Chapter 4

Warnings: Language, violence, both verbally and graphically intense towards the end – including blood.
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At the end of the alley was a large hanger door, like that of a garage. It was wide open, the only light coming from a small security room with an empty chair and a broken window. To the back of the hanger was a pair of old rusted doors, one of them slightly ajar, and the sounds of men shouting could be heard from within. He had to see if he could hear how far away they were… then he’d be able to catch them by surprise all the easier.

Moving inside the hanger, his shoe crunched a piece of glass and he side-stepped to get away from it quickly. The toe of his other shoe caught a fine, thin wire underneath it as he stepped away from the glass…

And he heard the click at his right. It came from inside the security room.

Everything that happened next happened very, very fast… and yet, it felt as if it would last forever…

—————————————-

He remembered the day he’d met Hector.

He’d been twelve, and the day had been a harsh one, weather-wise. It was windy and rain swept – a dirty day, where mud splashed on his clothes and caked on his legs and ankles. It made for a poor business day, and Lupe would be twice as angry if he didn’t bring home enough money.

1

2

3

Jogging down a soggy alleyway, Carlos skid to a stop at the base of a tall, ramshackle building and peeked around the corner. No one coming in either direction. Good.

He sprinted across the muddy road into the ditch and flung himself into the water. The silt beneath his feet was squishy and soft, and the water was icy cold on his skin having been freshly squeezed from the skies.

4

Hurriedly, he scooped the filthy water over his legs, washing away the caked mud and grime from the streets of La Perla.

5

Are you the boy named Carlos?” The sound of a deep voice startled him. He righted himself so fast he had to take a step backward to catch his balance, and he was looking up at a very tall, very intimidating looking man in his early twenties, dressed in a suit that stood out in La Perla like a shiny penny next to corroded and dull ones in a wishing fountain. He wore his black, wavy hair down and loose across the back of his neck, and his dark glasses shaded his eyes. Carlos could see an earring in one lobe, and an eyebrow adorned with a small, silver hoop.

How do you know me?” he asked the stranger, his voice steadier than he was feeling at the moment.

The man had seemed to hesitate once Carlos had made eye contact with him. Carlos stared back at him directly, attempting to intimidate the man who was twice his age. He wondered how much those dark glasses were worth – they looked expensive. Like they would feed him and Lupe for a month, maybe more.

6

I know your mother,” was all he’d say, and Carlos felt the color drain from his face. If this was one of Lupe’s clients, he certainly didn’t want to be attempting to con the man; he’d know right where to find them. He looked away quickly.

She is at home, Señor.” He tried not to shiver in the dull, gray mist.

Your mother is Lupe Vasquez, no?

“Sí.”

The man looked him up and down, and Carlos felt increasingly self-conscious of the way he stared at him. Like he was looking for traces of something… something he wouldn’t recognize even if he saw it.

Come with me,” he said stiffly, before turning back up the alley that Carlos had just ran down.

7

Splashing his feet out of the cold water he ran after the man, slipping. “Where are we going?”

Not far from here.

He followed him up the steep slope to a sleek, black sedan, decorated with mud and dirt flecked along the sides and tires. It was the nicest car Carlos had ever seen, and he couldn’t take his eyes off of it as they drew nearer. The man opened the passenger side door and then continued his way around the front of the car to the other side. Carlos stopped short when he realized he meant for him to get in the car.

I can’t get in there!

Why not?

“Because,” he blustered. “I’m…” He picked at his clothing for emphasis; ran a hand across his matted and dusty hair.

He thought he saw the man smile tightly once before speaking. “It’s a rental, Carlos, and I could care less if you think you are too dirty. Get in.

Carlos hesitated, suddenly wary. What if this man was sent to get rid of him? If he wasn’t back by nightfall, Lupe would be… well, not exactly worried – more like irate – but he didn’t want to chance that, either.

I am not going to kidnap you, Carlos, I just want to talk. Get in.

The man’s voice was gruff and graveled; he didn’t need his size to be intimidating. He was very large for a Latino, larger than Old Man Paolo that used to live down the gully. He always had to stoop to get in doorways. Carlos would bet today’s earnings and some of yesterday’s that this man had to do the same.

