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Thought y'all might find this of interest:

From Volume 2, Book 2 of my series Dragon Drive, Mountains of Madness:

There were five of them, roasting someone’s dog over a fire, drinking gallons of cheap wine and smoking ganja and ice rolled together into big fat doobies, laughing and joking about what they’d done to Marta, the way the dog which they were about to eat had screamed when they butchered it – alive – and reminiscing about their plans for the lives they would live “after the Revolution!”

One of them got up to empty his bladder in the bushes.

Staring off absently into the forest shadows as he unzipped his trousers and took out his dick for a whiz, he thought about Elena Ruiz, whom he planned to have a very special get-together with late in the evening, when all her family and neighbors were asleep and nobody would be around to interrupt his pleasure in her. Shadows, shadows – you could see anything in them, anything at all, anything you wanted. They were the ultimate mirrors of desire –
– and then a shadow, one among the countless other swarming shadows of the forest, detached itself from the gloom below the forest canopy, coming toward him . . .

Quiet as a ghost, Monty came up behind him and, using a long piece of strong, narrow-gage wire as a garrote, strangled him to death. The kill was so quick that the man had no time to scream or otherwise alert his buddies.

Pulling the body into the bushes, Monty waited. A few minutes later, realizing their buddy hadn’t come back, one of the other men said, “What’s happened to Cebrían?”

“Aw, he probably had to take a dump, you know?” said another of them, his words slurred somewhat by the effects of way too much wine and drugs.

“I don’t know . . . maybe something happened to him.”

“Like what? You think he got kicked in the head by a horsefly or something?” the second one said, laughing.

A third man spoke. “Chuy’s right – Cebrían should have been back by now. You two go check.”
“Aw, Reyo, come on, Chuy worries too much! Cebrían’s probably just playing with himself back there! He’ll be back, don’t – oww! You bastard, why’d you –”

“I’ll do more than that to you, Paco, if you don’t get up off your dead ass and go with Chuy and see what’s happened to Cebrían! Now get your lazy ass in gear and go!”
“All right, all right! I’m going!”

The sound of two sets of feet approached Monty. Stepping back behind a tree, he waited, his garrote ready.

One of the men who had passed him – it was Paco – came to a halt in the little clearing where Cebrían had been standing, taking a piss, when Monty came upon him. Cebrían wasn’t there – but his boot-prints and Monty’s were. Not easily seen – it was early afternoon, and the shade of the forest foliage had reduced the light to a dim green glow – nevertheless enough of them could be seen to make the man suspicious. Something had happened here, and Cebrían still hadn’t called out for help. Maybe . . .

Paco started casting around, looking for Cebrían.

Meanwhile, Chuy, his buddy, slow on his feet due to too much wine and ganja, had just drawn abreast of Monty. A moment later and he, too, was on the verge of death, fighting in vain for his life against a giant of a man whose enormous strength had been multiplied tenfold by inconsolable outrage and grief. Another moment, and he lay on his back in the bushes, stone-dead, his windpipe crushed by the garrote.

“Hey, Chuy, I can’t find Cebrían anywhere!” It was Paco, starting to retrace his steps, looking for his buddy. “We’d better go –”

Once more Monty had stepped from the shadows, looping his garrote around Paco’s throat, pulling it lethally taut before Paco could cry out for help or make any kind of sound that could have been heard by Reyo – Reynaldo? – and the other man back at the campfire, where they were cooking the dog.

Now only two were left. Leaving Paco’s body, like those of Chuy and Cebrían, for scavengers, Monty stole up to the campsite, silent as a nightmare, never stepping upon a branch or brushing against a twig that could have given him away.

The two remaining members of the little band of would-be revolutionaries, the likes of whom the hardcore Shining Path saw only as cannon-fodder, to be used and used up but not otherwise recruited, sat huddled by the campfire. From his vantage point in the bushes fringing the clearing where they’d built their fire, peering at them through an opening between long green leaves and a few bright blossoms, Monty could get a good look at them without being seen – the Sun was behind him, and anyone looking at him would see only Sun-dazzle above the deep gloom of the forest.

