The Old House: The Tradition

....Continued from The Old House: Children's Tale

Quito erased the thought, and instead, he concentrated on his driving. He had vowed to himself that he would never return to the old house. But tonight, he violated his own decree and was now a mile from the house, biking under a brilliant moon, gliding through shadows and suppressing the bitter bite of the breeze as well as the fright creeping within him.

Despite the stories, the boys would still dare go alone to the house, often by the prodding of their fathers. And when he survived the challenge, the father would be very proud of him and he would instantly become his father’s buddy in beer drinking, fiestas, and other happy hours. In the beginning, only a few had participated in it, but eventually, it had become the practice of the village.
“My first was very embarrassing,” Quito remembered his neighbor Muloy had said. “I got so shocked with what I had seen that I ran right away to the river and dipped.”

The men had roared in spite of the irritated looks of the women. Conversely, the women disapproved of the practice, nagging to their husbands about the possible dangers from visiting the house and spinning more scary tales just to win over their sons. However, the boys would still perform the ritual, only secretly and on a time set by their fathers.

Quito was now passing by the river, the first comforter of the terrified village men after their adventure. It shone to the light of the moon, placid and silver, as if inviting him to its cold water.

Shortly, Quito saw the silhouette of the house, sharp against the ashen backdrop. He passed through the narrow and grassed trail and no later did he reach the barb-wired fence. Shakily, he disembarked and leaned the bike on the wires. He pulled up the bottommost wire and then crawled under it. Standing up, he studied the house which he noticed had not changed since he last saw it.
“I’m finally here,” he murmured and acted bravely, remembering the proud face of his father the night before.

Quito went to the back of the house and lay flat on the wall, feeling the tickling brush of the peels on his skin. Despite the coldness of the night, he was sweating, and in his heart, he felt like crying.

Don’t be chicken, he encouraged himself. 

He took the candle from his pocket and lit it. He was about to open the door when something sprang upon his head. Panicked, he stumbled, lost his candle and struggled to take the thing off his head with loud wails. He touched hairs and with enough strength, he hurled the thing away. It descended lightly and staring straight into Quito’s frightened eyes, the black cat screeched, displaying its white fangs. Enraged at the omen, Quito picked up a rock and threw it on the animal which scampered away. Breathless, he made the sign of the cross and rested awhile, sitting on the ground.

To be continued...

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