But something about him was calming, despite his rough exterior. He hadn’t raised his voice once, like so many men Carlos knew would have done. And he seemed patient while he waited for Carlos to make up his mind.

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Timidly, he climbed into the car, taking care not to get his feet on the seat, and the engine revved as it took off down the street.

The silence was uncomfortable, but Carlos didn’t know what to say. He was still nervous his body would end up in a ditch somewhere, and Lupe would think he’d finally run off. She’d be furious. His apprehension began to increase to panic rapidly.

10

Are you going to kill me?” he asked tensely, one hand on the door handle ready for an escape. The man turned to look at him quickly, his eyebrows raised in surprise.

Kill you?” He laughed once. “No, I’m not going to kill you.” He slowed the car down and parked it in front of a mini-mart. “Stay here,” he said before slipping out and walking to a nearby vendor. Carlos looked around the inside of the car quickly for anything that he could see; coins, jewelry, more sunglasses. Nothing. The man kept his car clean and boring, even for a rental. He wondered how he might be able to hijack the vehicle – it was only a few blocks back to La Perla and behind the old wall – but out of the corner of his eye he saw him turning back to the car.

Here,” he said, thrusting a small, warm package wrapped in paper and plantain leaves into Carlos’ hand.

Carlos stared at the pastele, all thoughts of stealing having been driven from his mind by the intoxicating smell of the food in his hands. His stomach seemed to snarl at the prospect of a warm meal, but he didn’t move to unwrap it.

Why?” he whispered. He looked up at the man when no answer was forth- coming.

11

Eat,” he commanded gently, indicating the pastele. “Eat and I will tell you.

Carlos unwrapped the pastele with unsteady fingers and took a large mouthful, afraid it would be all he was allowed. When the man made no move to take the food from him, he took another large bite, mashing in as much food as he could into his mouth. He could taste the coconut milk and plantain dough and shredded chicken for only a second as they grazed his tongue, and then they were gone, and the wrappings lay empty in his hands. He peeked at the stranger watching him and tried to gauge how rude it would be if he licked the plantain leaves free of the remnants.

Would you like another one?” The man’s quiet, husky voice startled him. He shook his head ‘no’, but he couldn’t help his eyes from brightening at the prospect. Somehow the man saw his lie, and he produced another wrapped packet from inside his blazer and tossed it to him.

Carlos unwrapped it hastily. “Who are you?” he marveled, before slamming in another mouthful.

My name is Hector Castillo. My father was Alberto Castillo, and he was married to my mother for a very short time. Her name was Lupe Vasquez.

Carlos stopped chewing and looked up at the man. He took his glasses off slowly, and Carlos had to swallow what was in his mouth so as not to choke on it. The man’s eyes were green, like his. Like Lupe’s.

12

I am your brother, Carlos. Your half-brother.” He waited while the information settled in.

But… my mother wasn’t married.” He frowned.

She was, a long time ago. Almost twenty years ago.

Carlos was silent. Then, “Do you live in San Juan?

Hector shook his head. “No, chamaco. I live in Miami, Florida.

Wow,” Carlos breathed, envisioning the type of life and style he’d seen on glimpses of televisions here and there. He could not even imagine the kind of life that would be. All he knew was dirty, and hungry, and cold, and sharing an old dirty mattress with his mother on the nights she wasn’t with a client. When she was with a client, he slept on the floor in the corner of the hallway.

As if reading his mind, Hector continued. “I can provide for you now, if that’s what you wish. I can take you back to Miami with me, away from… away from here, and you wouldn’t be hungry. You would have your own bedroom, and I’d get you into a school.

Carlos was startled into alertness. “You would take me with you?

“Si.”

Why?

13

Hector played with his sunglasses in his hands. “Because I am your brother, and you shouldn’t have to live like this. I only just found out about you otherwise I would have been here sooner.

How did you find out about me?” Carlos had forgotten completely about the half-eaten pastele in his hands growing cold. He took another bite, smaller this time.

My father said he had come here to find out about Lupe – see how she was doing, if she was ready to see me. But she was still drugged up, and still a mess. But she had a young son with her, he’d told me,” he said, holding up a finger.

