Fernando watched as Reyna walked in her long white dress towards the river, she was holding a basket full of dirty clothes. Living in a small village everyone knew everyone, and as he watched the girl of his dreams walk slowly, humming to herself all he could do was stare. Her long black hair danced in the wind, her bronzed skin glimmered under the sunlight.
His friend Carlos elbowed him and grinned like an idiot. “Aren’t you going to talk to her?”
What could he say? She was so beautiful, with long black hair past her waist, big dark eyes, beautiful golden skin, it was intimidating. There wasn’t anyone better than her, at least not in his eyes.
“Just go!” his friend pushed him towards her and she noticed him, she quickly flashed him a smile that left him breathless.
“Fernando, how are you?” she asked him shyly.
“Reyna, I’m fine” he walked beside her. “How are you?”
“I’m good, on my way to wash some clothes” she told him.
“Why do you do it?” he asked her, curiosity in his own brown eyes. “Your family has facilities to wash clothes at home”
“I know, I just like the river, I feel like I’m one with nature,” she smiled.
“If you married me, would you wash my clothes?”
Reyna laughed out loud, “yes” she told him. “I would love washing my husbands’ clothes”
“In that case, it’s settled then” his brown eyes devoured her beauty. “We’ll get married and you’ll wash my clothes!”
“Not the kind of proposal I was hoping for” she said ruefully.
“I guess I’m getting ahead of myself, huh?” his hand went back to his neck and he looked at her sheepishly.
“Yes you are” she agreed. “But you can always stay and talk to me while I finish washing” she invited and this brought another smile to his face.
Reyna would see him every three days, he already knew her schedule so he would wait for her and take the basket full of dirty clothes. Her friends started commenting on the amount of time they were spending together, but she didn’t care. Fernando was a couple of years older than her, he was dark, his hair cut low and he was always so attentive with her. He made her laugh, gave her compliments and he was always such a gentleman and the best part? He came from a respective family, she was sure her parents would not object of them going out. Still she was quite young to be having a boyfriend, but her own mother had married at sixteen years old, what was one year younger? Nothing, not when it came to love. She was so in love with him, no other boy had treated her the way Fernando did. At first they had both been so shy, but after a while they became so comfortable with each other and this is exactly what they needed. He had kissed her yesterday and she had never experienced anything like it. She wanted more kisses, more touching, but how can she tell him that? It was not very lady like of her and she had to be careful, in small villages people always talked.
As she walked down the street she noticed he was not there waiting for her, she found this strange and she was disappointed. Throughout her walk towards river she kept an eye out for him but to no avail, she sulked as she washed her clothes. What could have happened to him? She wondered, but tried to concentrate on washing her clothes.
By the time she turned to leave he was there, he was sweating, and breathing hard but he had a smile on his face.
“Reyna, marry me, we’ll be happy and wealthy” he told her and she didn’t know what to say.
“Yes?” she laughed and he grabbed her basket and put it on the ground so he could kiss her. “You mustn’t!” she protested and he just laughed.
“Let’s go, my parents are waiting at your house, they will speak to your parents today” he told her grabbing the basket off the ground and started to walk, she followed right behind him.
“What do you mean?”
“I wasn’t here because I was talking to my parents. I will be in charge for our store and my dad has given it to me. That will be our living, we won’t need to worry about making money”
“What? Your parents are giving us your store?”
“And a house, as the only son, I’ll inherit everything anyway” he smiled down at her and it took her breath away.
“They’re okay? I mean with me? My family is poor…” she started saying.
“My parents know this, they just want me to be happy” he assured her and this made her smile. She was marrying into a good family she realized.
As they entered her small house, both set of parents looked at them and everyone burst into smiles, hugs and congratulations went around.
For the next few weeks, preparations for the wedding were made, Reyna got her beautiful white wedding dress, the food was chosen, decorations. They needed to speak to the priest and set the date. Both of them came from very religious families and of course had to be married in church.
“The only time I can come to marry you both will be in 2 weeks” the priest was saying. Their village priest travelled all year round from village to village and normally left someone in charge to give the mass on his behalf. “Unfortunately, I will be out of the province” he told them regretfully. “The next time I’ll return will be in a few months from now”
“Surely Father, you can spend half a day for our wedding? It’s not everyday couples get married!”
“I understand your anxiety child, but the only time I have is in 2 weeks from now. Give me your baptism paper and I’ll start the process, you’ll see everything will be as beautiful as you want” he promised.
Reyna’s mother gasped. “She’s not baptized!” Reyna looked at her mother.
“What do you mean I’m not baptized?! I have to be!” if she wasn’t baptized she couldn’t get married! Which meant she also had to do the first communion and confirmation!
“This does create a problem” the priest said gravely. “I can baptize you in two weeks and you will have to wait longer to get married”
“Can’t we do it all in one shot?” Reyna asked, heart pounding, all she wanted to do was get married to the love of her life.
“I’m sorry dear, it will not be possible” the priest searched his bag and gave her a book. “Read this book from beginning to end, choose your Godparents and in two weeks I will baptize you” he promised and with a wave he left her and mother gaping after him.
Reyna ran towards the river, with tears streaming down her cheeks, now she would have to wait forever! As she neared the river she saw Fernando there, how did he know she was going to be there? But then she noticed another woman approaching him. Reyna hid behind a tree and watched them, she was close enough to hear their conversation.
“Just know that once I marry Reyna, you and I are done” he said to the other woman, she had never seen her before.
