The Sack Man
The Sack Man is a legend or a myth whatever you want to call it. It’s similar to what the people in the US call the “Boogeyman”. It is said that this creature goes around with a bag in its shoulder, like some sort of deranged Santa, that instead of giving gifts to nice children, it kidnaps disobedient children, putting them in the bag and carrying them away. He is an imaginary and terrifying nightrider that seeks children who are “not nice” and takes them during the night. It’s a tale known in many countries worldwide. There are many variations of this creature depending on the country’s culture and folklore, and it can also go by many names. The legend of the Sack Man is common in Spain, Portugal, as well as Latin America, including Brazil.
How does the Sack Man fit in all this mess? I have no clue. However, one thing is certain, that man mentioned him and so did the boy from the tunnel and the lady in my dreams “Homem do saco”. It’s definitely no coincidence, seeing as it is a common tale in Brazil, told to children so they would behave. There is obviously a connection to all of this, but I can’t quite pinpoint it. Was that kid kidnapped and killed or something? But then what the hell does this scapular mean? And what’s with all these suspicious people all around? Shit I’m getting a headache.
I rushed home after that creepy pervert mentioned the sack man and researched the meaning of his words. I thought I could find some answers, but honestly, I’m even more confused now, but at least I know what that kid and the woman meant by homem do saco. Exhausted and weak I laid down on the bed to try and swallow it all. I plugged the cellphone charger; it had been dead for a while now, and I had forgotten to charge it. As soon as the phone turns on, I saw over 100 unread messages and about 70 missed calls from Mara. All the texts were related to Ren’s death and concern towards whether I was dead or alive.
I sighed in exhaustion and called her to assure her that I was fine. That asshole didn’t even call her to tell her I was fine. She answered soon after two rings with a trembling voice.
“LAI! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?! DO YOU KNOW HOW WORRIED I WAS?! I THOUGHT SOMETHING HAPPENED TO YOU TOO!!”
“Mara, can you please lower your voice and calm down?
“How can I calm down when Ren is dead and you were missing for five days!! FIVE DAYS!!!”
“Sorry there was…a situation…Are you ok?
“No, but I feel a little better now that I hear from you…Also I blurted out what happened to Ren, but you seemed to have known about it already. How did you find out? Did you know all this time and didn’t call?”
“No, I just found out this morning, it’s not important how, but Mara, I don’t think it was suicide”
“Of course, it wasn’t, someone as happy as her on her wedding day couldn’t have done something like that”
“So, you think the same?”
“Yeah, I told the police, but they concluded it as a suicide, because her husband testified that she had been depressed for a while now. Seriously? How can he say that, I mean he didn’t even look a bit afflicted; his face showed no emotions during her service. If you ask me, I’m sure he knows something and so the police, but they are hiding it because they are a powerful family with a lot of influence. UGH!!! If I get my hands on him, I swear I would….” I interrupted her little rant. All she said made sense, but girl just calm down, my headache is getting worse.
“Mara…breathe, I’m sure all you said is right, but we don’t really have any evidence…Tell me something Mara, did Ren call you before the incident? Did she say anything strange?”
“Now that you mention it, she did call me the night before. She told me she made a mistake and she needed to talk to you, but she couldn’t contact you. She sounded really scared girly.”
“Ok, thanks…Mara don’t worry too much, we will soon know the truth, I’ll make sure of that”
“What are you talking about girly?”
“Don’t worry about it, take care”
I immediately hung up and closed my eyes to try and regain energy for what was to come.
The alarm goes off and I jump out of bed. The room was tremendously dark, which was weird because I set the alarm to 4:00 pm. The air was dry and my lips were chapped, I heard a chuckle from the distance, it sounded like a kid’s voice. I looked to the corner and saw a mirror, the same mirror that I had when I was young. I walked towards the mirror and saw a grim reflection of a kid, the boy? No, it was me…I turned around and my room looked exactly like my old room from when I was a kid.
