Chap 1 - Prelude
The wolf’s growl built into an ear-splitting snarl. The low rumble of its voice rippled outwardly and steadily became louder until it broke into a bellowing howl that shook the ground. Like wildfire, a chorus of wolves joins in unity, their voices harmonizing as if they were born from a single soul filled with unbridled rage, malice, and an implacable thirst for vengeance.
A dense lock of vantablack hair billowed through the air and quickly took shape, morphing into a lean and powerful wolf. Its midnight fur is indistinguishable from the dark sand, which whipped around a forgotten building. Tiny strands of its unruly mane danced on the gusts of wind, as if an invisible plague was engulfing the land.
Teresa, a 28-year-old Latina-mixed woman, stood with her hands in her worn jean shorts pocket. She clenched her teeth together, and her petite ponytail danced around as the wind blew. A light brown lipstick shade covered her bruised lip. “I called you because you were his goddamn drinking buddy.” Her arms crossed her chest. “Figured you’d want to know before the bugs and animals got here.”
Oscar, a 29-year-old Caucasian man in faded, tattered clothes, has short-matted hair, a beard shadow, and piercing gray eyes.
They looked at the torn front door, took a deep breath, entered -
Wall-to-wall blood and gore speak of unbridled savagery. Deep scratches and congealed fluids ruin the furniture. A disembodied hand grips a cup on the table. The forearm skin and muscle ripped away, jagged edges through the flesh. Splintered bone as if something pushed the body sideways through a car shredder.
Veins and tendons pool to the floor from a partial arm. Oscar grunted in disgust and turned his head. Teresa looked up at the ceiling.
“Well, god damn, Teresa. What the hell happened here?”
“He got chopped up.”
“What? Where’s his body?”
“How the fuck should I know?”
“He’s the father of your goddamn kids, Teresa.”
“Look, Oscar. You can damn well cry for your fucking asshole friend. I’m just the bitch he kicked around, forcing me to go to my knees for his unwashed ass.”
She slowly lit a cigarette and took a deep drag, the smoke burning her lungs. As she exhaled, her eyes fell on Oscar, who has just stepped inside. He moved from side to side, his face hidden by his arm as he ran his fingers through his matted hair. She knew he was searching for answers, but she can’t bring herself to move from her spot. The tension in the air is thick, and all she can do is wait.
He saw something -
- backed away to Teresa.
They exited. She leaned her back against the trailer. Oscar was freaking out. Teresa stayed cool.
“What the fuck?”
“I don’t know what he tells you, but he didn’t pay a goddamn penny to me or the kids. Hell, he only comes around to make me spread my legs. Sometimes after you get him drunk off his ass, he comes here to fuck me and beat the shit outta me. Not always in that order. Be grateful I called you at all.”
“I didn’t know. I’m sorry.”
“Fuck you, Oscar.”
She gives him the middle finger. Her contempt was obvious. “If you find him or anything that’s left of him, the trash can is over there.”
“Teresa, if you need to—”
She flicked her cigarette at him.
Oscar yipped, “Shit.” He jogged up to her. “Theresa! Wait a sec.”
She paused. “Do I look like I chopped him up? I’d be covered in blood. I would have done it with rat poison and gasoline his fucking ass.”
“Where were you then?”
She yelled at him. “Goddammit, I got bills to pay. He don’t give me nothing but an STD. The kids need shit. Didn’t matter if he was here or not. I enlisted in the oldest profession for a woman.”
“Fuck, Theresa. You could’ve—”
She jabbed her finger into his chest.
“Don’t fucking finish that. Get hurt? Don’t forget he wasn’t my husband. I’m fucking hoping a dead cockroach is raping his asshole with fangs.” She continues to her beaten car in the distance. “And the more dead and gone he is, the better. My face and pussy can take a break from his abusive ass.”
Oscar considered her. She felt him staring at her ass. Teresa flipped him the bird. Oscar returned to the trailer. His hand over his nose and mouth.
Outside the trailer, drying blood dripped off uncut grass tips. Flies buzzed the air.
The car rumbled, and Teresa sat back in her seat. She rummaged through her pocket until she found a crumpled cigarette pack in her pocket and pulled one out. A moment later, an orange flame lit up her face. She took a deep drag of smoke from the cigarette and closed her eyes as she exhaled. Her phone’s ping jolted her back to reality, and she quickly swiped the screen to view the message.
On the screen was a message from Nia: “Again, sorry. I didn’t know he had a family and did that shit to you. Dinner with him was good. Made sure his dick won’t bother you anymore. Pax, Nia.” Beneath it was an image of a man completely mangled—as if he’d been ripped apart by a bear high on cocaine and PCP—with his penis and testicles stuffed into his mouth, his foot wedged between his ass cheeks, and his arm missing from the gory scene. A slow grin spread across Teresa’s face as she exhaled a stream of smoke.
A few days later, inside an American immigration center, a beautiful without trying hard, Marisol, a Mexican woman 42-year-old, turned under a silver blanket. She laid on a crinkling, cheap rubber mat. A neo-traditional black pearl tattoo, wrapped by an asp, all lying within a fire and lightning storm, covered her ankle in a full sleeve. Immigrant women packed a massive room, buzzing in conversation about children and fears. Dual language signs filled the walls. There are bold words: Border. Immigration.
