THE WORRY DOLLS
There is a legend amongst the highland Indian villages of Guatemala.
If you have a problem, then share it with a Worry Doll.
Before going to bed, tell one worry to each doll, then place them beneath your pillow.
While you sleep the dolls will take your worries away.
Chapter 9 – “Las Chupacabras”
The Las Chupacabras gang had confiscated their name from a modern-day mythical Latin American vampire that inhabits the jungle.
Educated people hope that it is mythical.
There have been many inexplicably gruesome killings of farm animals as if by an unseen vampire beast, hence given the name La Chupacabra. In Spanish chupar means to suck and cabra is a goat. The South American Chupacabra is said to kill and then suck the blood of goats and other farm animals.
Las Chupacabras gang sucked the blood of Los Angeles.
Startlingly, Las Chupacabras gang members were mostly women, with some chosen male “soldiers”.
Nicknamed Chupas, – to which they were referred in whispers on the street, in black stains in the press, and in tones reminiscent of campfire horror stories by the cable news – Las Chupacabras were the most violent and deadly gang in Los Angeles at this time. They controlled drug trafficking, extortion, and prostitution over a large part of southern California and they all but owned the jungles of the City of the Angels.
If anyone ever betrayed the Chupas there is no physical evidence.
This night, one of the Chupa quinceañeras (their sardonic nickname for teenage girl recruits), a girl named Pequita, had seen Carlos and the “Guardian Nun” hastening across the street, firmly gripping by the wrist Rosalinda, one of Sister Juanita’s precious “little angels”; valuable little angels to Las Chupacabras.
Pequita had no idea that Carlos and the Guardian Nun were on the run but Pequita pulled out her cellphone and dutifully reported her suspicious sighting.
It had taken another two minutes before La Diosa (The Goddess, a term of high rank) Zaleilah had gotten the news about this betrayal. La Diosa Zaleilah had summoned three of her crew and raced off in pursuit of their stolen property: the young girl Rosalinda.
Meanwhile, Carlos, Sister Juanita, and Rosalinda were scurrying from one darkened recess of the night into another, working their way down the valleys of shadow between buildings.
Sister Juanita wondered in despair if God would really protect her after all she had done and allowed to be done to the children while she had watched in silent complicity. There came the distant sound of thunder. Sister Juanita raised the crucifix which hung round her neck and her hands trembled as she kissed the crux.
Rosalinda had finally stopped crying. She had also stopped asking where they were going or why; too tired to keep asking questions which Sister Juanita withstood with tears. When Sister Juanita had seen the quinceañera Pequita she had yanked Rosalinda hard, trying to merge with the shadows before being recognized. Rosalinda missed her footing and slipped on the curb.
Letting her crucifix fall, Sister Juanita had pulled Rosalinda erect and with Carlos they all fell through God’s hands. Moving forward, Sister Juanita kept her shoulder against the building’s grimy wall, tugging little Rosalinda behind her. Carlos was leading a few paces in front. Rosalinda whimpered as Sister Juanita frantically searched ahead over Carlos’ shoulder for the next darkness in which they would dwell.
Zaleilah with her soldier Mando, and Payasa with her soldier Tramposo, drove into the intersection two hundred yards up the street from their prey. Doing as they had done at each prior intersection, they had stopped briefly to give each other a moment to scan in their assigned direction. Zaleilah, driving, searched ahead, Mando sitting next to her searched the street to his right, while in the backseat Payasa looked to her left and Tramposo checked to his rear. Zaleilah caught a glimpse of something in the shadows down the street and lifted her foot from the brake and moved it to the gas pedal.
Zaleilah yelled, “I’ve got the bitch”, startling the others.
The rest of them torqued their heads toward Zaleilah’s gaze.
Zaleilah said “Dead, fucking dead, bitch.”
Suddenly, Mando’s hand clutched Zaleilah’s arm. Mando hissed, “Chotas (Cops). Go straight; we can circle around after the chotas have gone by.” The “Chotas”, Police Officers Sinead and Canh, had just begun their patrol of the neighborhoods.
Mando had been chosen for the gang six months earlier. In that short period of time he’d proven to be transcendentally brutal when instructed to be and instinctively intelligent when the situation called for it. Mando spoke with deliberation, “Just ease straight ahead through the intersection, we’re too far away for those fuckers to have any reason to fuck with us.”
Zaleilah scoffed, “Nobody can mess with this.”
Circling back around the block, the Chupas returned just in time to see the unlucky Carlos, Sister Juanita, and Rosalinda disappearing into the entrance of an old warehouse.
The Chupas parked and the four followed their quarry into the apparently deserted warehouse.
There was a crescendo of thunder. It had begun to rain.
