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Saturday, August 20, 2011

FIGHTS/BLOOD - Excerpt from "Codename: La Lechusa" by Bowie V. Ibarra

Bowie V. Ibarra
(From the opening chapter.  Story now available here in paperback and ebook for as low as $4.99.)


Her heart was strong.
The large and tested muscle was beating against her breasts like a large drum pounding through an ancient Central American jungle.  It was as if a stout and dark-tanned warrior struck that drum with the skill of an artisan, stoking the fires of bloody conflict in the souls of his fellow fighters.  The music resonated through their bodies, preparing them for battle, girding them for pain, grooming them for death.
            The drum might as well have been in her chest as she looked out of the open hatch of the stealth plane, because it was doing the same for her.  The San Uvalde night was dark and cloudy.  The feminine moon hung full in the sky, gently illuminating the bed of clouds that shrouded San Uvalde in darkness.  The canopy of suspended condensation always gave her missions an extra edge, as if her fall through the moist aerial pillows would send her straight through to the ground.  That illogical fear made her heart beat stronger.  The jungle drum. 
            Breath was released from her body in steady, healthy rhythms, making her perfect breasts rise and fall like two round apples riding the waves of a washtub at a Halloween party.  They hid behind a sleek black and green experimental body suit, hugging her from her neck to her ankles.  A stylishly set peek-a-boo window exposed her cleavage.  Long black boots with green trim stretched from her toes to just above her knees.  State-of-the-art goggles held fast around her eyes.  Antennae for the internet-ready goggles stretched just behind her ears, allowing the brown hair of her Hispanic heritage to fall around it.  The antennae looked like ears.  Or horns.
            The excitement of the moment aroused her, and that fact did not escape the grateful gaze of the cabin supervisor, the man that was going to tell her when to jump.
            The people, especially the men, of San Uvalde knew her as Paula Belle Luna.  But she was known by the clandestine organization that assigned her to her missions by her code name: La Lechusa.
            “Why do they call you La Lechusa?” asked the man.
            “Well,” she said with little modesty, “I do some of my best work at night.  You don’t want to whistle at me.  And I can be pretty scary.”
            “I’m not scared of you,” said the man with a sly smile.
            “You should be,” she replied, matching his gaze with a dangerous wink.
            On the screen of her goggles, an internet alert popped up:

            You have a new What’sUp Message.