Thai-Norwegian, 34-year-old, Supatra, her long trusses of brown hair textured and healthy. The laminated photo clicked as her social worker badge glinted under the light. She moved past women in worn clothes, shifting with their movement like a membrane of butterflies’ wings that brushed against each other’s bodies shimmied between the security fences. The phone in her scuffed brown bag vibrated. She frowned and kept walking. She moved past women, glanced at ladies in soft conversation, and smiled. They sincerely smiled back.
Marisol sniffed the air with closed eyes. Her eyes narrowed as she scrutinized her surroundings.
An male guard stopped Supatra, examined her badge. He nodded, stepped around her, and completed his patrol route. Supatra entered Marisol’s area. Marisol rose. “Marisol?”
“¿Quién eres tú?” (Who are you?)
“Un aliado. Fui enviado por ti.“(An ally. They sent me for you.)
Supatra picked up a blanket and handed it to a woman. She seemed numb, ridged with scars, and didn’t speak. Truama pulsed off her in a palatable way. Marisol stood there, watching. “¿Que hay de mi tribu?” (What about my tribe?)
“Aquí. El Get of Fenris espera.” (Here. The Get of Fenris waits.)
“La última vez que nos separó como skwinkles.” (Last time he pulled us apart like Skwinkles.)
“La guerra no es solo para los humanos. Tuvo que tomar una decisión difícil. Por todos nosotros. Vivir.” (War isn’t only for humans. He had to make a hard choice. For all of us. To live.)
Marisol responded. Outraged as a murder hornet fighting a praying mantis.“¡Se llevó a mi familia! ¡Mis hijos! Mis cachorros nacieron de mi cuerpo. ¿Qué le dio el derecho?” (He took away my family! My children! My pups born of my body. What gave him the right?)
Supatra endured this mother’s wrath. She waited for Marisol to give the blanket to someone else. The two ladies head toward an exit. An immigration officer stopped them. He looked at Supatra’s badge, scanned it with a handheld device, and allowed them to pass.
As they went on, Supatra walked Marisol past walls tempered with uniformity like a prison. “Todos están respondiendo la Llamada.” (Everyone is answering the Call.)
“¿Cuántos mas?” (How many more?)
“Todos nosotros.” (All of us)
The ladies pass interview rooms that are like cells, claustrophobic, and not much bigger than a broom closet. A woman had her head down, exhausted to her core. White walls and floors, white ceiling, bright fluorescent lights, white door handles, if there are any. The two women pass into a labyrinthine route of hallways, offices, and work rooms. The scent of stale air of stagnancy and anxiety played with the sterile scent of cleansers and bleach, a blend of female sweat and unwashed clothes, and a large dose of discomfort and desperation. Supatra spoke off her shoulder to Marisol, “¿Has visto “El Cuento ce la Criada”?” (Have you seen “The Handmaid’s Tale”?)
“Sí. ¿Que hay de eso?” (Yes. What about that?)
“¿Cómo te sientes sobre el cambio climático?” (How do you feel about climate change?)
Marisol had a dubious look. She followed Supatra, but doubts filled her eyes. "¿Qué tiene esto que ver con la Convocatoria?"
"No me dijiste tu nombre." (You didn’t tell me your name.)
"No. No lo hice." (No. I didn’t.)
Marisol shook her head.
Outside the immigration center, Supatra opened the door to a blast of hot air when an agent moved past them. He noticed Marisol’s bare feet, but said nothing, not believing his eyes when she stepped on the blistering sand without flinching. He shrugged his shoulders and turned away.
Marisol asked, "¿Tienes algún cachorro?" (Do you have any pups?)
"Cinco. ¿Tú?" (Five. You?)
"Cuatro. Ya vinieron." (Four. They already came.)
The harsh sun tortured their eyes. Supatra donned a pair of sunglasses. She reached into her back pocket and pulled out another pair, and offered it to Marisol, who accepted. Her eyes smiled in appreciation.
"Nuestro carro nos espera." (Our chariot awaits.)
She motioned to a 2009 Honda CR-V with a sunshade in the window. Supatra and Marisol got into the car, and Supatra leaned over to the backseat and pulled out a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. She hands them to Marisol, who receives them gratefully. Marisol lets them rest on her lap. She takes a deep breath.
"Gracias. " (Thank you)
Supatra nodded in agreement as she placed on her seatbelt and started up the engine of the old Honda. She turned on the air conditioner, which provided immediate relief from the scorching temperature outside as they drove away from the facility. Marisol changed awkwardly in the seat. Supatra opened an ice cooler to hand out a bottle of water.
"Sí. ¿Cualquier comida?" (Yes. Any food?)
Supatra reached into the back again. She pulled from a doubled plastic bag.
"¿Desde cuándo un lobo no tiene una merienda cerca?" (Since when does a wolf not have a snack nearby?)
Marisol accepted the bag and smiled. Marisol glimpsed a sigil on Supatra’s wrist. A stylized scorpion mon tattooed on the ventral side of her wrist.
"¿Estás listo para ir?" (You ready to go?)
Supatra caught Marisol’s eyes. She knew Marisol noticed the mark. She grinned, played it off. As they drove away, the wind wiped the sand clean of their footprints.
Outside, the full moon was showcased, the blue sky seemingly nervous.