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Literary Works by Nancy Reil Riojas
Literary Works by Nancy Reil Riojas  ~ U.S. Copyright Office, Washington, D.C.

Monster at My Window ~ A Novella ©
SYNOPSIS:  
​Fiends created by man achieve man's detestable covert scheme under the auspices of two mega corporations. Meanwhile, the first credible child victims do not escape from unpredictable beasts that conduct devious interactions in storm drain tunnels under Brownsville, Texas, where fathers band together to war with them.  


EXCERPT:  Marcos tends to usual chores in the lab.  Entrusted with keys to every door, he takes his time meticulously cleaning up and always leaves late. Curiosity gets the best of him when he unlocks what he knows are experimental labs.

After opening the initial door, he's alarmed to see a second door with a thick, one-foot-long bolt, which he jerks out from the door jam. The heavy door creaks open as he steps in and quickly feels along the wall for a light switch. He gags on the powerful odor of sulfur, pulls a handkerchief out of his pocket and places it over his nose. Marcos listens to movement in cages: he startles what he believes to be normal animals. Even with help of dim light shining in from the hallway, he cannot find a wall switch. He hurries back down the hall for a flashlight. Upon his return, a chill charges through him as he reaches the eerie doorway. He stops. Placing his hand on the bolt, he considers closing and locking the door, but doesn’t, then again takes slow steps into the ominous laboratory.

A warm stench from an eerie hiss feels too close.  He turns and flashes light in the direction of the sound. Huge red eyes and a long, protruding spike-like tongue shock him into jumping back against a cage and what comes from that cage is a noise he will never forget, the most unearthly, nerve-rattling shriek! Marcos shines the flashlight on it only to be more repulsed and terrified. A crouched, hideous beast with oil-laden, leathery green skin stands upright in its cage hissing as it laps rows of sharp, bloody teeth with its long, forked tongue. It wraps claws around fat bars, demonstrating strength by trying to pull them apart. A sudden and deeper fear pours into Marcos for he believes they slightly move.

"What are they doing with these strange animals?" Marcos says.

As he steps toward the entry, Marcos feels his boots stick to the cement floor. His heart skips beats when he jerks the light downward: Blood, thick red puddles of blood everywhere! Flapping thin wings, the beast suddenly stops, and all goes quiet.

“You were told never to open this door!! What are you doing in here?!” screams Dr. Del Rio, standing at the lab doorway in silhouette.

Startled, Marcos swiftly turns, shines the flashlight in her face and lies.  “I smelled shit and came in to clean up."

“Get your ass out of here!” yells Dr. Del Rio.

He can barely squeeze through the doorway without brushing against her. Tight-lipped, with eyes narrowed to slits, she holds out a palm and growls.  “And give me those keys.”

Rattled to the core and under control of his subconscious, Marcos maneuvers the loud scooter for three miles down a dark winding road.  He slows at a sharp curve where the forest is most dense then up the last steep incline.  A car slams him from behind which instantly jars him into consciousness.

Marcos yells, "Dear Mother of God!"  He loses control, metal fender scrapes the pavement all the way back down the incline.  The scooter flips over his head and into the dense woods.  The car screeches a U-turn.  Doctors Evan Vidal and Tomas Rivera jump out, leaving the engine running, headlights on, and doors wide open while marching toward Marcos.  Scared stiff he struggles to crawl out of the center of the road and can't see who approaches as the glaring lights blind him.  Vidal and Rivera grab him at the throat. He tries to shuffle away, but they choke Marcos upward to a kneeling position until he nearly passes out.  His thin legs go limp.

Dr. Vidal steps back and yells.  “Stop, you’re going to kill him!”

Dr. Rivera releases his firm grip, flings Marcos to the pavement and backs off. The doctor gingerly glides his fingers through his thick, black hair that had fallen into his face.
Marcos lies on his back with elbows to the ground as Dr. Rivera points at him and makes a promise.  “We will keep an eye on you forever! If you don’t keep your mouth shut, we’ll cut your balls off and feed them to those things you saw.”

They straighten their ties while calmly walking back to the car and roar around him.  Marcos stares up into heaven and performs the sign of the cross, in darkness.

EXCERPT:  Sitting on a bench outside the facility that has a majestic view of the forest, Miguel and Marcos hurriedly eat their lunches.

