BEHIND THE BARN, a lone soldier stood by a short tree surrounded by thick bushes and taller trees
laced in thick vines. He pissed across the ground, watching it splatter off wide, green leaves.
Only feet away, Drake peered out from a bush like a stalking tiger cold, blue eyes contrasting starkly with the green foliage that surrounded him. Watching the soldier spray urine about, Drake stalked up like a ninja, grabbing the careless soldier from behind as if catching a poisonous bug. He quickly wrapped his steelcorded forearms around the smaller man's neck.
The guard's strength was no match for Drake as he buckled, almost crumbling to the ground from the mass that held him fast. Arms tightened around his throat. The soldier's eyes went wide as his scream got caught in his esophagus. Reaching up, he couldn't budge the brawny vice from his windpipe as piss drained to a tinkle.
With the soldier nearly out, Drake placed his hands on either side of the man's skull and snapped his neck, sending the limp body to the forest floor. Bending down, he took a machete from the soldier's belt and stalked up to the back of the barn. Peering through a knothole in the wall, all he could see was the wall of pallets. He cocked his head like a dog, listening. He could hear Miguel and Peppy speaking in Spanish. Scanning the exterior for a way inside, he noticed a wrought iron handle to the right. Pulling it, a short, rickety door opened on wood hinges making a quiet, grating sound across the ground. Drake hunched down and crept inside. High stacks of pallets hid him at the back until he came to an opening between the towers of wood. Sliding through, he knelt behind a tractor, watching the two men haggle only feet away.
“You don't keep anymore in there?” Peppy asked.
“I told you we don't. But go ahead and see for yourself.” Miguel motioned, annoyed Peppy was testing him like a twobit thief. It was clear the Mara 18 crew were undisciplined thieves, punks that couldn't help but screw over anyone that wandered onto their path.
As Peppy knelt down, Miguel considered killing him. After all, Mara 18 sent the most disrespectful rep they could. How could he take them seriously? Suddenly, his own head was yanked back like a stick shift in an old car. Miguel fell backward, exposing long fangs as Drake thrust his other arm downward, sending the machete into his throat as if it were a massive sausage, nearly slicing his neck in half.
As Miguel fell to the floor, writhing in bloody agony, Peppy stood, oblivious to the silent attack. Turning, he saw the muscular stranger watching Miguel spasm on the ground with his neck hanging by thin strands of flesh and half an esophagus. Any normal man would have been dead, both men thought to themselves. Recognition of the unnatural was a shared trait.
Drake wheeled round. Peppy took a step back seeing the intensity of his adversary. Reacting on primal instinct, mated with logical military training, Drake lunged with the gore soaked blade.
The tattooed gangster, a veteran of carnal combat, leapt to the side with seasoned reflexes.
In that motion, Drake slowed, swung around, extending his arm, and sunk the blade into the side of Peppy's head like a cantaloupe. As the gangster fell to the floor, Drake tore the machete from Peppy's cranium never letting go of the handle. Assessing the dead man, rustling hay brought Drake's attention back to his intended target. Miguel continued
writhing in supernatural agony across dirt and straw.
Miguel slowed in spasmodic death, resting as the fatal wound spewed blood. Unmoving, Miguel's throat began to heal as if he was a digitized being, healing at an accelerated pace. The esophagus became whole, neck bones revitalized - flesh grew back, reforming a solid neck.
“What the fuck?” Drake whispered, squeezing the machete handle.
Miguel stood, coughing. Rubbing his healed neck, he cleared his throat and spit out a hunk of bloody tissue. Lowering his hands, he winked. “Abracadabra.”
“Impossible,” Drake said low, his eyes ablaze in the strange confusion of this surreal occurrence.
“That's one of the first things I said too,” Miguel gurgled, meeting Drake's barbaric stare. “But now I've”
“You're of darkness,” Drake interrupted. “Just another fucking demon.” A sly grin crossed his mug. “The shit I hunt.” He advanced, muscles tense, eager to kill.