The street of Death and Life

Today I want to post something different. It's a little story about my childhood that I have made to prepare part of the oral exam at the EOI of Salamanca. I like this story. I can assure you that any resemblance to reality is NOT a coincidence. 

Any correction to the possible mistakes in the text is welcomed.

The street of Death and Life

When I was a child I lived in Ávila. Our home was on the outskirts of the city, near the convent of “La Encarnación”. My parents had a little grocery shop where they both worked, so my brother and I used to go to school and everywhere on our own. Times were really different and nothing wrong would come about. When this story happened we were six and eight years old.

We were used to visiting our grandmother once a week, on Saturday afternoon, after my parents closed the shop. She lived in my aunt’s house, located near the Cathedral, in a central spot. My brother and I would go from home walking along streets and passages with evocative names like “La Ronda”, “The Bracamonte Arch” on the medieval wall, or “The Old Cross alley” named also “The Street of Death and Life”. This is a narrow street that surrounded part of the Cathedral. In the middle, where the street changes direction, there are two heads carved on the wall; one shows a young man and the other one a skull, representing death and life. Underneath, an old wooden cross. Above, an antique lamp with a bulb that barely illuminated the cross. This was the only light on the street.

We got there and, after greeting our grandmother and other relatives, we used to play in a nearby square. Some adventures during those times, like our climbings in the romanesque wall, over the prehistorical sculpture of a vetton pig or when my brother fell into the big fountain should be told in another piece of writing. After a couple of hours we would come back with our parents.

I remember vividly one of those walks. We were going home with our parents, crossing along the street of Death and Life. Our mother was telling us a scary story that supposedly happened on that street, with demons and angels fighting for the soul of a knight. I was used to stories of saints, including torture of martyrs, that the priest would tell us every Sunday, so it wasn’t something strange to me.

The following Saturday, a dark winter night, my brother and I came to the alley, as usual. What wasn’t usual at all was that we were hand in hand. We had a look from the corner. The wind shook the lamp and the faint light was spreading mysterious shadows that moved along the cobbled street. We had walked along this alley many times without any problems, but now, it seemed to be full of strange creatures waiting for us, hiding over the rooftops, behind the stones or just around the corner. For the first time I was feeling, more than fear, dread.

We were standing at the edge of the alley without moving nor saying a single word. We heard some footsteps coming from behind, but when we looked back, we saw no one and steps seemed to stop. Finally, we had no options, we gritted our teeth and started walking fast.

When we got near the cross we heard something behind us, really close, and suddenly the light blinked, moved by the wind. We didn’t say anything, we just began to run like a bat out of hell. At the end of the alley we looked back and saw a black cat staring us before losing itself through a hole in the wall. 

Until today, every time I must walk along this street, specially if it’s dark, I try to walk fast, and when I get to the end… I look back.


  1. An interesting story from your chilhood about fear. It might be a script, an argument for a terror film based at Avila. Alleys, demonds, angels, ahh!!. I am scared, I want to scream.
    Thank you for sharing it.
    Javier y Montse.


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