Last week, we heard about Ken and Melissa’s trip to Guatemala to deliver a food aid package to a remote village. They were waylaid by a band of mysterious strangers lobbing grenades. What’s more, one of them is a jaguar who can apparently transform into a woman. Here’s the conclusion to “The Proposal.”
“Marcella,” called the man. “Check out the package in the back of this jeep.”
A second woman with spiked hair, dressed all in leather seemed to float out of the jungle. With sharp, talon-like fingers, she slit the package open. Melissa’s eyes widened when she saw several bricks of cocaine.
“What the…?” She looked at Ken and at the strangers surrounding them. “We’re supposed to be delivering a food package to the village up the road.”
The tall man looked from Ken to Melissa. After a moment, he gave a curt nod. “I believe you.”
“But they have the cocaine,” protested the woman who had been a jaguar.
The tall male vampire tapped his forehead. “Read his mind. He’s telling the truth.”
“They must have given us the wrong package at the United Parcel office in Guatemala City,” said Ken.
“If that’s the case,” said the woman with the spiked hair, “then there may be someone else coming along this way soon.”
The young, Latino woman put her hand on her hip. “All right, we’ll wait and see who comes along.”
“We need to get this jeep out of sight,” said the tall man.
The three surrounded the jeep and almost faster than Ken and Melissa could follow, they changed out the flat tire. When they were finished, they pulled the jeep off the road, into the shadows of the jungle. The two women filled in the crater, so it looked like no more than a pot hole.
“Who are you?” asked Ken.
“I am Desmond Drake,” said the tall man. He held his hand out to the woman with the spiked hair. “This is Marcella DuBois.” He then pointed to the other woman. “My other acquaintance is Mercedes Rodriguez.”
The woman who had once been a jaguar smiled, revealing her long fangs again. “Mercy smiles upon you tonight.”
“We’re known as the Scarlet Order,” continued the man. “We were hired by the Guatemalan government to stop a shipment of drugs.”
“Which we’ve done,” said Mercy. “I say it’s time to feed and get out of here.”
Melissa trembled, but faced the danger head on. “How in the world did you transform from being a jaguar into being a woman?”
“It’s easy when you’re a vampire.” Mercy winked at her.
Just then, Marcella’s head jerked around. She listened. “There’s another car coming.”
Melissa and Ken looked at each other. Neither of them could hear anything besides the jungle noises. Drake hustled them into the woods and the three people who called themselves vampires faded into the shadows.
Five minutes later, another jeep rattled along the road. Drake swore when he realized his supply of grenades were across the road. The car zoomed past. Mercy transformed into a jaguar again and gave chase. She jumped in and knocked the driver from his seat. The man in the passenger seat leaped out before she could attack him. Mercy resumed her human form and took control of the jeep. Meanwhile, the man who had jumped rose to his feet and saw Drake and Marcella running toward him. He drew a pistol from a holster at his hip and began firing.
The two vampires jumped off to the side of the road. Ken thought they vanished, but soon a swarm of flies engulfed the man with the gun. He swatted wildly, but with no effect. A moment later, the swarm coalesced into the form of a man. The writhing jumble of insects soon became Desmond Drake. The vampire grabbed the man and sank his fangs into the man’s neck.
“Don’t kill him,” called Melissa.
Drake looked up and wiped blood from his chin. He let the man slump to the ground. “I rarely drink to kill. He shall face justice with the proper authorities.”
Marcella emerged from her hiding place and ran to the drug dealer’s jeep. She opened the box they carried and held up a can of food. “I think this is the package the villagers expected you to deliver.”
Ken and Melissa ran forward and checked the package. Sure enough, it was the one they were supposed to have picked up in Guatemala City. As Melissa gathered up the box and took it to their jeep, Marcella put her hand on Ken’s shoulder. “I saw the way she was prepared to help you.” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a small box. “This is something I’ve had for a while. You should give it to her.”
Ken opened the box and swallowed when he saw what was inside.
“What’s keeping you?” called Melissa. “We need to get to that village!”
“Thank you,” said Ken.
“Don’t mention it,” said Marcella.
“Just be more careful about what boxes you accept next time.” Drake folded his arms across his chest.
Ken and Melissa continued on to the village and delivered the goods. They spent the night and then returned to Guatemala City the next day. Along the road, they saw no signs of the strange encounter the night before.
They flew on to St. Lucia, shaken and a little troubled by this group of vampires in the middle of the jungle working to stop drug cartels. Nevertheless, they checked into the hotel. They both changed out of their grungy clothes and Melissa ordered a drink. She really needed it by that point. The view was perfect. Ken persuaded Melissa to put down the drink and he took her hand. He reached into his pocket and for one horrible moment, he thought everything that happened the night before had just been a strange dream. Then he felt the ring and pulled it out. He dropped to one knee and told her what she meant to him. Told her that although he had planned to talk about marriage, after their adventure in Guatemala, he’d just cut to the chase. “Will you marry me?”
The world seemed to stop spinning and Ken couldn’t breathe for a long time, but Melissa couldn’t stop smiling. Tears gently spilled down her cheek, and she said, “Yes!”
Congratulations to Ken and Melissa on your wedding. The Scarlet Order smiles on you and you know they’ve got your back. For the rest of you, you can learn more about the Scarlet Order by visiting the book links on the upper right!