Part II is here!
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Ay resemblance to actual events, locales, agencies or persons, living or dead, is coincidental. Any governments, nations, government officials or government agencies are fictional constructs built by the author and they bear no relationship to the real thing.
Copyright ©2013 by Edith R Allen
All rights reserved
Visit Xenonlit Press Website at www.xenonlit.jimdo.com
The Chupacabra Desert Mystery
She insisted on very expensive, secure fencing around the areas where she spent her time. The secure area was a two acre section of the thousand acre ranch that included the pool, her elaborate gardens, the horse stables and a riding ring. Lisa believed that she could walk around freely and at any time of day or night with the added security. Now she was able to fall in love with the mysterious, beautiful views and the peaceful lifestyle.
It was November and the air was chilly. She and her husband, bundled up in their shearling coats, were walking the perimeter of the property at midnight. They marveled at starry skies that were unlike any she had ever seen. She was a city girl who never realized that light pollution could hide so much of the universe.
“Out here, the skies are so full of stars, we have shadows when there isn't even a moon!” She told her husband.
“This is why I wanted you to give this place some time, my love. I knew you would come to appreciate it. But I do understand your fears of living in the open and in such isolation,"
He stopped and spun around to the left, "What is that?” He turned and started walking toward the northeast corner of the secure area.
A noise like a giant, grinding machine came from the depths of the surrounding desert. It was a horrible noise that seemed to come from a machine so large it should have been visible.
“What is that, Dan?” She screamed and covered her ears.
“Let me get this light on... You videotape this!” He turned on his million candle power spotlight, a new toy he used to light up large areas of his thousand acre ranch at night. The light brought out a diorama of empty desert, rock formations and patches of scrub pine forests, but nothing unusual.
“I don’t see anything...” He started to say more.
And then the screaming started. The empty desert filled with the sounds of screaming. Animals were screaming in fear, pain and torment.
And something else, a very large animal, was screaming in rage and horrible aggression.
Kevin Ap-Rhys was the worst patient ever. He was still in recovery from a gunshot wound where an unusual bullet pierced his body armor and punched a hole in his scapula. He underwent an emergency surgery and two reconstructive surgeries, but was a holy terror now that he could sit up in his bed. As soon as his mind was clear of the heavier painkillers, he insisted on going back to work. His doctor and caregivers were ready for any excuse to send him back to the heavy sedation.
Kevin's first problem was that his highly successful and growing security firm needed his attention. He had a woman who insisted that nothing needed his attention, including her. He wanted to give her a lot of attention.
He had a doctor, Doctor Yap, who mysteriously showed up in San Francisco when Kevin moved there. He had a butler, Georges, who helped develop Kevin from a mute, tragically damaged little boy to a substantial, if hard headed young man.
“I say! Let him come in! I promise not to get agitated as I did this morning. I need to talk with Andrew,” Kevin yelled at Nurse Lee, doing a poor job of not being agitated.
“Well, since you are so calm and in control, I will let you and Andrew visit for fifteen minutes,” Nurse Lee was being sarcastic, but decided that it was best to let Kevin have his way. He had worries about his business and the meeting would reassure him that all was well.
At least she had been able to brush his hair and make him presentable. His clean shaven face and growing mass of honey blond naps and curls made him presentable. Kevin refused to go back to the regulation haircut the FBI required of its agents. He would not be going back to active duty for a long time, anyway.
“Andrew! Come in! You see that I am calm and in control, so let’s get this done quickly, or Nurse Ratchett... err... Nurse Lee will have me tied down.”
“Yes, Kevin. You get fifteen minutes and that is it,” Andrew briefed Kevin on his most pressing issues, including a new “blind-to-site” operation in an undisclosed location. A special team would go to the client's location, install security systems and leave without ever knowing where they had been. Kevin was getting more of these contracts every month and they were highly profitable.
“We are doing well with these projects, Andrew. The clients are happy knowing that the construction and service crews cannot sell or give away their security secrets. But this project is different. This is the first time we send a construction crew, supplies and equipment. It is something we have never done before.”
“Yes. I brought in the best security team to keep control over the security crew. I will personally supervise the operation.”
“Good. I know that you will do well. The team departs from Lake New York, I assume?”
“Yes. It was a smart move, buying a property in the middle of nowhere.”
“Well, I actually lease that property, Andrew. I don’t want it traceable to my firm. At any rate, I can’t find out who owns it so I can make an offer. The owner was as careful as I am.”
Kevin had no idea he was leasing the property from Marcia Landon, his new love interest. She was more careful and resourceful than he realized.
“You have nothing else to do, except to review this new client request,” Andrew said. Andrew was a tall, substantial man who was as qualified as Kevin to run the firm. He was a security expert with a degree in engineering from Oxford. He had a rare ability to lead his people off the side of a cliff if he had to. His ability was rare because he was too smart to get into enough trouble to be forced to lead his people off a cliff. In other words, Andrew was a lot like Kevin.
Andrew frowned slightly, his blue eyes clouding to indicate his reluctance to give Kevin information that would have him charging into a new case. An unsolved mystery was like crack cocaine to Kevin, but this one was approved by Dr. Yap. Kevin could do this investigation without leaving his home.
