Quetzalcoatl Ch. 10byDetectiveSpecialist©
I awoke the next morning alone. I could smell coffee, and I cringed. I didn't feel like dealing with mom this morning. I got up and got dressed. When I walked into the kitchen, Al Shaba was sitting under the table wagging her tail like she had never left.
"When did she come back?" Mom asked as she leaned against the counter drinking a cup of coffee.
"Last night. I fell asleep on the porch and she woke me up."
"Yeah, I noticed all of the beer bottles. We're drinking a lot lately, aren't we?"
"I guess that I'm one big disappointment to you, aren't I?"
Her eyes left me and she instead focused on her coffee cup. "I'm sorry about last night."
"I thought that you didn't blame me for Cassio's death?"
"I don't! I'm sorry, but I miss him so much and I took it out on you." I didn't say anything; I just went over and poured myself a cup of coffee. "I didn't need that asshole here last night either."
"Who, Luke?" I asked.
"Yeah Luke. His carelessness caused all of this and he has the nerve to show his face here."
"Cassio told you about that?"
"Yes. He told me that you were concerned about it, and he was too."
"That's why I shouldn't have left."
"Don't try to deflect the guilt, besides I still think that if you were here, you'd be dead, and I would be..." She let the sentence drop, and I didn't finish it.
We just stood there drinking coffee in the awkward silence.
"Listen," I broke the silence. " I need you to go and stay with Henry's girlfriend Anne, while I'm away."
"You aren't seriously thinking about still going, are you?"
"It's the only way."
"Then I've lost you already."
"I might surprise you," I smiled to break the tension, but she was not being mollified.
"Why can't I stay here?"
"You know why you can't stay here. If Azul comes while I'm gone, this will be the first place he will look for you." She didn't have an argument, and so she just stared into space.
"I'm just afraid for you Ed," she said without looking up.
"I know, but it's going to be okay." I walked over to her and put my arms around her.
"Don't say that. Don't patronize me," she said as she nuzzled into my shoulder.
Again we fell into silence until she lifted her head, looked me in the eyes and kissed me on the lips.
"Do you want to? Because I could really use some comforting," she asked forlornly.
"Are you sure?"
"I mean, with what happened with Azul?"
She smiled a sad smile. "He didn't even touch me. Well not that way, anyway. He didn't have the chance; between driving the van and trying to keep those zombies off me, his hands were full. I believe he had plans for me later, but then you spoiled that, didn't you?" She grabbed my cock for emphasis.
She then took my hand and escorted me upstairs.
The sex was gentle and slow; the concupiscence was gone.
I wasn't having sex with the most beautiful woman in the world any more; I was having sex with a beautiful woman, who just happened to be my mom. The idea didn't disgust me, but it was different; more perverted. I felt more like a boy sneaking through his mother's panty drawer, than a man infatuated by his woman.
I also noticed little imperfections in her that I hadn't noticed in a while. Little wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, which were probably there before I got sick, but Q wouldn't let me see them. Her breasts, although large and lovely, didn't seem so perky, she had fat along her midsection that bulged when I pushed her legs in the air and penetrated her, and her skin wasn't as supple or luminescent as I had remembered.
I had the idea that she felt the same way too, because she really didn't look at me like she did before, and we didn't kiss on the lips. She kept her eyes closed, and when she came I heard her whisper Cass's name ever so softly.
After it was over, and we were both gasping for breath, I thought to myself that that was probably our last time together. It was a little sad.
Two days later I was driving her over to the boatyard to meet Henry and Anne. It was cold and rainy, and there was a light fog over the lowlands. I had all my gear in the back seat of the Jeep next to Al Shaba. I didn't want to leave her there all alone. She would be fine with mom.
The rear of the Jeep was stuffed with mom's bags. I figured that I would only be gone for a few days and so mom packed for a week. I didn't complain though. I didn't want her to go back to the house for anything. Azul might stake the place out if he didn't find anyone there.
That's all assuming that he went up to Dover and turned around and came back right away. I didn't think that he would, but you never know.
We pulled into the boatyard, and I laughed at myself when I saw the sign... "McAllister's Boatyard." What an ass, I thought. Maybe mom and John were right. Maybe I was starting to believe my own bullshit. Maybe I don't have what it takes to stand up to a guy like Azul, but it was too late now.