14

And the boy’s name was Carlos. My father was a compassionate man, and he was going to send for you to come and live with us. But he became sick and he hadn’t told anyone his plans… I guess with all the treatments, time slipped away from him.

He told me about you the night before he died. He said he had no idea if you were still with Lupe or what had happened, but he said he didn’t want to die knowing he hadn’t done anything about it. About you,” he corrected.

Hector released a pent up sigh – weary from having to explain such an adult situation to a child. He had no experience with children… he didn’t know how to talk to them. He saw the lost look on Carlos’ face and could read his confusion. He’d have to do better than that for the kid.

So what you’re saying is that Lupe and I can come and live with you?” Carlos asked, turning his eyes to Hector.

Hector hesitated. “No, I am saying that I’d like you to come and stay with me,” he said carefully. “But not Lupe.

Carlos had finished his pastele, and he sat there peeling apart the layers of plantain leaves. Disappointment washed through him, bitter as sour lemons. He wanted to kick a hole in the side of the pretty car. “Then I can’t go.

Hector shook his head. “Yes, you can, Carlos! You don’t need to be begging on the streets for money for her to spend on drugs. I can give you the life you deserve, Carlos.

Carlos crumpled the plantain leaves in his palm. “I can’t leave her here,” he said staunchly. He raised his eyes to his brothers and was caught off guard again by the similarities in their features. He was surprised he hadn’t seen them before. “She’ll die.

Hector was blustering. “But… you are a child. She should be taking care of you, not the other way around!

Carlos shrugged and looked back down at his hands. “She is family. She’s all I know. I can’t leave her here.

I am your family, too.

Carlos blinked at him. “Yes, but I only just met you. You are a stranger.” He paused. “If I leave, she will starve or forget to pay rent and lose her home. I should not resent what she’s not, and instead show her the kindness you have shown me. Maybe then she’ll change and we can leave here together.

15

Hector sat back. He looked like he was shocked at the idea that this child had bested him at logic, at principles. At loyalty. He’d underestimated him. Carlos couldn’t be only twelve and have that kind of philosophy of life. He should want to get out of this stinking hell-hole. Anyone else would leap at the chance.

Maybe that was the difference. Maybe Carlos was different.

You can’t choose the family you are given,” Carlos muttered wisely, staring out the window at the surrounding buildings. It had been a while since he’d been outside of the Old San Juan wall that separated La Perla from the rest of the island. Getting picked up by the police was a regular thing on this side of the wall. In La Perla, the police didn’t even bother.

Something he wished would change. Maybe then there wouldn’t be ten- and twelve-year-olds out of school without a lick of reading knowledge, or mothers and fathers who beat them when they didn’t come home with enough money.

Speaking of which, he was wasting valuable time sitting in a fancy car with more food in his belly than he’d had in days, when he could be out pawning and scrabbling for money.

I need to get back home,” he said. He crinkled the pastele wrappings in his hands. The car moved and he had to remind himself not to be disappointed.

Even the sky became cloudier when they had made it inside the wall that separated the town. Carlos had the strangest sensation of home-coming, mixed with abrupt distaste. How could he have been swayed so easily in the matter of just an hour?

Hector asked him for his address, and he hesitated. It wasn’t that he didn’t want him to know where he lived… it was that he was embarrassed to have him see it. He told him the address, and Hector pulled the car over at the corner of his street. Carlos looked at him curiously.

You are my family now, Carlos. And I protect my family.” He turned to look out at the gray sky, and Carlos marveled again at the striking resemblance of his brother’s features and his own. “I’m going to stay at the Hotel del Rio. It’s up the hill a bit, to the north. Come and find me tomorrow. We have much to catch up on.

Carlos smiled, visions of tamales already overwhelming his thoughts. “Okay,” he said.

And then he let himself out of the fancy car and was running down the street, simply because it was the only thing his legs knew how to do when he was this happy.

