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Prologue: Jodo Santilla

Jodo dropped low to the turf, examining the imprints in the grass. The tracks were slight and even he had trouble seeing them much less recognizing them. But he was able to make out the general direction of the tracks, light hardly visible stamps in the dusty ground, heading off into a heavy cluster of scrub trees. He stood and quietly continued into the brush.

In the dark wooded grove a dark figure skulked through the darkness, appearing more a shadow than anything else, a spot of black pitch in the night, the specter strode into a patch of moonlight, the figure now clearly a male with young attractive features. His pale lips split as he sniffed the air, revealing a pair of sharp fangs below a pair of gleaming amber eyes. He surveyed the brush, mouth drawn in a snarl. He held the position for a few moments then began to continue through the brush. The creature had taken five steps when a sharp crack rang through the quiet, the creature screamed-a pitiful inhuman sound- as a large silver bullet ripped through his chest, whistling through the other side and into the woods. Before the Vampire could so much as think, another heavy slug blasted into the back of his knee, shredding the joint and shattering his kneecap. The vampire keeled to the side, unable to stand properly. Two more shots and the vampire felt his shoulder blades splinter and his arms fall limp at his sides. A fifth round cracked from the darkness and destroyed the vampire’s good knee. The creature toppled onto its back, wheezing and mewling like a winded infant. Brush rustled, and a human stepped towards it, the human who had shot it. In its hand it held a silvery six shot revolver, six shots, one shot left, and the vampire knew just where the human intended to put that last bullet. The creature screeched and began to desperately flail its ruined arms and legs. By this time the human had reached the wounded monster, stomping a heavy thick soled boot on its chest, cracking the sternum. The human leveled the revolver at the vampire’s forehead, the pistol jerked, and the muzzle flashed, the vampire’s spasms stopped and it settled flat, a neat hole squarely between the eyes.

The man took his pistol, flipped open the chamber and ejected the empty casings, circling them around the still vampire. Then he holstered the weapon, pulled a small black rosary and quietly mumbled a Hail Mary. Jodo Santilla looked down at the seemingly dead vampire, but he knew better, he knew you needed to sever their heads and burn the bodies, or else they would not stay dead. Jodo took a long tube of reddish powder, Thermite, and spread it along the body. He would incinerate the demon; make sure it went to hell where it belonged, and then the Patron of the nearby Ranch would pay him well for killing the monster that was attacking his livestock and ranchers. But first he would need proof to show the ranch owner. He reached down, grasped the monsters head and withdrew a long serrated knife…

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