Copyright Lexi Ander
Chapter Nine, Part 2
After several tense seconds, "Surrender," came the raspy reply.
"I'm going to climb in the bed and hogtie him," Alonzo said in English. "Don't shoot me." Even with the abnormal events of the evening, there was hint of laughter in Alonzo's voice. Something about that fact made Zane like Alonzo more even if Zane was still suspicious. He hoped Alonzo would be more willing to answer his questions than the band members of Crimson Comet were.
Rolling to his knees, Zane was on his feet before Alonzo let down the tailgate. Was Alonzo taller, wider than before? His hair had a wildness to it. The curl of body hair on his forearms and above the collar of his shirt hadn't been there the other times Zane had glimpsed Alonzo with his shirtsleeves rolled up. And he'd done his fair share of watching. But between one blink and the next, Alonzo suddenly appeared normal. If this night had been ordinary, Zane might have questioned his sight, but tonight was anything but. After this night, he wouldn't question his senses again.
Alonzo climbed into the bed with a length of rope some cowboys carried when they rode the range. Zane rounded the tailgate getting his first glimpse of what hid in his vehicle. The creature looked completely human now, his dark features covered in blood and grime, still stinking to high heaven. He glared at Alonzo with hate-filled eyes. The person could have been more than four or four and half feet tall, looking no older than a teenager. No matter how non-threatening the boy appeared Zane knew better. His gun didn't waver as Alonzo did exactly what he said, tying both ankles together before securing the boy's wrists to his feet behind his back. The position had to be uncomfortable, but Zane couldn't scrounge up a lick of sympathy.
A claw-tipped hand stuck out from underneath the heavy canvas. Alonzo kicked the material aside, revealing the headless corpse of a winged creature. Something in Zane eased to know they could be killed by at least one method. Skyld had taught him to fence in his youth but he hadn't picked up a sword in a great while. There had been no need. He didn't even own a blade longer than a bowie knife which he would soon remedy.
"Where in the hell did you come across three El Chupacabra, amigo?" Alonzo rested the long barrel of his rifle against his shoulder, finally meeting Zane's gaze. He saw curiosity and wariness in Alonzo's dark brown eyes but not fear or mistrust. Huh, curious.
Zane shivered from the cold. "That is a long story," he hedged, not sure he could trust Alonzo but knowing he would have to in order to get Alonzo to answer his own questions. Between Alonzo and the band members of Crimson Comet, he knew Alonzo better if only slightly. Alonzo had worked on Zane's property for years, trouble free. For now, Zane would allow that to count for something until Alonzo did something to prove otherwise.
"Well," Alonzo sighed as if put upon. "Let's get this one inside before the both of you freeze to death. We can figure out what is going on afterwards."
Zane wrinkled his nose at the thought of the stench filling his house. "We're throwing him in the shower."
Alonzo nodded. "I'll get him there for you and then come out and take care of the body."
Zane wanted to argue. He didn't want Alonzo out of his sight but neither did he want to leave this El Chupacabra alone in his house.
Alonzo put one hand underneath the juncture of ankles and wrist, lifting the boy as if he weighed nothing. Zane watched in amazement, and a small bit of jealousy at the strength displayed, when Alonzo jumped out of the truck bed as if he carried no burden whatsoever.
Hurrying ahead to open doors, Zane guided Alonzo through his house to the guest bath. Zane had a sinking suspicion that after tonight he would never regain the normalcy he'd fought so hard to have. Now that his eyes were open, he would never be able to unsee this otherworld that had been hidden from him. He would look at every individual and wonder if they were who they portrayed themselves to be or if there were something else altogether. The more he thought about it the more pissed he became. Briefly, he considered the possibility that he was insane, that he had hallucinated the whole evening. But the rank smelling boy in the bath tub proved he wasn't crazy.
With an angry snap of his wrist, he adjusted the temperature of the water and pulled the leaver for the showerhead. The boy lay on his stomach, snapping and hissing like a cat as Zane directed the spray at the back of the boy's head.
Well, if he wasn't crazy, then he needed help. He listened intently as Alonzo left the house to take care of the corpse. Zane stepped back to the doorway of the bathroom, still clutching the handgun, and fishing the cellphone out of his pocket. He punched in a number he had memorized years ago, a number he didn't dare write down or record in his contacts.
The line rang three times then clicked as it was redirected, ringing another two times before the line was picked up. There was no fancy codewords to say. The person on the other end would recognize his voice or not.
"Have you ever come across El Chupacabra?" Zane asked. "They are smelly as hell, can dodge bullets, and well, fuck if I know… rise from the dead? I thought they were dead when I put them in the back of my truck, but two came back to life. I'm not sure anymore." He didn't expect an answer. Skyld would help or not.
"Fuck," his mentor swore softly.
"Yeah, that's what I said… a lot. I'll probably say it a few more times." Zane paused, knowing he would reveal how vulnerable he was. "This night has been more than weird. I feel as if I opened a door to an alternate world and now it won't close. Nothing is what it seems."
"Can you leave?" Skyld's voice sounded rough, as if he'd been asleep.
"I could…" And the thought of leaving Crimson Comet to an assassin and his… leaving them in danger felt like the wrong course of action.
"But they have already snagged you. Fuck."
"What do you mean?"
As was typical, Skyld ignored Zane's question. "Where are you now?" Zane told him. "Is this place safe?"
"As it can be."
"I'm on my way. Secure your building the best that you can. You'll know when I'm close."
When Zane hung up he heard the garage door close and then Alonzo entered the house. He stepped into the hallway where he could see both the boy in the bath tub and down the hallway. He raised his gun in the direction Alonzo would come from. Better safe than sorry, he thought as he waited.
Table of Contents
Chapter Six, Part 1 - Harbinger of a Nightmare
Chapter Seven, Part 1 - Stolen Answers