This is the fifth issue in Volume of A Long Road to Fortune. It is titled Past Mistakes.
13 years earlier...Edit
It was a nice sunny day over at the little in the zocalo of Tecpan de Galeana. A young Mr. Chet was sitting on a park bench reading today's newspaper. What he is really doing is keeping an eye on his little Anna, who was over on the very small sandbox.. Anna was wearing a pink, polka-dotted dress and had a head of radiant brown hair of medium length, not too short but not too long. In her hair was a pink hair bow to match with her dress. She was playing with another girl around the same age. This girl had strawberry hair, a white shirt with a graphic on a rose on it and pink pants. Her name was Daniela. Her hair was long and curly but tied with a green scrunchie. "Aren't they pretty?" an elderly woman said. "Indeed so. The one with the pink hair bow is my daughter. She's playing with her best friend," Mr. Chet replied. "Would you by any chance be Joaquin Murrieta? Macy's husband?" the woman asked. "That is me, yes," Mr. Chet responded. "How come I've never met you until now? I mean, little Anna used to come here with her mother all the time. I swear, it seemed like the last time I saw the both of them here had to had been a year ago. Where is she now?" The woman asked. Mr. Chet looked down and sighed. "I don't know. I lost track of her. She could be in another damn country by now," Mr. Chet replied. The woman could sense that she had asked the wrong question. "and the reason you haven't met me until now, is because I just got back a year ago. Just in time to be a part of her life again," Mr. Chet said. He looked back to Anna and Daniela. The two girls were happy and noticed that Mr. Chet was looking at them with a halfway full smile. Both girls smiled and waved at him. Mr. Chet's smile became complete and he and the elderly woman waved back at them. After a little while, Mr. Chet walked over to the girls. "Ok, it's time to head back home. Daniela, your mom's not coming back for a couple more hours, so you'll be staying with us for a little longer," Mr. Chet told the girls. Anna and Daniela hugged and jumped out of joy. "You hear that Dani, you can come to my house and I can show you the new dollhouse daddy bought me for being a good girl in school!" Anna told Daniela, with obvious cheer. It had become apparent to Mr. Chet that the bond between these 2 girls was strong. Mr. Chet smiled at the sight. He extended his right hand out to Anna, who extended hers to Daniela. Mr. Chet and Daniela turned back to the elderly woman on the bench and waved goodbye to her. She waved back as the 3 of them left northwest towards the church, passing the benches at the center of the zocalo.
Mr. Chet pointed the gun at the surrounding assailants. They raised their hands up in the air in response, as they knew he would shoot if any of them tried anything. They had already lost 2 of their people to Mr, Chet, they were not about to lose anymore. Across the room were 3 doors. Mr. Chet did not know which door to take as he slowly approached the door while keeping his gun pointed at the assailants, walking backwards. Just then the 2 other men came running out of the room Mr. Chet had been kept in and took shots at him. Mr. Chet entered a room and closed the door behind him, narrowly avoiding the gunshots. The two men followed him inside. A gunshot was heard, and Mr. Chet exited the room with one of the two men. Mr. Chet was behind the man with the gun pointed directly to the back of his head.
"Where are you keeping my people?" Mr. Chet asked. The assailants remained quiet, until the woman with the short brown hair and the voluptuous body stood walked forward and talked.
"You're not going to shoot him," she said. "You need him for leverage. If you shoot him, your leverage will be gone and nothing will stop us from gunning you down,". Mr. Chet did not look affected by the woman's speech.
"I think you're wrong there, missy. You see, if you could really shoot me, you would have done so more than a few minutes ago. Now, what I could do now is shoot you, and kill you. All while standing behind the safety of my so called "leverage"," Mr. Chet said. The man being held at gunpoint by Mr, Chet gulped.
"Don't let him get to you Yuri. He's bluffing. He knows he's done. Just get him," the man said. Mr. Chet smiled. "I'm gonna count to 3, and when I do, one of you is going to be laying on the ground, dead. Now, I won't have to shoot ANY of you if you just tell me where my people are!" Mr. Chet told everyone, clearly threatening them.
"1...,". Yuri began to worry, so she slowly reached for her gun stashed in the back of her pants. Yuri went from shaking to full on trembling. A drop of sweat began to fall from her forehead, sliding all the way down her chin into her red shirt. "2...," The man being held at gunpoint began to close his eyes and a few tears began to fall from his eyes. "3,". Mr, Chet pointed the gun at Yuri faster than anyone else's eyes could follow, but before he could shoot, he felt a shotgun poking him in the back.
"That's enough, Joaquin,". The leader, the tall, bleach blond, man with whiter skin than the average resident of Tecpan, was the one who was pointing the shotgun at Mr. Chet. "Your little hostage situation is over. Drop it, get on your knees, and raise your hands up.," the man instructed. "And stop crying Francisco, for crying out loud,". The man Mr. Chet was holding at gunpoint stopped crying. Yuri took a deep breath and tried to calm down. She stopped trembling and her sweating began to slowly cease itself. Mr. Chet had no other choice but to do as he was told. He dropped his gun, slowly got on his knees, and put his hands up. The man motioned his men to tie him up again.
