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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

ZOMBIES: Excerpt from 'Tejano Star and the Vengeance of Chaplain Skull

A PREVIEW OF THE UPCOMING TEX-MEXPLOITATION SUPERHERO STORY
by
BOWIE V. IBARRA

The following is an excerpt from the upcoming Tex-Mex superhero story, 'Tejano Star and the Vengeance of Chaplain Skull', coming fall 2013 from ZombieBloodFights.com, the leader in Tex-Mexploitation literature.

Check it out, and network with ZombieBloodFights.com for more information on 'Tejano Star' and other great titles from ZBF.com.


TEJANO STAR AND THE VENGEANCE OF CHAPLAIN SKULL
BY
BOWIE V. IBARRA

COPYRIGHT 201, 2013 BOWIE V. IBARRA

TEJANO STAR AND THE VENGEANCE OF CHAPLAIN SKULL

A ZombieBloodFights.com book

This book is a work of fiction.  People, places, events, and situations are the product of the author’s imagination.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or historical events, is purely coincidental.

Copyright 2011, 2013 Bowie V. Ibarra and ZombieBloodFights.com.  All Rights Reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author and publisher.
 

For Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti

For south Texas

For all of my English teachers, from high school to college

For my hometown of Uvalde

And for anyone who has ever felt the magic of reading comics
 
 

THE MADMAN ESCAPES

 

The blood that Dr. Duperee poured into his mouth from the small gold chalice had a satisfyingly warm essence as it fell down his throat.  He expected the unique coppery taste to be unpleasant, but it wasn’t.  He liked it, and he was thankful.

It was his own blood, after all, harvested from his throat by the sinister minister standing before him.  It made him happy that it wasn’t as disgusting as he imagined.

“This is the cup of your blood,” said the tall old man standing before the penitent Dr. Duperee in the doctor’s own counseling office.  “The blood of my new and everlasting covenant.” 

It was all a travesty, a true blasphemous interpretation of the most Holy Catholic mass that would make Anton LaVey blush.

“It shall be shared with you and only you so that your sins shall be forgiven.  Do this in memory of me.”

Dr. Duperee emptied the cup into his mouth.  A dark red moustache laced his upper lip, like ketchup on the lips of a child left behind by a wayward French fry.  A small drop of blood fell from his mouth, falling to his bare chest and drawing a dark red line down his naked body.

Pulling out a syringe, the old man removed the safety cap from the needle while pulling out another small bottle from his other pocket.  The bottle was filled with a blue fluid that was sucked into the syringe after the old man jabbed the needle into the lid.  He gently pumped the needle, just enough to shoot out a bit of liquid to assure the syringe was ready.  Then, the dark priest continued his perverted mass. 

Holding the syringe aloft, he said, “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  Happy are those who are called to his supper.”

Dr. Duperee, pale from blood loss, responded as if hypnotized, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”

His hands held together in prayer, he looked up at the old man, who gently pushed the needle into Duperee’s throat.  The old priest gently pressed on the pump, slowly injecting the blue fluid just above the now-covered puncture wound where he had drawn blood earlier.

Dr. Duperee smiled in sweet submission.  The counseling sessions with the wicked cleric turned into philosophical discussions on religion.  The chaplain placed enough puzzle pieces pronouncing his psychosis to perplex the doctor.  Then, into subtle skirmishes for control, the priest used his superior intellect and diabolical charm to convince Dr. Duperee of his iniquity.  Sordid stories of the doctor’s early days in the Air Force were revealed.  Sexual romps, experiments with drugs, and lies told to superiors were placed in the light.  The priest was now cleansing the doctor of his own personal sin.  The same cleansing that got the evil religious man, the Air Force chaplain, booked into the military psychological ward just off the base.

With the syringe emptied into Dr. Duperee’s bloodstream, the chaplain said, “The Lord be with you.”

“And also with you, Chaplain Skull.”

Chaplain Skull, as he was known by law enforcement officials, was really Chaplain Ken Driskoll of the United States Air Force.  He smiled, placing a paternal hand on the face of the expiring Dr. Duperee. 

