I was six weeks into a yearlong contract for American Oil, working a desert outpost south of the border. At night, I went to Pablocito's and drank pulque, the milky liquor favored by the locals.
The girl was seventeen and slinging drinks, with only the barest hint of Indian in her milky complexion. She smiled shyly while fending off the drunken advances of my boorish colleagues.
When Larsen reached out to grope her, she flashed a look my way. Filled with liquid courage, I walked over and popped him one. After that, drinks were on the house.
Later, we walked the dusty streets of town. In the shadow of the lecheria, I took her in my arms and then took her to my hotel. It was her first time.
Her name was Mayauel, named after the milk tree Goddess, the Goddess of pulque and childbirth, the foundation of all life. In bed, she whispered reverently of the Goddess's four hundred breasts that suckled her human offspring. I grabbed her playfully and said two were enough.
We met furtively, exchanging glances in the bar, later sneaking off to my hotel. I knew she was falling in love. I didn't know what love was. And then it happened.
She said she was with child. I got angry and said it wasn't mine. I called her a whore and stormed off.
I moved to a rooming house close to the worksite. But every night, after closing my eyes, I saw her face. Her stare grew harsher with each passing day. I kept my eyes open most nights.
They sent me into town one day for a delivery. Avoiding once familiar streets, I snuck in the back way and heard music playing. Sad music. At the end of a darkened alley, I saw a procession. Hysterical women dressed in black. Pablocito crying. An open casket on the back of a wagon. I caught a glimpse of her face and ran.
I hitched as far away as I could, but there was no escaping her. In one sleepy town, I saw a mural of a many-breasted woman in peach garment, with white fringe and flame colored hair. She was seated on a throne of a turtle and a snake, holding out a bowl filled with a milky substance.
The Goddess. Mayauel.
I staggered toward the center of town and saw a church. I knew then I needed forgiveness.
Inside, blinding sunlight streamed through stained glass, turning the holy chamber orange and red and yellow. Halfway to the altar, I collapsed and prostrated myself before God.
Begging forgiveness, I crawled down the aisle, finally raising my head toward the marble pulpit and whitewashed stone of delicately carved archways and saw then I wasn't alone.
It was Mayauel. My Mayauel.
Twenty-feet tall and growing taller by the second.
Sunlight set her hair aflame. Sitting astride the pulpit, she wore a peach dress with white fringe. But this Mayauel did not offer sustenance. Instead, I watched as she poured a bowl filled with the milk of human kindness onto the floor, where it pooled like a sea of bitter tears. For me, there would be no forgiveness.
Brendan P. Myers stories have appeared in such publications as the Northern Haunts anthology from Shroud Publishing and Malpractice: An Anthology of Bedside Terror from Stygian Publications. He can be found online at http://bpmyers.blogspot.com