John, Henry and Anne were in the office when we got there. I only vaguely remembered Anne, but I didn't let on. She greeted me very warmly.
"Thanks for taking Josie in while I'm away."
"Nonsense. I love having her. I miss doing girl things with all these men around."
John and Henry helped me put mom's gear in Henry's car and I gave mom a kiss goodbye and then, unceremoniously, she and the dog were off.
As they were exiting the boatyard Henry pulled me aside.
"Luke is here. He wants to talk to you."
"Henry," I said frustrated. "I'm not taking him with me."
"Just listen to what he has to say. It makes sense."
"Okay," I consented. "I'll listen to what he has to say."
We went back into the office and Luke was standing there. He must have been lurking in one of the back rooms.
There was an awkward silence and then Henry spoke up.
"Tell him what you told me," he prodded the boy.
"I've got a friend who lives up by where Azul has his hotel."
"That's where he lives. That's where he has his business."
"A brothel," Henry interjected. "That's where he takes all of the women he kidnaps."
"He actually whores out these women. That's where he was taking Josie?"
"Yeah," Luke continued. "My friend has actually been there."
"What does he use for currency?" I said amused.
"Food, guns, alcohol, anything that Azul needs or wants."
"How many women does he have in this hotel?"
"No one knows," Luke started again. "Maybe a couple dozen."
"He can't run it all by himself with a couple dozen women."
"No, he has a lot of help. With high functioning zombies, and just local riffraff, he has built himself a little army."
"They say he has three classes of women," Henry added. "The ones he keeps on the main floor are for the zombies. The second floor women are for the help and the paying customers. And on the third floor he keeps the best for himself and any high paying clientèle."
"Like the Governor?" I added sarcastically.
"You'd be surprised, the city of Dover had some eighteen thousand women, and now that's down to about fifteen hundred. Men will pay anything for a little pussy. Especially when you have the Q bug."
After Henry said this he must have realized that he and I were two of the only men in this area to have a woman. He started to blush a little.
"So what's your plan?" I asked Luke.
"Let me go with you, at least to my friend Dave's house. I'll show you where Dave lives, and he can fill you in on the inside workings of the joint. He can even show you where the hotel is."
I had to admit, it made sense. It would cut down on the amount of time I would need to check the place out. Maybe I could even get inside the hotel if Azul lets others run the place. Who knows?
"Okay Luke, you've got a deal."
His smile ran from ear to ear, he was happy. "When do we go?"
"I need to pack?"
"You've got twenty minutes. That's all," I said as he ran out the door presumably to get his gear. Henry was smiling. I thought it was silly, but I guess the kid felt like he needed to redeem himself.
Luke was back in less than fifteen minutes and we said our goodbyes to Henry and John. They both treated me like I was never going to return. They were probably right.
As we got in the Jeep, I noticed that Luke had a bulge sticking out of the back of his waistband. I waited until we were on the road a couple of minutes before I asked him.
"Luke, is that a gun you're carrying?"
"Yeah," he said nonchalantly.
"Why are you carrying a gun? You're not coming in with me."
"I always carry a gun when I travel. You know there are bandits on the road?"
"No I didn't," I said a little surprised. "Bandits, really?"
"Yes bandits," he said defensively.
"What could they possibly steal?"
"Food mostly. Not everyone has the land or skills to set up a farm. I know Cass got you those chickens, but that was a stroke of genius for you to raid rabbit nests. You know everyone is doing that now?"
"That was Josie's idea. She is very resourceful. I guess growing up in the third world has its benefits."
"Yeah I guess?"
"I hope we don't run out of rabbits."
"Fat chance of that," Luke said with a chuckle.
I could tell Luke had something on his mind, but he wouldn't come out with it right away. Finally when we were half way to Dover he asked me.
"Are you really going to kill Azul?"
"That's the plan."
"Doesn't it bother you? I mean, to kill a man."
"Look Luke, I'm not going to justify my actions. What happened when we were attacked was self-defense. Hunting down the zombies was more cold blooded, more calculated. Still, you can't whistle past the graveyard, and you can't hide from your troubles. You have to face them. And that is what I have to do with Azul."
