Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Entry #200

New Mexico, 1821
by Jacqueline Mendez


“We found another cow…” Felipe, the ranch hand sat on his haunches and poked at the lifeless creature with a stick. He tilted its neck to one side, displaying two small incisions on its skin. “Carcass, sucked dry again—no blood,” he yelled.

Esteban, the foreman, surveyed the terrain looking for signs of bandits. The only thieves there were the circling band of vultures waiting for their meal from above.

“Felipe… Esteban… what news do you have for me?” Daniela asked the two hired hands.

“Senorita… not good... we found another one just like the last two…” Esteban noticed fists clench under her leather-worn gloves.

“Burn it in the pit… double to four men per shift. Comb the area for Apache tracks, and do what it takes to stop the losses.”

“I’m sorry Senorita…we don’t have enough men... many are working the silver mines, and ...”

“No excuses, Esteban. Am I clear?”

“Si, Senorita…”

Daniela placed her foot on the stirrup, swung over her horse, and rode away in a flash.

“Guess we know who wears the pants around here, eh?” Felipe grinned.

“Why don’t you just shut up and help me put this animal up on the cart, before we
get eaten by whatever is killing these things.”

A coyote’s cry howled in the wind, accompanied by the sound of others joining
its chorus. Dusk crept its way into the landscape as two golden eyes stared out secretly from behind a yucca plant rooted on the hot desert sand…

28 comments:

Laurel said...

Oooh! Is it a chupacabra?

Good setting and element of mystery.

Tara said...

Well written and nicely done dialogue.

Jared said...

nice composition. personally, i'd write more on this concept. as a reader, i'm ready to proceed as soon as it ends, but that's a positive.

also, i've always been a sucker for Louis L'Amour books because of the descriptive scenery, which you paint quite remarkably i think.

Scribblers Inc said...

A prologue to the Roswell incident? a chupacabra sounds more exotic though!

Mithun Mukherjee.

Bernita said...

You've evoked the setting nicely. Good job!

Deb Smythe said...

I thought vampire right away, but then I looked up "chupacabra". Good stuff.

Preeti said...

excellent characterization...
narration was crystal clear and crisp... almost flawless...

I loved this. Very much.

Nothingman said...

that woman is the chupacabra!!

A chupacabra in pants!

N

Lena said...

That was nicely told. Liked the dialogues part, very well done.

kashers said...

Jacqueline, excuse my ignorance but I'd never heard of what most of the reviewers here have decided the culprit to be. By the end, I thought it was vampirical (if that's a word) as well.

Chupacabra sounds so exotic. Having looked up what it is, the beast to say the least appears somewhat more scary. As a kind of animal version of a vampire, I guess I was as close as I could be given my limited knowledge.

Despite it having an incomplete feel, I loved the story. The pictures jumped out and the characters were believable and came to life.

Well done.

Aniket said...

Thanks Laurel for making the piece more scary by providing a probable backdrop to the piece. :)

Loved the creepy set up.
This is real good stuff! ;)

Laurel said...

Jacqueline,

I hope I didn't derail your story with the "chupacabra" thing. I do think it fits the setting and it was the first thing that came to mind for me but sorry if that was not your intent and I threw everybody off at the start of the thread!

The mystery is quite the thing here :)

McKoala said...

I like this; nice dialogue and the setting is well done.

laughingwolf said...

a super write, jacqueline...

JAX said...

Thank you all for your comments, and Lauren, you didn't derail my story, in fact I would have to say that you might be on the right track? This was actually an excerpt from the first chapter to a second novel I'm currently drafting; it's a prequel to my first. It was challenging breaking it down to 250 words, so I really enjoyed doing this. Kasher, a Chupacabra is an urban legend of a mythical creature that feeds on the blood of lifestock. I grew up listening to this story in South, Texas and its myth intrigued me so much, I just had to give them a cameo appearance in my first book. Perhaps, they may play a larger role in the second? Oops, said to much already. If you'd like to read the first two drafted chapters, check out my website's blog, and I'm glad you all enjoyed the read. Love and blessings, JAX

Laurel said...

Jax: Aren't you coy?

Tkx. I'm glad I wasn't too far out in left field!

This is really fascinating. Glad it's a WiP.

CJT said...

JAX,
I LOVE CHUPI STORIES!!!! This just made my day, hey when you have a sec you ought to take a gander over at http://skepticsnewspaper.ning.com

Chupicabras make a regular appearance there.

-CJT

Kartik said...

@Laurel: Lady, you seem to know it all! :) First the scleroderma thing and now chupacabra ! Two new things I learnt today!

And story is very very scenic. This is straight out of them desert and cactus tales!

Aerin said...

Ah, I thought chupacabra, too. Jax, have you read Nancy Farmer's 'House of the Scorpion'? You might like it.


Caveat

Something I Would Keep

The flow - it moves like warm wind on the sand - wait, wait...sorry, I got carried away - the dialogue and description just work so nicely together.

Something I Might Tweak

Don't use the ellipse at the end. Just put a period. It's effective, and it makes it known that your story is over, and not merely a set-up.

James R. Tomlinson said...

Thematically, I'm having difficulty connecting the story to the photograph. Other than the circling vultures, something is amiss. The writing is admirable.

Christina Brett said...

Well done, Jackie! I'm not very well versed on Mexican folklore, but even I have heard of the Chupacabra.
Your settings are very well defined, and your dialogue is excellent. See? What did I tell you four years ago? (Has it been THAT long?)
Chritina Brett

Sarah Laurenson said...

Oooo. Scary stuff. Excellent job.

TA Novak said...

I would suggest Worn leather gloves rather than as you have it. Also the last sentence of pare 2: "The only thieves there were the circling band of vultures waiting for their meal from above." Something like: The only thieves there were circling above-a band of vultures awaiting their meal.

Aimee Laine said...

Ooh! Spooky! And oh yeah, she wears the pants! ;)

JaneyV said...

Jacqueline - this is superbly written. I like the set up and I was able to visualise everything clearly. I would love to read on...

Also Kudos for working in a Western motif.

pjd said...

I like the redshirts and their discussion even though it's a bit cliched. Silver mines? That's what intrigues me... I would think that might be the real story, with this as a red herring. (Do herrings suck cow blood?)

catvibe said...

Great job. I'm glad I learned about the chupacabra, that's a myth I didn't know... Loved the setting and description and your dialogue too.

Leatherdykeuk said...

nice use of legend