When the fires stopped - Episode 2 (please see previous episodes)
The howling was not loud, or overbearing. It was subtle, which made it all the more chilling. It was a Kawil, a Mayan lord of blood. They are a nasty creature with an Obsidian mirror embedded in an equally black forehead. The Kawil stole faces from fierce animals and often was seen with a wolf or bear snout. It always had a snake as a replacement limb and "experts" argue that that was where its spirit was housed. It was the snake that emitted a subtle howl, like the wind but less joyful.
I could hear the beast getting closer. I knew it could sense me, but I it could not have seen me yet. If it had, I would be dead already and the earth would have one less chance to undo this mess. I could not outrun this thing. I could not fight it without weapons. I needed to hide. I took a hard right down an alley and noticed a dead bum holding a sign that read "Sucks to be you". I paused and considered the irony, then kicked the bum and stole the sign. I really did not need to kick him, he was already dead, but old habits die hard.
Using a worn out photo as kindling, I lit a fire and threw the sign on it. Smoke…Kawils' are drawn to it. That is why the Mayans used it in ceremonies - that is why you stay away from cities - and that was my diversion.
I noticed the bum did not have bar code on his wrist or back of his neck. Only people from the agency were exempt. Was he agency? It had been 50 years since the gene was introduced into the population. The public did not know, they could not know. An ambitious scientist in the agency designed a system to catalog all humans without their knowledge. He introduced a gene that manifested a fingerprint like barcode tattoo 1 year prior to 2012. It was introduced into the world's water supplies and has been a part of the human genome now for the better part of a half century. Only members of the agency had these removed. When the public found out last year, the black market for underground tattoos exploded. Some snot nosed genome hacker kid found a way to modify the tattoos. Modify, but never remove.
So why was this bum unmarked? I did not have the time to consider; before I could leave my diversion I heard the unmistakable sound of a creature with a dragging serpent for a leg. It was here, what now…..