The Chupas’ prey had then made no attempt at being quiet while ascending the stairs. Sister Juanita lead the way up, struggling with her footing as she held Rosalinda’s arm tightly. Carlos followed half of a flight below, walking side-ways, pointing his rifle behind himself.
Juanita saw three children playing on the landing in front of her. She hesitated, but realized it was impossible to reverse direction now. She yelled at the children to get inside, “Ahorita! (At this very moment!)”
The children reacted to the fear in Juanita’s voice by shrieking. A door opened and a small slender Hispanic woman appeared. She grabbed the two closest children and dragged them into the closing door in one continuous motion but the third child ran away down the hall frightened into flight.
The Hispanic woman cried out after the fleeing child, “Chango! No, Chango!”
Mando had heard Juanita’s warning shout to Chango coming from above. The Chupas up ahead of him were already approaching the next landing. First one, then two more reluctant doors opened in that hallway. Terrified half faces peeked out to see who was causing all the commotion; only to retreat after seeing Mando with a gun in hand.
Mando thought, “Whore of Jesus, this was supposed to be an empty building. Now there will be witnesses!”
The thumping sound of automatic-gunfire tumbled down the stairwell.
Mando took the stairs faster. Reaching the next landing, he saw the rag-doll figure of Carlos’ corpse, shot and macheted.
Mando allowed himself no remorse over the demise of his fellow soldier Carlos. Carlos had betrayed the Chupas by aiding “Sister Juanita”, the nun who was never a nun. Mando spit on the body, not caring if Carlos had gone to hell for his sins or to heaven for his attempt at atonement. Mando believed in neither place.
Mando saw Zaleilah, Payasa, and Tramposo down at the far end of the hallway looking down out the window.
Zaleilah was cursing volcanically. She was hacking her machete into the wall in frustration.
Mando called, “What the fuck?!”
Payasa turned and shouted back to Mando, “They jumped! That fucking Juanita jumped with the girl. They’re both down there!”
Tramposo shouted, “They’re fucking fucked dead! Fuck!”
Zaleilah suddenly cried, “Look! The girl! She’s alive!
Payasa shouted, “She’s going down the alleyway!”
Zaleilah whirled and ran back to the stairwell, toward Mando, shouting, “Come on! Come on!”
Zaleilah, Payasa, and Trampaso thundered past Mando and on down the stairs.
On the dark landing directly below appeared the child Chango. Zaleilah ran into him and tripped, falling, and Payasa and Tramposo stumbled into each other trying to avoid the collision.
Chango hollered, terrified, and in that instant, Zaleilah instinctively swung her machete down onto the child.
Payasa hissed, “Jesus fucking Christ!”
Zaleilah stood up and said, “Shit on it! Goddamn chípil (spoiled brat)!”
The three stood in silence over the split torso of Chango, the horror of Zaleilah’s action affecting even the ruthless Chupas for a split eternity.
Zaleilah shook herself and shouted, “Fucking, come on!” and she started down the dark stairs again. Payasa and Tramposo glanced back at Chango’s body as they started down the stairs after Zaleilah. They heard a rumble on the stairs above them and they saw the dark figure of Mando coming down the stairs and then they looked away.
As Mando stepped onto the landing he slipped in gore and he fell onto the body of the child. He scrambled erect, the front of his shirt wet with blood.
In the moment of revulsion Mando tore his shirt off and flung it down the stairwell, shouting, “My goddamn new shirt!”
He started down the stairs to catch up with the other Chupas. He saw them on the landing below, now just standing there, and he almost hollered, “What the fuck?!”
Then Mando saw the figure of the slender Hispanic woman holding the rifle and trembling as she held Zaleilah, Payasa and Tramposo at bay. She was crying, “Where is my Chango?!” then she screamed, “Chango!”
Mango aimed his handgun down at the figure of the woman and fired. She clenched the trigger and her rifle discharged and then she collapsed like a pillar of ashes.
Payasa howled and grabbed the side of her face, bending over. The bullet had severed her jaw as it cut through the side of her face. Her face sagged open, now a hideous clown face.
Zaleilah in a rage kicked the dead woman and turned to Tramposo, yelling, “Let’s go!” then she shouted at Payasa who and sunken to her knees, “My Payasa, we will come back for you!” then she barked up at Mando, “Thanks for nothing, you shitfuck! The woman was nothing! Tend to my Payasa!”
Zaleilah and Tramposo headed down the stairs.
Mando came slowly and stood beside Payasa who was still on her knees moaning and bowing up and down in pain and shock.
Payasa began to cough and choke and then to gargle her own blood. She shuddered as she slowly rolled onto her side and she curled into a fetal position. In that manner Payasa was borne into death upon a final breath.
Mando muttered, “What a waste of a fine cunt.”
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