Tome One, Dance Of The Chupacabras (Excerpt) by Lori Lopez

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SUMMARY: In this humorous horror-fantasy legend, a brother duo of folklore dancers and a farmer ó along with a diverse band of mortals, angels, and ghosts ó battle supernatural forces to protect an oracle-princess and the future from an Aztec serpent godís wrath.

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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.

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