            La Lechusa smiled, poking in the air in front of the prompts that matched the location of the image in her goggles.  The cabin supervisor always smiled as she pushed, pulled, and poked in the air in front of her face.  Her poking opened the message in her goggles, revealing a photo update from her friend, Yvette.  She read the caption describing the drunken revelry of the picture.
            “Stooopid,” chuckled La Lechusa, closing the window and minimizing the screen.
The man gulped, then had the cheek to make a bold proposal.  “You have got to let me take you out to dinner sometime,” he said.  It was almost as if he was going to purse his lips and blow La Lechusa a kiss.
            Lechusa turned to him.  She stared back at him with the sultry dark brown eyes of a temptress behind her visor.  She was a woman who not only relished the company of men, but brought out their animal in the bedroom before devouring them.  Looking into his youthful eyes, she could detect she was too much for him.
            La Lechusa moistened her lips before moving toward him.  “Cook breakfast for me and my little girl before you take her to school, do our laundry, and pick her up, and I might consider it.”
            The man’s face contorted in fear.  It was not the face of fear a child gets when he sees a monster or when a man tastes the silver steel of an ax in a slasher film.  It was the face of fear in the heart of many a man of the modern age: responsibility.
            She moved closer to him.  He could feel her breath on his lips.  She could taste his fear. 
            “And remember,” she continued, “if we were to ever get together, I like it long.”  She paused, pulling out a large Bowie knife.  She lifted it between their faces.  Streaks of silver danced up and down the blade when it caught the moonlight.  “Long and hard.”  She closed her eyes, passing the thick knife along her full bottom lip before tapping it playfully against the lips he so wanted to kiss.  She opened her eyes and stared into his as she licked the length of the flat end of the blade.  Even the oil of the well-maintained blade didn’t faze her.
            The man trembled, submitting to her charms when he got word over his headset it was time for her to jump.  He shook from his ecstatic trance, the green light that signaled go-time extinguished their red flame of lust.
            “Go,” he yelled with a bittersweet cadence.
            La Lechusa smiled and laughed, flying out of the plane into the open air, waving a coquettish farewell to the blue-balled serviceman.
            Men are so stupid, she thought to herself as she hit the canopy of clouds with a silent splash.  For several moments, she was in total darkness.  The vaporous rain laced her visor and lips with water.  She broke the cloudline, and the lights of San Uvalde came into view.
            The wind massaged her exposed face.  The visor automatically initiated the application that cleared off any lingering water from the clouds as she drifted down.  In her visor, a digitized altimeter displayed her decent.  When it reached a certain number, she activated the glider wings strapped to her back.  As the wings caught the wind, her acceleration slowed down.  The altimeter disappeared from her visor, and an arrow blinked in the goggles near her left eye.  She turned her head to the left.  The arrow turned into a flashing circle, marking her target among the glowing buildings of the distant but approaching San Uvalde nightscape.
            “Rexault Pharmaceuticals, her I come.”
            Rexault Pharmaceuticals was the state’s leading producer of the Swine Flu vaccine.  It was producing a cheaper and more effective vax than other government sponsored vaccine companies.  CEO Barry Bravo was making a killing.  Covering the state of Texas, it was garnering a huge cut of the vax dollar across the nation and the world.
            But intel she had received from her handlers stated that Bravo was also running weapons to Mexican drug cartels along the Texas border.  RPGs, AKs, and even body armor were being filtered into the country through an underground network of crime and global profiteers, bankrolled by Bravo.  The money earned from multiple vax projects was then laundered in the stock market, where he was culling cool profits on insider info.  He lived on the top floor of the thirty-story facility, claiming it as a nice write-off on his taxes. 
            Knowing the roof was the only vulnerable point of Bravo’s modern castle, two guards stood on either side of the roof.  It was the easiest job the duo ever had until tonight.
            Shifting the glider downwards to get the proper momentum, La Lechusa swooped down and grabbed one of the guards, knocking the gun out of his hand and carrying him over the edge into the air.  She hadn’t held him more than two seconds when she let him go, dropping him onto the unforgiving concrete and stone of the San Uvalde street below.
            Swooping back down, she glided onto the roof with all the skill and silence of a true nocturnal predator.  The same nocturnal horror she emulated.  Her wings retracted and she clicked them off of her back.  She then unstrapped the accompanying backpack that looked like two fire extinguishers strapped together.  She stuffed the tanks into a shadowy corner of the roof.
            The deadly woman knew where her next target was, but turned on the FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared Radar) on her visor.  The heat signature would not only reveal the location of her next target, but where he was vulnerable.  She lay flat on her belly on the ungrateful gravel roof and searched for her target.
            The large air conditioning units shone a bright white in the FLIR cam.  The streams of expelled heat from the spinning fans sent warm waves above the unit.  Through the visor, they vibrated in the air like ghostly apparitions rising from a white tomb.
            And then a figure turned a corner.  Its heat signature revealed a heavy cold helmet and body armor.  A white arm contrasted against the cold black machine gun it held in its hand.  The warmest portion, at least in white, was the neck and face.
            La Lechusa slowly rose to a knee, pulling out a small throwing knife from a row of them strapped to her right thigh.  She also unsheathed the Bowie knife from her left hip.  Crouching, she prowled closer to the enemy, invisible in the dark shadows of the large air conditioning units.  Her soft steps across the gravel roof were hidden by the industrial hum of the heat-huffing fans.
            Switching the visor to night vision, she stood and tossed the knife.  The time-honored projectile took flight and struck its target with legendary precision.  The sharp missile cut straight through the sentry’s hand, knocking the automatic rifle from his grip.  Had the handle of the assault rifle not been placed firmly in the hand, the knife would have flown right through.  Instead, it stuck in the appendage, like a flesh and steel “X”.
            The man was about to let out a cry of pain, but was literally cut off by the woman.  She wielded the long and thick knife like a major league baseball player swinging for the fences.  The sharp and hungry blade cut through the man’s neck with the clean efficiency of cold, tempered steel.  The head flipped into the air like a token used at a coin toss before a gridiron football game.  Unfortunately, for the head and its former owner, its fate had already been decided.
