Archive for headless

The Walking Woman and the Nice Young Man

Posted in Fiction, Horror, Urban Legends with tags , , , , on October 19, 2009 by smilingjacks

This is a variation on a North American folk tale. It was once a well known legend in Mexico and the Western United States, and it’s still told today.

A young man was walking home from a friend’s house. It was a cold, quiet evening. He didn’t mind the darkened loneliness of the empty road, as he was used to walking at night and enjoyed the silence and tranquility.

He didn’t usually encounter anyone on his walks, but on this particular night he saw a woman walking up ahead. It startled him at first, but she seemed harmless enough–just an old woman in a white dress. A bonnet obscured her face and she carried a basket with her.

He figured it must have been one of his neighbors, and it didn’t seem right to let an old woman walk alone at night, so he approached her to walk alongside her.

She stopped dead in her tracks as soon as he reached her. The bonnet was pulled down too far and he couldn’t see the woman’s face even up close. He couldn’t see the contents of her basket either, as it was covered with a cloth.

He greeted her and asked for her name, but she didn’t reply. She just stood there, not even looking at him. He thought she must be startled by him, so he apologized and offered to carry her basket for her.

“What a kind boy you are,” a soft, shaky voice whispered from under the bonnet.

The woman turned to face the young man. Still, he couldn’t see under her bonnet, and he had a strange feeling about her, but he was sorry for startling her and when she reached her hand out to give him the basket, he politely accepted it.

“So nice of you to carry my basket,” she said before erupting in loud, wailing laughter.

The young man was startled and stumbled back. As he tried to keep his balance, he dropped the basket on the road. The cloth fluttered away in the breeze and something rolled out of the basket and landed behind him. When he turned around to retrieve it, he saw that it was a woman’s head.

He failed at holding back a shriek as the dead eyes of the disembodied head stared up at him. He turned back around to the woman, desperate for an explanation. That’s when he finally saw under the bonnet, and what he saw chilled him so deeply it threatened to freeze the blood in his veins. He saw nothing where a head should have been.

Turning back to the object on the road, he realized then that the head which stared up at him was the woman’s. A scream began to creep up his spine, but before he could get it out, he was grabbed from behind. He looked down and saw the arms of the woman. Her cold grip locked around his chest and trapped him in a paralysis of fear.

“Let me go!” he pleaded, but the woman only continued her shrieking hyena laughter.

He saw movement beneath him out of the corner of his eye. The head was stirring. It rolled over so that it was looking directly up at him, and slowly a smile formed on its pale, dead face.

The woman’s grip released suddenly and the boy fell face down on the side of the road. He rolled onto his back, dreading what he knew he would see–the headless woman and her grinning, disembodied head. He saw neither, however. They were gone.

The boy sat alone on the dark, quiet road. He dared not move until dawn. That was the coldest night of his life.