Ashton was running along the south end of the zocalo. Many groseros were not present. Ashton spotted a few by the benches near the sandbox and the rest of the rec part of the park. He whistled and the groseros turned their green, ugly, decaying faces to Ashton. Ashton approached them and they approached him. He dug his machete into the head of he first grosero, who was short and fat, like the typical resident of Tecpan. He then targeted the rest one by one. Doing the same thing, digging his machete into the head of one. Kicking the machete'd grosero on top of another one. He then killed the third one with his knife and then came back for the knocked down grosero and smashed his head to pieces with a steel meat mallet he had found laying around in the marketplace. He rinsed and repeated that strategy until the groseros in the zocalo were killed. In total, Ashton had killed 14.
"Didn't even have to use my gun," he said, while panting and sitting. He had a smile on his face, mainly because he was alone. He liked being alone. After a minute of rest. Ashton went on straight from the south end of the zocalo to Gral. Cesareo Ramos G. Street, where the groseros were headed.
"I would be willing to be that a truck or two, especially in such a small town, would attract more than a few of those things," he thought. Ashton quietly followed the groseros for about a quarter mile until he came across an alley. This alley lead to Liza's house.
"Maybe after I get Mr. Chet and the rest back, I can stop by Liza's and see if there's anything left in there she might want," he thought to himself again. The grosero's growling became louder and louder. He could observe from a save distance that groseros from a different street were coinciding with the groseros Ashton was following. Ashton heard some more growling, this time closer. He turned around and a grosero was greeting him. It tried to grab Ashton and took him down. The view remained focused on the spot Ashron was standing on. His grunting and the grosero's snarling were heard, along with the sound of a skull cracking. Eventually, Ashton stood back up and kept on his way.
Mr. Chet was thrown inside an office, the leader's office. He was still restrained with ropes. The leader untied him and sat across Mr. Chet in a desk. He was still masked.
"Please, have a seat Joaquin," the man said.
"Gustavo Texta. I'd recognize that groggy, brute voice anywhere," Mr. Chet said. Gustavo laughed at Mr. Chet's comment. He unmasked himself, revealing a face with a scar on the left cheek and short bleach blond hair.
"Long time no see Joaquin. I think it's time you and I have a little chat," Gustavo said to Mr. Chet. Mr, Chet glared at Gustavo.
"The only thing we should be having a chat on, should be about where my people are, and why you even thought about kidnapping us in the first place," Mr. Chet said told Gustavo in response. Mr. Chet lacked fear in his voice, something Gustavo was not so keen on.
"You were a shut in before all of this Gustavo. People don't know you like I do. I know how much you enjoy pulling the trigger on other people. I got you out of that before you took it too far,". Mr Chet went on to say.
"Those were the best 6 years of my life. But of course, we all know the only reason you pulled me out was because you wanted to get out yourself, did you not? You just couldn't stand to be away from your daughter so you called it short and used me to escape," Gustavo responded. He maintained a calm tone on his voice, one that showed confidence.
"It's that easy huh? To go on and blame me for getting kicked out of the military. You were headed towards dishonorable discharge anyway,". Mr. Chet responded. Gustavo sighed.
"Fair enough. But there's no way I'm going to let you and your guys go now Joaquin. You have killed 3 of my people. And you were about to kill one more before I put that shotgun on your back. Tell me something, Joaquin. I thought I was the killer here. How come you shot and killed those people?". Mr. Chet knew Gustavo was trying to break him, get into his head. He decided to lead him on.
"I killed those people in self-defense. I'm no killer,". Mr. Chet's response caused Gustavo to laugh hysterically and bang his right fist on the desk 5 times.
"You can't be serious Joaquin. You're as much of a killer as me. Don't you feel any remorse or even a hint of stress for killing those people?".
"Can't say I do," Mr. Chet responded.
"Really. I should tell you something about those victims, Joaquin. The girl you shot and killed, near the field. You knew that girl," Mr. Chet has closed his eyes in frustration. He calmed down though, as it seemed that he was being affected by Gustavo's words, to Gustavo anyway. "That girl was little Daniela," Mr. Chet's eyes widened in shock. "Her whole family got eaten by those cannibals. Like everyone else in my group, I gave her a home," Mr. Chet was furious. "If you're lying to me, you're not going to like the repercussions," Mr. Chet replied.
"What would I gain from lying? I already have you right where I want you...". Gustavo threw a punch at Mr. Chet. Mr. Chet, blinded by rage, did not see it coming, The punch to the side of his face knocked down to the ground along with his chair. Gustavo pulled out a knife and Mr. Chet cleaned a bit off of his upper lip.
"I'm not lying Joaquin, You killed your daughter's best friend. You killed the sweet little child you used to babysit from time to time. What would Anna think of you? That her daddy turned from a sweet, loveable man into a compulsive, disgusting, cold-blooded killer. That is, what she would think if she were alive,". Mr Chet had noticed his icepick was placed on a shelf behind Gustavo from the moment he was thrown inside the office. Mr. Chet stood up and took a stance. Gustavo jumped at him, but Mr. Chet jumped out of the way. As Gustav got up, he was greeted by a kick to the face from Mr. Chet and a chop to the neck. Gustavo let out a scream in pain.
"I'm going to ask you again Gustavo. Where are my people!"
- The title is making a reference to both Mr. Chet and Gustavo, who each know of the mistakes the other man has made. In Mr. Chet's case, the shooting and killing of Daniela.
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