With mouth full Miguel asks, “Well, what did you want me to read?”

Marcos hands him dog-eared, crumpled, scotch-taped pages. After a few minutes, Miguel’s heart thumps like a drum. He can’t eat another bite and slowly forms a frown while his hands shake the pages.

“My God, what have they done, Marcos? They are monstrous and diabolical people. I thought they were curing cancer, not causing it. I am ashamed to work here. We should take this to the police immediately. But if it’s true that these beasts are intentional, that the U.S. government plays a part of a conspiracy, what could our chances be? We are credible witnesses you know, having served this place for over twenty years; maybe a caring human would listen,” he follows the words with his finger, “some of these beasts escape? They kill animals and children? The doctors feed them wild animals in the middle of the night? We ourselves are in danger,” Miguel rubs his face and shakes his head, “I need to calm down. We should think about this for a few days. But what about that little girl who was just taken? You know, the one on the radio? It could have been them. . . . we can’t wait.”

Miguel’s thoughts thrust about like paper in a whirlwind.

EXCERPT:  In the still evening, Garcia hears vibration from inside the tunnel, a sound that rapidly crescendos to a roar.

He stands, slaps the handle on a concealed nine millimeter and pulls it from the waist of his pants, “Do y’all hear that? What’s that noise?”

In a split second, the rest of the men hear the sound and rise to their feet. Dark clouds briskly move into a dusk skyline. Drizzle begins, cooling sweaty faces that focus on the tunnel opening.

Ortiz stuffs the newspaper under his arm and shuts the truck door. Walking back in the fine rain, he sees a horde of familiar beasts charging unbelievably fast toward the men.

“Get back to the trucks!” yells Ortiz.

But it’s too late. The friends immediately act out their defensive strategy in groups of three, standing back to back while Gabriel scurries to join one of the groups. Ortiz drops the newspaper that blows so strewn about by high wind, pages dance amongst the men and menacing beasts, all the way to the tunnel opening.

The beasts slow and maintain their distance while forming a circle around the friends. Having heard of the odd savage attacks, the men freeze and frown at hideousness. Silent, they aim .44 Magnums and stand strong, waiting… waiting for the right moment. Created from dogs and insects, the intelligent beings instinctively sense the fortitude of the men and realize this confrontation may not compare to others when defenseless, shocked animals and humans do not defend themselves. As if they are not frightening enough, the larger, antagonized Master flies his beefy body out of the pitch dark tunnel, immediately stops to an upright stance, gently dropping spike-like wings at his sides. He inflates a massive torso, holds a large insect head high, lashes out and squirms a long forked tongue, and with bulging–half–shut–bloodshot–eyes that swiftly shift from one man’s eyes to the next, he disappointedly reads their low level of fear.

When Ortiz reaches the men, his trailing wind falls upon the Master that instantly demonstrates disgust, spewing saliva in all directions then turns toward his small battalion and lifts his head like a howling dog to scream a shriek that can rattle glass, for he realizes not only that Ortiz is their leader but possesses the strongest urge for battle, a big fighting heart searching for its young.

The attack commences toward Ortiz like a disturbed mound of army ants.  Marksmen pick them off like hogs at a hunt, without wasting a shot. Bodies explode into pieces at such close range that they scatter as far away as the trucks, alarming remaining beasts to retreat into the tunnel. The flock leave a sulfurous stench behind when launching over the groups who dodge prehistoric-looking claws that dangle beneath the archenemies. Communicating a plan with their wickedly clever Master, the hideous jet toward the loop while realizing the extent of these demoniac men’s power shatters their own yet surely only on the outside of their abodes, their abodes where they reign.

EXCERPT:  Like many times before, the girls sense the Master beast approach and moves almost silently. Trembling and full of the dreadful undiscovered, Mary and Katie make not a sound and grab Mary’s long sleeper up to their noses as the strongest odor of sulfur hovers near them. The dark, the dim, the indistinct patiently sits outside their cage, sniffing them thru wire, a usual habit. But this time something different occurs ― as it's their turn: suddenly with one yank, he removes the mesh opening to grope toward them. Unable to see him in pitch darkness, they embrace each other while shuffling in circles in the small prison. He separates them with his large three clawed hand, shoves Mary against the iron wall, grabs Katie by her bathing suit, and flings her out then tightly stuffs the mesh back in its place. While being dragged off, Katie wails toward Mary who plops down on the bacteria infested floor and covers her ears to muffle her friend’s dread. As time passes, occasional body snatching sounds of other imprisoned girls grip Mary, further heightening fear of the dark.