“May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” said Chaplain Skull, making the sign of the cross over the doctor.

“Amen,” mumbled the doctor.

“Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”

“Thanks be to God,” whispered Dr. Duperee before his naked body slumped to the floor. 

The chaplain bowed his head in prayer.

“Lord, forgive this man for his sins.  He has made the ultimate sacrifice so that your ever-loving disciple might go back out into the world and cleanse away the sins of those whose lives he can touch.”

He then made the sign of the cross, saying, “Thanks be to God.”

 

It wasn’t long before Chaplain Driskoll picked Dr. Duperee’s clothes up off the examination couch and put them on.  He picked up the doctor’s car keys from the desk, playfully tossing them in the air and catching them before putting them in his pocket.  He also took Duperee’s wallet. 

Ready to go, he walked to an emergency exit.  He couldn’t go into the waiting room, as his military escort was waiting just outside the door to the room. 

The clothes he wore were a little loose, but it didn’t matter.  All that did matter was that Driskoll had Duperee’s door pass card.  He would need it to get out of the building and out of the gates.

Driskoll patiently trotted down the stairs without fear.  He had devised the plan, and planning prevented fear.  It was simple and foolproof. 

He walked out the door at the bottom, which was the emergency exit that took him out of the building.  People were walking up and down the walkway from the front gate to the building.  When he exited, no one took notice of him.  He smiled.

Driskoll kept a low profile.  When he thought about it, it was amazing how oblivious people were to the world around them.  Whether talking on their cell phones or updating their WhatsUp profile, no one was really paying attention to what was going on around him.

That’s why when he waved the doctor’s pass at the electronic gate to unlock it, even the gate supervisor ignored him.  He was too absorbed in his smart phone to pay attention to a person who had an actual swipe card.  His mind was already conditioned to accept that a person with a swipe card is not a danger.

So the chaplain casually walked through the gate and out of the psychiatric facility.  And though he knew that his image had been captured on multiple cameras around the facility, he would be long gone before anyone who might have been paying attention would see the discrepancy and do anything about it.

Driskoll knew what car the doctor drove from one of their earliest counseling sessions.  Driskoll never judged Duperee for owning a Volkswagon Cabrio, but the counselor intimated that some did.  None of it mattered, though.  It was all a way for Driskoll to get into Duperee’s head.

The Cabrio bleep-bleeped itself unlocked, also disarming its alarm, as Driskoll punched the keyless entry button on the car key.  He was able to figure out the direction the bleep resounded from in the parking lot and found the blue foreign car close by.

Entering the vehicle, he took in its contents.  Papers in the passenger seat.  An iPod plugged into the stereo system.  And an empty bottle of L’Amour Whiskey.

“If I hadn’t saved you, doctor,” whispered Driskoll, “your vice would have.”

Driskoll started the car and began to drive out of the parking lot.  As he passed the final guarded gate, he could hear an alarm go off from the building.  He smiled, assuming it was probably for him. 

The gate closed behind his car as the facility immediately moved to lockdown.  The cars that were leaving the facility behind him were now stuck for a few moments.

None of that mattered.  Driskoll had escaped.

He smiled, but wasn’t surprised.  It was his plan, so it had to work.

Following the plan, he drove to the convenience store that was to be his first and only rendezvous point.  At this store, he was to pick up his escape vehicle.  Considering the car he was currently driving was stolen, the quicker he was to get out of the vehicle and into another one, the better.

Pulling into the parking lot, he parked the car and walked into the store.  The key to his true escape vehicle was to be placed by his associates in the restroom.  But taking a quick inventory of the parking lot, he noticed the escape vehicle he had designated was not there.

The chaplain shrugged.  The minion assigned to drop off the vehicle was late.

He grunted, walking into the store.

Buenos dias,” said the clerk behind the counter.

Buenos dias,” replied the chaplain, walking up one of the aisles.

The front window was wide open on the parking lot.  Driskoll could see all the vehicles that were pulling up to the store.  Two small tables with chairs were lined up near the window, meant to be places where people could eat from the small taco shop in the back of the store.  He took a seat.

