Tome One, Dance Of The Chupacabras (Excerpt)
Excerpt from TOME ONE:
DANCE OF THE CHUPACABRAS
By Lori Lopez
A.D. 1995, THE TRUE MILLENNIUM — BAJA CALIFORNIA
MALICE BUZZED, RATTLING in the air as if a lake-sized nest of hot diamondbacks were riled, glass-marble eyes blinkless, their scales gathered like coils of rope to strike. This atmosphere clung to vegetation, a blight of transparent malignancy, and fevered the soil with an army of infection. Sand stirred, composed of decay and pulgas, rambunctious ranks of blood-starved popcorn fleas springing from billennial-layered putrefaction — for what do we walk upon but the bones and flesh of History, the seasons of yesteryear?
A farm truck jounced over a pitted lane segregating snaggles of scrub oaks, brush, and cacti that foliated the valleys and lomas between Tijuana and Tecate. It was an irregular playing field of magnetic geothermal activity where superior forces met to compete in the endless skirmish, Good versus Evil. Where basic laws of and discovered by Man no longer applied, and possibilities were infinite.
The exclusive radius could not be located on maps except those sketched by harbingers of doom and minds of the demented, or brains of fluid fantasy. It was neither consistent nor concrete but a limber ductile amplitude that arose and diminished, swelled and receded, that dissembled and reconstructured hourly.
The province existed when and where it chose, unless answering to a stronger will or wilder nature than its own. Beyond Tecate the hyperbolent-baric humus flowed. Gorgefully mawdacious. Gruffish, gurgent, griddily sequestering perditious bluffiant dunes. Flambeyantly gobbling easterly breadth toward La Rumorosa, The Whispering One, and a gamut of alpen crags. Providing relief from antagonism below by resorting to superficial mayhem.
Harrowing these hills across centuries of todays, a forlorn caterwaul warped out of macrospatial fabric — implied implorings of a tormented woman whose sharpest fears were nigh: “Nopilhuane . . . Nopilhuane . . . Tlazohtin Nihhuihuane, can anyazqueh?” Oh, my children . . . Oh, my children . . . My Precious Feathers, where will you go?
A solitary plume adrift, shed from wings of antiquity, fragile as a memory, substantial as a heartbeat, settled betwixt the tines of a nopal. Iridescent, ruffled by breeze, the blue-green quill wafted earthward.
Tempestuous, an avian deluge of quetzal feathers carpeted la tierra. Coruscations of emerald, sapphire, amethyst hues glimmered. And as swiftly were gone.
Within a linger of gloss was mirrored a vision of hale brotherly heroes in jade-green leather trekking the desert . . . till arid sands absorbed the pool.
Ochre dust suffused the air. Tires bumped through rain-engraved ruts. Cannisters slid and clanked amid bales of barbed wire and sacks of chemical fertilizer on an enclosed flatbed.
The sun’s rays reflected off a window with a starburst of light behind the laboring farm vehicle’s cab.
Above this lonely stretch of chaparral, patrolling his domain, an eagle peered out of azure sky and shivered — attention drawn to the stellar glint, perceiving an absence of light as it cruised the ground. He was king of the sky, haughty and bold, yet an uncertain cry rent his beak.
Sly and discreet, a Halloween cookie cutter of shade followed the truck’s wake, gliding smoothly over the corrugated surface of unpaved road. Swimming, swirling, shaped like a bat, the bottomless puddle moved independent from any physical matter. The black hellhole, which seemed to float in antispace, was the earthly presence of an underworld demon.
Mayan god Camazotz’s creepuscular powers and desire for human blood were whetted by alliance with The Feathered Serpent. His glum outline, smoldering beneath el sol, eclipsed the truck.
In an explosive dazzle a brilliant electric bolt, emblem of the snake in Mesolore, streaked to the vehicle and zapped a metal container. The tank slammed a wooden tailgate and was catapulted from the truck’s bed.
Grasses whispered with a thousand voices. Darkmeister Camazotz divvied into a multitude of tiny bat blotches that fluttered in all directions.
Bouncing stone to stone, a red label flashing, the cylinder flipped and tumbled toward the edge of a cliff.
