Avenging angels and demons abound in the traditions and folklore of people all over the world. One such character is La Sayona.
Her story comes to us from Venezuela where, it is said, a beautiful woman called Melissa was happily married to her loving husband, with whom she had a baby son. One day, she was bathing naked in the river when a man from the village saw her. From that day onwards, he always followed her when she went to the river. One day, Melissa caught him watching her, challenged him and told him to stop stalking her. The man protested his innocence and said he had only come to warn her that her husband had betrayed her. Her faithless spouse was, he said, sleeping with another woman. Not just any woman either. According to the stranger, Melissa’s husband was sleeping with her own mother.
Enraged, Melissa returned home to find her husband sleeping peacefully with their baby in his arms. But Melissa’s rage burned hot and rendered her blind to any thought that her husband might be innocent. She burned down the house, killing both her husband and her son. Villagers could hear their screams but could do nothing to save them as the fire had taken too firm a hold.
Melissa then marched over to her mother’s house and found her sitting on the patio. Melissa charged at her, wielding a machete. She stabbed her mother in the stomach and, as the woman lay bleeding, she cursed her daughter. She told Melissa she would be forced to walk the earth forever, killing any cheating husbands.
It is said that today La Sayona (which translates as ‘the executioner’) can be seen as a beautiful young woman in a long white gown who strolls up and down the highway, luring men. To trick them, she often dons the disguise of one of their loved ones. Only when she has them in her grasp does she reveal her true self, with her rotting skull, horrible teeth and decayed flesh. She then mangles their bodies, or even eats them. In another version, she will entice them to have sex with her before revealing her true, disgusting self and eating their body parts – with special attention being given to the genital area.
Some of the men survive the encounter with La Sayona, with all their parts intact – but infected. The ghost carries a range of nasty diseases, all of which result in a clear signal to the wives of these men that their husbands have had an encounter with La Sayona and have, therefore, been unfaithful.
My novella – Dark Avenging Angel – is, as its title suggests, also concerned with revenge. In this case, revenge of the most demonic kind. We’ve all heard the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for…” Jane learns the truth of this in graphic ways:
Don’t hurt Jane. You may live to regret it.
Bullied by her abusive father, Jane always felt different. Then the lonely child found a friend in a mysterious dark lady who offers her protection—a lady she calls her “angel”. But that protection carries a terrible price, one to be paid with the souls of those Jane chooses to suffer a hideous and eternal fate.
When Jane refuses to name another victim, the angel reveals her most terrifying side. Payment must be made in full—one way or the other.
Here’s a brief extract:
Something had woken me from a deep sleep troubled by my recurring nightmare in which I was in a wood, being chased by some unimaginable horror. I never saw its face, assuming it even had one. But I knew if I didn’t find sanctuary, it would kill me. I had just made it into the strange little house that always appeared in the clearing, when my eyes opened and I gasped at the white, smiling face looking down at me.
That night, my angel seemed different somehow.
Oh, she looked the same. Same black cloak, but this time it shimmered and I wanted to touch it. I was sure it would feel soft as velvet under my fingers.
She put her finger to her lips and stroked my hair. Her touch was like a gentle breeze in summertime. My eyes wanted to close, but I forced them to stay open.
I knew I mustn’t speak out loud, but I could still whisper. “I wish I knew your name. Who are you? Please will you tell me?”
She continued to smile. Her lips moved, but the answering voice I heard was again in my head.
Do not be afraid, child. It is not yet time, but soon you will have the power to avenge yourself on those who have done you harm. Look for me in the shadows and I will be there, taking account.
I understood nothing of what she said. But, from somewhere, a calm I had never felt before emerged and wrapped itself around me.
I blinked in the darkness as she faded from sight.
Then I closed my eyes and slept. I never had that nightmare again after that night. But what if I’d known what was ahead for me?
Some things are better off left in the dark.
You can find Dark Avenging Angel here: