“So, what does she want?”
“We’ll find out when we get there.”
The six women strode out of the vehicle and proceeded up the steps.
“Maybe we’re going to be given free puppies for our awesomeness.”
“Can I have a scruffy mutt?”
“Katelyn, stop getting Yuni’s hopes up.”
“Oh, was that a joke? But I really wanted a scruffy little mutt.”
“We can get one after the mission.”
“Really? I love you, Alena!”
“Let’s just get this over with.”
“What’s eating you, Alexa?”
“I just don’t want to see her is all,” Alexa answered.
“Are you and Anya fighting again?” Katelyn asked.
“This time it’s really over,” Alexa said.
“That’s what you said last time,” Katelyn said.
“And the seven times before that,” Ines added.
“They must have the best make up sex ever,” Katelyn said.
“Keep it down,” Sirvanna said. “We’re here.” She opened the door to the well furnished office.
“Omicron, welcome,” Jenny said. “I’d love to sit and chat with all of you, but I’m afraid that I didn’t call you for social reasons.”
Sirvanna, Katelyn, Alena, & Yuni took seats. Alexa leaned against the wall and Ines moved around the room.
“So, what kind of mission is it?” Sirvanna asked.
“A strange one,” Jenny answered. She flipped a switch and a holographic map appeared. “We’ve lost a city.”
“Did you check behind the couch?” Katelyn asked.
“Shhh,” Sirvanna hissed. “And Ines, could you please sit down and stop running around the room?”
“Kay,” Ines said. Within seconds she was seated in Sirvanna’s lap.
“Oh, lucky,” Yuni said. She looked over at Alena. Alena looked back at her and gestured at her lap. Yuni smiled and nestled into Alena’s lap.
“Could it be a gifted perp with teleportation abilities?” Sirvanna asked.
“It could be,” Jenny said. “Anyway, the specifics are as follows. At roughly 13:00 yesterday, central time we received a call saying that no one had heard or seen anyone in this area for days. Everyone who had gone to the area on business or to investigate had vanished. We dispatched an investigative team of our own into the area. At 17:02 we received a message from one of the girls in the team. The message was badly garbled and most of it was inaudible. At 17:06 the call was cut and contact with the team was lost. I’ll play what we got for you.”
The recording was badly mangled by static. Bzzzt Target point Bzzzt hanging from the trees Bzzzt can’t Bzzzt Wait, someone’s here Bzzzt from the ground Bzzzt Immediate evac! Bzzzt.
“Zhao is trying to fix the recording to see if we can get anymore from it,” Jenny said. “She also made some radios that she guarantees will work within five hundred metres, regardless of any interference. We won’t be able to hear you, but at least you’ll have no problem reaching each other.”
“So, you’re sending us to check the area and see if we can find out what happened to the team and the townspeople, correct?” Sirvanna asked.
“Correct,” Jenny said. “Just be careful. I would hate to lose you guys too.”
“How powerful was the first team you sent?” Alena asked.
“They were strong, but inexperienced,” Jenny said. “Only one of them had actually fought during the war. I… I thought that it would be an easy assignment for them to to start with.”
“I’m sure everyone’s fine,” Yuni said. “The team and the townspeople. We’ll get there and find out they were just kidnapped or something. You’ll see.”
“I hope so,” Jenny said. “In either case, you’ll leave for Nicaragua immediately. Stay alert and stay safe.”
“We’re about to set down,” Sirvanna noted. “We should be able to reach target by foot in ten minutes.”
“Or I could just run over there in seconds,” Ines said. “Figure out what’s up and finish things in time to visit my aunt and uncle in El Salvador while you’re filling out the report.”
“Don’t you dare!” Sirvanna cried. “If something were to happen to you I’d… Well, just don’t try it, okay?”
The group strode towards the mission site.
“That smell…” Sirvanna muttered.
“Blood,” Alena said.
They moved more closely together and took their first step into the town. The buildings had been smeared with blood. Entrails lined the trees like twisted decorations.
“Looks like a football match got out of hand,” Katelyn whispered.
“Katelyn!” Sirvanna cried. “This is not the time.”
“If I don’t joke about this I’m going to freak out,” Katelyn said.
“Still, who would do something like this?” Yuni asked.
“I don’t know,” Sirvanna said. “Whoever it is, we have to find and bring them to justice. Ines and I will check the west. Yuni and Alena go east. Katelyn and Alexa head south.”
“Because splitting up is the best thing to do in this situation,” Sirvanna explained. “Use your radios at the first sign of trouble. Fight defensively until everyone else gets there. Don’t try to bring anyone in by yourself.”
The group split into pairs. Katelyn and Alexa moved further in. Katelyn looked around. Someone had decorated a shrine with a looped necklace crudely fashioned from bones and bits of brain matter. Further in, they saw what appeared to be a walkway fashioned from marigold petals.
“Alexa to Sirvanna,” Alexa said, grabbing the radio.
Sirvanna here. Have you found someone?
“No, but we’ve found something strange,” Alexa reported. “A carpet of marigolds. I think it may be trying to lead us somewhere.”
Well, let us know the instant you see anyone. At least… anyone alive.
“Understood,” Alexa said. She and Katelyn walked over the marigolds. They reached a picnic table where a vase had been left. It had mostly white roses with a few human skulls accenting the piece.
Further in still, they found several corpses propped up in seating positions. They were surrounding a book. Alexa went to pick it up.
“The Necronomicon?” Katelyn asked.
Alexa shook her head. “A collection of Keats poems.”
Moving further along they heard a soft singing voice.
Los Muertos, Los Muertos
“Call Sirvanna,” Katelyn whispered. “Now, Please.”
“Not yet,” Alexa whispered back. “It could be a recording. We’ll check it out first.”
The two moved carefully forward towards the sound of the voice.
“Do you speak Spanish?” Katelyn asked.
Alexa shook her head.
Los Muertos, Los Muertos.
The two moved past an obelisk that had been adorned with intestines.
Adoro los muertos.
They were getting closer to the voice. It was very soft and high-pitched. Almost like a child’s.
Ellos no juzgan.
“It’s coming from that Mausoleum,” Alexa whispered. “I’m calling Sirvanna.” She reached for the radio but it was gone.
“Did you drop it?” Katelyn asked, looking back.
“No!” Alexa declared. “It’s… How the hell?”
The two looked forward. Their radio was in front of the Mausoleum.
A young girl danced out of the Mausoleum. She was wearing a blood-stained white dress with a garland of bones on her head.
“I’ll push her back, you go for the radio,” Katelyn whispered.
The girl looked at them and smiled. Katelyn felt pressure against her legs. Looking down, she saw skeletal arms reaching from the ground and pulling against her. Alexa tried to take to the air, but a half-rotted corpse tackled her to the ground. While they struggled, the girl continued her song.
Los Muertos, Los Muertos.