A car pulled up.  For a moment, Driskoll thought it might be his contact.  But a middle aged woman stepped from the vehicle and walked into the store. 

Driskoll watched her out of the corner of his eye.  She walked to the back of the store and contemplated the beer selection in the coolers.

Looking back at the vehicle, he noticed the vehicle was still spitting gray exhaust from the tailpipe.  The car was still running.

It would be an easy move, but the wrong one.  Desperation.  Considering the fact that he had arrived at the location to ditch the stolen car from the doctor, stealing another car would draw more attention to him.

So he watched the woman eventually return to her car, a 12-pack of Bud Light under her arm, and drive off.

And he waited.

Another vehicle pulled up.  It was not his contact.

Yet another.  Once again, not his contact.

What happened? he wondered.  It clearly had nothing to do with his planning.  His plan was foolproof.  The contact, he thought to himself.  Something happened to the contact.

Then he watched a Del Rio Police car drive by.  A bolt of nerves racked his body with fear.

The car passed.

Driskoll sighed in relief.

He waited again. 

Another car pulled up.  Then another.  Neither were his contact.

And then his plan began to fall apart.

Two Del Rio Police cars pulled into the parking lot, driving straight toward the doctor’s stolen car.

Driskoll had to make a move.

Rising from the table, he crossed to a small back hallway.  In the hallway were two bathrooms and another door labeled ‘Do Not Enter’.  Driskoll pushed open this last door and walked into the back room.  It was the door that led into the cooler, where the beers and other cold-drink items were stored.  Puffs of condensation left his mouth as his warm breath met with the cold air.

Through the glass of the cooler doors, he could see the police walking into the store.  He had to make a move, or risk being caught.

He looked around the chilly room.  Stacks of cases of beer lined the walls and congested the space.  A ladder led to the roof.  But that would be too dangerous if there was no way down.

Then he saw a door.  Driskoll moved through the cold air and moved the cases of beer that stood before it.  He pushed the door open, trying to move out quickly.  A stream of light flooded the room as he exited, closing the door behind him.

Loud cheers and the sounds of a High School band could be heard just a few blocks away.  People were walking to the nearby stadium for the Friday night High School football match-up.  It did not take Driskoll long to walk the distance to the stadium road and join the people.  When he reached them, he casually merged with them.  He walked with the neighborhood fans to the stadium.

Looking back at the convenience store, he could see several police officers standing around the Cabrio.  One was even walking around the building.  Again, Driskoll had just missed being captured.

The fans walking all around him were completely oblivious to who he was.  He loved that feeling of anonymity.  It’s what always helped him find his victims, even when he joined the military.  He could silently judge every one of them, visualizing his unholy mass and thinking of the many ways he could cleanse them of their sins. 

Then, someone pointed at the sky.  “Look!” they cried out.  “It’s Tejano Star.”

Everyone turned to look up at the sky.  They pointed and smiled, cheering at the superhero flying through the sky.

Chaplain Driskoll looked up, too.  He saw him, and it was him.  The very same superhero that was responsible for putting him in the institution.  The very same one he knew had been summoned to find him.

“Tejano Star,” Driskoll growled, sighing.  He knew it was only a matter of time now before the Tejano music frontman and south Texas superhero would be on his trail.  But he moved forward with the only move he could make at the moment: mixing himself in with the fans of the Del Rio Rhinos.

Chaplain Driskoll stayed in line, camouflaged among the people, remaining anonymous apart from a gentle smile every now and then with people who happened to make eye contact with him.

He took in the people all around him, judging them.

An adolescent child cussed.

A man on a cell phone lied to his wife.

Two people spoke in anger at each other.

I wish I could save all of you, he thought as he walked to pay for his ticket.  He received the senior discount.  He took his ticket and walked into the stadium.

It was perfect.  The crowd was large, as per all south Texas football games.  The arena was old, but hallowed ground.  The scent of old soda and stale popcorn danced across his nose.  The static grumbling of hundreds of football fans assaulted his senses as he walked to the aluminum bleachers.  The crowd jumped to their feet as the Rhinos completed a pass against the San Uvalde Marauders.

