A Novel by

Stephen Randel

For my dad, thanks for everything, Pop. — Your number one son

“Of course I’m sane, when the trees start talking to me, I don’t talk back.”

—Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

“They’ve got us surrounded again, the poor bastards.”

—General Creighton W. Abrams Jr.


Chupacabra — A legendary creature believed to inhabit parts of Latin America, particularly Mexico. Its name translates to “goat sucker.” The name comes from the creature’s reported habit of drinking the blood of its victims.

While the chupacabra may or may not exist, the violence in Mexico is very real. Despite efforts by officials on both sides of the border, more than fifty thousand drug-related murders were reported between 2006 and 2013. Many of the victims were tortured first. Many were women or young people. The overwhelming majority of the weapons used in these crimes came from the United States.


Rosalina smiled at the warm sun climbing in the sky to the east of Monterrey, Mexico. It was early Sunday morning, and the traffic was light. The young nurse hummed a nursery rhyme and thought of names for the baby as she drove toward the hospital. Driving was becoming uncomfortable now that she was six months pregnant. Her husband had been taking her to work recently, but today he was out of town. His work took him away often, and sometimes for quite a long time. She never knew exactly where.

In her rearview mirror, Rosalina noticed two white pickup trucks approaching at a high rate of speed. She pulled over to the right-hand lane and slowed to let them pass. One of the trucks pulled directly in front of her and slammed on its brakes. Rosalina tried to stop in time, but she couldn’t. Her car rear-ended the truck. The second truck pulled up behind her and blocked her in. She was stuck and scared. A group of men holding automatic weapons and with bandanas covering their faces jumped from the trucks and surrounded her car. She locked the doors. One of the men approached her window. He had dark shoulder-length hair. He raised the butt of his rifle and smashed the window in. Shards of glass sprayed the front seat. Terrified, Rosalina cried out for help, but there were only a few cars on the road, and none of them stopped. Most sped up and drove past without the driver even looking over. In Mexico it was safer to drive past than get involved. The man with dark hair reached in and unlocked the door. He grabbed Rosalina by her hair, dragged her out of the car, and threw her in the middle of the road.

“Please don’t hurt my baby!” Rosalina pleaded.

The longhaired man slowly raised his weapon. He fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into the screaming woman. With the last burst, he aimed for her abdomen. The dark-haired man ordered one of his men to take the woman’s car and follow him. As quickly as it had started, the men took the vehicles and were gone.

Rosalina’s bloody body lay in the middle of the street. Passing cars drove around it. It was a full ten minutes before anyone even bothered to stop.

Ten years later…



El Comienzo

The night sky was inky black. Even though the city was deep in slumber, occasional muted sounds of car horns and sirens, talking to each other, arguing with each other, echoed faintly through the air along a city block in Reynosa. Rows of warehouses lined the streets in this old industrial section of the Mexican town. In the middle of the block, two men stood outside a pockmarked building with a sign describing it as an automotive supply company. The men extinguished their cigarettes as they suspiciously eyed a large black SUV with dark tinted windows quickly approaching. One of the men reached his hand inside his coat as the vehicle pulled to a stop in front of the building. From the back seat, a man exited the car. The two sentries in front of the building immediately recognized the heavyset man.

“Inside,” the man said as he unlocked the front door to the warehouse. The two sentries obediently followed him. They walked through a small office and into the storage room that comprised the majority of the building. The heavyset man turned on the interior lights. As the fluorescent lights overhead flickered to life, they revealed rows of storage racks stocked with auto parts. A large delivery van was parked next to the sliding doors at the back of the warehouse.

“Go out back and get Manny and Victor,” the heavyset man said to one of the sentries. The sentry immediately complied.

“Boss. What’s going on?” the other sentry asked.

“The Padre wants the weapons moved tonight.”


“Don’t worry about that.”

“Are we coming with you?”

“Yes. You drive the van. Just follow my car. We need to be quick.”

“Boss!” the other sentry shouted as he ran back into the room. “They’re not out there!”

“What?” The heavyset man pulled a pistol from his jacket.

“Victor and Manny. They’re not out back,” the sentry replied.

“Check the van,” the heavyset man ordered. One of the sentries swung the van’s rear doors open. The bodies of two Mexican men rolled out, their throats slit.

“Jesus Christ,” the heavyset man said as he looked into the van loaded with crates of military-issue assault rifles, ammunition, and grenades. Attached to three of the crates were large blocks of plastic explosives. The detonators were clearly visible.

“Run!” the heavyset man yelled.

Вы читаете Trail of the Chupacabra
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