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The Scream By The River

October 2005

I grew up in South Texas. I guess you can say that in that area you couldn't go any further south and still remain in Texas.

One autumn night two of my brothers and I, as well as some friends, went fishing a mile or so up river from the mouth of the Rio Grande. We went night fishing, which means you arrive before dusk and you stay until sunrise.

We had a generator supplying power to lights that we had placed along the banks of the river to attract small fish. Well, if you are a fisherman you know that big fish eat small fish, so the more small fish you attract, the better your chances are to catch a big fish. At the time I had a large dog that was my trusty companion and went where ever I went. Needless to say that dog was fearless and brave.

It was a little past midnight and my oldest brother had landed a nice sized fish. Of course, sibling rivalry had kicked in and I wasn't going to be out done by my older brother. So, I pulled out every trick in the book to land a bigger fish just so I could land a bigger fish.

It was about 2 in the morning when my trusty dog started whining. I looked at the dog and said "What's wrong boy?". That's when it started. Screams from a distance that seemed to be getting closer to us by the second. The scream sounded like that of a woman being tortured. I quickly looked at my brothers and friends to see if they heard the same thing. Sure enough, they had a scared look on their faces. The strange thing about the scream was as it came closer, the harder it was to distinguish where it was coming from. Before we knew it the sound was coming from all directions. That's when my oldest brother turned on of the lights that was around, away from the river and towards the area behind us. As soon as he did that the screaming stopped.

We didn't speak a word about the screams for the rest of our fishing trip. When we got home and went straight to bed.

I woke up in the afternoon, and mentioned to my father that something strange had happen to up the night before. He just looked at me and asked if I had heard a screaming woman. I said that I did. He said he heard the same thing about 20 years before and walked away.

I didn't muster up the courage to ask him what happened when he heard the screaming woman during his youth, until 3 days later. When I asked him he what had happened he said he and his friends jumped in the truck and left immediately. I was puzzled and asked why. He then told me a story that he had heard when he as a young boy.

There once was a town close to the mouth of the Rio Grande, in which the entire town was blown away in the 1930s by a hurricane. During the storm there was a woman with several small children that were seeking shelter in their small house until the storm passed. The storm surge came collapsed their house and she became trapped in the rubble. She clawed her way out of what was left of her house only to find that her children had drowned during the wall of water that emerged during the storm. When she emerged from the rubble, her face was deformed from the weight of the rubble upon her. When she found that all her children were dead, the waited by the side of the river with out food or water until the day she died.

It is said that she wanders the banks of the Rio Grande looking for her lost children, and anyone who lays eyes on her will die from a heart attack to see the ugliness of her face.

I, like my father, have yet to return to the same fishing spot at night.

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