As Driskoll moved up the steps of the bleachers to his seat, the band started playing a drum chant.  The primal origins of the music were long lost on the fans as it beat an ominous tone, a war song for the young gladiators on the field of green laced with white lines.  The gridiron.  He found his seat, looking into the sky with cruel anxiety.

He watched a series of the Rhinos on offense, his eyes dancing among the crowd.  His hands shook.  He wished with such intense emotion that he could save them all.

Looking to the sky, Driskoll saw nothing suspicious.

The Rhinos took it to their rivals, the San Uvalde Marauders, on defense, smashing them with cruel tackles.  Before long, the Marauders were punting, giving Driskoll an opportunity to look to the sky again.

Nothing in the air.

As the Rhinos took control of the ball again, a hand touched Driskoll on the shoulder.  It startled him.  But when he looked up at the owner of the hand, it didn’t surprise him.

Driskoll sighed.  “Hello again, Tejano Star.”

“Hello, Chaplain Skull.”

Driskoll smiled, taking a deep breath.  There was nothing he could do now.  Tejano Star was too powerful.  He did have one option, though.

“Please,” said the chaplain, scooting over in the bleachers.  “Have a seat.”

“I’d be happy to,” said Tejano Star, “if you could first place the syringe you still have from the doctor’s office on the ground.”

Driskoll smiled.  Checkmate.

The chaplain pulled the syringe from his pocket.  He dropped it on the aluminum bleacher.  Tejano Star stepped into the aisle, crunching the glass syringe under his boot.  He sat down.

“How are the Rhinos doing?” asked Tejano Star.

“Hard hitting as usual,” said the chaplain, looking back out at the game.  “The Marauders are keeping it competitive.”  The chaplain paused, watching the game before asking, “How did you find me, Tejano Star?”

“Well, it seems the driver of your rendezvous vehicle has bad driving habits.”

Chaplain Driskoll sighed, nodding.

Tejano Star continued.  “He was pulled over running a red light.  He then proceeded to spill the beans.”

Driskoll grunted, then said, “The only weak link to my perfect plan.”  Then he looked at Tejano Star.  “But how did you find me here, in this crowd so fast?”

“They’ve had a tracking device put inside you since I first put you in the institution.”

“You know good and well no one can inject me with anything,” said the chaplain, pinching his impenetrable super skin.

“That’s true,” said Tejano Star.  “But you have to eat, don’t you?”

Chaplain Driskoll sighed.  Then a familiar line crossed his mind.  Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God,” he said.  “1 Corinthians 10:31.”

The crowd cheered for another great play by the Del Rio Rhinos.

“And that’s why I’m here, Chaplain Skull,” said Tejano Star.  “I am doing this for the glory of God.”

“Don’t lie to the Lord, Tejano Star,” said Chaplain Skull.  “Are you doing it for his glory?  Or are you doing it for your glory?  Your own vanity?”

“I’m doing it for all these people here, Chaplain Skull,” he said, indicating the crowd.  “I’m doing it to protect them.  By doing that, I am serving God.”

“But what do you do to cleanse them of their sins?” he asked.  “What are you doing to save them for our Lord’s Second Coming?  None of them will be saved when He arrives again.”

“That’s not for you to judge, Chaplain Skull,” said Tejano Star.

“Oh, but it is,” he replied.  “For if I don’t, then they will never know the glory of the Kingdom of God,” he said, imitating Tejano Star’s indication of the crowd.  “Dr. Duperee will know it now.  As well as all those that I cleansed before him.”

“What you are doing is murder, Chaplain Skull,” said Tejano Star.  His dark moustache quivered with frustration.  “You paint your picture of salvation with the blood of the innocent.”

“And you, Tejano Star, paint your picture of justice with the blood of the guilty.  How are you different than me?  We are two sides of the same coin.  You save people who would do harm to others.  I save people who would do harm to themselves.”

The crowd collectively groaned at a failed play by their hometown team.

