, a pair of dirty pliers in hand. Her gaze fell on them then, smoldering coals, filled with something no little girl should have within her.
"Mmm," sighed Lupe, as she ushered them from the house. "I'm sure she'll think of something."
Los Dientes, by Justine Laure
"She danced in her mother's womb and she was dancing when she was born. As God is my witness and the devil her father, she will dance your dead back to the grave…"
She is young, as young as a tree sapling and as sweet as an olive. She is by no chance, everyone's dream child. But she was like no other child. Already having one of the Gray Sisters for her grandmother (maybe not, but she really looked like one) was enough to make her special. But no, that was not the end of her unique uniqueness. She dances. A lot. A whole lot of dancing she did. She dances so well that her rhythmical taps can kill. Add to her arsenal her possession of the wonderful tambourine and that grisly but chic hat and you get a deadly twirling girl with the face that can launch an army of the undead.
But where, oh where did she get all that talent and a dashing hat with three little bloodstained teeth to boot? From those sown from the soil by a witch? Oh but that's another story.
A doctor will not go out without his stethoscope. A soldier will not go to battle without his trusty gun. A salesman will not come knocking without his knack for annoying people. Same goes for Casilda. Casilda will not dance without her flamenco gear. (Well, she could have chosen hip-hop or foxtrot but that doesn't matter) She chose well. She got the best she could ever have. Those three little trophy teeth in her hat. How lovely…
Before her career as a flamenco dancer and as the star of her own animated movie, she was like any other weird kid in a Spanish block. But because of her innate talent, she had no choice but to dance all her life. With her grandmother as her guide and the devil her father (not to mention God as errr, her godfather?), she was given all the support she needed to pursue her destiny. A little tasselled tambourine given to her by ol' dear abuela to match her outfit and drive her victims, errr, followers mindless, she was almost done with all the preparations. But she needs a little more accessorizing. She needs a hat. A black hat not only to make her ever fashionable (with talent comes great need to look good especially in front of the camera) but also make her look deadlier. And trophies. Yes, tiny trinkets that symbolize her passion for dancing and death. (Great advertising strategy as well)
"My sweet little Casilda. A tambourine I give you. I have long since kept this beautiful thing and now, I pass it on to you. May its ringing bring forth peace and death upon those who hear it. Use it well."
"I shall dance, dance with the dead. But not without pay."
"Surely. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Truly, that is most befitting. Here, take this. A tooth borne from the devil's mouth, a tooth from thine father. Seek what you deserve my love and if not, take what these mortals treasure the most, their life. And I guess you can take with you a souvenir, a tooth from those who dare defy thy rules."
With a tambourine from her grandmother and a blessing from her father (and maybe a little support from her godfather), she went on to tread a path as it was never done before.
"Dance my dearest, dance! As the world spins and fails, you will dance. Dance my dearest, dance! Let your feet take you to places and offer you the world. Oh, what a wonderful sight it would be, the entire human race swinging their hips and circling around, begging you for mercy."
Casilda went on and danced some more. Some chose to devise their own plans. Few have paid her well and swore never to tell. But most have only thought of saving their own necks and ignored her rules. She danced for them and in return, she got a bunch of "Thank you" responses. How sweet of them.
She traveled far and wide and with her came three little teeth strapped comfortably in the rim of her hat. One from her father, one from a fat greedy man in a sunny town in Valencia and another from an insufferable woman in Nuevo San Juan Parangaricutiro. Oh, how Casilda loved the silence that erupted from that loud-mouthed woman.
As the people disobey her rules, her trophies just keep growing in number. So freshly stained with blood, so enticingly gruesome. Shiny jewels, they are.
In Casilda's wake lay the abandoned towns and the muffled screams of its cursed villagers.
"An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. These are my rules. I shall dance the walking dead to their rotting graves. There is no need to sing me praises. Gratitude, I detest. I only need payment. Or else…"
Untitled, by Chris Krider
Eli was walking home from the market one humid Friday night. But that was when they got him. They were quick and quiet, as they were known to be. Eli didn't have a chance to scream before they bound his hands with twine and shoved burlap sack that smelled of manure over his head. He fell to his knees and was dragged by two pairs of muscular arms with palms peppered by leathery callus away from the street into an alley. The cobblestone road cut his knees until they bled. He felt his body being hoisted into a small adobe hut. The door slammed behind him and the burlap sack was removed. At first the windowless hut was just as dark as it had been under the sack. But then Eli's nostrils were filled with the noxious, sulfuric smell and his heart leapt into his throat and he tried to scream but his throat was locked. He heard Bill laughing in the dark and a flame appeared, lighting the small cigar in his pale lips. He had no lighter or matches. He had no need for them. Eli looked down at his bound hands, shaking, hot tears welling up in his eyes. "Please, Bill. Don't-" Bill's terrible laughter once more. "Don't what? Can't I catch up with a friend, Eli? Now, calm down." Eli looked up at him, now just a vague phantom with the glowing tip of the cigar dancing before his smooth, featureless face beneath the brim of his black, flat top hat. "Eli, you and I had a deal. You didn't keep up your end of the deal. You had three years." Eli dipped his head again, bowing. "It was too much. It takes time. There hasn't been any rain-" "We had an agreement, Eli. I made your wife bear you a child. If I made something as barren and ugly as your wife give birth to your beautiful little Casilda, how can I believe you can't get that land of yours to sprout one or two good crops? Now, how ignorant do you think I am?" Eli stood up, shaking. "Please, if you'll give me more time-" "Nope. That wasn't part of the deal compadre. Your daughter's coming with me. It's her proper place anyways. Your wife will be getting the tuberculosis soon. You won't have to wonder why. As for you?" Bill reached into the pocket of his suit and pulled out a pair of iron tongs. "I am much obliged to you for taking care of my little girl. You get to live whatever life it is you're capable of living. However, you wasted three years of my time." Eli found the strength to scream, trying desperately to worm over to the door. The pair of strong arms were at his side again, each of them men with eyes but no mouths. Bill squatted in front of Eli, and Eli felt the acrid taste of iron in his mouth, stretching his lips and stifling his scream. He felt the tongs clamp firmly onto one of his molars. "One." SHNIK! "Two." SHNIK! "Three. Now, I know this is gonna sting." SHNIK! The three teeth fell perfectly into Bills hand. Bill tucked them into his pocket. Eli was shoved out into the night, blood flowing from his mouth. The twine was cut from his wrists and he collapsed, hot pain throbbing throughout his entire skull. His pain faded along with his consciousness and he awoke with the dawn, at first hoping the whole night and his whole deal with Bill had been an awful nightmare. He ran home, weeping in despair. He found his wife, weeping over Casilda's empty bed. Eli fell to his knees, running his hands over Casilda's empty bed as if hoping to come across her hiding playfully. Behind him, his wife's cries turned suddenly into moist coughs. She covered her mouth with her hand, and when she pulled it away she was shocked to find a drop of blood in her palm. Eli's face fell to his precious daughter's bed. Meanwhile, Bill and Casilda, sweet little Casilda who loved to dance, sat excitedly by the fireplace rolling her old Daddy's teeth across the floor like marbles.
The Story of Casilda, by Jason M.
This is the story of an event that happened 10 years ago far of in… well… id rather not say. Either way THIS IS THE STORY OF A PECULIAR LITTLE GIRL NAMED CASILDA.
