I wrote a short story for a children’s horror anthology that didn’t’ get picked up. Since I want it out there for you to read and enjoy, please find it below. It’s based on the folklore of El Coco, or El Cucuy – the Hispanic bogeyman. Enjoy.

EL CUCUY by Cina Pelayo

“Mom!” Oscar yelled as he raised the blanket over his face.

The light in the hallway clicked on a few moments later. There were footsteps and then the door to his bedroom swung open. His bleary-eyed mother stood in the doorway. “There’s nothing here,” she said before he could say anything. This was not the first, or the second, but the third time Oscar yelled for her in the night.

“Under the bed!” He cried.

His mother looked under the bed. There was nothing there.

“Maybe he’s in the closet now!”

His mother opened the door to his closet. There was nothing there.

Oscar motioned over to his favorite chair piled high with his things beside the window. His mother scooped the clothes and the toys from the chair in her arms and moved back to the doorway.

“There’s nothing under the bed. There’s nothing in the closet, and now there’s nothing in the chair.”

Oscar sat up in bed and looked around the room. “But Abuelo said the Cucuy’s going to eat me!”

“Dios mio, I don’t know why your grandfather tells you those scary stories. There’s no boogeyman.”

“Abuelo said the Cucuy is the boogeyman from Mexico. He said that Cucuy will eat me because I was bad for drawing on the kitchen wall with red crayon.”

“You’re not bad,” his mother said. “You’re just a little boy and Abuelo was bad for saying those mean things to you.”

“Abuelo was bad!? Not me!?”

“Right, and the Cucuy is not going to eat you because there is no Cucuy.” She went to his bedside and kissed the top of his head. “Now get some sleep. Remember, Abuelo will get you ready and take you to school in the morning because I’ll already be at work.”

When his mother turned off the light the room returned to its soft glow from the street light just outside his window. The little boy looked to the closet. Then he looked to the chair. When the little boy looked up he saw it. It floated inches above his face. It loomed large. It was all fangs dripping in saliva, sharp claws and darkness. It’s fiery eyes glowed red and yellow in the room. When the Cucuy opened its mouth the little boy gasped “Wait!”

The next morning Abuelo knocked on the door. “It’s time for school, mijo.” He opened the door but the little boy was not in his bed.

A game, the grandfather thought.

“I’m looking under the bed for my grandson.” The old man got on his hands and knees and looked beneath the bed. “He’s not there.”

He glanced over to the chair by the window. “My grandson is not sitting in his favorite chair either.”

The grandfather moved just outside of the closet door. He heard a soft giggle rise from within. “I wonder if my grandson is inside?”

When the grandfather opened the closet door he saw his grandson standing there with a smile on his face. “Hi Abuelo.” It took a moment for the grandfather’s eyes to adjust to the beast that towered beside his grandson.

“You were bad and the Cucuy said he’s going to eat you now. I’m sorry.”

The grandfather gasped and fell back. The monster, who was all darkness, claws, and fangs opened his mouth and lunged at him.

Que Viene El Coco (1799) by Goya