“Reyo, something has happened,” one of them said in a low, frightened void to the other. “It doesn’t take anything like this long for somebody to take a piss! And now Chuy and Paco – it’s been what, twenty minutes? And neither of them has come back or even called out to let us know what they’ve found? I don’t believe it!”
The other man, a perfect match for the photos of Reynaldo Gutierrez which Monty had been able to hack out of police files – said,” You’re right. It’s been too damn long, Oz. Okay, let’s go –”
Even as he started to rise to his feet, whatever Gutierrez had intended to say to Oscar Flores, someone else Monty recognized from police files, a petty criminal with a long rap-sheet for everything from stealing money from the poor-box at the local Church and joy-rides in stolen cars to assault and battery and aggravated assault, Gutierrez never had the chance: the garrote that had already claimed the lives of three of his band had looped around his throat and was now throttling the life out of him. – But not quite.

As the last light of life was dying in Gutierrez’s eyes, suddenly the garrote went slack. Then a fist hit Gutierrez hard in the middle of his back, throwing him face-down against the dirt. Before he could recover, the same loop of wire encircled his wrists, drawing them tightly together; then his legs were pushed up from behind, against his bound wrists, and the wire went around them, too, pulling his wrists hard against his bound feet and tying them together.
It all took place so quickly that Flores only had time to pull up his jaw, which had gone slack with shock when the huge man who had just taken Gutierrez down had first emerged from the bushes and gone for Gutierrez. rose to his feet, and begin a frantic backward stumble before tripping over a small boulder and falling flat on his ass, before the giant was on him, pulling another length of wire out of a trouser-pocket and using it to secure Flores the same way he had Gutierrez. It was the work of less than a minute to pull off the two men’s socks and stuff them in their mouths, then slap duct-tape across their mouths to silence them.

The giant loomed over his two captives, his face a stone mask. For the first time in his life, Flores didn’t laugh at the New Ager concept of “aura.” This giant had it. You couldn’t see it – but you didn’t have to. You could feel it, like the raw humming power he’d felt that time when he and Chuy had sneaked into that electrical relay station, to see what it was like. He hadn’t needed those signs with their grim skull-and-crossbones and attendant yellow lightning bolts below the “Warning! High Voltage!” legend to tell him that stuff was deadly! Neither had Gutierrez. The air was alive with that horrifying, infinite power, crackling with it, and you knew on some level that if it wanted to, that power could leap from the high-tension wires held high above on those tree-like metal structures right at them, consuming them utterly with Heaven’s own fire. The air shook with that power. You didn’t need to see it to know it was there – nor did you need to see the giant now squatting down beside him and Gutierrez to sense that same terrible aura of power all around him. The air was blue with that power, what Padre Octavio had once called “the death-light,” in reference to the nuclear bomb that had been dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II and the radiation it gave off, which even people blind from birth could see, what they called “brain-sight.” Just as he could see the aura around this huge man even with his eyes closed, like a great fiery blue halo all around the giant, continuously throwing off jagged red lightning bolts and great tongues of white fire like solar tentacles reaching out to pull entire planets into the Sun’s incandescent maw. And his voice . . . the big man was saying things under his breath, things virtually impossible to make out. But somehow, in the same way that blue-white halo surrounded the big man’s body, a halo that could be seen with one’s eyes shut even though it couldn’t be seen with one’s eyes wide open, all around the fringes of those muttered words was a rushing flood of sound right at the very edge of hearing, like the ebbing and flowing rush of wind moving over and through grass, pregnant with meaning, stiff with meaning, all of it bad, like the language of angels – or demons – or dragons. Flores didn’t need to hear what the big man was saying to know what he meant – the meaning of the words somehow appeared, crystal-clear, in the center of his soul, as if written in gold in letters a thousand feet high, undeniable, irresistible, terrible in their beauty and horror.

And then Monty Eisenstein went to work on the two men . . .

And when it was over, Monty, exhausted but content, stood staring out at nothing, thinking, I got them, Marta. They’ll never hurt anyone else ever again. G-d will gladly cherish you and our baby, and never let those monsters into heaven, where they could hurt you. You’re safe now, safe forever . . . And Mom . . . Mom, I wish I could have caught the bastards who killed you, too. But I was way too late – they didn’t tell me you’d been murdered until months afterward. But I know they’re dead, too. So they can’t hurt anyone else again, either . . .Shit, he thought as, shaking his head in disgust, he walked away from the crime scene, heading for his own marked vehicle, I should have gone into a different line of work. Maybe work as an electrician, like my Uncle Nacio suggested, or maybe the priesthood. But not a cop – never a cop. And above all, not a cop who is stupid enough to volunteer for the Homicide detail!

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Yael Dragwyla

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