“Huntin’ naked’s the only way we’re ever gonna find the thing that took your old man. Best lose those pants. We’re running out of daylight.”
The two brothers looked at each other. Don spoke. “Excuse me?”
“I overheard you folks in there. All of you lookin’ for your old man. Big family, from the sounds of it. Sittin’ round and talkin’ won’t bring him back, though. Strip.”
Steve held up his hands, walking in front of his brother. “You just heard us having a church service, that’s all. You see, we’re all here to worship…”
The nude hunter grabbed him by the collar, glaring right into one of his eyes. When Steve didn’t move for several seconds, the hunter let him go. “Sorry. Thought you were one of them. One of the things.”
Don reached for the hunter’s shoulder. “Why don’t you come inside and tell us! We usually have to go door to door to talk to people, so it’s nice to have someone come here for a change! Please, come in!”
The hunter didn’t say a word, just shouldering his rifle and firing it directly into Don’s face. He fell down in a shower of confetti and cheap candy, a group of children running in out of nowhere. The laughing kids fell on the body in instants, ripping it to shreds as they fought over the brightly-wrapped innards. Steve backed away, shaking his head.
“How…how could this be?”
“Pinata People. They’re the ones what stole your old man. They’re hiding in plain sight. Can barely tell them apart from regular people unless you know the signs like I do. Come on, it isn’t safe here any more.” He grabbed Steve’s hand, but then stopped. He looked him over again, cursing. “Lose the clothes! I already told you, they can smell the clothes!”
Steve looked down at Don’s body, only now noticing the bits of papier-mache and colored tissue paper that hung from the gaping wound. “How did you know what he was?”
“Take off your clothes, and you can see them. Only a nude adult can see a pinata! Don’t you read philosophy?”
“That’s a…philosophical idea?”
“Buried deep with the erotic letters of Socrates was a message about the evil that was spreading throughout the land, but no one listened or read it. Only me and a handful of others, using a two page internet article written by a first year student, found the message.”
Steve pulled his hand away. “Socrates? You mean Plato. Socrates never wrote anything down. Clearly, you’re uninformed and a liar. I’m going to call the police.”
Two policeman hobbled up to them, sidling back and forth as if they’re knees couldn’t bend. They crinkled and flecked off bits of newspaper as they closed in beside the nude hunter. “We were thinking the same thing, amigo.”
Steve pulled out a gun himself, pointing it at the three men. “Amigo, eh? Don’t you realize that the origins of the pinata are Chinese?”
One of the pinata policeman began to clap slowly. “Seems like you’ve seen right through our plans. Now, you know too much, and our trap is already sprung.”
Steve shot the three of them, uninterested in what they had to say next. He sighed, throwing his gun down on top of the candy-laden bodies, returning indoors. Evening prayers had ended, so he went back upstairs to watch game shows. On his way up, he felt something smack against the side of his face. He reached up to feel what it was, wiping something from his cheek. He gasped as he saw that his fingers were covered in chocolate.
The pinatas came down on him without making a sound, striking him as they landed and knocking him to the ground. A flurry of blows stunned him once he was there, the vicious pinatas only stopping when one of them raised their hands. Steve looked up through blurred eyes.
One of them was looking him in the eyes with a cruel grin on his face. “We feared the worst when the hunter told you our ways, but the smell of your clothing has lead us right to you.”
He scrambled for his belt buckle, but a blow to the head rendered him unconscious.