Casilda lived in a relatively small location of Spain with her loving mother, father, and granny; there was not much food, and making money where the hardest part of life. The only thing that kept there family stable was there performances in the larger parts of town, they didn't make much money, but she was still happy. As far as she remember she's always danced so she sees nothing wrong.
Unfortunately, were she lived, competition is the biggest problem. Her family was not the first to be dancers and they definitely weren't the last, but they were WITHOUT A DOUBT the best. Often they were delivered multiple threats in the form of letters, house graffiti, and rocks through their family windows. HER BRAVE FATHER WOULD FEND OF ANY OF THE BAD PEOPLE AROUND HER COMIG HOME EACH DAY WITH BLOOD ON HIS OUTFIT, AND CUTS AND BRUSES, SHE THOUGHT HE WAS A TRUE HERO. SHE NEVER KNEW WHO THESE PEOPLE Where THOUGH BECAUESE SHE COULD NEVER LEAVE HER HOME UNLESS HER FAMILY SAID SO. All she knew was that they did not like her or her family.
One day, on an unusually sark night, when she was asleep, she was awoken by a LOUD AND TWISTED LIKE SCREAM IN THE HOUSE. AS SHE SLOWLY WALKED OUT SHE SAW A BODY ON THE FLOOR, I was not to sure who he was but he was covered in blood. UPON ENTERING HER PARENTS' BEDROOM SHE SAW WHAT LOOK LIKE HER FATHER, BUT BIGGER, AND… WITH SKARY TEETH, ON THE FLOOR BESIDE HIM WAS HER MOM WITH HER BODY SLICED TO RIBBONS. Whoever did it already escaped, all she saw was the black hat on his head, BUT WHEN SHE SAW HER FATHER, SHE KNEW WHAT THEY SAID WAS RIGHT, AND THAT HER FATHER WAS EL DEABLO (the devil).
This brought up a SUDDEN thought: IS HER GRANDMOTHER STILL ALIVE? SHE RUSHED AS FAST AS SHE COULD TO HER GRANDMA WHO USUALLY SLEEPS IN THE LIVING ROOM. he was simply sitting in the couch, with the bodies of the dead around her. Casilda asked for her help, but in response she simply gave her a book. She said, in an almost hushed voice "THIS BOOK HAS ALL YOU NEED IF YOU WANT TO BRING THE DEAD TO LIFE, USE IT AND THEY WILL COME back." She knew now what she had to do, but she had a better idea. With only a few hours worth of knowledge she raised her favorite black tamborine, and began to chant.
As she continued to chant her black tamborine began to glow more and more powerfly befor a dark wave eventually engulfed the town. Her intention s worked as both of her parents came to life but she was more exited over something else. She rushed out the door and waited, because within minuts the many dead people within the town's cemetary began to fill the streets. She then raised her tamborine and said to them "GO AND KILL". WITHIN HOURS MOST OF THE TOWN WAS KILLED OF WITH THE ONLY ONES SURVIVING BEING LEFT IN THERE HOMES. Amazingly enough, no body stayed dead; they all eventually came back to life, only to be another one of her mindless slaves.
After a good nights rest she climbed up a ladder to the roof of her home and begin to once again shake her tambourine. In the streets below thousands a pond thousands of zombies filled the street attracted to the intoxicating noise. As loud as she could she yelled out "whoever killed me mother and father please enter this home." Three men against their own will entered: a middle age man who was very skinny with grey hair, a short man who was kind of chubby and bald, and a tall man who seemed very strong, not strong enough to survive her army but still strong. He was wearing the exact black hat as the man who murdered her parents. The room suddenly began to darken, and with only the sounds of their screaming left, they were then killed at the hands of her father.
Casilda had the power of the devil and a legion of bodies by her side, but decided that rather than take over the world she simply wanted things back to normal. She left of for 3 days with the legion of zombies following her. She left to the dessert and amazingly made it back 3 days later. To this day she has traveled through Spain destroying the zombies she herself has caused; this itself is her family's new form of profit. But some things have diffidently changed: she now brings with her the exact hat of her father's killer, and tied with it are the three teeth of the killers to remind her to never trust anyone.
You may say to yourself that this can not be real and that this is just some story, but I was there I know what happened. El Diablo… never lies.
Origin, by Joshua Martin
Once upon a time, and it was a time most dreadful. For the whole world was ruled by an evil, evil ruler. An evil little girl, named Genevieve, ruled the world with an iron fist and with horrible tantrums. Life was miserable.
There lived a beautiful young girl. She had hair like the midnight sky, eyes the color of starlight, and she had a voice like that of a nightingale's song. If anyone heard her voice, that was all she needed to captivate them. Her name was Cassandra.. Her father was the best accordion player in the land.
Cassandra and her father would go to the village street-corner. Cassandra would dance until her feet bled and her father would play. She would sing with that beautiful voice that could be heard all over the village. She would beat her tambourine and dance ant the whole town would gather and watch, mesmerized by her voice..
Cassandra and her father were at the same street corner everyday. He would play, and she would dance and sing. In no time at all, Cassandra was a beautiful 18 year old woman. Every man in the village AND the neighboring ones proposed to Cassandra. She refused every single one. She did not love any of these men. Then, one day HE came.
He rode in during a dust storm. He wore all black. Cassandra and her father were there. Her father was playing and she was dancing and singing. Just like any other day. Cassandra looked up at his face and gasped at what she saw. He was pale with black and shining eyes. He struck fear and passion into Cassandra's heart. She was so confused Then, He looked straight into her eyes and grinned. The look chilled her and yet she loved him.
His name was Lucidero. Her father tried to warn her, but she didn't listen. Then, suddenly, he died in his sleep. Cassandra woke to sound of his screaming in the night. Before she could reach his bedside, he was dead. He died in agony. Cassandra was heartbroken.
Cassandra married Lucidero. She loved him with burning passion that cannot be described in writing, or believe me; I would have described it to you in a split second. For it was such a delightful feeling.
Cassandra became pregnant, but something was wrong. It pained her. She often felt the baby moving, but it wasn't just kicking. It felt as if it were dancing! The doctor could not figure it out. She resorted to seeing the village witch. The witch listened to her story and explained Cassandra's ailment.
"You have made a grave mistake, young one," she cackled "You have married Lucifer himself. He killed your father. He tried to warn you, but you wouldn't listen." Cassandra was shocked. She ran from the witch's hut and ran home and demanded that Lucidero explain himself, but only confirmed what the witch had said. "If you want that child to live, then you must go into the desert. You must go call up the Wandering Spirits. Only then can the curse you have brought upon yourself can be lifted," he hissed, "Relieve them of their curse and they will relieve you of yours. They are a race who have committed the worst of crimes against Him." He spat as he looked to heaven. "Bring me back a token of completion."
Cassandra walked for three days and nights. Then she stopped. Then she began to dance. She sang a haunting melody that ran from deep within her soul. She danced faster and faster. The wind began to blow and the sands began to rise and take shape as phantoms that danced around Cassandra. She could feel the curse heavy in the air. Then the song stopped and the curse was broken. Cassandra stood and looked about her. The beings stood about and looked at Cassandra.