Tejano Star felt himself falling into Chaplain Skull’s web of words.  This conversation needed to end before Skull worked his cruel influence over him.

“You know what we have to do now, don’t you?” asked Tejano Star.

“I know,” said Chaplain Skull, looking back at the game.  “You have to return me to prison.”

Tejano Star nodded.  “That’s correct,” he said, pulling out a pair of handcuffs.

“One day, Tejano Star, you will need me,” whispered Chaplain Skull, putting his hands behind his back.  “One day, all these people you work so hard to protect will need more than your power can provide them.  One day, they will need us.”

Tejano Star secured the bonds on Chaplain Skull as the crowd cheered for another great play.  “Let’s cross that bridge when we get there, Chaplain Skull.”

Chaplain Skull smiled, nodding, looking over the sea of people once again.  People, he knew, who would one day need to be saved.

 


THE NEXT DAY, AT A SPECIAL GATHERING AT BAUER AIR FORCE BASE

 

            “And it’s with pride, Bauer Air Force Base will continue to provide protection and security not only for our nation, but for the city of Del Rio, Texas.”

            General Clayton Michaels was greeted with friendly applause by the audience of locals, military brass, and an entire junior high school.  It was a special occasion for many reasons, as the general was stating.

            Sitting behind the general was Tejano Star, sitting with his manager, Lane.

            Tejano leaned over to Lane.

            “So, did we book that San Uvalde show?”

            “Of course,” said Lane, absorbed in the general’s speech, “We set up next Friday at 5pm.”

            “Are we set up for the show tonight?”

            Lane was still trying to concentrate on the speech.  “Give me a second, Tejano Star,” he said, “I want to hear what the general has to say about the Gonzalez Tower.”

            Tejano Star just nodded, shrugging.

            The general continued.  “The US government has provided a grant to our modest facility for $500 million to continue the research of Professor Richard Gonzalez.  As many of you know, Del Rio native Richard Gonzalez is at the forefront of energy technologies.  He was the first to successfully utilize sound waves as a source of power.  Like water-powered hydro-electric devices, the Gonzalez Tower can provide power by utilizing the potential energy of sound waves.”

            General Michaels pointed to his left at a building that was just yards away from the presentation.  On top of the building stood a large metal tower.  It was reminiscent of an old oil derrick like the ones that used to line fields in Houston.  But the electric panels lined symmetrically near the top of the tower indicated its technological purpose.

            The crowd turned and looked at the new piece of technology.  Then, the crowd of teachers and students clapped for the news.

            The general smiled and nodded.  Then, he continued.

            “With the Gonzalez Tower, Bauer Air Force Base will be able to provide its own energy for most of the electronic devices in the first month.  As it builds up and stores power, it will eventually be able to power all of the facility, much like a wireless charger recharges cell phones or electronic notebooks.  Before long, we believe this tower will store enough energy to provide electricity to the entire town.”

            Cries of amazement emanated from the crowd as everyone once again clapped with joy.

            “If this experiment with Gonzalez Tower goes as predicted, we will be working with the local power companies to begin production of these towers for distribution around the state, then the nation, and, ultimately, the world.  Del Rio will be at the forefront of this new technology, and our entire community will benefit greatly from its distribution.”

            Yet another round of applause broke out, with the general nodding modestly. 

Lane turned to Tejano Star.  “Do you know what this could mean?  This could be the biggest power revolution since the Tesla Tower.  Free energy, Tejano Star.  Free energy for the entire world.”

“Tesla Tower?” asked Tejano Star.  “What was that?”

“Nikola Tesla allegedly created a tower that had the capacity to send electrical power wirelessly to any point in the world.  I imagine some of those same concepts are at work here.  But sound waves as a source of power?  That’s new.”

Tejano Star just nodded.

When the applause died down again, the general spoke.

            “We also have another bit of news to bring to you today.  Yesterday, as you might know from local news reports, the sinister Chaplain Skull had escaped from his appointment at the psychological offices of Bauer Air Force Base.  He almost escaped, but for the help from a local hero.  Without further ado, I’d like for the hero to step forward and say a few words.”

