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The Watchers

Cheryl, Georgia, USA

This story takes place back in 1970 when I was nine years old. At the time, my family and I lived on the local mill village because my parents worked at the Newnan Mill. My first cousins lived two houses up from us. We were very close and, every weekend, I was either spending the night at their house, or they were spending the night at mine. We were rarely outside of each others’ company. The story takes place at my cousins’ house.

On my cousins’ living room wall, hung two pictures; one of a matador (bullfighter), the other of the matador’s lady. Possessing a very haunting quality, these pictures gave me the creeps every time I looked at them, for the eyes of each of them seemed to follow me about the room. No matter where I went, the eyes followed. Sometimes the pictures even seemed to breathe with a life of their own. I kept my fear of the pictures to myself however, until one Friday night while spending the night with my cousins, and hoping they wouldn’t make fun of me, I revealed my fear to them. They were not shocked as I’d thought they would be, but seemed glad that I had told them, for they too, had experienced fear when in the room with the pictures but had never told me about them because they were afraid I wouldn’t want to stay with them anymore.

As the night wore on, the three of us decided, after my aunt and uncle had gone to bed, to have a seance. We summoned the spirit of the man first. El Toreador was his name, or at least we assumed this was it, for it was the name at the bottom, right hand corner of the picture and the only name we knew to use. It wasn’t long until he made his presence known. First by softly touching each of us on the back of the neck; Second, by causing a cold wind to blow throughout the room. Without words, El Toreador revealed to us the circumstances of his death. Though he’d been the greatest bullfighter of his time, he’d met his match in a bull called "Deathseeker".

The enormous bull had been challenged and fought by many a matador. Each had lost their lives to Deathseeker. El Toreador, hearing of this, believed that he could defeat the legendary bull, so he presented his own challenge to the bulls owner. His challenge was accepted and the fight was on. The fight lasted from early morning until late evening, El Toreador scoring as many points as Deathseeker. However, the fight began to take its toll on El Toreador and he became clumsy. He could’ve given up and accepted defeat but, too stubborn to give up, he continued on. Besides, his lady love was watching and his male’s pride would not allow him to let her see him defeated. Soon, confused and exhausted, El Toreador made a fatal mistake which cost him his life, for in his confusion, he’d turned his back on Deathseeker who took advantage of his vulnerable position, nailing him from behind and goring him to death..

Enters The lady love of the matador... Upon seeing this, El Toreador’s lady love rushes out into the arena, offering her own challenge to Deathseeker. Fresh and well-rested, Elena (the woman’s name), driven by anguish and heartbreak, rushed to the bull, stabbing it many times with a large dagger she’d removed from the folds of her skirt. She too lost her life to the bull.

Though frightened by the presence of the two lost souls, we nevertheless, were intrigued and curious as to why they continued to haunt the portraits of themselves which hung on the wall. "But why are you still here?" we asked them, "and why do you frighten us by watching us everywhere we go in this room?"

They revealed to us that they were trapped here because the both of them had died with hatred in their hearts; hatred for the bull Deathseeker, and his owner. They also revealed that the portraits had gone through many owners. That they had sought, in the faces of all of the owners, forgiveness for their hatred, but had found fear instead, and until they found forgiveness in someone’s face, they would remain earthbound.

Silenced by these revelations, my cousins and I granted our own forgiveness to the two lovers. They smiled wistfully, took each others hand, then faded away, leaving in their wake, a feeling of warmth and love...After that night, I no longer feared the portraits. There were times when I’d catch myself, when at my cousins’ house, looking intently at the portraits, searching for any sign that Elena and El Toreador were still there, but they weren’t. Several years later, my cousins moved to Villa Rica, GA, taking the portraits with them. When they moved back to Newnan, the portraits were not with them, for my aunt had sold them at auction in Villa Rica. I am 38 yrs. old now and have looked for the portraits, or any like them, at various flea markets and antique shops. I have yet to find any but intend to keep looking until I do...

Hope you enjoyed the story.

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