One of the phantom's that was obviously the king stepped forward. "Thank you. You have saved my race," he whispered. He held out his hand. Cassandra held out hers. Into her hand he dropped three teeth. "These may seem like an odd token, but whoever wears them has our power on their side. They are mine" He said. "Rest now," Cassandra replied.. The beings sighed with relief and disintegrated into sand.
Cassandra ran home. She gave Lucidero the teeth. He then took a strap of leather and attached the teeth to his hat.
A few nights later, Cassandra woke with pain racking her entire body. She was in labor, but was something was wrong. The village had heard about her marrying Lucifer. Everyone refused to draw near her, except for the witch.
Cassandra she felt the baby begin to dance. The baby was born, dancing. The witch handed the baby to Cassandra. It was a beautiful baby girl with raven hair and jet black eyes. "Casilda," She murmured.
Something was wrong. "You are bleeding out," the witch said harshly "If it doesn't stop, you will die." Lucidero leaned and whispered in to Cassandra's ear. "I promised to spare the baby. Not you." Cassandra felt herself begin to slip away. She looked at the baby and sighed.…..and breathed her last breath.
A mob was approaching. "They are coming to kill you, Lucifer," she spat. He grinned.. "They won't even have the chance." He dashed from the house and rode off on his jet-black horse. As he rode, his hat fell. The witch then picked it up.
The mob drew close. The witch ran into the house and picked up the baby. She walked towards the mob.
As she approached it seemed as if they did not see her. She grew closer, closer, and even closer, but no one could see her. She walked right on through the mob. She never understood how she did it. The spirits had seen all that had happened. They would their savior's child. They would serve Casilda.
The Gift, by Liz Brandow
Casilda sat silently, munching her sandwich as she watched her grandmother attach something to the string on a hat while mumbling words that the little girl could not make out. The tiny lass had recently performed her first dance, and the hat had been part of the payment. She loved it dearly and wondered what her grandmother was doing to her precious hat. But she knew that asking questions would only make her grandmother refuse to answer, so the youngster remained silent, watching and munching.
When the old woman finished, she turned to the girl and saw the question in her young, strange looking eyes. She smiled a haggle-toothed grin that would have frightened a grown man. She reached out an ancient, wrinkled hand and beckoned for the girl to come closer. Casilda walked over, still eating her sandwich, and gazed at the hat.
Newly tied onto the string were three teeth. They looked like they had been ripped violently out of a human head. Dried blood smeared the dull, off-white and misshapen objects.
Casilda put the last of the sandwich in her mouth and looked up into her grandmother's eyes, wondering at the purpose of the teeth.
"You performed well, Granddaughter," the haggard woman said in her rasping voice.
Casilda smiled at the compliment, but said nothing.
"Here," her grandmother said, setting the hat on Casilda's head, "is a gift from your mother… and from your father."
Casilda looked up at her grandmother. The elderly woman had never said anything about her parents before.
"Your mother was a beautiful woman, but she was strong and powerful, too. Most of the world fears strong, powerful women, but there are those few who are not afraid. Your father was one of those few," her grandmother started.
Excitement raced through the young girl, and as hard as it was, she forced herself to calmly sit down. She had waited a long time for this story. She could let her grandmother take her time. Caslida knew it would be worth it.
The old woman drew in a shaking breath and continued her story. "He was a handsome man, inhuman in his beauty. He was so beautiful it almost hurt to look at him. I knew immediately what he was. Your mother did as well, and she knew she had nothing to fear from him. She knew why he had come and agreed to help him, even if it would mean her death. She understood that her destiny would be to bring into the world a child who would be stronger and more powerful than she."
Casilda felt a slight pang at the loss of her mother's life, but it was soon overpowered by a strong pride in such a noble and beautiful sacrifice. The little child hoped she would one day be able to be as brave as her mother.
"We did not see your father again until the night of your birth. Your mother went into labor under the light of a full, blood red moon. At the exact moment of your birth, your father appeared at your mother's side." Casilda's eyes opened wide, and a smile played on her lips. She had no idea her birth had been so exciting.
"Your mother was not quite dead, so I handed you to her. As she held you in her arms, she smiled, pleased that you were already showing signs of being a better dancer than she. She whispered your name against your hair. The moment the word left her lips, her energy left her, and I took you from her exhausted arms," the hag continued, "Your father told her that he needed one more thing of her, something to insure your long, safe life. She readily agreed. He pulled three teeth from her mouth, saying words in his language as he did so. As soon as the third tooth left her mouth, her last breath followed it."
Again Casilda felt a slight pang, and for a moment tears threatened to spill from her eyes.
Her grandmother seemed to be near tears as well, because there was a long pause before she started speaking again, and her voice sounded more coarse than usual. "Your father turned to me and put the teeth, dripping with your mother's still warm blood, into my hand. Then he put a hand on your head and said more of his strange words. When he was finished, he looked at me with his midnight eyes. He told me after you had proved your power that I was to attach the teeth to a trophy you would receive. He told me the words to speak over it so you would always have his protection."
Casilda took the hat off and held it out in front of her. She reached out a hand and ran her fingers over them. She stared at the hat for a moment longer before putting it on her head and giving her grandmother a smile, happy to know her mother and father would always protect her. #11: How to Make a Skary Child: Casilda, by Kristophe Young-el It was a hot day when my daughter returned to my doorstep. It was the kind of heat that …what's the word…nag's you to wipe at your brow even though it seems that you've sweat out the rest of your bodily fluids hours upon hours ago. The type of heat that invites even more nagging insects to come and bite, annoy, and buzz repeatedly with a pattern that you can faintly pick out but never actually pick up on. She was wearing exactly what she had been wearing the day she walked out my door. A beautiful scarlet dress that I'd made her and a top that I'd only seen once….well twice now, to match. Looming over the rest of her body was a broad rimmed flamenco hat that always decked her crown, no matter where she was. Her neck, adorned with fine beads of many different colors, seemed to wilt under the weight of her head as she gazed placidly at the wooden floor of my humble home.
I faintly heard a raspy, and cracking voice say. The fact that this weak looking creature in my daughter's body was even speaking was a shock to me. The shock I needed I suppose.
"Come in, Lorena, come in my child." I gently led her by the arm through my door way.
As I gave my welcomes my eyes couldn't help but take in the tragedy that my hands were cajoling into the house. Her thin arms and weak demeanor took me by surprise but what gave me a jolt to the point of gasping is what I noticed when she finally took a seat at the rickety wooden kitchen table. I was very obviously soon, to be a grandmother.
For a long span of time we sat at the table with nothing but a heavy silence and the smell of hot food being cooked hanging in the air. I figured she must have been hungry so after I'd steadied myself I decided to cook a meal for Lorena.
"Senor Santana must have been cruel to you child." I set down a plate of hot food and snapped my hand back out of fear of it nearly being bitten off. Lorena's hunger for sustenance took over and she ripped into the hot meal like a starved coyote, leaving my question unanswered. I really didn't care, touching a frail hand to her hair I smiled at the fact that my child had returned home. Nothing else really mattered, I was an old woman now and my own ability to have children had long withered away. It brought a swell of joy to my heart to see her again…not considering the state of her being. Impatient for me to return from my thoughts, Lorena finished her meal, wiped the beads of sweat from her brow, and sat upright.
"Mama, he did things no man should be able to do." She began to finally speak, my interest, although unfocused, was now on her story.
"I regret leaving you mama." She continued on with a pain that could only come from a certain type of handling a handling that tends to favor women.