*****

Mark was good on his word. By the time Carlos stalked back into the precinct that afternoon, he’d already taken care of setting up a team of cadets ready for the project. He’d looked surprised to see Carlos so soon but as soon as he caught on to his surly attitude, Mark didn’t comment. For that, Carlos was grateful. He didn’t want to admit to anyone else but himself how he’d already forgiven his brother for being overbearing. He’d forgiven him the moment he’d set foot out the door. But Hector already knew that anyway.

Over the next several weeks Carlos kept himself busy – and determinedly away from his phone – to the point of exhaustion. On the rare occasion he wasn’t at the station after midnight, he’d show up on Troy’s doorstep; weary and disjointed. She had no qualms with this, however, and seemed just as glad to allow him in whenever he dropped by. He told himself he was merely keeping an eye on her; seeing if she had any more information…

But in reality, it was because he was trying desperately to do as his brother and Mark kept suggesting. Move on. Let her go.

Their team had staked the place out for months; watching and waiting… recording all of the comings and goings as needed. They’d found a pattern that seemed to be set in stone. One watchman at a time, always a shift change every four hours, and in order to get in, you showed the doorman your gold chain necklace hanging around your neck. Without it, you were immediately threatened by a gun in your side and shoved away from the building almost into the busy street.

Carlos grew impatient. He was getting information of more and more kids going missing or showing up dead; all of them linking back to el toro muerte. He wanted that bastard off the streets once and for all. He wanted it so badly he could taste it.

Perhaps the op was being put together hastily, but Carlos was riding his hunch on this. Blinded by the want – the need – to put el toro muerte to an end entirely. And so, when the timing was right, he made the order for the bust.

It was cool in the December air – much cooler than Miami was used to this time of year, making the night seem all the more foreboding. Carlos could feel the adrenaline coursing through his team’s veins; could sense their anxiety. Mark paced the length of the small alley they stood in, looking very much like a new father pacing the maternity waiting room. Carlos couldn’t help but smirk at the thought of that: Mark’s wife was already eight months pregnant. It was fitting.

On his fifth time passing Carlos, he stopped and muttered low for only him to hear: “This isn’t right, Carlos.” Carlos’ gaze slid to the side briefly, looking at Mark from his stance against the brick wall. “The change was always at 9:15. It’s going on ten, and the guy hasn’t moved.”

Carlos let his eyes flicker back to the man in question across the street. “Perhaps he’s taking a double shift tonight.”

“Have they ever once done that in the three months we’ve been watching?”

Carlos shrugged and waved him off. “There’s always a first time, Mark. Either way, he’ll have to take a piss sooner or later, and someone new will come out, that’s all we need.”

Mark huffed through his nose, shaking his hands out at his sides. “I don’t like this,” he muttered, moving edgily away to continue stalking the length of the alley.

Carlos refused to let Mark’s negativity sway him. He was ready for this, he could feel it pumping through him, could barely contain the urge to burst in those doors right now and take the entire ring out. He had a team of ten or so right here, and another waiting two blocks away. All of them were counting on him. All of them needed this night to be worth it standing out in the freezing rain. He owed it to them. He owed it to himself for having worked so damn hard on this case for the past year.

Several minutes later, Carlos straightened from his leaned pose against the wall. “There!” he said. He heard Mark walking swiftly and quietly up to his side to look.

The man across the street stood from his post leaning against the dirty warehouse. He threw down his cigarette and stamped it under his foot before turning and walking into the door.

Carlos waited for the shift change – his idea was to walk up to the new guard when he knew he was still groggy from his recent drug binge, and flash the gold necklace he’d had made to look precisely like Juan’s. Hopefully, as the guard’s eyes would still be trying to focus after having come from the dark interior of the drug den, he would only glance at the necklace without really noticing Carlos, and allow him in. That’s when the rest of his team would charge.

But the next guard never took his place. The door stood ajar, the entire alleyway unwatched. Carlos looked at his watch. Every shift change had been precise, Mark had been right. Not only were they a half hour behind schedule, but they didn’t have someone to take over? As much as he hated to admit it, something didn’t sit right with him, either.

Carlos’ lips compressed in a firm line. “I’m going over there.” He began to walk, but was yanked backwards by Mark hanging on his sleeve.

“Wait, Carlos. I don’t think we should follow through with this.”

“Mark, relax, I know what I’m doing,” he said.

