The Beast of Montenegro

“Will I die soon?” Mina stared into the void, wondering if that was her fate.

“No, of course not,” Alena assured her. “You have a lot more to live for. You have a whole world to experience. Marriage and a family.”

“I don’t want a family,” Mina said. “I’ve seen what family does to each other. They destroy each other, use each other, fight with each other.”

“Family is what you make of it,” Alena floated a few feet away. “Not all families are terrible. Some are full of love and compassion… Some really do care. I would know.”

Mina wondered if ghosts could cry. It was strange to see Alena talk that way. She always abstained from talking about her past life. Perhaps it was too painful.

“What were they like?” Mina asked. “Your family?”

Alena looked out into the forest where trees swayed by the wind. The day was cool, and grey clouds had gathered in the sky. It was consistently gloomy in Montenegro, appearing it might rain when it didn’t. It was rare to see the sun shine, and when it did it was pithy.

“It was wonderful,” Alena finally said. “I can still see my children’s faces… It’s something I keep to myself. You must understand that… I’m here for you, Mina.”

“I’m not that important,” Mina softly said.

“You’re important to me,” Alena turned to her. “I will stay as long as you need me.”

The Beast of Montenegro

Mina nodded and left the apartment. She went to the outskirts of Montenegro, down an unused dirt lane that took her to a place everybody avoided. There she came upon the rubble of a brick house where only its foundation and a few walls remained. The ponce belonged to a woman named Matilda Muscovy. Five hundred years ago she had been accused of being a witch.

People in Montenegro were superstitious and never dared to go where nefarious people had formerly lived. They believed she still haunted the place and if anyone got too close she might put a hex on them. Mina wasn’t afraid of the dead. She felt safer among them. The last thing, Mina wanted to think about was her mother’s threats. She was used to them, but each day they were getting ominous.

“Why is she that way?” Mina wanted to know.

“She’s sometimes doesn’t know what she is saying,” Alena said.

“She’s demented,” Natalia spoke out thoughtlessly.

“Will I become like her?” Mina asked in a worried voice.

“No, you won’t,” Alena said.

“Your nothing like her,” Natalia said.