"One night I decided that it was finally enough, with the starvin and the… beatin's." I winced because I knew, before she ever left that Senor Santana was not a good man he had a bad feel about him, a feeling that could chill you in the hottest summer months what my darling saw in that man to begin with eludes me. My little girl took my hand in a way that told me that this was painful for her to recall.
"I decided I would leave…" Lorena paused; she then took in several deep breaths and broke into tears. The sudden flow of emotion caught me by surprise, but what shocked me even more was what happened next, my little girl got to her knees.
"…and beg for your forgiveness mommy! I'm so sorry please forgive me." The pitiful, heart breaking image was hard to take in, I joined her down on that floor.
"Oh child, I forgave you the moment you walked through that door. This will always be your rightful home Niño."
A week had gone by my Lorena had started getting her glow back. Her dazzling smile, health, and radiance had returned to her. I think when she was at her happiest, it happened. We were working on dinner when Lorena stopped smiling.
"Mamma, I think the babies coming!" She suddenly exclaimed.
As Lorena clutched at her stomach I felt the air grow cold, and an even colder shiver crept up my spine. He was in the house so fast that I'd not noticed him I turned and there he stood watching my daughter.
"Hello Lorena…Lorena's mother…it's time to deliver."
My daughter struck by something worse than fear didn't even turn to look at him she simply let a tear roll down her cheek and mouthed two words that I didn't expect to hear again
What happened next is… too painful to recall I will say that Lorena lay there on my kitchen floor, dead, and what stood,…STOOD by her lifeless body was her naked little girl.
"Casilda" Her father announced
I didn't have the strength to look at him, only the ability to stare at the body... if you can say body, of my little girl.
"Your mothers hat, it always did adorn her head with a certain elegance."
Santana picked up the hat and placed it on the new born child's head.
He mused like an artist over his work; he then snapped his fingers with a decisive movement, and leaned down to snatch away the red thread that held Lorena's beads in place around her neck as they cascaded to the floor he spoke again.
"Your mother did always have nice teeth Casilda…a dazzling smile."
Santana smiled coldly.
How Casilda Got Her Teeth, by writersbane
Casilda had always been fond of her hat, or at least the three teeth that she kept tied to it as trophies.
The hat itself was not really worth all that much, but it was satisfactory payment to go with her wonderful crimson colored dress. You see, Casilda never Danced without a payment, but that did not mean she would only Dance for money. No, she would accept all kinds of payments, as long as she was fond of them anyway. From her hat and dress and even to a feast she was once treated to, but whether she accepted the payment or asked for something else all depended on her mood and the job itself.
Her first job of Dancing earned her the crimson dress that was made by one of the finest seamstresses in Spain. Her second earned her the hat from a simple shop. But it was a nice hat that fit her so she refused to leave without it. They were simply things she had seen and requested and since she did her job better than anyone else, not that there was anyone else to begin with, no one really complained. Her third Dancing job, however… that was when things got a bit messy, so to speak.
Oh she Danced wonderfully and ended the job quickly. It was when the matter of her payment was being negotiated that the trouble started.
"We do not care how well you dance, we will not pay a child for such a simple job! Go home and play with your dolls!" the mayor had snarled out with a smirk.
Well, needless to say Casilda did not take this remark very lightly. She frowned, paused for a moment and thought. If they would not give her payment then she would simply take it from them, she decided. With her tambourine shaking and a twirl of her dress she recalled the dead that she had Danced to their graves.
Oh how the mayor screamed when his own wife and children, now rotting corpses missing limbs and bits of flesh, greeted him with bared teeth, along with half of the town's original population. How he cried in pain as his youngest daughter ripped his throat out, never to utter such spiteful words ever again. He even kept trying to scream as they ripped out his insides and devoured them like a Sunday feast. The living townspeople screamed as well, but so would you if you had seen such a thing.
Once Casilda had sent the dead back to their rightful place, there was nothing left but crushed bones and a few knocked out teeth. Seeing them, Casilda decided on her payment. She picked up the three biggest and whitest teeth, ignoring the blood staining the roots as they gave them a nice touch, and took of her hat. She tied each tooth with the red suede line her grandmother had given her and put them around her hat before placing it back on her tiny little head. Not many three, excuse me, three and a half year olds would be clever enough to come up with that. After all it was her third Dancing job so three teeth would be the perfect payment to take as accessories for her hat, and a hat without accessories was not much of a hat or she was told.
With a skip in her step, Casilda went all the way back to her grandmother's to show her the wonderful prize she had won. After that… well, after that whenever anyone refused to pay her she would simply bring back their dead and take whatever she wanted before cleaning up the mess she made.
I remember her telling me about how a man, Tulio or something like that, ran all over Spain looking for help and had asked her to Dance. The villagers were foolish enough to believe that they could pay her with gratitude of all things! What happed to them? Well, I believe that is best left up to the imagination, don't you?
But Enough about Great-Grammy, you said you had a job for me. Let me set this old hat aside. Now then, why don't we go ahead and discuss my pay first? #13: Untitled, by Léo Zaffran
Once upon a time, in a little Spanish village, lived a happy couple, Pablo and Sofía, with no history at all. They were honest people who never mistreated anyone and always welcomed people in need. They were what everyone wants to become one day: healthy, decorous, nice and gentle human beings.
Three months in a row in wintertime, the young couple had many difficulties in filling Sofia's growing needs. Her change of diet and her growing belly could only mean one thing: Sofía was pregnant. During the pregnancy, the baby was moving a lot its feet in a certain rhythms like if it was dancing. When Pablo finally understood, he cried with tears of happiness. In the opinion of the elderly the birth was due at the beginning of the following summer. In the expectation of this beautiful event, the father-to-be worked harder every day to meet with the mother's and the baby's needs. Days went by, weeks passed and ended up in months.
Finally the big day arrived with the birth of a beautiful baby girl. Pablo and Sofía decided to name her Casilda, after Sofia's grandmother who was so nice and sweet to her and Pablo. On the day of her birth, Casilda had huge black eyes with tiny white pupils which took half her newborn face. Her skin was as pale as a blanket of snow. Her feet were moving at the exact same rhythm as her breath, was she dancing? No one knows.
Above all, Casilda was perfectly healthy. She didn't cry. When you looked into her eyes, all you could see was an ocean of blackness with grey islets in each eye. She showed no emotion, exteriorized no feeling, and uttered no sound of joy. Her parents were worried about her. All this, in their mind, was a somber omen. They felt they couldn't help the child so they gave her to an old Lady, Maria who was also a witch, for her to cure Casilda and, eventually, make her live a normal life. If that was not possible, the witch was to keep Casilda. That way, no one would be hurt.
Maria took Casilda with her to the boundaries of the open fields and the desert, where only a hidden little road of dirt, that only Sofía and Pablo knew, and went straight to her home. When she got there, the old lady put the young baby in the bed she had prepared long before her birth – her reputation as a witch was well-earned. She fed and raised and instructed little Casilda. She watched her grow and waited patiently for the time she would be able to speak.
Every year, Casilda's parents went to the witch's house for their daughter's birthday to see how she was doing. On her fourth birthday, the witch told them that she couldn't "heal" her, Casilda had to stay. The parents were in deep sorrow. The old lady told them not to be sad. They had a very special child, who could heal the world if the world would contribute to her emotionless life. The parents went back to their village, and they never heard of the witch and Casilda again. Casilda and her "grand-mother" went far away to find a house close to the cities and people but not too close so they wouldn't be annoyed.