“Lai come here, let me fix your hair”
My mother was sitting by the edge of the bed and a young me ran to her with open arms. Was this a memory?
“Mommy, would you ever leave me?” asked the young me
“Of course not, and if anything were to happen to me, I’ll always be here” she put her hand in the young Lai’s chest
“My boobs?” she asked
“Where did you learn that word” my mom said surprised and amused. “I meant your heart, silly”
She tickled young me as they both laughed and I let escape a sad smile.
Young me stopped laughing and looked straight at me. I froze for a second, her stare was rigid and dead, she began to walk towards me and as she did, her face began to melt. Her eyes slid down her face, as her mouth deformed; consequently, her entire body began to drip and a distorted smile was noticeable.
“You wished to forget but now your past has come back to haunt you. You miss these happy times, but can’t even tell if it’s a memory or a dream? What is it you want? You think you can play the hero? No matter what you do your past cannot be forgotten…”
I screamed with all I had. The dripping young Lai dragged herself in the floor with two black holes that replaced her eyes and blood spurting from everywhere. I tried to run but I couldn’t move. The door opened and my dad entered the room, smashing the melting girl’s head, splashing blood all over my face. He then grabbed me by the neck, my mother tried to stop him but he hit her shattering her to pieces. I struggled while still in his grip, almost out of breath. That monster I used to call father began to morph into a completely different person and the kid in the floor was no longer me but a thin frail boy, curled up into a fetal position, and his face was not visible. The unidentified man let me go, and I gasped as I fell to the floor, then he approached the boy with a menacing aura.
The boy meekly whispered: “anjo da guarda, me ajude por favor”
The lights suddenly flickered to darkness and then turned back on. I was back in my room sitting in front of my vanity desk. What the hell was that? What did that kid say? I felt like I would regret it, but I grabbed my cellphone to call Lucas. Only to remember I never asked for his number. Shit! Google Translate it is.
Since I didn’t know how to write the words, I tried to say the words on the microphone thingy, but my pronunciation was so bad, I could feel the internet laughing at me. I thought I should just give up, what was the point I kept running in circles and going nowhere. And what was with that memory? I keep remembering shit I had blocked years ago, why is it all coming back now? Was it because of that boy? Who exactly is that boy? UGH!!! I’ll just go to Tiago’s house, maybe I can find some clues there.
I drove all the way to his house hoping I could find him or someone that could untangle this mess. I got there and ringed the doorbell about 10 times, but there was no answer. Seriously I can never get a hold of this guy. I was about to walk away, when I saw a car that parked in the driveway. Tiago got out of the car, dressed in mourning clothes and a very hostile face.
“Ummm… Tiago? Remember me?” I nervously said to him
He glared at me for half a second and automatically shifted to a smile. “Of course, you’re, Lai, Ren’s friend, right?
“Yeah…listen sorry I couldn’t make it to Ren’s…”
“Don’t worry, Lucas told me about what happened, he seems to have taken a liking to you” interrupted the asshole.
“Lucas seems to be interested in a lot of things lately, don’t you agree?” I angrily uttered
“He’s like that, once he likes something it’s almost impossible for him to let go” he said with a smile. “But, are you here to give your respects? You must feel horrible that you weren’t able to be there for her.”
“I didn’t have to see her to be with her, she’s already dead. You must feel horrible too, you two couldn’t even have a honeymoon, such young soul gone like that with no warning”
“The way you talk is as if you weren’t really her friend” he smiled
“What about you? How can you be so calm?”
“Miss Lai, what are you trying to imply?”
“N…noting, I’m just still in shock”
“Well, you should be careful wouldn’t want to have you fainting like the last time, you had quite a fall…”
“What are you…”
“Oh and Miss Lai…I suggest you stop meddling in what is not of your concern”
He walked away, entering the house and gently shutting the door behind him. I was pissed, how could Ren marry such an ass, he was almost as big an ass as I was. I stood there furious, how come this whole family seems suspicious? I glanced at the window and noticed something inside, I thought I’d seen before. I approached it carefully trying not to make a sound. There was a flower pot, and the flowers inside seemed oddly familiar. All of a sudden, I felt a chill and immediately looked up. Tiago was inside looking at me through the window. He mouthed the words: “have you had dinner yet?”