This airborne container caught the interest of a gecko idly sunning himself on a rock. The lizard gave the intrusive missile a curious glance, then licked his left eyeball with a moist slurp.
Gaining speed the silver can plummeted to a ravine, where it cracked upon an unyielding boulder and hurtled through a nillity of noneness.
Afternoon shadows lengthened. A fiery ball sank below the horizon’s rim as sunset faded to twilight. A mountain lion appeared, silhouetted against evening sky. Panting and pregnant, the cougar stood on an escarpment above the creek, sagging with the weight of a bloated womb. She surveyed the stream, thirsty yet cautious, alert for danger.
The puma’s face evinced signs of discomfort as she slowly prowled a ridge down to the brook and warily approached to drink.
Water burbled invitingly. The big cat hesitated, listening.
A short distance upstream the cannister rested, pirate-flag warning glyph plain though esoteric, a lethal dose of human progress polluting nature. With inauspicious foreboding, the can leaked synthetic compounds from a submerged gash.
Instinct triggered an uneasy aversion. The lioness, who did not feel herself these days, vomiting what food she could scavenge, sniffed the creek and snorted but droughtfully ignored the inner alarm and lapped water, filling her stomach.
Unsatisfied, the cat disappeared among sombral tones of sable.
~ ~ ~
Quetzalcoatl’s earthly apparition coiled on a mineral shelf near the tainted stream, a luminescent serpent with green quetzal plumage, whose heart — beating outside his body — formed the crimson fruit of a nopal cactus on which an eagle perched weeping.
The snake hissed loudly, mastering his element. Upon command a bloodless moon slid from platinum wisps and revealed the dismal composition of another. Every great personality should have a sidekick.
Even this crass henchman-dunce of a nincompoop? rhetoricked the serpent, maracan tail agitating. Snakes traditionally held low opinions of bats — as uppity, noctious, bird-fangled rodents.
Camazotz reared a two-dimensional shape into the air, broad wings flapping. “Does Your Lordship approve?” he growled, seeking tribute.
“Of courssse I approve!” responded the reptile, forked tongue lashing, quills in disarray. “It wasss my idea!”
Exercising diplomacy, polishing his menial-mentalitied politically correct underworld-underling act, Camazotz flunkily deferred. “Yes, Exalted One. But it was I who thought to mold an incarnation out of flesh, turning Man’s own destructiveness against him! Does that not deserve some credit, a nice reward perchance?”
The vain coatl (snake as well as twin) breathed a gust of fire to singe the glutinously gluttonous bat. Qüe never, repeat, never shared credit with anyone.
Camazotz yelped, wings barbecued, phoenix skin fried to a crisp. The Mayan god resented being treated like fast food. He had already risked major sun damage for this escapade.
“You shall have your reward,” scolded Quetzalcoatl, “when thisss land drownsss in a sssea of impurity, a holocaussstal flood of human blood! And after you drink the final drop, at lassst my kingdom shall be cleansssed!”
Fail me and you will go home in a bucket! the serpent vowed.
“My belly rumbles in anticipation!” drooled the venal vamp.
Quetzalcoatl contemptuously rolled glittering snake eyes and whirled his body into a funnel cloud, fiercely blowing Camazotz to flecks of a flake, dispelling a blizzard of minute bat shadows that squealed and departed.
The tornado spun riotously, fomenting a sandstorm to clog the air, uprooting cactus plants, causing boulders to crash before its spirallant cone vanished.
Scrabbling, cowering, inhabitants of this mirageous minefield sensed the sparks of impending disaster. Not that the tract was ever serene. Piteous denizens resided on the edge, suffered a transitional status of spontaneous upheaval. They lived in The O-Zone, a rock and roll band of zero tolerance-slash-stability, north of the equator by a flexile stipuling vibral hyposterous thirty-two-and-a-half degrees.
Along the proximate latitude as The Bermuda Triangle, Saharan sands, the deep Dead Sea. Cross-sectioning the thick of Middle East confluence and conflicts; the cradles of Civilization and religions; The Himalayas, Asian masses and enlightenment. A dicey demarcation inexactly bisecting The Dragon’s Triangle and Ring Of Fire, “Pacific” tectonics, the Mariana Trench system. The most mysterious, volatile, extreme points on Earth.