One day, Granny sent Casilda to the nearest city to get groceries. When Casilda got to the store and took everything she needed, she left without paying. She didn't need to pay for anything. Earlier, she had pulled out a tooth from the mouth of Orlando, the shop's owner. She was out in town with her granma when the owner had asked for help. His son was possessed by a vile spirit. The witch asked Casilda to dance and entrance the spirit who had invaded the body of the young boy and send it back to the hell it belonged.
The father was grateful but couldn't repay her because his business was down lately. As payment, she had picked up a hat and a ribbon, then had pulled out a beautiful wisdom tooth from the owner's mouth and put it between the ribbon then had turned to the boy, opened his mouth and pulled a baby tooth and put it on her hat as a token, out of rage. When they got home, Maria had to cool her down. She sang her a lullaby. Casilda was really tired and wanted to go to bed. After this incident Orlando let her take everything she needed from his store. Months later, Pierro the mayor knocked on the door of granny Maria and exposed his trouble. Elena, his wife was sick, too sick for the town's doctor who didn't know what caused her ailment. Maria, Casilda and Pierro went to see Elena. Granny Maria said : « Every human body has its own synchronized rhythm. Elenas body and spirit are not synchronized anymore.
To make Elena's body and mind one again, Casilda danced on the right rhythm. The Mayor was grateful but he was as misery as he was desperate, and he refused to pay. Mad with rage, Casilda took a tamburine hanging on the wall and struck the Mayor so violently that he lost the only healthy tooth he had in his silver mouth. Then she and Maria went back home, all three teeth on Casilda's hat.
Untitled, by Vinícius Pereira Barros
-Ouch! My head. It's pitch dark. Where am I? How I got here? – A male voice breaks the silent darkness. -So, you finally woke up. I thought you were dead. -Who's there?! – yelled the man An old lady turned on the lights. Her ugly and horrendous appearance nauseated him. -Shut up, brat! My daughter is going to have a baby! And you should be more thankful! I saved your pathetic life!! -S-Sorry! Err, lady, you said you saved my life…? -Yes, I did. You were unconscious and freezing in the mountains, and I brought you to my house. Can you tell me your name lad? -M-My name is Miguel. Thanks for saving my life, but, are you serious? Your daughter is going to be a mother? -Yes, she is giving birth in the living room. -What?! Why you don't take her to a hospital?! -Her baby is special. There's no word more appropriated for it. -Sorry, but I can't understand something so empty – said Miguel, now angry at her replies The old lady stares at him. -You can't understand, I can't understand, mankind can't understand… -What the hell are you talking about?! We need to take your daughter to a hospital!! -Calm down. – said the old lady, now with a kind voice -No, I will not calm down! I don't know who you are, I don't know where I am, and you are going to be a granny in your very own living room!! – Miguel went mad -What do you want from us lad? – asked the old lady -I want to know what the hell is happening here!! They stare each other for a while until the old lady answers him: -That baby is the devil's child and I have God as my witness to prove this. -Of course! Now I understand, but don't worry, Jesus is right here in my pocket, right Jesus? But, oh no, there's a legion of demons inside my shoe! -Are you calling me a liar? -No, no, no, the fairies taught me to always respect the elders! Suddenly, a female scream breaks the tension. -Well I think it's time to meet my grandchild. Come Miguel, you will believe when you see. They quickly went down the stairs, hoping to arrive in time. In that living room, Miguel saw the most beautiful woman that ever lived, she was crying in pain, but even her screams were gracious. -Mother!! The baby is coming!! – yelled the woman -Oh, my goodness! I will bring some hot water some towels. Miguel please take care of my daughter! -After saying that, the old lady runs through the darkness and leaves the two alone. -Oh my God, what should I do? – Miguel is desperate -S-So miss, you… are going to be a mommy, hehe! – He couldn't hide his nervousness. -AHHHHHHHHH, what's your name? AHHHHHHHH!!!!! -M-My name is Miguel, miss -AHHHHHHHHHHH!!! I am MARIAAAAAAAA!!! -N-Nice to meet you! -NOOOOOOOOOO, the pleasure is all MINEEEEEEEE, AHHHHHHHH!! Miguel you must help me deliver the baby!! AHHHHHHHHHHH!! -WHAAAATT?! Okay, okay!! Eek, let's do it! In that night, the moon was witness of the miracle of life and the birth of a skary being. -Maria, it's a girl, a beautiful girl!! -A girl. Let me see my daughter. -Sorry, I don't know if I can do this. -What? Why not? -I can't cuz the baby… is dancing! -I told you Miguel. Now, do you believe? – The old lady appeared behind him. -Lady, how…? -Why aren't you all paying attention to me? – a tiny and creepy voice interrupted Miguel, who looked around to see who or what spoke. -Down here. Miguel looked down and saw the dancing baby staring at him. -Who are you? – asked the baby Miguel stayed quiet -What? You are mute or dumb? -Lady, the baby… is talking to me!! -I told you. She is special – replied the old lady -Come here my daughter. Let me see you. – said Maria gasping The baby approaches Maria -Are you my mother? Give me a name. -Right honey. Your name will be… Casilda. -Casilda… yeah I like it. -Casilda, I am your grandmother and I have a present for you. Here. -That's a nice hat. But why there's a tooth attached? -That was my tooth, and while it stays on you hat it will be like a charm. This is my blessing for you. -I gladly accept your blessing, dear grandmother. But I won't be satisfy with so little. Casilda walked until her mother and put her tiny hand in her mother's mouth, saying with a smile: -I want your blessing too, mom. Casilda pulls her mother's tooth violently, leaving her in despair -AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! Why Casilda?! – said Maria crying -I just want your blessing dear mom, and you are going to die soon, so what's the matter? -What did you just said daughter? -Don't worry mom, I will help you go without pain. After saying that, Casilda started to dance. She was as gracefully like an angel and as pretty as a fairy. Maria smiles and after seeing her daughter's dance, she puked her soul and died happy. Miguel watched everything astonished and screamed to Casilda: -What the hell did you do to your mother?! -And who are you stranger? - replied Casilda -Answer me now demon girl!! -I want your blessing too stranger. -Screw you I will not give to you any blessing!! -That's bad stranger. I will take it by force then. Casilda starts to dance again, but this time was different. This time it was a dark and evil dance. This dance starts to summon demons, the most horrible creatures that Miguel had ever seen. They grab Miguel and start to rip off his body. -STOP THEN!!!! -I can't, stranger; you just escaped from death once. – Said Casilda while picking a tooth in the ground – Thank you for your blessing. Now, DIEEEEE!! The demons pulled Miguel to the shadows, and his last words were: -LADY, WHY DIDN'T YOU LET ME DIE IN THE MOUNTAINS?!!!!!!!!!!!
Casilda's Hat, by Alejandro Donis
Diego found Casilda sitting under a tree, crying. He held her hands and asked her why she was crying. She told him that she was tired of everything, that she could no longer take her fate.
Everyday was the same, spirits all around her asking for her help, demons messing with her head, a crazy grandma and a crazier mother.