"I don't know, but since he will probably come looking for me, it's better that I go looking for him first. On my terms."
"Have you got a plan?"
"No, not yet. I want to see his place first and listen to what your friend Dave has to say. Has he really been inside the place?"
"Yeah, so he says."
"You haven't told him that we are coming?"
"No. That's why I wanted to come with you. I didn't want to tell him over the air that you were coming. If I show up with you, he'll be more receptive."
"Good boy," I said. Which was weird, since I was only about seven years older than Luke, and yet I felt like I was so much more mature than him. The rest of the way to Dover we drove in silence.
Dover is not a big city, despite the fact that it was the capital of the state; it only had about thirty-five to forty thousand people before Quetzalcoatl. Which was about the same amount as my hometown; which itself was a city in name only.
Dave lived on the first floor of a garden apartment in a typical suburban neighborhood. It was old, probably built in the 1960's. But it had been well maintained and, except for the high lawns, you wouldn't have known from the outside that most of the world was dead. When we parked outside his apartment, Luke went straight up to the door. I stayed behind near the Jeep. I had the mini in the Jeep and I didn't like leaving it unattended.
Luke knocked on the door for a few minutes until a young black man, who I assumed was Dave, opened the door. He was tall and thin, and at first I assumed that he was athletic, but I would later learn that he was more of a geek.
Luke talked to Dave for a few minutes and then he motioned for me to come inside. I had wrapped the mini in a blanket, so I just grabbed it out of the back of the Jeep and headed into Dave's house.
"Dave this is Ed," Luke introduced us.
"I know you. You're the zombie killer," Dave said.
"In the flesh," I mocked.
"You came all the way up here to kill zombies?"
"Not as a going concern."
"I don't understand?" Dave looked puzzled.
"Azul attacked two friends of Ed and I," Luke added.
"Down by you?"
"Yeah, he killed one of them and almost kidnapped the other."
"Holy shit! He never goes down that far," Dave said and then realized, "He went down there looking for the woman you've been talking about."
Luke cringed when he said that. I interrupted to change the subject.
"We need your help Dave," I said looking right into his eyes.
"What do you mean?"
"I need someone to show me where he holds up, and I need some intelligence about what goes on inside of the place."
"That's all? Okay," he agreed.
"I just don't want you to feel like you are putting yourself in danger."
"That place is teeming with men all of the time. How's he gonna know I snitched on him?"
"Okay then, it's agreed. Thanks Dave."
"He killed your friend huh?"
"And you stopped him from kidnapping the woman?"
"That's some slick shit. There ain't too many people who tangle with Azul and live to tell."
"So I've been told."
Dave filled us in on Azul's "business" and most of what I had heard before was untrue. First of all, he didn't live in a hotel, but an apartment building and Dave wasn't a patron, but did some electrical work for him.
It appears that Dave hooked up the generator for the building, and not like the way Cassio jury-rigged it, but actually hardwired the generators right to the building's electrical box.
It was a big ass generator too. It had to be hauled in on the back of a truck. Dave knew where they were stored and made a deal with Azul so that Dave also had one hardwired into his apartment.
Azul had the generators transported and Dave hooked them both up. And it appears that that generator was his Achilles heel. It wasn't guarded at all and it powered the whole building. Take out the generator and they were literally in the dark.
"So Dave," I asked in an idle moment while Luke was in the next room watching TV. "Why is it that you are willing to help me?"
"Believe me, I've benefited from dealing with Azul, but that dude is bad. I've seen the women he has held up in there. Some of them are grandmothers. Imagine your grandma turning tricks. It's nauseating."
"So you're doing it to save the grandmas?"
"That's right. For the grandmas," he said with a big smile on his face.
"So how do I disable the generator?" I asked getting back to business. "Pour sugar in the gas tank?"
"I don't know why people got the idea that that would work? First of all it's diesel powered, and sugar doesn't dissolve in diesel fuel. So it would just sit on the bottom of the tank and the filter would remove any that got in the fuel line. Nah man, you've got to cut the fuel line."
"With what? And where is the fuel line?"
