If you have stumbled onto this blog story and want to start from the beginning, I have added a Table of Contents at the bottom of this page with links to the other chapters in the story.
Copyright Lexi Ander
Chapter Ten – Gathering Allies
Alonzo stopped at the end of the hallway, the sight of the gun barrel pointed at his center mass giving him pause. Carefully, not making any sudden moves, he held his hands out to the side, showing Zane he hadn't brought his riffle. He'd left it in the garage certain he could contain el Chupacabra by strength alone if the boy escaped his bindings. In his current form, the boy was no more powerful than a normal human, having all the regular human weaknesses. Now, Alonzo was glad he'd left the gun behind. He didn't want to accidentally give Zane a reason to plug him full of holes.
"Hey, amigo, are you okay there?" he asked amiably.
Zane blinked but didn't answer right away. His didn't seem to be in shock and his gun hand was steady as a rock, which was saying something. Not many people would be this calm after seeing el Chupacabra. Zane not only faced the creature down but brought them home. The question became why. Why had el Chupacabra crossed Zane's path? What had he intended by bringing them here? Alonzo could sense their tainted on el Chupacabra, and as such, they were more deadly than normal.
He took a closer look at Zane Snow. When the property manager had notified him the ranch had been sold, the only thing he'd worried about was his contract and if he still had a place to live during the winter. He'd only seen Zane a couple of times from a distance before catching him at the pancake house. That one meeting had intrigued Alonzo. On the surface, Zane was nondescript. Most people might not notice him. After sharing breakfast with Zane, Alonzo couldn't help but sense there was hidden depths to Zane. He was a man of few words. He moved with a confident predatory grace that spoke volumes to Alonzo and anyone else adept at reading body language. His aura screamed danger, but Zane portrayed himself as kind and generous.
What was a man like Zane doing living on a mountainside? No one visited. When Zane went to town, he spoke to people in passing but he made no friends. The property manager claimed Zane was a songwriter. Songwriters didn't bring bodies home with them.
If Alonzo was honest with himself, he didn't care what Zane was or wasn't. But in order to protect the man, Alonzo needed to know what was going on.
"Did one of them scratch or bite you?" he asked softly. He ignored the gun and kept his eyes on Zane's while slowly making his way to Zane's side. "If they did, you run the risk of infection, especially with the ones you brought home. That smell indicates there is something wrong with them—him."
Zane gulped but Alonzo still sensed no fear. "I don't… No, the only time I came in contact with them was to put them in the truck. They were corpses then."
Alonzo's cautious steps ended when he was inches from the gun. Curiously, Zane's expression didn't change, remaining bland, no emotion showing.
"I'm not your enemy, amigo. I would do nothing to bring harm to you," he reassured.
"I don't know you," Zane replied.
"Nor I you. For all I know, you are a vile hunter whose life mission is to murder people like that boy in there. But I'm willing to trust you until you prove my faith is misplaced."
Confusion flashed across Zane's face before it was quickly hidden. If Alonzo hadn't been watching so intently he would have missed it. "My gun is pointed at you. You should be afraid and yet I can see you aren't even concerned."
"No more than you are," Alonzo reached up and curled his fingers around Zane's wrist. "I'm following my instincts. They have never let me down. What does yours say?"
He counted to twenty, giving Zane time to consider what he said, then gently tugged on Zane's wrist, pushing so that Zane lowered the gun. If Zane didn't trust him, at least partially, then Alonzo wouldn't have been able to touch Zane at all. Seeming to come to a decision, Zane tucked the gun behind his back, his dark brown eyes not moving from Alonzo.
"No one is willing to answer my questions."
So there were other people involved. Immediately, Alonzo's blood began to heat. Zane's eyes widened as if he saw Alonzo's rage, even though he kept his voice soothing and even. No paranormal, much less a group of el Chupacabra, would reveal themselves to a human. "Someone brought you into the middle of their shit and didn't tell you anything? Pinche culero."
Why wasn't Zane afraid? Losing his mind, trying to pigeon hole the supernatural into the something he would consider natural? He wasn't acting like a human. All humans feared what they didn't know or understand. They struck out. They ran. They demonized. Some even went insane, unable to acknowledge the truth or to cope. But not Zane.
Alonzo's anger seemed to crack Zane's façade. His expression turned grim. "You could say that. I was eating supper with… colleagues." Alonzo held back a snort. A stretch of the truth, he thought. "Someone attempted to kill one of them. Prince and I gave chase and I ran across the three…” He waved a hand at the bathroom. “El Chupacabra. After the fight was over, I put the bodies in the truck. If other people saw them, all hell would break loose, and there would be a witch hunt. Authorities from all the alphabet organizations will show up and poke their noses where they don't belong." Zane glanced into the room where the shower was still running.
Alonzo heard what Zane didn't say. Zane had something to hide otherwise he wouldn't worry about the authorities.
"I thought they were corpses." For the first time, Alonzo saw Zane's shock. "Nothing comes back from the dead."
"Very little does," Alonzo replied, stepping into the bathroom. "If you thought they were carcasses, then they had been injured enough their bodies had shut down to heal."
"El Chupacabra are—were—urban legends." Zane didn't follow Alonzo, remaining in the doorway.
"Tasmanian tigers were once considered myth until they were caught and photographed. Not that discovery did that people any good. El Chupacabra have been around for a very long time." Alonzo started working on the buttons of his shirt. Zane's gaze dropped, his eyes heating as he watched Alonzo slowly undress. "There have been reported sightings of el Chupacabra in Northern Mexico, the southern United States, Puerto Rico, Chile, even the Philippines and parts of Russia."
Zane pointed an accusatory finger at the boy in the bathtub. "Sure, but the explanation was always dogs with a disease like mange, attacking goats and other farm animals." He dug in his pocket. He withdrew a slip of paper and several bone darts. "He doesn't—didn't look like a dog. He had wings and bony spikes that I think shot these from his back for Pete's sss-sake."
Alonzo loved seeing Zane stammer to a stop, losing his train of thought when he unbuckled his belt and pushed his jeans down his thighs.
"Ww-what are you doing?" Zane's hand pressed against his stomach as if attempting to settle butterflies.
Alonzo hid a smile. "Someone has to get in and scrub him down." He gestured to the young man in the tub who glared up at Alonzo like a drowned rat. "Cleaning him up won't take away all of the stench but it will help."
He kicked off his boots before stepping out of his jeans. Alonzo kept his briefs on, more for his own sake than Zane's. He wouldn't put it past the boy to bite and Alonzo didn't want to tempt el Chupacabra with his tender bits.
"Stay away from me!" the boy screamed in Spanish, choking on the water pouring onto the back of his head.
"Calm down, Chico. We are only going to wash you." Alonzo replied, letting the captive know he could speak and understand the language.
"I am no boy!" he sputtered.
Alonzo chuckled. "Only stupid boys get hooked on Devil's Breath." He moved the spray to the boy's shoulders. By human standards, he looked as if he was fifteen or sixteen, but Alonzo had seen his other form and suspected he was an adult by his people's standards. The boy should already have a family of his own, possibly children.
"How old are you? Late twenties? Early thirties? Where is your troop, your familia? Did you abandon them when your addiction took over?"
The boy snarled and thrashed the best he could while hogtied, cussing at Alonzo with much venom and malice.
Table of Contents
Chapter Six, Part 1 - Harbinger of a Nightmare
Chapter Seven, Part 1 - Stolen Answers