She was tired of all this, but every time she cried, there was Diego. For some reason, every time she looked into his eyes, everything seemed better. But this time it wasn't working. "There must be a way to get rid of this curse Casilda. Come, let's ask your mother, I bet we will be able to do something about it."
Together they ran to Casilda's mother and asked her if there was any way to get rid of the curse. With a sad look in her eyes she said there was one, but that she had never tried to achieve it, because it was too awful to be done.
The legend said that if someone wanted to get rid of the curse, that person had to get three items and put them together. When wearing these items, the person's ability to interact with the other world would disappear, and that person would live in peace.
It was said that Rosario was possessed by a demon. When people saw Casilda and Diego in the place, they asked her if she could please help them get rid of the demon, to what she answered: "I will gladly do it, I just need you to leave us alone with Rosario". The people in the room left immediately leaving Casilda, Rosario and Diego alone.
"Don't think it will be that easy Casilda, I'm staying in this body for good!" The demon said. To what Casilda said: "Oh, don't worry, we are not going to take you out, we just want to give you something" To what the demon replied "Oh really? What is it that you would give me that I would remotely like? I have everything I need, a body to be in, lots of attention…"
"Just close your eyes" Diego said. Since it was a curious demon, it's curiosity won so it closed it's eyes. Diego grabbed a chandelier and…
It's curious how easy it was to fool that demon, it wasn't the brightest one in hell for sure. Happy, Casilda and Diego had their first item: An angel's tooth… well, it wasn't precisely an angel's tooth, but well, demons are angels too you know. So they went on looking for the second item.
Together they entered an abandoned house outside of town. It belonged to an old hat maker. They said the house was haunted, but the truth is it had a really bad aspect because nobody had lived there in a long time.
There was a shadow in the corner. You couldn't see it's face, but you could notice it was the spirit of a person. Slowly, the shadow lift it's hand and pointed to a lose brick on the wall.
It turned out that some years ago a really bad pest had stroke Casilda's town, a lot of people died because of it. Inside that house lived Mr. Cornelio, a famous hat maker. His hats were so beautiful and so good that even the king of Spain ordered him to make a new royal crown.
He lived happily with his wife and daughter. He would have given his life for them. But at that time, little was to be done before the pest. Slowly, his wife and his daughter became ill until one sunny day of june, they died.
With his heart broken, he carefully cut his daughter and wife's hair and with it, he made a hat. He wore it everyday until he died.
Together, Casilda and Diego removed the bricks from the wall. There he was, the hat maker wearing the hat. He couldn't stand the pain, so he had buried himself while hugging his wife and daughter. They had their second item, a hat made out of the hair of a dead person.
Their happiness faded when they remembered what the third item was. They got back home. Casilda went to the kitchen and grabbed a knife. Slowly, she approached Diego, she had to kill him, she needed the tooth of a beloved one. She raised her hand, ready to strike, but in the last moment, she dropped the knife.
"I can't do it Diego, I can't". Quietly she hugged him and said she couldn't do it, that it didn't matter that she had the curse, together they would find happiness.
He asked Casilda for some tea, when she was at the kitchen preparing it, Diego took the knife from the floor and said: "We'll dance again soon"
With tears in her eyes, Casilda had her three items: A hat and two teeth. Running she went to her mother and showed her the items. In horror her mother started to cry. "Casilda, what have you done? You were supposed to kill me!".
Casilda asked her mother what she was talking about. "The three items thing wasn't true Casilda. Do you think I'm happy with this curse? You were supposed to kill me so I could finally rest! There is no way to escape from our destiny, there is no way to get rid of the curse"…
There was Casilda, living with her grandmother. As a child they told her she should use her gift to help people, but she learned the bad way that if she was good at something, she should charge for it.
If you ever need to get rid of the walking dead, call Casilda, the dancing girl. If you pay attention you will notice three teeth on her hat. An angel's tooth, her beloved one tooth and her mother's tooth who is finally resting in peace.
Fair Game, by Legacy
The trap was set. "This time I'll get them!" Casilda thought. She lay in her bed, focusing on the table, pretending to be sleeping. A few days ago, she had lost her first baby tooth, which she had been very proud of. And then it disappeared. Over night. Without reason. Casilda was sure that it had been stolen. And now she was out for revenge. Her second tooth to fall off would certainly serve as a good bait. A sound. Someone was reaching for the table. NOW! Casilda screamed and jumped at the perpetrator. She heard the voice of a woman. "Aaah! Let go brat!". Casilda did not. Suddenly the darkness around her seemed to become even darker and to turn. Turn?
The next instant, Casilda found herself on the ground in a completely different place. She was totally perplexed. It looked like a mix of a small living room and a painters shop, with teeth and brushes lying all around. "What? You followed me?". She looked up. An older, pale woman stood in front of her. She was wearing a white robe with long sleeves. "What were you thinking?" the woman said. Casilda shouted: "Thats totally my line! You stole my teeth! Give them back now!" - "Okay Okay!" the woman seemed frightened. "I don't simply steal teeth, I collect them. I'm so sorry, but it's a kind of an addiction. Well, here is your tooth." - "And the one you stole on Tuesday?!" - "Tuesday? Oh..." the woman hesitated."Well you see... I... I'm afraid someone else has got it." - "Someone else? Have you lost it in a card game or what?" - "Ehm... Poker. And I must admit, he is the best player I've ever seen... his blank face actually never gives you any clues. Ehehehe..." She showed an ebarassed face to Casilda, who now started to look really ticked off.
"What the... how dare you! You are going to find this guy and..." The woman interrupted her. "There is nothing I can do. He is the type you cannot mess with." - "Then who is he?" The woman hesitated a bit. "Death."
Casilda startled. That came unexpected. "Death... himself?" - "Yes. He uses to collect teeth as trophies from those who have most persistently been trying to e... er...errr... reject his services." - "And you two play poker" Casilda said. -"Yes. You're kind of lucky. He will come this evening, too." - "Then can I wait for him here?" - "Ah, sure. Want something to drink, dear? I should have got some multivitamin juice over here. Sugar free." She left the room and disappeared into a small kitchen. Her return, Casilda managed to calm down and so they sat down at small round table. They had some smalltalk, and the woman's name turned out to be Rose. Then, finally, they heard a knocking at the door, and just a second afterwards it opened.
There he stood. Death's face and hands were blank bones; the head consisted of a skull with fairly human, brown eyes, and he wore a long, dark coat and a black hat. His left hand held the obligatory scythe which, oddly enough, looked over the top neat and well-polished. However, what stroke Casilda most was the very particular kind of jewelry he wore: thin silver chains with teeth and little bones hanging from them were hung around his neck, waist and wrists, there were even some bound to the hat. Most mortal beings would certainly have been scared to death by this sight (what might have been one of the reasons for the scythe's tidiness, by the way), but Casilda pulled herself together.
"Hey Rose. What's up. And heeey, what do we have here?" Death turned towards Casilda and with a friendly voice he spoke: "Casilda, I presume." - "How comes you know my name?" She asked. "Part of my job, you know. Nonetheless, you are special. I see you leading dead people back to their graves after they woke up again, using a special kind of dance. Astounding, I have to admit." - "Thanks." casilda blushed slightly. She asked for the tooth. "Hm, yeah I see." Death said. "I have won it in a fair game, so I cannot simply return it. That would just ruin my image. I cannot give it to you unless you win it back in a fair game, too. Something like poker." Casilda agreed.
