Cages Can Kill

“Wild women die in captivity.”

“Ciguapas aren’t women, Dust. Ever met a chick who could knock a man out with her voice? Or who had feet pointing in the same direction as her ass?”

Dustin watched the ciguapa, the woman, sitting by the waterfall grooming her hair. “We can’t cage her. She won’t survive.”

“She’ll live long enough. We can’t be blamed if she dies after we get paid.” He smirked before aiming the dart rifle at her hip.

“No!” Dustin smacked the rifle as the other man pulled the trigger.

His dart missed.

But her song got them both.


the wee notes…
– I grew up in a small village, in the Dominican Republic, listening to stories about ciguapas, mythological beings of Dominican and Puerto Rican folklore. According to my Grandmother, ciguapas were extremely fast, had a jet-black mane that went all the way down to their feet (which pointed backwards), and every single one of them was female… For this reason, most legends say, they enthralled human males (for a day or 3 of passionate love-making) in order to keep their species going.

– written for Friday Fictioneers, where Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, invites us to use a photo (the 2nd in this post) as inspiration for a story of 100 words or fewer. To read more waterfall-inspired tales, follow this link.


Ciguapa, by Felix Esteban Rosario

photo by Dale Rogerson


61 thoughts on “Cages Can Kill”

  1. What a great story… love all the myths around river… here in Sweden it’s the Neck, a male who can lure women into the river by playing violin…
    He is nude as well… men can be lured into the woods by the hulder… a nude female spirit with long hair covering her back which is hollow.

    I think mercy didn’t work for Dustin

  2. Otherworldy people with backwards feet seem to be a common theme in folklore which begs this question, if they are part of stories everywhere, are they real?

    Damn, I bet they have real problems finding shoes.

  3. Woot! World mythology – and a story about a being I hadn’t acquainted with yet. I feel a little bad for the guy who tried to do the right thing at the end, but I suspect he knew he wasn’t traveling with an angel on a simple nature walk either.

    • I feel bad for Dustin, too. But understand her. I mean… when things are happening too fast, it’s so hard to differentiate from someone trying to kill you, and those standing right next to him while he’s trying to kill you.

  4. Dear Magaly,

    Fascinating story. I really enjoyed this one. And I’m happy to see you back among the FFFold.



  5. I hadn’t heard of “ciguapas”. An interesting legend. The picture is a bit creepy with the backwards facing feet. Good story.

  6. The backward feet are an interesting mythological twist . . . .

    Glad to read your comment on Rommy’s guest blog today that you enjoyed both “The Song of Achilles” and “Circe.” They are wonderful books!

    • Indeed, guapa translates to lovely or beautiful, depending on the contest. The etymology of “ci” seems to run forever and ever… I did a bit of googling after you mentioned it, and wow… so many meanings. In some cases (and for some cultures), it seems to mean “here”. I like that one for the ciguapa. I like thinking that their name means “beauty here”, but… who knows.

      Now, you’ve made me curious. And I like it.

  7. We have a similar mythological character in my culture but she wears all white and roams in the night. Similar long black hair and feet that point backward.

    Lovely take on the prompt !

  8. Ciguapa. Any relationship to the Greek mythological Sirens? Never heard of this before, having a hard time with those backward feet. I’m trying to imagine her walking. . . .

    • I suspect there is. I think our mythology separated the Greek myth in two, since we have another female creature that lives in water eternally combing her hair with a magic comb that, yes, attracts men.

      Also, I wonder if the backward feet might not be an echo of a fishtail.

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