“At least let me come with you.”

Carlos shook his head, unhooking his jacket from Mark’s fingers. “You can’t act like an addict, Mark, remember? Besides, what would Lizzie say if she knew I let her baby-daddy die tonight?” He quirked his lips in a smile. “I’ll be fine. Just give me five minutes.”

Mark tried to return the smile but it didn’t quite reach his eyes. “Two minutes,” he murmured after him as Carlos turned away. Carlos put a hand up, tipping his fingers to acknowledge that he’d heard him, and walked swiftly across the street.

Once he was closing in on the entrance he began to shuffle his steps more and he slung his arm down as if it were too heavy for him to lift; mimicking the actions of someone beginning to go through withdrawl. Reaching the door he flattened his palm on it and slapped it sluggishly. “Déjame entrar,” he slurred. “Abrir. Open up.”

He tensed slightly, expecting the door to whip out from under his hand; ready for it. His gun was strapped inside his jacket, the holster already unlatched…

Nothing happened. Keeping his drunken appearance, he leaned backwards over the railing and looked down the alley.

Light spilled across the pavement; yellow and dirty. His eyes flickered to the door and back to the lit alley. “Alley it is,” he muttered to himself, shuffling away from the door.

At the end of the alley was a large hanger door, like that of a garage. It was wide open, the only light coming from a small security room with an empty chair and a broken window. To the back of the hanger was a pair of old rusted doors, one of them slightly ajar, and the sounds of men shouting could be heard from within. He had to see if he could hear how far away they were… then he’d be able to catch them by surprise all the easier.

Moving inside the hanger, his shoe crunched a piece of glass and he side-stepped to get away from it quickly. The toe of his other shoe caught a fine, thin wire underneath it as he stepped away from the glass…

And he heard the click at his right. It came from inside the security room.

16

Everything that happened next happened very, very fast… and yet, it felt as if it would last forever.

He felt the heat of it first. Then the loudest blast he’d ever heard that bounced inside his ears and instantly went quiet, making his ears ring. It was hotter than he’d ever felt the sun on a sweltering hot day on the beach. It immediately singed the side of his face and he covered it with his hand to keep it from burning worse in the bright light. Something clawed at his side. There was a dog here? He shoved at it to get it off of him. He needed to get away from the heat…

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He heard his name being shouted above the ringing in his ears. Somehow, miraculously, he could hear it. He saw Mark standing at the entrance to the hanger. No, go back, Mark! “¡Largarte! ¡Hay peligro!” It’s not safe…

19

But then another blast and he was being pelted with stinging bees and struck with baseball bats. Another dog or wolf or lion bit into his arm, the bastard, get it off! He growled back at it, flinging his arm away to get the beast off of him. Bellowed when someone threw a knife at his eye…

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Something hard and heavy hit him, taking him to the ground, taking the dog with them, the knife too. His arm was in agony from where he’d been bit, his face sizzling from the hot sun. He couldn’t see what hit him, couldn’t unblink his eyes. The sun had melted them, had singed them shut. The heavy thing on top of him got heavier.

Tell Hector I’m sorry, tell Hector I’m sorry; “Tell Hector I’m sorry…”

Another blast of orange, fiery light behind the thin melted skin of his eyelids as the sun exploded…

22

And then everything went black.

 

====================

Spanish Lessons:
Chamaco = Boy, kid.
Dejame entrar = Let me in/enter
Abrir = Lit. “Open”.. used as “Open up.”
Largarte = Get away!
Hay peligro! = Lit. “There is danger!”
Pastele = Puerto Rican tamale – thanks to thelunarfox for the help!! 🙂

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23 Comments

Filed under Chapter 4

23 responses to “Chapter 4

  1. Nyxie

    0_o

    You’re going to put up another chapter in a few minutes, right?

    Right?

  2. Qui

    OMG NO!!!!!!!
    See that flash from the past has created more respect and love for Hector in me. His father as well. Not many men would care about a child that isn’t theirs.
    I can also understand why Hector would be so overbearing. The way Carlos was coming up was sad, something no child should have to live through. He just wants the best for his brother.