“You always say that,” she breathed, and put her arms arounds his neck and kissed him deeply. Reyna’s eyes widened in shock, she would have never expected this from him! She had thought he truly loved her! How could he? Reyna felt so betrayed, so foolish and so angry for ever having trusted him! How long had this been going on? She shook with anger as she watched the two lovers keep kissing and moaning in pleasure and it made her feel disgust towards him and herself for ever having believed him. Reyna watched and finally decided to leave them to it, how could she have been so stupid? She berated herself, and the more she thought about it, the angrier she became until her quick steps turned into a full race back to the house, she would show him! She would show him what he had done, what he would be missing!
By the time she went back to the river, they were half naked, she let out a desperate cry, but she hardened her heart.
“Fernando! You traitor! You pig!” she yelled and the couple looked at her, Fernando got up, put back his shirt.
“Is not what you think” he started and then he noticed what she was wearing.
“I curse you and that whore!” she said vehemently “I curse the day I laid eyes on you,” she cried, her beautiful dark hair had come undone from her pony tail, her dark eyes had turned black with anguish and anger. As Reyna continued walking towards them a wind came out of nowhere, rustling her long skirt of her wedding dress, her hair whipping about that made her look like an evil ghost.
Fernando looked at her with fear and awe, she was still so beautiful against the evening light, almost magical.
“Let me explain”
Reyna stood in front of him, ignoring his lover, he had been the one to break her heart, the person she loved most in this world, as he tried to touch her, she pushed him, he had been too close to the river, he fell back in the shallow river, hitting his head on a rock. Reyna saw as the river took his blood, he was dead. He was dead. She had killed the love of her life.
“You killed him!” the other woman wailed as she tried to revive Fernando. All Reyna could do was stare and she started to cry, I killed him, I killed him, she kept repeating to herself.
“I killed him!” she wailed as she ran to her house. “I killed him!” she cried. As her mom came to her, she just kept repeating the same thing.
“Who?” her mother asked but Reyna wasn’t listening, all she knew was that she had killed her future husband.
As her mom came towards Reyna, she went into a little ball, repeating it to herself.
Not knowing what do, she left her daughter in the middle of the living room and put a cover over her.
Hours later she would find out Reyna had found her fiancé with another woman and in her anger had pushed him. She did not kill Fernando, but his family wanted nothing to do with her, and she couldn’t blame them. Days turned into nights and Reyna would not come out of her bedroom, she ate only spoonful’s of food, she was deteriorating and fast. Her daughter was no longer the beautiful young woman she once was, instead she was a shell of that woman. Numerous times she tried to take the wedding dress off but to no avail.
For months and months Reyna roamed the house and when she finally stepped out, it was only to moan in sorrow as she made her way towards the river, she would stare at the spot where she thought her fiance had died.
“You didn’t kill me” Fernando told her one day that she was staring down at the river.
“It’s okay” he said. Reyna’s hair was a mess, it looked dirty and tangled, the once white wedding dress had stains and dirt all over, it was ripped all over and had holes, he had done this to her, he realized. God knew he had never meant to hurt her, he wished he could turn back time.
Reyna’s face crumpled as she saw his handsome face, he was dressed in proper wedding clothes.
“I’m getting married,” he told her. “I just want you to be happy,” he tried to touch her but she took a step back.
“I killed you,” she whispered, a tear ran down her cheek.
“No, you didn’t” Fernando looked back. “Go and be happy like I will,” he waved her goodbye and he turned to leave getting on his horse, he never looked back. He didn’t see that in that very moment, her heart as well as her mind broke.
“Nooooooo” she yelled and ran, looking for him but in her craziness she never once stopped to see where she was going and by the time she realized what she had done, it was too late. As she went over the cliff, she saw the ground getting closer towards her, and she closed her eyes, thinking she would find him and she would have her revenge, he would never live in peace.
A few months later….
He was late for dinner, Nancy would not be happy, but there was nothing he could do, in the last fifteen minutes he had a rush of customers coming in and he had to make sure to attend to all of them. As he walked the same path, he looked back at the river, he felt bad for what had happened to Reyna, she had not deserved any heartbreak. Feeling guilty and melancholic he walked towards the river. As he got closer, he noticed a woman in white with long black hair washing clothes. Reyna? He thought but no, he shook his head, it couldn’t be her.
He heard the familiar and lulling humming that Reyna always used to sing and it brought happiness. Maybe she was just a happy wondering spirit, here to say her goodbyes.
“Reyna?” he called out, but she did not answer, she just continued washing clothes and humming.
“Reyna? Can I talk to you?” he called out, louder this time. The woman stopped the humming and washing, she got up. With his fast beating heart, he was finally going to see her one last time, hopefully she would look like she once did, as she turned, he smiled at her and what he saw, was not Reyna, but something so hideous, so demonic and evil that he couldn’t comprehend, then everything went black.
It is said that Fernando was found the next day by the river, with his eyes closed, rocking back and forth and murmuring to himself. As people tried to approach him, he would go into a crazy frenzy until specialists had to be called so he could be taken away.
For the next few years, it was said that a woman washing by the river humming would lure men in and have her way with them. None of these men ever survived, so if you ever come across her, beware!
This story comes from legends and myths of Honduras, many people today claim they have seen her and/or heard her washing clothes.
Till this day it is said that La Sucia (The Dirty One) will appear all over Honduras washing clothes near rivers, lakes and including in your own house if you own a “Pila” which is like a laundry sink made out of concrete outside of your house, where people wash their clothes.
Please note I tried to stay true to the story, but obviously half of it was left to my own imagination! 😉