Every storm drain tunnel in the city provides a flourishing home for the beasts and like a king of his kingdom, the Master rules Brownsville. He drags Katie through fowl matter on the tunnel floor, abruptly lifts her, and shoves her toward the females. Katie’s arms quiver with terror while she stands at death’s door. She senses her impending end as they grapple with her, and because of their strength, they nearly tear her limb from limb. The females try to keep her still while she lies spread eagle until finally, exhausted Katie gives under the locking vise grips.  

EXCERPT:  Ortiz drops to his knees, removes the goggles to wipe instant tears from his eyes, and clutches Katie’s hand. Everyone surrounds him in silence as Garcia clears the way through his friends to look over Ortiz’s shoulder. Garcia’s lips tighten and roll then reveal clinched teeth. Yelling the worst profanity at the top of his lungs, Garcia yanks the towel from his waist and delicately wraps Katie’s body. He gently lifts her, brings her face up to his, then softly kisses the cold cheek. With rough fingers, he attempts to close her rigid eyelids. Cradling Katie close to his chest, his tears fall upon traumatized eyes. He leads the way for miles and manages to stifle surging anger with steel toe boots that kick garbage, sailing into the air, clearing the path for them all. Soon a woman’s silhouette appears at the tunnel’s exit, that of Alicia. When she hears voices, Alicia runs toward them. Her dark face lights up with joy, but in moments, an even uglier, intense sorrow returns.

Causing hearts to sink once again, the friends and Martha listen to Alicia shriek out in pain while shuffling around Garcia, “No, no, not my baby, my Katie, my Katie!”

Strong as a bull and with arms like boxes, Garcia reaches out to keep her away yet holds her up as she stumbles backward, “You need to wait, Alicia, you shouldn’t see her this way.”

Alicia violently slaps his face, punches his back, and yanks on Garcia’s arms but to no avail, for he has become a metal strong box for her beautiful, innocent child. At 3:00 A.M., local news camera lights blind them as they exit the tunnel then microphones shove into their faces. Brownsville police swarm the area, and wives run to embrace husbands. 
Ignoring the chaos, Garcia listens to Ortiz’s advice, “Let her be with her daughter.”

While Alicia continues to hover around Garcia, they make their way through the crowd. He notices a thatch of grass nearby, where, with grace and sensitivity, he softly lays Katie down like the most fragile porcelain doll.  After Garcia undrapes only Katie’s lifeless face, Alicia drops down on Katie’s soft bed to begin the never-ending, darkest pain of her life. 

EXCERPT:  Having had their fill of blood, the Master leads ruthless male beasts toward the invaders for battle. Martha hangs over the ceiling rod still unconscious as they dart under her. Few strands of hair not caked with filth sway with the force of wind from their wings. Fearless and angry, beasts sound off at their highest pitch. No sooner do the men begin to pace the curve when the familiar odor and deafening vibration meets their faces, delivering the next immediate crisis. Ortiz glances back at his group and waves a forward. The Master holds his powerful arms outstretched with claws sharpened like knives, prepared to sever anything in their path. With perfect vision in pitch darkness, each beast follows suit.

As beasts discharge around the curve, the Master knows who’s in the lead. Master against Master they collide with a .44 Magnum and eight inch drawn claws that can sever a head. The Master flies so rapidly that soaked dead bodies forced against the tunnel walls by flood waters, topple over. At the exact instant Ortiz shoots, the Master’s claws blast the handgun, but the bullet proves faster. Ortiz races to retrieve his gun while the Master lies wounded, yet quicker than a blink of an eye, four beasts swoop down to save their leader. As if manning machine-guns, the group bullet riddle beasts in midair. Dead ones fall out of flight, diving into corpses. Bullets ricocheting off iron tunnel walls do not pose a danger as few miss their targets. However, the bravest of the vile dart low to dodge the marksmen's bullets and to vigorously wag forked tongues directly in the men's tired faces. Flying by with such force, claws rip into several men, Ramirez being one of them. They cleanly slice into necks, shoulders, and thighs amid the hot chaos of combat.

