PodCastle Miniature 73: Sugar Skulls

by Samantha Henderson

Read by Emily Smith

Originally published in Jack-O Spec: Tales of Halloween and Fantasy

My Abuela is making sugar skulls, and Tia Bibiana is helping her.   

Yesterday was the first of November, the Día de los Angelitos, and Abuela and Ramon and the neighborhood kids made the altar for the children.  I said I was too old to help, like I’m too old to go from house to house, but I stayed in the kitchen and watched. The last two years it was Lilia’s alone, with a plate of mac and cheese, and sugar-crusted tamarind candy, and the Clementine tangerines Lilia loved, and would steal from the wooden box and get in trouble because she ate them all. She used to peel the loose skin so it made an empty tangerine and would give it to me laughing when it collapsed under my eager thumb. We put her stuffed animals around the legs of the card table where the altar was set.  Abuela wrote her name on the skull with pink icing. 

Rated R: Contains disturbing imagery, themes, and candy.