The Ghost of Catarina…

Black and white chair facing a foggy window at the El Tovar Hotel

This vision I created with my camera brings up so many feelings. A feeling of loneliness… one of sadness but also one of history. Who could have sat there so many years ago… before my time. Did she run this hotel or was she here for a visit? So my story goes… the ghost of Catarina.

She was a young bride of only 16 and he… a man much older than she. Charlie was his name and he was an entrepreneur headed for a new frontier… with his new bride. Yes, Charlie had been married before but Catarina loved him just the same. Besides, it was common that a man of his age be married before. It didn’t take much to win her father over… plus the money that Charlie offered, without her knowledge of course, helped things along. Her father never questioned his motives though he should have.

Charlie had planned, after they were married, to take her out west. Her father refused to allow it but he had no power of his daughter any longer. And so Catarina and Charlie set forth on their journey to the west. She was very nervous about the journey but felt sure that he would take good care of her.

Their journey was long and treacherous, barely escaping death’s clutches from the mountainous terrain and the threat of thieves and cutthroats along their path. A few other men had joined them which was suspicious because they seemed to know each other quite well. Charlie would spend more time with them then Catarina and didn’t seem to care about her or consummating their marriage. She began to feel all alone on this horrible journey. “Who was this man she married?” she thought. She kept to herself most of the time, cooking for the men and cleaning as much as she could. It had been 3 weeks since she had left the safety of her home and the love of her family. She often wondered what her life would be like after they arrived at their destination. She had no idea where they were going… just west.

Finally, they came upon a town. It wasn’t much but it was enough. She was able to bathe… finally, she thought. She was so excited and happy that she would get to sleep in a bed and maybe… just maybe… Charlie would be with her. She began to blush at the possibility of what might come. After cleaning up and eating a nice hearty meal, it was time to turn in for the night. That glorious bed she thought. She couldn’t wait to climb in and feel the warmth and safety of the bed and Charlie’s arms wrapped around her. As she lay there, she couldn’t help but fall asleep. She tried to stay awake to welcome Charlie to their bed but no one came.

In her dream… it was foggy outside… a deep settling mist everywhere she looked. She sat in the rocking chair looking out the window… waiting for her Charlie. At last… she saw him coming up the steps. “Charlie! I’ve been waiting for you!” she said with her arms out to embrace him. And then… a loud shot rang in her ears! She looked all around but found no one. The fog was so thick! Then Charlie… in her arms… began to fall. She caught him but it did not good. He was too heavy. She couldn’t hold him up. As he lay on the floor she could see he had been shot. Blood poured out from the wound in his back. She screamed… yelling for help… but no one would come.

Suddenly she awoke… feeling the sweat dripping from her body. She looked for Charlie but he was not there. So she lit a candle and opened the door to go downstairs and look for him. It was dark and foggy outside and no one was around. Then she heard it… a loud shot rang in her ears. She ran outside to the porch where the chairs were… and there… she found Charlie… lying lifeless. She looked around to see who was there… and out of the fog came two men. One with a gun in his hand… laughing. “Hey there pretty girl.” he said as he gave her a slimy smile. “You killed him!” she yelled back. “He wouldn’t share.” he said and started moving towards her. She slipped past him and ran off the porch and into the dark fog of the night. She ran and ran all the while hearing him in the distance… taunting her. She was so frightened. Charlie was gone… she loved him… thoughts of the two men reaching her terrified her. Who would protect her from these horrible men? She kept running and then… there was nothing but air.

They never found her body. Folks say that when the fog is thick you can’t see the edge of the canyon. Now… Catarina sits in that chair and waits for her Charlie to come back to her.

I hope you enjoyed my little story… based on no facts what-so-ever. 😉

Carol ~Mama Owl~

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