But when they started playing, she recognized from the beginning that she had no chance at all. After merely half an hour, the game was done. "I'm sorry. You lost" Death said. Casilda sobbed. In vain! Everything! she thought. "Aaaw come on, don't start to cry. I can't stand seeing little girls cry" Death said. He took off his hat and put it on Casilda's head. "What about this? It has some 'trophies' on it, too, and since you saved me from some overtime with zombies a few times, how about going on with that and wearing this hat as a sign of being my substitute?" Casilda really felt honoured. "What kind of trophies are those? Where did you get them?" - "Ah, those teeth are from some nobleman of independent means who stated to 'be proud to never have sown what he reaped'. I just replied 'same here' and *Splash* his head was gone. Whahaha that was hilarious!
Casilda raised an eyebrow: Not exactly a story of heroic achievements. However, it was a nice gesture. Suddenly she became tired. Death was making strange gestures with his hand. "It's already much too late for kids" he said. "But..." Casilda said. "I'm gonna tell you some other time, I promise." And then Casilda fell asleep.
When she woke up in her bed the next morning, the tooth she used as a bait was lying at the table, as well as the hat. She would proudly wear it as the sign of being Death's substitute. And as a sign of fair game.
Untitled, by thelonerwolf
Everyone has heard the legend of Casilda, and how she saved a town from zombies and then doomed it again! Nowadays its considered a legend, but its still heard at the campfire, when the moon is full and shining bright. The story that hasnt been told is the story of the three teeth. Her sinister trophies. At least, thats what people think they are. But, what if, they meant more than that? What if their meaning was more horrifying and saddening than people think? But wholl clear up this mystery? Well, I will. This is the story of how Casilda got her teeth.
At the time of El Despertar, Casilda lived with her grandmother, but have you ever thought about before that? What causes a young girl to dance around with blank-eyed zombies? If you have, then youre closer to finding out the truth than you think! Before El Despertar, Casilda lived with her parents and twin sister. Casildas father was an inventor. For days at a time, he would go into his laboratory to work on an invention. Then thered be an explosion, but the family was used to this. So, to provide for his family he would make musical instruments (because being an inventor and only creating explosions didnt pay well). Her mother was a dancer. She would dance around the house, (causing a crash in the process but everyone has flaws). Finally, Casildas sister, Serena. They were identical apart from their personalities. On sunny days Serena would go and catch butterflies, while Casilda was indoors practising dancing. On rainy days Serena retreated to the warmth of her room and to the brightness of her crayons. But Casilda would run outside and start twirling around in the rain.
It was her and Serenas birthday when it happened. They had just opened their presents. Their parents always bought them each the same thing. That year their father got them both a tambourine, their mother gave them dancing shoes and their grandmother got them a hat. Casilda walked up the stairs to her room, tired out by the events of the day. She opened her door and was greeted by a strange sight. On her bed was a blood red box, tied with a ruby ribbon. Casilda locked her door. She realised there was a card on the box. It read happy birthday Casilda. Heres a present JUST for you. Casilda looked around. She never had anything that was hers. She always had to share her things. Casilda opened the box. Inside was the most beautiful dress she had ever seen! It had a black bodice with a scarlet ribbon; a red skirt covered in an exotic-looking lace and had short grey sleeves that were made of fine silk. There was also a red rose hair clip.
At the bottom of the box she found another card. This one read if you want to be appreciated then come to howling hills peak at midnight. Howling hill was outside the town where Casilda lived. Ghosts wandered on its peak. Casilda put on the dress and the hair clip, and then put the other presents in the box.
When Casilda reached the top of the hill, her hands grasped the box tightly. For standing at the highest point of the hill was a...well that scared her the most, she couldnt tell what was standing there. It wore a long black hooded cloak that covered its face. Come to me child. There is no need to be afraid. Do you like your present? it said in an echoic voice.
Well there is something else I want to do for you. I want to help you unlock your powers, but you have to help me. Together we can rule the world! So, you can carry on being ignored or you can come with me. Which is it to be? The thing held out a gloved hand.
After a week the world belonged to the thing and Casilda. Casilda sat in her palace, reading the letter she had received. It read come to howling hill. You must undo the evil you have done. From, your family. In that moment Casilda realised what she had done. She ran to the box which contained her presents. She put on the shoes, put the hat on over the hair clip, grabbed the tambourine and the box and ran to the hill.
The dress the thing had given her (which Casilda thought was too nice to leave behind) swirled around her as she got closer to the hills peak. Then she heard her parents arguing with her grandmother.
Her father shouted, Casilda is no child of mine! She deserves to be hated! Her grandmother yelled, I wont listen to you talk about Casilda like this! Shes being misled!
Tears welled up in Casildas eyes. She flew into a rage! As Casilda twirled around, a hurricane destroyed the village and then headed for the top of the hill. It spared Casildas grandmother but nobody else. Then the hurricane went to the thing. In the distance Casilda could here an echoic scream.
As Casilda finally calmed down, realisation came to her. She ran to her dying parents and sister. She knelt down, sobbing beside them. Her parents apologised for speaking badly of her and for not believing in her. She apologised for wrecking the town.
Casilda, always do the right thing, unless someone double crosses you, if so, give them hell her father told her with a weak smile.
I always looked up to you, remember me.
Her mother looked up at her, no matter what we did or said, we always loved you. With that, her parents and sister faded into the abyss known as death. Casilda felt her grandmothers hand on her shoulder. Casilda took one tooth from each body and used the ruby ribbon to secure them to her hat, so that she wouldnt forget the three wisdoms she learnt that day. So far, she hasnt.
Untitled, by Melissa Ybanez
There once lived a little girl named Casilda. Casilda never knew her mother or her father but was instead raised by her Grandmother.
Casilda always had a gift for dancing. She danced to a rhythm no one else heard. Every time she danced odd things occurred. Her Grandmother noticed these odd things. Odd things like creatures that were once dead walking as if alive or on the rare occasion living creatures dying.
However, she was not the only one who noticed. Many of the other adults noticed as well. The villagers did not know what to make of the odd things but were scared nonetheless. The children also feared Casilda. Few would venture near her, but occasionally one or two would toss whatever was nearby at her. Her Grandmother noticed their behavior and tried to ensure that Casilda would hold no grudges against villagers. This became increasingly important the better Casilda got.
Not long after the village started whispering Casilda polished off her dance. She finished her dance without a single misstep. Casilda was overjoyed that she finally completed her dance. She rushed home to tell her Grandmother her exciting news. However, as she was walking through the village one of the villagers thought it would be funny to trip her. Casilda fell hard enough to knock out her loose tooth. Picking herself and her tooth up she hurried home.
When she got to her house she almost tripped over a package in front of the door. Curious, Casilda looked at the package. To her surprise, it was addressed to her. She picked it up and brought it inside. She set it on top of the table.
“What do you have there?” her Grandmother asked.
“I found this package in front of the door.” Casilda dutifully responded. “It is addressed to me. But who would be sending anything to me?” All her previous excitement had already disappeared.
Her Grandmother inspected the package and soon stepped back gasping in surprise. “That is a truly unique gift there. I do not know what HE might be sending to you or why, but it is certain to be powerful.”
“Grandmother? You know who sent this? Who was it?”
“This is from HIM. Open it child and see what HE has sent you.”