Still more to come, the next battalion of beasts approach at an angle and in perfect formation with long and sturdy outstretched spikes down their spines; they plan to slash whatever stands in their path. Everyone dodges but Gabriel who suffers a massive cut to the waist. Holding weapons erect for what seems like hours of war, the men turn to watch the backside of the last beast, a rocket that propels into invisibility.

 Afterward, the most welcome calm comes that resembles serenity of the rising sun. Several moments pass; sighing breaths are set free. All the men stand alive in the ghoulish tunnel of death. They mumble while ripping towels to wrap wounds. Gabriel bleeds profusely and leans against the tunnel wall, holding his side, “I don’t feel so good.”

Garcia snuggly wraps Gabriel’s waist while the rest take their positions. Garcia pulls Gabriel’s arm over his own tired shoulders to help Gabriel limp along and says, “You just think you’re tough, kid. Why didn't you go home when you had the chance? You need to lean on me. No, no, all the way, that's it, relax your body. Don't worry, I'll carry you if I have to.”

EXCERPT:  With much luck Ramirez’ aluminum cigar tube in his pants pocket has survived the chaos as well. He pops open the small lid and, pleased in darkness, scoots the cigar remains into his hand. Kneeling down for a moment of rest, he enjoys the smoke that temporarily masks the smell of death. He envisions Martha while red embers glow. Is she alive or not? It’s killing him. At this moment, he makes a decision to ask her hand in marriage, if they get out of this alive.

An insect crawling on Ramirez’ arm draws him from his daydream. He swiftly slaps it, but the cigar ash flecks up on his chest. He instantly rises to his feet. Before he can place the goggles back on his head, the long, slimy forked tongue, that he believed was an insect, wraps around his neck as quick as a shot. With both hands Ramirez grasps the strong rope-like tongue as it constricts and constricts. The beast stands immediately behind him, salivating and exhaling his moist, hot breath on Ramirez’s back. With his claws, the beast effortlessly compresses Ramirez’s big arms from behind, cutting into them. Ramirez starts to lose consciousness and can't yell for help. The beast toys with him, thrusts down upon him, trying to force Ramirez to kneel, but his bulked up legs remain standing; then, like a force from out of nowhere, Ramirez musters the strength to whip around and literally thrash the beast, stunning him, knocking him off balance. Ramirez feels the roughness of the tongue that instantly releases and unwinds from his neck. He hears the beast bash into the iron wall, and he listens to the odd, slithering sound of the snake-like tongue coil back into the beast’s mouth.

Terror-stricken, he draws his hand gun that points in every direction in the dark. Dropping to his hands and knees, he frantically feels the floor for the goggles. While blood that drips down his arms scatters on the floor, his heart feels like bursting out of his chest. He at last touches the goggle straps then nerves fumble the goggles onto his head. He can see! Skittish eyes do not deceive him; he’s now alone.

EXCERPT:  Martha’s elongated jaw rests agape against patches of crusted matter that line the walls of the uncomfortable-lack-of warmth iron tunnel. Incredibly, she cracks her eyes open just enough; a thin, muted beam of light streams in from above, sparkling off wire mesh, which slowly comes into focus.

Not recognizing surroundings, Martha feels wet filth caked in her long hair and smells the stinging odor of sulfur and rotting flesh that cause her to vomit. Her soreness and thirst restrict her ability to move, yet she slowly draws her long legs from stagnant drain water then wraps her arms around her knees and lies half naked in a fetal position.

Horror bites at her. Suddenly recalling the ghoulish beasts that attacked her, she now has strength to push herself up. She sits and sits, and through wire mesh peers right and left down the long curving tunnel, listening for them, waiting for them…and praying that they were only a nightmare.

EXCERPT:  After hours of distressing over her wire housing, Martha’s defiance emerges to calm that distress and to save her. She pushes and pulls on mesh once again but to no avail; not one to give up, she repositions herself by lying on her back and with powerful thighs, bare feet slam against it. While she endures cuts, a section jerks loose. Martha feels a spurt of exaltation, smiling in the dark, as she swings around to continuously twist and push the door-like section upward, enough to crawl underneath. She’s out, free from hindrance, and ambles in the opposite direction of the buzzing, into a dismal abyss.

