“Mamá?” I shake my head slowly. “This is not real. I-I am hallucinating or something.”
“No, Zafiro,” She says. “This is very much real. It is really me.”
She reaches out to me and I stumble backwards.
“Do not touch me!”
I pull out both my guns and aim them for her head.
Her eyes widen but she does not move any closer.
“Woah!” Tin Can runs over to stand in front of me, he transforms into his metal skin along the way.
“Zafiro, calm down,” He reaches out and tries to wrap his fists around the ends of my guns.
I glare at him and move away to aim for his head instead.
“You knew this whole time and you did not think about telling me?” I shout.
“Go ahead and shoot,” he narrows his eyes. “You shot my head before, let’s see what happens this time.”
“He did not know, Zafiro,” Mama says behind him. She peeks out from behind his shoulder.
Using that moment as my advantage, I aim for her and pull the trigger.
Tin Can grabs my wrist at the last second and jerks my hand upwards, causing a new hole to be placed on the ceiling.
“Are you insane!” He yells.
He wrestles the pistols out of my hands. I struggle but he pulls them away with ease.
After giving up on them, I try to run around him to get to my Mother. He manages to grab my arm before I can sneak out behind him.
He pulls me to his body and wraps his arms around me in a strong hold that does not budge no matter what I do.
“Stop it!” he says. “Why are you trying to kill her? Stop being so stupid.”
I stop for a moment and glare at my Mother. With a huff, I lean back and lean up to kiss Tin Can full on the lips.
That shocks him and of course causes him to freeze over because of it.
His hold on me gives out just the tiniest bit, but it was enough for me to slip out from him.
I jump for my Mother with my hands aimed for her neck, however a hand grabs my foot while I am in the air and I end up falling on the ground.
Grunting from the impact, I look back and see Tin Can on the floor with me.
Did this nerd dive for me? The asshole!
“Let go of me!” I growl and use my other foot to kick his stupid face.
He does not even make a sound. He only flinches and ends up grabbing both of my legs.
Since I have nothing else I can do, I grab my baton and end up smacking him over and over on the face.
It ends up denting the metal on my baton but he at least tries to move his face, making me feel like it is actually hurting him.
It most likely isn’t.
When I look up at my Mother, she just has a sad expression planted on her face.
Why would that even be there? She clearly is not fucking dead so obviously she has nothing to be sad about.
Tin Can uses one hand to grab onto my baton but I pull it away from him before he can touch it.
“You hit me with that one more time, then I swear to god I’m going to lay on top of you!”
When he says that, I do end up listening.
He sighs and rests his head against my legs. “Thank you. I would really appreciate it nobody was murdered in my house, thank you very much.”
I roll my eyes and end up using my hand to hold my head up, not at all wanting to look at my Mother.
“Now,” Tin Can says. “I got that you both have not seen each other in forever. What I don’t get is why you want to kill your Mother, and why you are all of a sudden working for U.U.P.P.”
Glancing behind me, I see that Tin Can is glaring at my Mother. I bet he is feeling just as betrayed as me.
Neither of us answer for awhile.
“Well?” Tin Cans says. “Let’s not all start at once!”
Letting out a sigh, I turn to look at him better. He tightens his arm around my legs, most likely thinking I am about to try and escape again.
“She abandoned me,” I say, a bit bitterly.
Ok, very much in a bitter manner.
“She just upped and left me alone when I was only twelve! I and everyone else just assumed she had died. Of course, there was the other chance that she had simply abandoned me. Clearly that is exactly what happened.”
At that, I throw my baton at her.
Unfortunately, she dodges it by stepping to the side.
“The hell is wrong with you?” Tin Can grunts and pulls me backwards so that he is laying on my legs and a bit on my back.
I struggle to get out from under him, but he apparently gains four hundred pounds when he uses his metal shell.
“You are mad that she left and when she comes back, you try to kill her?”
I just glare at his words and end up giving up with trying to escape.