“At least I hope he can stay home. I know he will travel for this case. He will pack Dr. Yap, Georges, and his nurse and he will go there, I just know it.
"Make sure that he stays at home or I will pull the plug on this, as the Americans say,” Dr. Yap growled. He had powers and authorities that went beyond normal doctor’s privileges and he would have Kevin collected if necessary.
“Kevin, you have a request from a New Mexico rancher. He owns a sizable ranch where he breeds very expensive purebred sheep. Something attacked his sheep and the evidence leans toward an animal that no one can identify. He did extensive research and consulted with experts, but no one can identify the beast, or beasts.” Andrew tried, but failed, to keep a straight face. He left out the part where Kevin's girlfriend was behind the new case.
Kevin glared at his good friend and second in charge. “Andrew! Why do you test me like this? Is this a joke? Is this a plot to make me stay in bed, pretending that I am actually working? Is this a toy assignment for the bedridden?”
“No, Kevin! It is a real investigation. Here are the files,” He handed Kevin a removable storage device. “These files include extensive notes, photos, witness statements and reports from the experts. The rancher has statements from other ranchers and farmers in the area. They also complain about a beast that is attacking other livestock. They are all in the Las Cruces, New Mexico area. It is a rather large file, so I recommend you read it before you make a decision.”
“That’s fair enough, but you better not be pranking me. I will not be pranked! Now get out of here, you prankist.”
“There is no such word as 'prankist'!” Andrew was grinning.
“Get out! And thank you, Andrew.”
Marcia Landon was in New Mexico, surveying her small, twenty acre ranch. She bought the place for it’s views, its location at the edge of a vast cliff, and the water wells she owned. She had the most expensive steel fencing to protect her entire property. Because she had the best security, she leased ten acres to two of her neighbors who sometimes needed extra protection for their very expensive horses and sheep. She kept ten acres as a nature preserve and kept two of those as her personal playground.
Lisa Bancroft got her idea of a well secured area from Marcia. Together, the two paid over two million dollars for their fencing and security systems. Ap-Sec, Kevin Ap-Rhys's security firm, did the work on both ranches and had four more contracts in the area.
“Other than doing a little business with my tenants and accounting for the food I grow, I just like to sit on my Cliffside retreat and look out there. I’m excited to be hosting the astronomy class tonight. These skies are too good to waste... Wait! what the heck?”
She interrupted herself to marvel at the livestock areas. They were packed with sheep and the horse areas were packed with a large herd of expensive thoroughbreds.
“I want a meeting now!” She yelled to her aide, Mrs. Markey. “I can’t be held liable for those expensive animals, packed in as they are!”
She soon had her answers. Her neighbors were already waiting in her large, cool galleria. Marcia’s ranch house had huge entertaining areas and a private wings for the eight bedrooms and bathrooms needed for her staff and her guests. Her permanent ranch staff lived in a smaller, four bedroom house on the property.
“Well, what’s happening? Are those animals under attack by aliens or something? I knew this desert was weird!” She yelled when she saw the crowd of fifteen neighboring property owners. They must have known that she was coming and decided to wait for her.
The biggest rancher in the area, Dan Bancroft, spoke first, “Marcia, we have something we’ve never seen before. Whatever this thing is, it's a monster. It’s tearing our animals apart at night. We couldn’t think of any other way to keep them safe except for your property. Your lawyer has a special lease that will free you of any liability, if you will just let us keep them here until we figure this mess out.”
Dan Bancroft acted like a hard core racist and misogynist when he and Marcia first met. He stomped onto her property and gave Marcia the worst time of her life. This was when she first showed up to take possession of her property, but she shut him down hard. Her personal security and political connections in New Mexico were unassailable and Dan Bancroft came to realize that very quickly.
He started to treat her with genuine respect and they actually became great friends. Dan was not a racist. He was just furious that anyone could possibly outbid him for the best twenty acres in the area. He coveted those acres for ten years, yet Marcia showed up out of nowhere and got the property at a bargain price. The previous owner was dying and he hated Dan Bancroft with supernatural passion. That is how Marcia came to own a premium property at a bargain price.
Marcia turned to her lawyer, who nodded to indicate that she should sign the leases. She turned back to the crowd and said, “Well, let’s get your trailers in here so your staff can keep track of your animals. Has anyone had any trouble with the county? Is this enough of a crisis to get a waiver for the extra animals, the trailers and the people?”
“We have all the support we need, Ms. Landon,” An older man said. He always called her Ms. Landon and she called him Mr. Martinez. Mr. Martinez was a multimillionaire who, like her, kept his ranch for an escape to simpler times.
“Are there any other shelters available for the smaller ranches? What about the fairgrounds? Are those stables and pens full? I am concerned overcrowding and I am worried about not having the right facilities for a prolonged period.”
“We will be able to move some of them to the fairgrounds soon,” another person spoke up.
“Then fine, as long as the animals stay healthy, I don't have a problem.” She replied. “Now... what is this beast? Do we have any evidence that tells us anything?”