            The general turned, looking at the superhero.

            “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome a true hero to this community, Tejano Star.”

            The crowd broke out in applause, whistles, and cheers as Tejano Star walked to the podium.  He greeted the general with a handshake, then took to the podium, waving to the people.

            Buenos dias, everybody,” said Tejano Star, “It’s great to see so many of you out here today.  And I hope to see all that are old enough in attendance at the Del Rio Ballroom later tonight.”  The crowd chuckled as Tejano Star finished his shill.  “Doors open at 8,” he said, smiling.  “Ladies get in free before 9.  Cover is ten bucks.”

            The crowd laughter died down as Tejano Star took a moment to pause.  It was a manufactured beat that made the crowd tune back in to him.

            “But seriously, amigos.  You can rest at ease tonight, knowing that I have once again put Chaplain Skull behind bars.  But I want you to know that I could not have done what I was able to do without the help of the real heroes.  The heroes of the Del Rio Police Department, who helped track Chaplain Driskoll’s potential location, giving me valuable information for me to close in on him.  Let’s give them a big hand.”

The crowd applauded once again.  Members of law enforcement in the crowd nodded and waved modestly.

Then, Tejano Star paused to transition once again.

“As you know, this city is my hometown, too.  I grew up here.  I got my high school education here before getting a college degree at San Uvalde Junior College.  And when I went off to San Antonio to follow my dream of being a singer, I never thought I would ever have these powers that I have now.”

            The crowd clapped in appreciation for Tejano Star, who nodded and waved back at the crowd.

            “I just want all of you to know here today, family, friends, law enforcement officials, fans, and all our military heroes, that I will always do everything that I can for you and our community.  Para siempre, mi pueblo.  Thank you.”

            The crowd cheered as Tejano Star walked back to his seat.  Lane was standing, clapping for his charge.

            “Good speech,” he said.  “Well done.”

            “Well, it’s from the heart,” he said, “And maybe it will get a few more people through the doors tonight.”

            “Always hustling,” said Lane, “Qué cabrón.”

            “Hey, when you’re a Tejano singing sensation like myself, what’s wrong with using my superpowers to bring in a few more people to the shows?”

“You can be so conceited sometimes, it’s funny.”

“Hey.  This superhero’s still gotta eat, now.  I can’t always eat tacos from the street vendor, now, can I?”

            Lane just nodded, chuckling.  “Fair enough.”

           

            In his customized and exclusive prison cell, Chaplain Driskoll watched the speech on his own flat screen TV just outside of his cell.  He glared at the screen.


THE FOLLOWING FRIDAY, AT THE SAN UVALDE CIVIC CENTER

 

            “How is everybody doing tonight?”

            The wild and wooly crowd of San Uvalde citizens cheered with delight.  The Tejano Star concert was just as fun as everyone expected, even to the superhero himself.  He finished one of the songs off the new album when he started talking to the crowd.

            “I’m Tejano Star and these are the Caballeros,” he said, turning and indicating his band members.  “And we’re so glad to be back here in San Uvalde, Texas!”

            The crowd was spurred on to cheer by the remark.  Appealing to civic pride was always an easy way to get the crowd to respond.

            Using the town high school mascot was another easy way to get a response.

            “How many San Uvalde Mauraders we have in the crowd tonight?”

            The response was even bigger.  San Uvalde loved their high school sports teams.  And even though the Del Rio Rhinos beat the Mauraders two weeks ago, he wasn’t going to say anything.

            “What I want to do here, compadres, is take a few minutes and do a giveaway.  What I have here is a signed CD of our latest album, “El Fuego del Amor”, signed by me and all of the boys in the band.”

            As Tejano Star continued, a scuffle broke out in the back of the Civic Center.

            “So what I’m going to do is this:  Everybody left a ticket with their names on it as you came into the show tonight.”

            Then, a scream emanated from the back, near the scuffle.  As security rushed to the scene, Tejano Star spoke.

            “Hey, hey.  C’mon, compadres, let’s get along here.  We’re all here to have some fun, right everybody?”