Mama has been silent this whole time. Why? She should be explaining herself, but of course she will not even bother. She apparently likes keeping secrets for years. Why change now?
Tin Can loudly clears his throat.
Looking back at him, I see he is looking up at my Mama.
“Are you going to tell your side of the story, Aves?” He says. “Or should I just call you Sophie?”
When he says her real name, it weirdly hits something in me. My eyes actually start to water.
Blinking hard, I rest my head on my arm, not wanting either to look at me or see my face.
Mama swallows and slowly nods.
“Right, of course,” She says a bit softly.
Honestly, I am pretty surprised I recognized her.
Her face looks different. So does her hair.
Her hair used to be pretty short and shaved on the sides. Now it reaches her shoulders and has been dyed brown. It used to be black like mine.
Her face most likely had some kind of surgery? Her lips are a little bigger, her cheekbones are harsher, and her eyes seem a bit wider. Her cheeks are more sunken in as well.
It is very strange to see. Yet somehow I knew it was her immediately.
Seeing her in a suit however is just incredibly bizarre.
“I...I do not even know where to start,” She says.
Tin Can moves himself into a better position.
“Maybe start from the beginning? Like any other normal person,” He says sarcastically.
It must be pretty weird for him. Two thiefs under his roof.
Imagine if he was still apart U.U.P.P.
Actually, does she still count as one?
She takes deep breath and tells us her story.
Eight Years Ago
Narrowing my eyes, I lean down to pick up the letter sitting on my doormat.
In green ink, Cody’s name is spelled out in cursive.
“Mamá!” Zafiro calls behind me from the living room. “Can we go see Piggie today? He said he would...show me how to get through doors easily”
Rolling my eyes, I sigh and bring the letter in with me.
“I told you that I should show you how to do that stuff tomorrow,” I say with a stern look. “Plus, it is getting far too late for that.”
Zafiro just grins and shrugs his shoulders.
“Who was it? Did they give you that? ” He nods to the letter in my hands.
I tuck it away into my jacket.
“It is for my eyes only,” I say. “Now, go and pick something out for us to eat.”
Zafiro gives a bit of a sinister smile and bounces off to the monitor by the door.
He walks past me and I feel his hand brush my side, looking for the letter.
Pushing his hand away, I smile and walk over to our room.
Damn crazy child.
He’s lucky he happens to be my child.
I shut the door and pull the letter out.
“Do you want me to just call Ama?” Zafiro calls. “We have not eaten with her in awhile.”
“No I am in the mood for something greasy and bad for our health,” I say.
“Cochina,” He laughs.
Smirking, I tear open the letter and pull out a clean piece of paper. Again, green ink has been used.
Who the hell writes letters? Nobody does that anymore.
Weird ass Cody as usual.
“Meet me tonight at eight.”
Checking the clock by the bed, I see that it is six at the moment.
As much as I would like to ignore his request, I know that is a bad idea.
With a sigh, I make my way back to the living room.
Zafiro is on the floor playing with a white kitten that he grabbed from the street.
“I ordered us some burgers and fries,” He says without moving his eyes from the kitten’s face. “I can get it if you want.”
Shrugging, I sit next to him. “If you want. It is up to you.”
I wrap my arm around his shoulders and he leans against me.
“Have you thought of a name for him?” I ask.
“As a matter of fact, I did!” Zafiro smiles and scratches the cat’s ears. It purrs loudly and leans into his fingers.
“Yinx will be his name,” He says.
Raising an eyebrow, I reach out to pet the cat. I end up jerking my hand back as it tries to swipe its claws at me.
“Yinx seems like a little bitch,” I say with a frown. “You are in charge of taking care of him. I want nothing to do with that thing.”
Zafiro giggles and hugs the white beast. It reaches its paws up and tries to snatch Zafiro’s glasses off.
“That’s ok,” He says with a smile, letting the creature take them. “He wants nothing to do with you anyways.”