With arms outstretched and only estimating time that has passed, Martha allows grisly tunnel walls to continue guiding her walk into obscurity. When exhausted, tall Martha reaches up and grabs hold of slimy iron handles welded onto the walls. They help her trudge on. Abruptly, she trips and falls on what feels like a mountain of dismembered corpses. Her powerful scream zaps deep into the tunnel, all the way to Mary.

EXCERPT:  Fed by gutters, the excess rain from Brownsville’s streets, sidewalks, roofs, and parking lots flood the storm drain. Tons of twelve foot high water slam against tunnel walls at top speed. Before Martha answers, flood waters blast them off their feet. Mary cries out and gurgles at the water’s surface. Submerged, Martha grabs hold of the wall iron handles and pulls herself up and above the violent waters.

“Mary, Mary where are you?!”

“Miss Martha!!”

With one free arm Martha reaches toward the voice. At the instant Mary passes within arm’s length, Martha touches Mary’s sleeping gown rushing by and snatches it. The rude and eager current threatens to pluck Mary away, yet Martha manages to hoist the heavy material, with child entrapped, into her arms. For dear life Mary clutches Martha’s waist. Water rises higher. Martha hugs Mary tighter before scaling the iron handles with one arm, up toward the tunnel ceiling where she grips an affixed center rod. There they hang until the commanding water decides their next move. But for only a few moments they rest. Martha’s drenched red hair whips down onto Mary’s frightened face.

The fit woman’s loving voice says, “Don’t worry, honey, I’ve got you. Miss Martha will never let you go. We‘ll get out of this awful place!”

A sudden ruckus slams into the water’s surface and a wave of water douses their bodies: aggressive female beasts have splashed down near them and snatch Mary out of Martha’s hold. They jerk Martha from the center rod, shake her like a long-legged rag doll, and thrash her against the tunnel ceiling which knocks her out, cold. Grabbing hold of Mary’s arms, the beasts expediently lift into flight. Accustom to floods they efficiently transport Mary for miles while flowing steady as arrows within three feet of open space above surface water and below the tunnel ceiling. Mary’s thick hair blows back with such force that her scalp hurts. Then at once, their hold tightens when flying into a tunnel loop where centrifugal force hurls them into maximum speed.

EXCERPT:  The world did not know that for decades the beasts that ran free wasted no time distancing themselves from the torture of the Puerto Rico Delta Labs. They reached the Puerto Rico Yunque Rain Forest, located in the middle of the countryside, even farther away from civilization. There shocked tourists who strolled down trails dismissed what they saw as merely their imaginations or possibly a huge parrot that whisked by, or a snake that quickly slithered away. The beasts leapt and easily snatched parrots in midair, scooped up snakes, fish, and tree frogs to feed on the wild in the captivatingly beautiful tropical rain forest. But their appetite for blood was not totally satisfied. Consequently, they also fed on humans, those missing tourists, unsolved mysteries whose bodies were never found.

Rumors of missing tourists spread to Dr. Rivera and Dr. Vidal at the Puerto Rico Delta Labs where beasts continued to multiply. Those that reached the rain forest returned to communicate to peers about the new, safe home. During those decades, the doctors realized the need to direct a project for an additional, covert lab location where escapes would be impossible. That location was later approved for Galveston, Texas. Ten male and ten female beasts battled apprehension in 1961, but were ultimately shackled, shoved into their temporary prisons. 

The botched plan was to transport them by ship to Florida and ultimately to Texas. The cargo ship provided a smooth haul to Florida, yet after the crew loaded tons of supplies necessary for the newly constructed lab in Galveston, winds began to gain strength. After the ship traveled over five hundred miles into the Gulf of Mexico, one hundred ninety more miles to shore, a sharp wind shift and rough currents fought the ship. Soon the ship rose and fell into rogue waves that slammed against it. Just a few miles from the Galveston shore, it capsized, broke in half. Still inside their cages, the beasts were lifted and thrown about within the hurricane waters. In the end, the storm heaved them onto sandy shore, fifteen miles from Brownsville, Texas. The force busted most cages open from where fear-filled creatures, that did not drown, scattered and survived.  
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