Monsters of the Southwest: Coco

“Duérmete niño, duérmete ya… Que viene el Coco y te comerá.”

While I was figuring out what had happened to Wilford in the past and explain his relationship to Steven in Henchmen, I decided he had to have run into something terrifying.  A monster of some sort or other was necessary.  It only made sense that if Gods walked the planet and the U.S. Government had captured one and a Valkyrie was wandering around trying to spark off Ragnarök (you didn’t think Eve really cared about Congress, did you?), it only made sense that other monsters would be real and elements of the government would be aware of them.  The story of Wilford vs Coco is recounted in Arise and will be further explored in a short story called The Hunt that will be part of The Clock Man when I get it done.

Since the action of Henchmen and ultimately Arise takes place in Central to Northern New Mexico I decided to go with a classic Hispanic creature rather than the Skinwalkers I heard about growing up next the Navajo reservation.  Eventually I’ll have to write something about the Skinwalkers; they’re just to fascinating to ignore, but for the time being I eschewed the idea of the Navajo beasties and went with a traditional Hispanic monster.

Who is Coco?  He (the name is masculine, there’s also a feminine Coca, but I’m not sure how you’d check their genders) is the boogeyman.  Coco is the go-to guy for frightening kids into going to sleep among other things.  Described as a type of ghost monster wearing a cloak, Coco is supposed to basically be fear personified.  In some versions of the story Coco eats misbehaving children in others he simply drags them to parts unknown for whatever nefarious purposes he has in mind.

Bottom line, he’s a bad guy.  In Arise I described him basically as a beast in house he’d turned into a abattoir eating a family and happily slaughtering an assault team.  If I were to stick Coco’s true legend the assault team would have walked into an empty room with absolutely no idea what had happened, but I really liked the idea of government agents (DHS, actually, although I don’t think the Department of Homeland Security has a monster squad) not only coming face to face with a monster but Wilford and Steven’s ultimate admission that, yeah, there are monsters out there and it’s well known “there’s fuck-all you can do about them.”

Sleep child, sleep now… Or else the Coco will come and eat you”

Since I grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons, some stats and info are in order…

Size: Since it’s a ghostly thing, size is indeterminate.  Assume large; seven foot tall and larger, but capable of shrinking

Speed: Fast.

Attack: Fear blast, invokes freezing terror in its victims

Special Abilities: Locked doors don’t stop it.  Coco may be capable of shifting through time and space to avoid physical barriers.

Armor: Special.  As a partially non-corporeal being normal weapons can’t touch it.

Environment: Urban.  Consumes children for food

Alignment: None.  Coco is neither good nor evil.

Goya's Que Viene El Coco (Here comes The Coco)
Goya’s Que Viene El Coco (Here comes The Coco)

Off the top of my head I can think of a few other classic Southwestern monsters I’ll be posting about in the future: La Llarona, El Chupacabra, Navajo Skinwalkers, and George W. Bush.

Coco on Hispanic Culture Online

Coco on Wikipedia

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