Casilda opened the package and found several interesting items. On top was an envelope with a letter inside. Under that was a black hat. Underneath the hat was a tambourine with a pair of black shoes in the middle. Underneath the shoes was a red and black flamenco dress tied with a red cord. Having untied the cord she picked up the dress to see how it would fit her. From within the folds of the dress a tooth fell out.
“Read the letter,” her Grandmother said, “it should explain what these gifts are all about."
Casilda opened the envelope and read:
My Dearest Daughter,
I have watched as you danced these many long years. I have seen you complete your dance flawlessly now. I have also seen the way that the villagers look at you. Therefore I give you these gifts in the hope that should you be forced into action you will be rid of those foolish enough to challenge my daughter.
My daughter you have the gift of dance. With your dance you are able control that which was once alive. There are many dances which you will learn which will lead to different results, but the one I have seen you so often practice will reanimate the weaker creatures around you. With time and practice you will be able to control more powerful creatures, and eventually you will be able to control humans who are no longer alive. You will have the most control over the dead and that which was once dead.
The gifts I have given you will help you in your dance. The clothing is only to be worn when you are about to dance a Dance of the Dead. Every dancer needs the proper attire when dancing their most important dance. The tambourine was made especially for you. When combined with your dance it will mesmerize that for which you dance. The red cord which binds the clothing can never be torn or broken. It is best to bind the tooth with that. The final item, the tooth, comes directly from me. This tooth will be your protection as well as proof of who you are. The dead will obey the call of the tooth and feel the need to follow you. The protection of the tooth will work best if it a tooth of yours is bound with it as well.
I wish I could do more but it is not for me to do. I am bound and unable to work within the mortal realm. I wish you well as you grow stronger.
Your loving Father
At once Casilda knew what she had to do. She took the tooth that had fallen onto the floor as well as the tooth that had fallen out on the way home. She tied them securely with the red cord and placed the cord around her neck. She then took her possessions and put them on. She walked outside and found the villager who had tripped her before. Not too far away from the villager was a dead dog. Casilda started her Dance of the Dead and the dog came over to her side. The villager’s eyes grew wide in fear and begged for forgiveness.
“Attack,” Casilda whispered. The dog immediately jumped to attack.
When Casilda was satisfied, she returned the dog to his death. She strolled over to the villager’s body and from the mess picked up a tooth. She tied that tooth to the cord as well. She then tied the cord to her hat.
Her protection would be known and her warning heeded. Then she went back to her home dancing all the while.
Dance of Death, by Samantha Sharp
Casilda is known for her prodigious - perhaps otherworldly - dancing talent. But Casilda is not the first to possess this power. Each generation of her family has had one gifted - perhaps cursed - with the power of dance. This is the story of Casilda's many-times-great grandmother, a dancer of incredible skill...and fearsome temper when displeased.
A lone woman rides on a dusty trail through the Spanish desert. She peers out from under her black top hat at the setting sun, then looks ahead to the nearby town.
The tavern is small, but it is a place to rest for the night. The woman sits alone, not drinking anything, her face shadowed. Throughout the evening a man keeps glancing at her, and as darkness falls, he gets up suddenly and approaches her. He slaps his hands down on the table and looms over her, leering. A slight lifting of her head is the only acknowledgment she makes.
"Hey there, chica," he drawls. "You want to have some fun?"
Beneath the hat, the woman smiles. "I enjoy myself only when I am dancing," she says quietly.
"Sure, we can dance," he grins, leaning over the table and grabbing the woman's hand. Her eyes flash with irritation. Slowly she rises from her chair. "You wish to dance? Very well...but you must keep up with me. If you cannot keep up, you will die." The man merely laughs. "Sure, sure, chica." He pulls her to the center of the tavern. All eyes are on them as they begin to dance a slow waltz. "You having fun yet, chica?" "...not quite yet," she responds. "Perhaps we should go a bit...faster." And she takes the lead, surprising the man as her steps quicken.
He keeps up for a while, but she spins faster and faster, her feet blurring over the floor. The man tries to pull out of her grip. "I've had enough," he says. "Enough, chica! I want to stop!" She looks up, and for the first time he sees her eyes. They are black, uneven, and lit with an unholy fire. The man begins to shout. "Let me go! I've had enough! Let me go!" He manages to wrench away, but he is moving faster than he realizes. He loses his balance and falls, spinning - and with a crack heard throughout the town, his head meets a table. A lone tooth flies free.
As the tavern patrons rush to the body, the woman picks up the tooth, contemplating it. By the time the townspeople think to look for her, she is gone.
A lone burro rides through the night.
Another town. Another day. The same woman. She stands in the dusty town square, facing two men wearing sombreros and smug grins.
"Hey, mujere," one calls. "You are that woman who is famous for her dancing, yes?" Dust swirls around the woman's long black skirts. She nods quietly.
"You know, my brother and I are pretty skilled dancers ourselves. How about a contest? Right here, right now. We will see who is the best."
A small smile crosses her lips. "Very well," she says softly. "We shall dance...but you must keep up with me. If you cannot keep up, you will die."
The men snort. "Sure," one says. "And what dance will you do?" the other asks.
"The flamenco," she replies, taking two bright red castanets from the folds of her clothes. They stand in the town square, with the mayor waiting to judge. "Are the dancers ready?" he calls.
"Ready!" the men call. The woman nods.
The guitarist begins to play a fast, jaunty tune. The brothers start with quick steps, each getting into the rhythm of his particular dance. Some of the townspeople begin to clap along. The woman simply watches.
And then she raises the castanets, and begins to dance.
Her flamenco is fast and fiery. The townspeople watch in awe as her feet raise dust clouds, her castanets keeping time. The brothers pick up their pace. The guitarist plays faster.
The woman's feet begin to blur. A wind whips up, not hot and dry as a desert wind should be, but chillingly cold. The townspeople, spooked, withdraw to their homes. An ominous feeling builds in the air. The woman dances ever faster.
The brothers are sweating, their feet burning in their boots. "You win!" one calls suddenly. "Oy, señorita! You win already! Let's stop!" But their feet continue, unbidden, to dance.
The woman looks up; her hat blows away in the swirling winds. The men see her eyes, black and burning darkly, and are suddenly fearful. The woman's voice sounds clearly through the howling winds. "Can you not keep up? You cannot stop dancing now."
The brothers are gasping for breath. One begins to weep. Still they dance on, faster and faster. The guitarist has fled, yet the music continues, swirling through the wind and sand like the laughter of the devil himself. Small licks of fire start around the brothers' feet, as faster and faster they dance. The castanets sound like a death rattle.
Suddenly the brothers burst into flame. Their screams are drowned by the wind. Throughout, the woman keeps dancing. As the men dance jerkily, mere puppets pulled by their feet, as they are consumed by the flames, she dances. Finally, two charred skeletons fall to the ground. The woman stops; the wind dies. She surveys the brothers' burnt bones. Two teeth catch her eye, unblemished by the fire. She picks them up, thinks for a moment, then plucks a thin ribbon from her castanets. She loops it around these teeth and the one she acquired earlier, and ties the macabre string around her hat.
Others through the years were foolish enough to incur the woman's ire and met a grim fate, but they kept their teeth. The woman eventually grew old, and passed her hat to a younger cousin also gifted with dance. And so it went through the years, until by the time it came to Casilda, the origin of the teeth was long forgotten.