Livestock is for slaughter, slaves for labor. Lesser beings, on the other hand, are seen as less than beasts- tools created for the god’s dark appetites.
– From The Skulkers in the Void, by Amoxtli.
When Martin came to, he was handcuffed to a hospital bed, his head wound bandaged.
“Mr. Hernándes, is it? I have some questions for you. Do you prefer English or Spanish?”
“Either is fine,” Martin answered, feeling his still aching head.
Several people were in his room, none of whom looked like medical personnel. They wore suits, which couldn’t hide their muscular build and the bulges of concealed weapons. The one who had spoken was the only one who was sitting and was currently intently studying something on a tablet. In his other hand, he held a form and a pen.
“My name is Alfonso Gutiéres. Special agent Gutiéres. CIA, here with the blessing of the Mexican Government as part of an international task force. Sign here. With that, you acknowledge that this conversation is deemed classified and that speaking of this matter to anybody outside this room will have dire consequences.”
Martin signed. The pretense of legal proceedings at least indicated that he would not be disappeared into some black site.
“Mr. Hernándes, I will be frank with you. You were found in the streets of Mexico City with a severe head wound. When police investigated the room in which you presumably were held, they called SEDENA – Mexican military intelligence, who called us. Care to guess what we found there?”
“I’d rather not. You would just call me crazy.”
“So you do not have to guess then.”
“What was that?”
“First things first. Tell us what happened. In detail.”
Martin told the whole story. How he had come to, lying in a pool of his own blood, restrained. How he had become aware of a man in the same room. How the man had asked him about his interest in Sophia Amoxtli. At this stage in the narrative, special agent Gutiéres subvocalized something over his larynx microphone. How the man had changed. How he had released Martin and had smashed his head in on the turbine.
Special Agent Gutiéres paused, his forehead in wrinkles. “Only the two of you? And he smashed his own head? I’d never believe it if it wasn’t collaborated by the physical evidence. Why would he – it – do that?”
“Your guess is as good as mine.” It wasn’t a lie. Martin couldn’t recall any details that would hint at any motivation for his captor’s strange behavior. “Now, what was it?”
Special agent Gutiéres took another long look at Martin while he listened to something on his earphone. “We do not know, exactly. It is the reason for our task force. It existed in one way or another for the last hundred years, since these things were first reported. We destroyed a whole city of them in 2007, on Yucatan. But they are everywhere, in all cultures and all strata of society.”
To be continued…
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