Here be monsters. Here be magick. And the turbulence of forces at odds.
~ ~ ~
Dragging herself through a tunnel, the pregnant lioness collapsed on the floor of a subterranean den. Jagged walls emanated ethereal blue ambiance, occultly lighting the murked grotto.
Fluctatious parameters could scarce restrain an urgeous boilant froth of underworld strivenings. As solid rock shimmied, a sequence of eclectic chiseled petroglyphs seemed almost animate.
The cougar eddied between confusion and oblivion, dizzied by the vacillative medium. Eyes and nostrils bled. Strings of slime extended below her jaw.
She craved water, yet the memory of water repulsed her. The feline’s tongue lolled, parched. She lay panting upon her side, no longer able to lift her head.
A small vampire bat circled screeching, nose quivering, attracted by a pungent aroma. Reading the lion’s malaise, the bat dove at her vulnerable abdomen then sank viperous fangs into the cougar’s flank.
Warmth trickled, which the bat voraciously licked.
Too weak to resist, Miztli permitted the parasite to feed.
Sated, inflated, the bat untucked its wings and piloted toward the mouth of a tunnel. But veered to smack a wall headfirst and nosedive to the cave floor.
A rattler wiggled out to contribute, nailing the vampire’s dentalated orifices, poisoning the womb and slinking away, only to keel in cursive premature rigor mortis.
A bevy of minuscule bats orbited round and round in the chamber’s glow, filling the confined arena with high-pitched howls. Shadows intersected. A single shape assembled at the marrow of the cave.
Red eyes gleamed from a black countenance. Knavish laughter echoed. Out of overkilleous zest, for bad measure, Camazotz deigned to add one surplus kin-gredient.
Radiation, imported from trace amounts of uranium, was intrajected to a seven-inch skeeter. The jumbo insect sepsistically zizzzed to the lion queen and proboscissed life-altering Alpha serum by virtue of a fangular reposit — causing mordant morassic mutagenetic D.N.A. accelery.
This curdled broth of spoliative spoil cooked up a bilgent morppled salubriousless batch of blainful biolence within the cat’s cathartic living tomb.
The recipe for dire indigestion had been spliced and spiced to brew a sipid souciance of wreeksome wreckreation. A third nature was devolved from the primordial soup of Life, a being grafted of both breath and death, grift and shrift, faith and atheism — an airant dactile maimmal-raptilian cocktail comprised of aweful girth and dearthly faminous need.
Daylight’s sheen, filtering down a network of cracks and holes, enhanced the cave’s spectral blueness to shower the puma as she groaned feebly, erratic movements rippling, contorting her stomach.
Mucus dangled to the ground. Blood tracked from nostrils and closed eyes. Anemic, expending the last of her strength, Koh gave birth. Sangre seeped out of her mouth. She shuddered and stiffened with a quiet gasp.
Three spotted kittens lay motionless, stillborn, resting in a pool of garnet liquid beyond their mother’s hind legs.
The fourth creature — spawned by toxic chemicals, a sick cougar, vampire-bat saliva, nuclear atomestry, and a serpent god’s venomous iniquitous impious wrath — was hideously grotesque and deformed.
It was the embodiment of absolute accursedness. A newborn hellion. The physical manifestation of an infernal demon blending cat features with bat eyes, nose, and pointed ears.
Dragon wings and a quartet of clawed three-toed limbs sprouted from the mutation’s gray hairless anatomy.
A knobby spine ranged neck to tail. The back of its cranium protruded, veins popping under a diaphanous sheet of flesh. The abhorrent abnormity licked vile lips with a thin elongated bifurcated tongue and bared a set of dripping fangs.
Then purred gently — fulgent red eyes bulgent, its tummy full — hunkered on feline haunches over the corpses of the kittens. Their limp hides bore double bite wounds. The Mark of Chupacabras.
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Copyright © 2007 Lori Lopez, All Rights Reserved.