El Castillo Roto, Part I: Hop, Skip & Jump Apr 10, 2021 22:23:11 GMT
Post by Street Empress on Apr 10, 2021 22:23:11 GMT
“<Y-Yes, sir. I’ve already sent out Mercado and his crew. They think->”
“<They are not thinkers, Felix. Where did you send them?>”
“<Fine. Make sure they know that she is to be brought back alive and unharmed. Every mark on her is a piece of their hide I will claim. Understood?>”
“<Yes, sir. And if she makes it across the border?>”
“<Consider yourselves burned.>”
The place had seen better days. After over a decade of silence and a complete lack of maintenance, it was a wonder that the building still stood. Yet there it was, an edifice with a storied past, back when certain names were spoken with whispers, when this town meant something. Now it was little more than a ruin defaced with graffiti and pillaged by every malcontent who happened by, thinking they had something to prove or egged on by a cohort’s dare. Most of the roof was missing, the windows broken and the walls crumbling.
Yet in the mind’s eye, Silencia could piece together the remnants, see the place as it once was. Not for long, however. Such imagining threatened to bring emotion to her and she was not ready. Not here. Not yet.
Mano Derecha: Time is seldom kind.
Speaking from the driver’s seat of a black sedan, Derecha’s chin rests in her hand, elbow propped up in the open window. Through dark sunglasses, her attention is on the building as well. But while Silencia staring is intense, Derecha is almost dispassionate.
Mano Derecha: And the keepers hired were just money wasted. They were probably the first to do damage. You just can’t trust anyone these days.
Still naught but quiet, the other woman living up to her name. A black bandana is tied around her hair, her black hair flowing loose from beneath it. Over the lower half of her face, a tri-color bandana is tied… red, green and white. Her striking eyes stare sharply out the window still, unmoving and silent as a statue. After a fashion, Derecha turns her way.
Mano Derecha: Do you still wish to go in?
A single nod is given. Derecha has no time to query further. Silencia gets out of the car, walking around it and toward the half-unhinged iron gate. Rattling it with a black-gloved hand, then straight-up kicking it open, Silencia in her white hoodie and jeans, debris and broken concrete crunching under the hard soles of her boots, forces her way into the property. Derecha looks as though she wants to say something more, but at that moment Silencia looks over her shoulder… and the comment dies before it is even spoken.
“<This happens one of two ways: she stays or you both stay. No third option. I told you this once before. I dislike having to repeat myself.>”
“<She deserves better than this!>”
“<There IS no better than this. Here she can have everything. She can have the world. And if she could make the choice herself, she would choose to stay here. The only one with issue is you.>”
“<I will not have her brought up in this kind of lifestyle!>”
“<You’re no one to judge. You would rather her live in some back room while you roam the streets selling yourself? Before you go making such a stupid decision, I suggest you look into her eyes and ask yourself what would be best for her… not for you. You have until the morning to decide. This is an exploding offer.>”
“<I never should have come here.>”
“<Too late for regret.>”
Deathtrap does not do the manse justice. Not by a sight. Half of Silencia’s footsteps make the floor creak, the other half cause steps to crumble and railings to jiggle threateningly. Yet her every motion is steady, controlled. She moves with grace and foreknowledge. Yet what she seeks manages to escape her at every turn. Doors are opened, sometimes forcefully, allowing entrance into rooms so battered by time, elements and thieves that it is hard to imagine what purpose they once served. A few were clearly bedrooms. Some might have been offices or libraries, perhaps even a den. The kitchen, one of them, was easy to spot. Ditto the dining room.
Not one, though, held what Silencia sought. And her eyes narrow further and further with every moment passing by and her not finding her quarry.
Meanwhile, on the outside, a sharp whistle brings Derecha out of her momentary attempts to drag some information out of her phone. Checking the mirror, she notes a few wannabe gangbangers approaching the car. Their swag is on turbo and their sense of self-preservation is non-existent; clearly they’re new to town. Or just feeling froggy.
Gang Member: ”<Look what we got here! Sweet ride, mami! How about you take us for a spin, eh?>”
Mano Derecha: ”<Shove off, kid. You’re in the wrong part of town.>”
The retort from the muscular woman has some ‘ohhhh’ coming from the others, now numbering four in total. The talker, leaning on the car near Derecha’s open window, keeps getting bolder.
Gang Member: ”<That so? Cause I don’t see no one else around questioning this being our turf. C’mon, now… don’t be cold. Let’s take us a ride, eh?>”
Another glance to the mirror and, beneath her shades, Derecha faintly smirks.
Mano Derecha: ”<And who’re you, exactly?>
Gang Member: ”<The Lions. You must be new in town. But we can give you a pass. For a price.>
Mano Derecha: ”<Bunch of pussycats like you think you run this place? Do you even know who this house belongs to? Who really runs this town?>”
Gang Member: ”<Why don’t you tell me?!>”
Clearly, not getting his way has the fellow getting agitated. A do-rag, a tank top and tattoos do not a gangster make, though, and now another whistle pierces the otherwise quiet street. Except it isn’t coming from the so-called Lions, but several men in familiar black-and-red hoodies and masks. A good eight of them, in fact.
Mano Derecha: ”<THAT… is Ronquillo Manor. THOSE… are the Huesos Rojos. And you lot are just punks about to learn what the food chain is.>”
With that, she goes back to her phone as half the Huesos Rojos pull weaponry from their pockets, advancing on the Lions, who don’t think twice before scattering. One of the remaining four comes up to the window.
Huesos Rojos: ”<She still inside, boss?>”
Mano Derecha: ”For now. Two of you go in there and give her a hand if she needs it. If not… stay out of her way.
Huesos Rojos: ”<Yes, boss. What about them Lions?>”
Mano Derecha: ”Kick their asses. Don’t make too much of a mess of them, though. Just send a message.
Huesos Rojos: ”<You got it, boss.>”
Two of the men go into the property, but no sooner do they get past the kicked-open gate than does Silencia come through the front door and back to the walkway. They stop and nod at her, the woman coming toward them slightly nodding back as she cradles something in her arms… something that used to be white, but that is now quite worn and dirty. The men exchange glances, then turn to follow as Silencia returns to the car and gets in the passenger seat again. Derecha looks over, and a brow elevates as she sees the worn, tattered stuffed animal in Silencia’s arms.
Mano Derecha: ”You found him. I’m honestly surprised.”
La Silencia: ”Conejito…”
A faint, brief smile from Derecha. Silencia… she pets the rabbit as though it were alive, gazing upon it, looking for all the world like she might shed a tear.
Mano Derecha: ”I’m glad he’s all right. Is that all you wanted to get?”
Silencia nods, then turns to the gang members waiting outside the car.
Mano Derecha: Finish up here. Sweep the place, then meet us back at the hotel. The less time we spend here, the better. Lord knows if they’re still watching this place.”
The hooded-and-masked men nod, then take off. Derecha, starting the car, pulls away as Silencia keeps doting on the bunny, a cloud of dust left in their wake as the car speeds off.
“<Good. Both of you will have comfort here. More than you would have->”
“<I do what I have to in order to survive. For myself AND her.>”
“<Call it what you want. Felix will show you to your room. Later we’ll have a chat about the princess.>”
“<I don’t know what you’re thinking, but->”
“<And you don’t have to. Everything I do, I do for her. That is all you need to know.>”
“<...that doesn’t make me feel better.>”