A small Indian woman spoke up. “This is a large animal, about the size of a human at least. It is powerful enough to tear a small, passive animal like a sheep or a chicken apart. It has killed eight lambs and two full grown sheep. The animal avoids the horses and the dogs, but the horses panic when they hear or smell it. That’s why we want to keep them here. It could be a small bear or a large coyote. We have heard of wolves and pit bulls in this area. Someone may have lost control of a larger breed of dog that mixed with coyotes.”
“My God. I know someone who can solve this. Let me make a call.” She left to call Kevin’s second, Andrew. “Andrew! We have a heck of a mess here in New Mexico! Yes. I have a ranch here. It’s small, about twenty acres... My neighbors have all their expensive animals at my place... well we have a mutual support arrangement... yes... something is killing smaller animals... ripping them apart, I hear. Kevin could solve this and he can work from home. The old timers know everything about this land and they can get him all the information he needs.”
“Ms. Landon, I will send Barton Mayer out there. He will bring surveillance and other equipment. He can’t come until tomorrow, but...”
“That would be fine! That is the best, Andrew. We need to get the creature or creatures on camera. I think it is people. There are some real freaks out here in the desert. They get their snoots full of peyote or meth and horrible things happen.”
“Probably not! New Mexico people are more diverse than we think, mostly white, Indian and Mexican, with bits of everything else mixed in. There’s a lot of Black history here, too. We have old Chinese and Japanese families, too. Then, there is a lot of wealth with old ranching families, famous artists and creative folk. Then there are the new age folk. We have everything from holistic healers to spiritualists out here in the dessert.”
“You have an amazing grasp of New Mexico culture, Ms. Landon.”
“I am a forensic sociologist, Mr. Andrew. Don’t ever forget that. I will be the first forensic sociologist of my kind in history.”
“Well, if Dr. Yap approves, I think this would be good for Kevin.” She gave the address and hung up wondering if she had created another monster.
Marcia returned to her large galleria and announced that, if he was able to, a friend of hers would take a look at the evidence. “I need everything you have. Daniel, here can interview you and convert your photos and files to digital media. That’s the best way to do something like this. Is law enforcement being helpful?”
“Law enforcement is busy right now,” someone yelled. “They got a crime spree going on over to the west, all the way to Sedona/Flagstaff. There are a lot of Mexican mules coming through the area. Then we have damage from the last dust storm...”
“That’s fine. You know your properties better than they do, anyway. I have someone coming with special surveillance equipment and he might be able to catch something within the next few days. No promises, though. This is a large area and information leaks out around here. If it is human, it will just stay away.”
“We will protect our properties!” A man yelled.
“You can’t do squat. Stay inside at night and don’t go roaming around out there, Josef!” A woman, a famous painter called back.
“I agree!” Marcia said. “Whatever this is, it is shy with big animals and humans, so there is no need to go out there alone and mix it up with it... or them. That is how people get killed in every monster movie. They go out there alone and next thing you know, its all over!”
Marcia’s words triggered some nervous laughter. She was disappointed. Her vacation was ruined and it would take weeks to put her property back together. Her ranch already looked like a hobo encampment or a bad hippie festival.
"Let's get a feast together up in here. We have a lot to talk about," She sighed.
Carly Bachman hated Indians. He wanted to stick their bodies on a pike and hoist them to the sky as Dracula did with thousands of Ottoman Turks. Carly Bachman never met an American Indian until three weeks ago when he came to Las Cruces from Austria. He came with more than enough money for the meth and the parties and had stayed to hear more of the interesting ideas he heard about.
“This group has a unique posture. They know all about ancient Indian demons and horrors. But the real Indians are outraged. They want to shut everything down. I want to eat their faces.”
Carly was in town, looking for ingredients for a dish he wanted to prepare for his hosts. A native of Switzerland, he was a chauffeur for very special people. He ferried his exclusive clients between Switzerland and Lichtenstein, two nations that helped the wealthy to spirit their money away from their nation’s tax collectors and governments.
“I like the American motor homes! They have kitchens bigger than the one in my apartment in Basel! I will show my hosts how to make a proper schnitzel, that is if I can find the proper ingredients out here in the wild west of America. Perhaps I will use some of these Mexican chilies and spice the schnitzel in new ways.”
He strolled through the grocery store, choosing his ingredients carefully and asking questions. When he had what he needed, he completed his purchases and went back to his rental car. He drove carefully for ten miles until he reached a campground where motor homes were allowed and parked near a large touring model.
“Carly!” his host, a large woman in a hippie dress, yelled. “You bought the store out! What do you have there?”
“I have a wonderful surprise for you. I wish to thank you for your gracious hosting, I will prepare a fine dinner for everyone!” He entered the motor home, opened the refrigerator and took out a huge pile of neatly wrapped packages.
“But first, I must prepare this fresh lamb and horse meat we were given last night. Where does your friend find such beautiful fresh meat? I will tell you, it must always be sliced and pounded to just the right thickness for a proper schnitzel!”
To be continued...
Part II is here!
Part II is here!