            The crowd cheered, but not as loud as before.  Many people had rushed to the site of the scuffle to take a look for themselves at what went down.  It looked like the security team had taken care of the fighters.

            Since most of the attention was on security, Tejano Star decided to acknowledge the fight and bring the crowd back to him.  “Hey, un aplauso por los hermanos allá  working security.  Let’s give them a big hand.”

            The crowd followed along, cheering modestly yet again.

            “Alright, compadres, lets get back to this drawing and see who’s going to get this regalo tonight.”

            Tejano Star reached into a jar and pulled out a ticket.  He held it up to read it.

            “Stephanie Reyes.  Stephanie Reyes?”

            A woman near the middle of the dance floor cheered, running up to the stage.  “Me!  Me!” she shouted.  The band couldn’t take their eyes off of her.  She wore a low-cut blouse that flowed gently as she moved to the stage.  She wore stylish patent leather black heels and a short dress.  She had a fair complexion, but her strong facial features pointed to Hispanic origin.

            “C’mon up here, chula,” said Tejano Star, pulling her up on the stage from the stairs.  She jumped up at Tejano Star and kissed his sweaty cheek.  She jumped back, smiling, shocked with a charge from his extra-terrestrial power that passed through her body.  Some people in the crowd saw her response and the brief blue spark that passed from his cheek to her lips and chuckled.

            “What’s your name, chula?” asked Tejano Star, putting the microphone in front of her red lips.

            “Stephanie,” she said, giggling with glee and waving at her friends.

            “Let’s give Stephanie a hand, folks,” he said, adding, “Masota la rabbit.”

            The crowd cheered, and some guys whistled as well.

            “Stephanie, here’s a copy of the new CD.  Thanks for coming out tonight.”

            Another shriek came from the crowd in the back again.  Stephanie and Tejano Star looked back again and saw another scuffle break out.

            Ay, mi raza,” groaned Tejano Star.  “C’mon, compadres, can we not have a show where we don’t get in a fight?”

            As Tejano Star looked back to see security taking control again, Stephanie said, “The last fight one of the guys bit the other guy in the face.”

            “What?” said Tejano Star, smiling in disbelief.

            “Seriously,” she said.  “He was crazy.”

            “Wow,” said Tejano Star, thinking that maybe getting the dance floor hopping again would be a good solution to the chaos.

            “Thank you, Stephanie.  Un aplauso for Julie, compadres,” said Tejano Star as Julie walked away.  “We’re going to go ahead and keep the party going here, amigos, with our next song.  Hit it, Caballeros.”

            The accordion, played by Tejano Star himself, blazed to life, followed by the bass guitar player lighting up his instrument, the drummer starting in, and then the keyboard player starting up.  Before long, Tejano Star was singing the first verse to one of the new songs off the new album.  The fun-loving vibes of pure Tejano music were dancing through the room.

            But the discord of the strange scuffles in the back of the San Uvalde Civic Center was taking the fun out of the evening yet again.  Amid the dancing masses, another fracas was breaking out.  This time, taking the pep out of the step of the people enjoying a good cumbia.  What was once a scuffle turned into a brawl, clearing people off of the dance floor.

            For any musical band, that’s a very bad sign.

            “Hey,” shouted Tejano Star, a bit frustrated, stopping his band and looking in the direction of the fights.  “What’s going on here?”

            Through the crowd and haze, Tejano Star could see two figures gouging and biting people.  On the floor around them lay three other people, wounded and bleeding on the floor.  A figure seemed to be feeding off of one body.  Several people were fighting with others.  Security had taken control of two people, but were now outnumbered.  A small crowd had gathered around the skirmish, but many were fleeing the building.

            “Time to go to work,” whispered Tejano Star, pulling the extra-terrestrial necklace from around his neck and cupping it in his hands.

Estrella de la noche,” he said, “ ¡Dáme el poder!” he shouted, calling for power from the extra-terrestrial object.