    Am I wrong for not liking this “deal” with Troy?

    so much for that vacation 😦

    I am so wrapped up in this that it’s not even funny! lol
    Another great chapter! I shall be watching for chapter 5!!

    • Yeah, Alberto was very family oriented, which carried down into Hector. The only reason he even went back to La Perla was to try and get Lupe to even care about her son, and when he saw how she hadn’t changed (if anything she’d gotten worse) he didn’t want his son to see that. And when he saw little baby Carlos, playing on the dirty floor and Lupe in a drugged out stupor, he felt badly for Carlos and what he’d have to grow up with. If Hector is overbearing, it’s simply because he knows how much Carlos has suffered in his life, and he strives to make any other suffering as minimal as possible for his brother. In his opinion, Carlos has had to deal with enough stress. So… seeing Hector after this chapter is gonna be fun, right? lol

      And no, you’re not wrong at all for not liking Carlos’ deal with Troy. I think we’re all in agreement that she’s not right for him. 🙂 Thanks Qui!! ::hugs::

  3. open_the_blinds

    Uh-oh, I’m foreseeing not good times ahead. D:

    And I’m with Qui – not liking his deal with Tory. *boo-hiss* Did he forget she was hiding something from him?

    • He didn’t necessarily forget that she was hiding something from him… since he’s kind of doing the same thing to her, by seeing her to get more information out of her. Troy is not a very complex character… she’s rather transparent. The reason he keeps going back to her (even if he hasn’t gotten a whole lot more from her), is simply for the sex, to be completely honest. He’s a man, and she’s already made it clear that she’s okay with the fact that he is not looking for a relationship. Free sex, no attachments. It works for her agenda, as well. If she had one. 😉

  4. kelseypinkshoe

    OHMYGOD WHAT. D;

    I’m so worried for Carlos, now; why is he so stupid? You don’t go for it when the situation is obviously off! D: (However, the writing of the explosion was exquisite, just so you know, as was everything else.)

    Anyway, like everyone else I have a new affinity for Hector and the way he takes care of his own. It’s really sweet, and I felt horrible for Carlos when he said no to going back to Florida – and after he explained why, I felt worse.

    And I’m not too sure of this deal with Troy. She seems pretty sketchy… And if I were pointing fingers about who I think leaked information to the drug ring, my first thought would be her. xD

    I’ll stop speculating and get ready for school now, lol. At any rate, amazing chapter – and it totally kept me on my toes. Can’t wait for the next one!

    • However, the writing of the explosion was exquisite, just so you know, as was everything else.
      Awww thank you!!! I was worried that was going to come across weird… like.. the dog thing. I had to read it outloud to my husband like, three times (each time having edited it some more) and be like “okay, so with the pictures **points** do you understand what’s happening? Do you get that he’s really not being bitten by a dog?” haha. But it was all from his POV, and he’s considerably disoriented from the noise/surroundings once it all begins to happen. I was hoping that it made sense that he was thinking in English while speaking/yelling in Spanish.. (No, go back, Mark! “Largarte! Hay peligro!” It’s not safe!) Because his mother language is Spanish.

      Why did you feel worse when Carlos explained why he couldn’t go to Florida? Just wondering.

      Troy is an easily transparent character… she’s not very complex at all. Not a whole lot going on there, other than wanting sex from Carlos, and willing to do/say anything to get him between her legs ((husssyyyyy)).

      • kelseypinkshoe

        Oh, I just meant how he felt attached to his mother simply because she was his flesh and blood and because he felt like he had to take care of her, instead of actually wanting to stay because he loved her and/or had a moderately stable family life. Carlos’ admission that he was basically staying out of obligation made me very sad for him.

        I totally understood what you meant with the dog, the bees, and the baseball bats, haha. I’m sure I would’ve without needing the pictures, too; his disorientation was clear through the narration.

        Oh, really? I thought her to be a lot more sinister than that, considering how Carlos found the papers just lying out like that. Just seems like a “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” type of deal. xD

  5. This was perfect OMG!!!11

    Absolutely beautiful and perfect.

