The cool evening desert winds began to lift the blanket of oppressive heat from the mesa where Mariana tended to her flock of goats for the family. Her father was a goat herder like his father before him, but since he fell sick it fell on her young shoulders to graze the goats for several days far from home. Of course, this meant she was alone with only her small tent and fire to warm her, but the desert was her home and her father raised her to be courageous.
Yet, she could not forget that this night would be different. Tonight was the first night of February and the beginning of the time where it was thought the Chupacabra would again appear. Some did not believe, but she and her father had seen it. Seen it AND lost precious goats to its attacks. Like a black ghost, it would arrive and with hardly a sound one of the goats would simply be gone. The next day they may find something from the attack, but many times nothing.
It was not always like this. Her father told her of a time long ago when the valley was more green, more lovely, and filled with flowering cactus and beautiful songbirds. Now, the land was dry, so dry she could taste the metallic clay dust on her lips. The dust of the valley seemed to never settle. Yet tonight the rain and storms would once again come to the mesa. This would be a blessing and a curse. While it brought life to a desolate land for a short time, it would also bring the Chupacabra and the darkness it brings.
She raised a larger fire this evening and began to boil her coffee, flavored with chocolate and cinnamon her mother had bundled for her. She could not afford to let down her guard or sleep a wink for tonight...was the Night of the Chupacabra.