"You're forgetting that I have the same generator out back. Come on, I'll show you," he said and got up and started out the back door of the apartment. The back door emptied out into a parking area filled with cars.
The generator, which was a large steel box, was down the far end with a large wire running from it to a basement stair and into what I presumed was the utility room.
Dave showed me the generator and showed me where the gas tank was.
"Just locate the gas tank, and the fuel line is right here," he said showing me the finger thick black hose.
"Okay, but why can't I just turn it off?"
"And then someone can just come along and turn it back on, and where does that leave you? Besides, if you cut the gas line, the generator will continue to work for about thirty seconds. Giving you enough time to get clear away."
"How do I see with the lights out?"
"You're the great zombie hunter, hey. I'm assuming that that long thing wrapped in a blanket is a rifle? We'll tape a mini maglite to it. Just don't stand behind the light if they're shooting at you."
"Because they'll aim for the light. Are you sure that you tangled with "The" Pato Azul? Because you seem like you couldn't tangle with my Aunt Bessie."
"I guess I was just lucky."
"You're going to have to be more than lucky to walk into his house, with all his zombies and shit, and take him out."
"Yeah, I'm aware of that," I said conceding the point.
"You're going to need the Navy Seals to help you with this job."
"Why, do you know any?"
"No, and if I did, they wouldn't be foolish enough to go with ya."
I didn't say anything. I knew he was right, but I had made up my mind to go.
"Are you sure that you want to go through with this?" Dave said to me with a look of concern. "Because I'm starting to like you, and the more I think about this, the more it's starting to look like a suicide mission."
"I have to, Dave. If you ever saw Josie, you'd know that Azul won't be satisfied until he has her."
"She's that fine, huh?"
He opened up the door of the generator again. "Okay, show me where the fuel line is."
That night we went over to Azul's apartment building. We sat in the Jeep and watched from across the street. It was actually a nice looking building and, even though it only had about four floors, it was the tallest building around, so it stood out.
Security seemed chaotic. There were plenty of zombies around. In fact I had never seen so many in one place. Just looking at them made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
"Where is the generator?" I asked Dave.
"Around back. Drive around the block and I'll take you to it."
I did as he said and drove around the block until we were directly behind the building.
"Park it here," Dave commanded. I did and we all got out, walked through a side yard and into the backyard of some building. There we were facing the rear of Azul's place.
The front of his building may have been chaotic, but the rear was like a morgue. It was dark and the only noises we could hear were from the din from the front of the building and a hum that I knew to be the generator.
It was so dark that I could only see the outline of it, but I could hear it well enough.
"You're right," I said to Dave. "No one is guarding it."
"Once in a while someone comes to check if it needs fuel, but that's only once a night."
"Let's get out of here," I said and headed back toward the jeep. "No need in risking getting seen." We got back into the Jeep, and I started to think. "Maybe I should go in?"
"That's crazy," Luke announced.
"No he's right," Dave defended me. " He needs to see the layout."
"What if Azul sees him?"
"Azul is never on the main floor. He's always upstairs. We'll be fine."
"What do you mean 'WE'?"
"You stay here Luke. Ed and I will go."
"No. I'm going. You ain't leaving me alone." I pulled the Jeep around front, parked it and we all headed to the front of the building. About six or seven zombies were milling around the front door, besides those that were coming and going. I wanted to shoot all of them, as we got closer.
Once inside the lobby I saw the real security, much as it was. One doorman, who obviously wasn't a zombie, was leaning on a wall just inside the door. He could have been packing, but I didn't see anything. Another non-zombie was the greeter.
"Are you guys looking for a little action?" The greeter asked. Neither of these guys was too imposing, but the doorman had an edge to him. He would have to be taken out first.
"Well, we're actually new around here and we wanted to check the place out first," Dave answered back quite convincingly.
"This ain't Walmart buddy," the doorman bellowed.
"We don't even know what you want for this 'action'," I came to Dave's defense.
"Normally," the greeter chimed in, obviously annoyed with the doorman, "people bring in merchandise; food, gasoline, guns, etcetera, and we tell that what it's worth. For instance yesterday a man brought in a .357 magnum with ammo, and he got two hours with a four star woman. But that was an unusual situation. A bag of food might get you fifteen minutes with a two star woman."