    • ::flaps around:: YEYYYYY you were here!!! 😀 😀 😀

      Thank you so much. **hugs**

      • 🙂 I’m sorry I suck at commenting – I just can’t do the insights into the plot and characters that other people do. But I did want you to know that I really liked the writing and thought it was excellent. 🙂

      • Oh Stacy, you’re fine! I don’t mind at all.. In fact, even a smilie face would suffice. I don’t need you to be all insightful or anything of the sort, just knowing that you enjoyed it was a big enough compliment. I’ve been having mini panic attacks about this chapter… so knowing that you liked it and thought it was -good- is a huge deal to me.

  6. Oh no you didn’t. You did NOT kill him. Or blind him.

    That was so touching the way Hector treated Carlos. I was amazed at the compassion Carlos showed toward Lupe. A child that can have that kind of sense of…honor is the only word I can find for it.

    I am also not trusting Troy. I wonder now if she recruited these kids…she definitely had an agenda which in hindsight makes me slap my palm to my forehead. No way she would have left that file out there like that.

    Incredible writing.

    • Kill? Oh gosh, no!! No no no. He’s my precious… or one of them at least… not going to kill him haha.

      Carlos’ childhood is kind of depressing. He really didn’t get to be a kid. At all. Once he was old enough to walk and carry things, Lupe had him out on the streets. He brought in more money than she did because he was so small and people took pity on him. He has a really strong sense of responsibility with her… he feels like if he gives her what she wants, she’ll eventually be happy and they’ll get to leave. That’s the naivety showing there, and his innocence. He loses both later, but it definitely explains why he a) loves kids so much, because he’s never gotten a chance to ‘play’ with them, and b) why he thinks he would make a horrible father, because he assumes he would be like Lupe, and he wants to avoid ever putting a child through that kind of emotional hell if he can help it, so help him God. Also a huge reason why he became a police officer, and specializes in drug trafficking. Hah. Wants to be superman. 😛 And I like how you say he has honor. I hadn’t thought of that as a description, but it’s perfect. He’s very honorable, you’re right.

      Thanks Gayl!! 🙂

  7. Oh my God! No! I seriously sat right up in my chair near the end there! I am DYING to know what’s happened now!

    I loved the flashback to Carlos and Hector’s first meeting in La Perla. I loved Hector’s concern and love for this kid brother he’d never even met before. It’s easy to see why they’re still close now.

    • Yeah it’s really easy to see why they are so close… Hector was a pivotal influence on Carlos’ teen years and older. He was “Hector the Protector” for him, and he can never forget that. I love the type of character Hector is turning out to be… my husband actually helped me develop him. He’s the epitome of a “gentle giant”. 🙂

  8. Me

    WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVED that, even better WITH the pictures. Awesome, amazing, wonderful, as always!!! Love you!

  9. SB

    Amazing work! I am completely stunned and speechless. From the encounter between Hector and Carlos in La Perla (and that set is beyond belief good) through the buildup to the end when you absolutely slam the reader – AWESOME AWESOME!!!

    also hoping no death or blindness or permanent injury…and hoping you come out with another update in the next few days!

    Incredible work. You just keep getting better and better!

    • Thank you SB!!! I’m glad you liked the set… I only wish it would have worked to put in a whole tour of the place, but maybe later. I had fun building it though! There’s a few spots that didn’t even get featured (like the train tracks, and a small alley with stairs leading to the dirty beach…) but oh well.

      I think we’re all hoping no death, blindness, permanent injuries, etc… but after being involved in a blast like that, how can one escape without a scratch on him? We’ll have to wait and see how that goes I guess.. 😉

  10. illandrya

    Great look into Carlos’ past and the start of his relationship with Hector, it certainly gave a significant glimpse into how he became the man he is today.

    But Carlos, silly boy! That situation just reeked of wrongness yet you went in anyway. I hope he is okay.

    • Hi Illandrya!! 😀

      Yes, Carlos has overcome a LOT already in his life. He’s never really had much of a childhood, and has pulled himself up from the mud several times over.

      The reason he didn’t listen to even his OWN gut instinct was because he just wanted to bust them so bad. He was already so impatient for it that his internal “cop” radar wasn’t even working for him.

      Thanks Illandrya!!! xDDD

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