A bright flash consumed Tejano Star, and before long he was transformed into the south Texas superhero.  The flash wasn’t bright for long, and there on the stage stood Tejano Star.  Brown ropers wrapped his feet, covered by the faded pant legs of Wrangler blue jeans.  The large gold belt buckle had a carved star in the middle.  ‘Tejano’ was carved over the top of the star.  ‘Star’ was carved below it.  The cut-outs on either side of the star were the shapes of the state of Texas and the country of Mexico.  He wore a well-shaped straw Stetson hat, and a red mask made from a bandana that wrapped around his head.

His shirt was a long-sleeve button-up with the sleeves cut off.  The front and back of his shirt matched, with a blue field and a white lone star on the upper portion.  Two large vertical stripes fell to his beltline, one red, the other white.  The Texas flag.

“Get ‘em, Tejano Star!” shouted members of his band.

Tejano Star flew by one of the speakers and took a long stretch of technical cord that was not being used.  He then flew to the fracas, over the heads of the crowd.

“Look!” shouted some of the people.  “It’s Tejano Star!”

Landing near the fights, he took in more of what was happening.  One person was assaulting another on the ground, who was dripping in blood.  That same blood was falling from the mouth of the attacker.  Some people were mixing it up, throwing sloppy punches at each other.  Others were taking pictures and video on their phones.

Zombies? thought Tejano Star.

Tejano Star pulled the attacking ghoul off of the woman on the ground and wrapped the cord tight around the living dead man.  He then yanked another that was fighting with the people, and tied him to the first one.  He did it again, and again, and one last time.  When it was over, and it ended within a minute, Tejano Star had subdued five of the strange zombie-like people and hung them on the wall.  They snarled and growled in aggressive anger.

The crowd cheered, but the mystery of the cannibalistic patrons was too dangerous to have the people stick around.

“I’m so sorry, folks,” said Tejano Star.  “But due to what appears to be a… I never thought I’d ever say this… due to a zombie problem at the show tonight, I have to cancel tonight’s show.  All your tickets will be refunded if you contact tejanostar.com.”

Members of the crowd groaned loudly, and there were even some boos that made Tejano Star feel bad.  But most of the crowd had sense enough to leave.  People walked out, texting the events on their phones and updating their WhatsUp profile.

The strange creatures, tied up and hanging on the wall, drooled blood and saliva at Tejano Star.

“Tejano Star!” shouted a woman.  “That’s my brother up there.  You have to let him down.”

Tejano Star ignored the question and asked, “Ma’am, did you see what happened?”

“I don’t know.  Jimmy, that’s my brother, he got sick this morning.  I don’t know what it is, but he was sick all day.”

“I think your brother caught something very dangerous ma’am.  He needs to get to a hospital.”

At that moment, Lane arrived.   He overheard the discussion and stated, “The police is already on the way and so is an ambulance.”

“What’s your name, chula?

“Mandy.”

“Mandy, stay here.  The police are on the way.”

“But what about my brother?”

Tejano Star looked up at the captured people.  Their clothes suggested that they had gotten ready and come to the event completely healthy.  Or at least not affected by whatever they caught.

Looking back at Mandy, Tejano Star said, “Just stay with him.  Everything will be alright.”

But he wasn’t sure of that.

Tejano Star and Lane walked back to the band, who were already putting their equipment away.

“What the hell are we going to do here, Tejano Star?”

“I’ll take care of the PR, but as for the rest, I don’t know,” said Tejano Star.  “Let’s get this stuff all packed up and head back to the trailer.  Get the guys on the bus.  We’ll watch the news in the trailer.

“Then what?” asked Lane.

“If this is what I think it is, and I can’t believe I’m even considering it,” said Tejano Star, “then we’re in deep trouble.”



Read the rest of the action-packed story today in paperback or Kindle.  Network with author Bowie Ibarra for updates on its release at his official website, ZombieBloodFights.com.

BOWIE VALERIANO IBARRA is the author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press and Simon and Schuester.  His latest zombie story, The Fall of Austin, tells the story of military, police, convicts, and citizens of the Texas capitol as they deal with the zpoc.

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 You can network with Bowie and read about his Tex-Mexploitation stories at his personal website, ZombieBloodFights.com.

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