Shit, that was unexpected…He opened the door and let me in. I followed him inside…yes, I’m a moron for following a suspicious man into his house, alone and unarmed, but I felt I had nothing to lose, so I went inside.
“You seemed to be curious about my house… I thought about it a bit, and it seems I had mistreated you. To be honest I’ve been on edge after all that’s happened. I’ll fix something up, to make it up to you. After all you must be quite upset as well”
“You cook?” I hastily asked “I, mean thank you, didn’t think a man with your status could cook”
“Well is just something simple, even a kid could do it really”
“Speaking of kids, what’s your thought about children”
“They’re quite charming I must say, unfortunately I can’t have any” he said it with a calm expression as he continued to chop some vegetables.
“Sorry I asked…” I walked around while looking at the odd paintings hanging from the walls. “Are you a fan of art?”
“Not really, I just like that artist in particular.”
“why? Because the art is depressive like you?”
“No, it’s because everyone thought she was crazy, she kept saying her husband wanted to kill her, but nobody believed her because he was always so kind to her. Until one day, she got killed by his hands. I believed she loved him, but she needed to escape his toxic wrath, so she found comfort with another man, I don’t know whether to feel sympathy or disgust. One thing is sure though, she expressed her pain in her art, and I somehow feel a connection to that pain.” He smiled then sighed after contemplating one of the paintings.
I gulped and nervously sat on the couch to wait for dinner to be ready. He was even creepier than his brother. I’m definitely insane. My body was stiff, I didn’t know if I should run or stay. I felt extremely uneasy.
After some time, he set the table and we both sat down to have some supper. It looked delicious to say the least, it had a fancy name I don’t know how to pronounce, all I know is it had steak and some gourmet potatoes. He was obviously trying to be modest when he said that even a kid could do it, unless that kid was a cooking prodigy.
“Hope my culinary skills are good enough for you” he said with a smirk
“Are you sure there is no poison in this” I said while puncturing the steak to see if it was alright to eat, not that I would accomplish anything by it.
“It’s perfectly fine to eat, if you don’t want it then give it to me…” he said while showing his pearly teeth. I could see why Ren fell for him; he was stupidly handsome.
“It’s fine, I’m starving” I munched hard, that shit was heavenly, why are the good ones always psychos? I almost cried after one taste. I had forgotten why I went there in the first place.
“Oh right!” I said while stuffing a chunk of meat “can I ask you a question?”
“Yes, of course”
“What does ‘anjo da guarda, me ajude por favor’ mean?”
He stopped eating and looked down for a while, as if lost in thought (or translation). I said it with a really lousy pronunciation, I was surprised he understood.
“It means, ‘please help me, guardian angel’. Why? Where did you hear it?” he said with an intimidating look in his eyes, almost like his brother’s but worse.
I stuttered and almost choked on my food. I swallowed hard to try and get it down.
“I..it’s nothing… I…I just heard it somewhere and was curious…t…that’s all… It’s late I better go now. Thanks for the food”. I sprinted up from the chair, grabbed my things and went straight to the door. He stopped me midway with his mysterious voice.
“Hope you had a wonderful evening”
I kept walking and as I was almost at the door, I sensed a peculiar fragrance I had smelt before. I look towards the window and the flower in the pot I had noticed by the window, was with no doubt a wild freesia.
To be continued… (November 1, 2019)
Author’s Note: … Again, if there are any mistakes, I don’t speak Portuguese, so please help me if there is something wrong.
Music: Xtortion Audio – Mephisto’s Lullaby (Epic Halloween Music – Dark Horror Vocal)