            The head hit the gravel roof as the woman fell to a knee and sheathed her weapon.  From her utility belt, she pulled a length of heavy-duty string with a spike on the end.  The string was pulled from a retractable spool from her belt.  She picked up the severed head, then stabbed the head with the spike.  She pulled the spike through the head and tied the head secure.  The length of string retracted to the utility belt, securing the head to her waist as she prowled to the body.  From the neck of the decapitated body, blood pumped onto the roof in an ever-expanding puddle of crimson.  She pulled the throwing knife from the pierced hand before using it to cut the hand off at the wrist.  Taking another length of heavy-duty string from another retractable spool, she secured the hand and let it retract to her waist by the head.  Standing, she dashed to the roof entrance.
            Taking the head in hand, she lifted an eyelid to allow the retina scanner to work its technological magic.  The robotic female voice said, “confirmed,” through the night air.  She then yanked the head off her belt, reaching for the severed hand.  She placed the severed hand on the scanner, which quickly confirmed its legitimacy in spite of the blood.  The door swished open and the woman entered the stairway down, tearing the hand away from the wire on her utility belt.  She knew the trip downstairs would register as irregular to any security that was observing the comings-and-goings of the personnel.  So she had to act quickly.
            Spinning down the first turn of the staircase, she was taken by surprise to see a guard at the door to the CEO’s living quarters.  Fortunately for her, the hired hand was at a post that was clearly low maintenance.  The man was updating his blog on his WhatsUp page on a laptop.
            Opting for the Bowie knife, she threw it at the guard.  It whistled briefly as it cut through the air, striking the man in the forehead with medieval cruelty.  It cut a savage line through his skull and brain, punching through the back of his head and tapping against the metal wall behind him like a nail through a thin board.  Pieces of skull and brain jutted out from the back of the head.  Blood dripped down the back of the guard’s neck.
            The weight of his fall forward allowed La Lechusa to pull the knife free as he hit the ground.  The large silver blade looked like the obsidian knife of an Aztec High Priest sacrificing prisoners to the gods.  It was slick with blood, brains, and bone.
            There was nothing high-tech locking the large exquisitely carved brown door set against the sterile steel of the stairwell.  It was a simple bolt lock that Lechusa clicked open before turning the golden knob, entering the elaborate and ornate inner-sanctum of CEO Barry Bravo’s Rexault Pharmaceutical home.
            In spite of the darkness that caressed the interior of the living quarters, the lavish excess was still notable.  A stone grotto gently poured water over the rocks into a pool below.  A stone satyr seduced a mortal woman on a center pedestal, forever teasing each other with a kiss in their naked glory.
            The neoclassical statues stood in contrast near a modern dining room.  Earthy line paintings surrounded a long table where evidence of dining was spread across the table.
            A voice emanated from nearby.  Lechusa turned and followed the noise, turning up the ambient audio in her earpiece to get a better reading of where it was coming from.  She turned on the x-ray vision application on her visor, following what was clearly moans of ecstasy.
            A hallway led to a dark room that poured the gentle light of candles into the dark passage.  She edged to the entrance before peeking around the corner.
            In a highly crafted living room combining modern sensibility with statues of neoclassical design, the CEO of Rexault was banging his female guest for the evening on a luxurious couch.  His pale and muscular body contrasted against her luscious brown Hispanic beauty.  It was clearly not his wife, who was away on yet another well-documented shopping spree in Milan.  The assassin watched Barry’s hairy-bobbing-man-ass bounce as he pounded the Latin sex object.  Her legs were held firmly against his shoulders.
            Dammit, thought Lechusa, This is not what I needed.  The longer the pair had sex, the more the dangerous revelation of her infiltration would grow.
            Fortunately, the man soon cashed out, much to the assassin’s relief.  The two lovers shared meaningless words before the man rose to his feet and walked away from the couch of consummation.  The woman was left alone like a toy left by a child that had all the fun it was going to have with it.
            What an asshole, she thought as she crept around to follow him.  At a turn in the hallway, she watched him enter a bathroom, and soon followed.  The man was an uncouth barbarian in spite of his aristocratic status.  He left the door open as he relieved himself into a toilet. 
It left him totally exposed to the assassin, who gladly finished him with a pitiless slice to his neck, lopping the head off as he finished his bathroom break.  His head bounced off the wall before falling into the toilet filled with his own urine.  When his body fell, the auto flush went off, cleansing the toilet of the urine with a fresh bowl of water.  The jet of water splashed against his face, sending splotches of liquid over the edge of the bowl.  The new water quickly turned red with the blood still oozing from the head.  For a moment, Paula remembered the human head actually remains conscious for just under a minute after decapitation and wondered just how far Barry was able to live out his final moments getting a ‘swirly’ in his own urine and blood.
With the job done, it was time to leave.  She took a moment to look at herself in the mirror.  She blew a kiss at the image of the bloodstained killer before leaving.  “Sexy beast,” she whispered, prowling out of the room.
La Lechusa dashed back into the shadows of the hallway, passing the living room of sin.  She caught a glimpse of the lady, then quickly realized the identity of the trick on the couch.
Oh, shit. Nora? She thought to herself, smiling.  You bitch.  I knew you were fucking someone.  She chuckled to herself as she dashed to the exit.
With the stealth of the professional she was, she reentered the stairwell and dashed to the roof.
The head and hand were not needed to exit, and the door swished open.  She stepped out and did not anticipate seeing a guard standing dumbfounded over the maimed body her second victim.  He was reporting to the security team his findings when he looked up to see the woman.
“Fuck,” they both said in chorus.
La Lechusa dashed and tumbled for cover behind one of the air-conditioning units as the man opened fire with his company issue MP-5.
           “So much for subtlety,” she whispered, activating a flash-bang and tossing it over the large air-conditioning unit toward the man. 


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