I roll my eyes and run my fingers through Zafiro’s hair. “I supposed it would be fine if you went to visit Piggie tomorrow morning. Just be sure to come back and feed your cat.”
“Thank you, Mama,” Zafiro says. His strange blue eyes somehow seem to sparkle even brighter.
With a nod, I stand and stretch my arms out. It has been a long day of relaxing. Maybe seeing Cody will be a nice way of having something to do.
“I have to head out to see a friend at eight,” I say. “Will you be fine being on your own for an hour or so?”
Zafiro nods along, barely paying attention now that the cat is climbing up on his shirt.
“Yes, Ma’am,” He says. “Just know I will be selling drugs on our doorstep.”
Shaking my head with a smile, I playfully push the side of his head.
“You better share some of that money with me then,” I chuckle.
He smirks and holds the cat up to rub his face on its belly.
“My baby is so fluffy,” He says with a baby voice. “How would I ever pay for him when you are trying to milk my money dry.”
“I could say the same to you,” I rest my hands on my hips. “No more pets. You understand?”
He nods and holds the cat under his chin. All the while, that stupid cat still continues to purr its little heart out.
The last thing I need is another mouth to feed. It would be a complete waste of money. Not that we aren’t at all well off, I just hate spending money on things that clearly don’t need to be with us.
Like this cat for instance.
Maybe I should think of the positives of this thing. Zafiro finally has a friend. Even if that friend is made of fur.
Not like there are plenty of other aliens made of fur.
It is close enough.
An hour passes and that means I have to get going.
Zafiro has gone out to get the food and I already told him that I would be gone by the time he comes back.
Hopefully this will go by fast so that I may return quickly. I am a bit hungry.
Walking behind our building, I push open the side of a large dumpster. The side door was made by me so that I may hide things in them better.
Inside would be my motorcycle.
I use it quite often. Especially because Zafiro loves riding with me.
We like to find those empty streets over on the Rich Side.
I smirk at remembering his little laughs and screams of joy.
Pulling the bike out, I pull out my phone and send a message to Zafiro.
I thought it would be nice if we went out tonight for a little ride. It could be fun!
Tomorrow is going to a bit interesting so some fun for today will calm my nerves.
Oh god. I can’t believe I actually agreed with Piggie about teaching Zafiro my ways.
Apparently, Piggie says that Zafiro’s curiosity will only grow. Piggie thinks it would be best to let Zafiro ‘test the waters’ and see if it will change his mind.
Thankfully the both of us are hoping it will.
Vero however, thinks that Zafiro will enjoy every second of it and thus lead to a life full of stress. We are all idiots from what she says.
Maybe she is right, but being pestered every day and night is just too much to handle.
The child just won’t shut up about joining me. He also won’t stop stealing from the Rich Side. That on its own is a big enough problem.
The little shit just keeps casually breaking into people’s houses!
How he has not been caught yet is beyond me.
Maybe he knows what he is doing?
Either way, I am praying tomorrow will change his mind about everything. He should become a dancer. Or even better, a doctor! Hell, he could become a porn star and I would be happy with it.
This is not some game he thinks he can play in on. He could seriously get hurt if he goes through the wrong things.
The last thing I want is for him to get hurt.
My phone vibrates as a text from Zafiro pops up.
“7:36pm:: Ugh! You couldn’t have just driven me to the tracks yourself? Also yes please! That would be great! Can Yinx come too? - Zafiro”
I smirk and shake my head. That damn cat is not coming with me.
Since it is getting close to eight, I immediately make my way to Cody’s headquarters.
I wonder what Cody even wants with me? Rarely I speak with him, let alone see him. The last time I saw him was around three years ago. That was even by pure chance!
Zafiro was with me on my bike and we were on our way out for a ride.
Cody pulled up next to us in a silver car and rolled his window down.
He simply smiled and nodded to the both of us.
I believe that was when news of Zafiro spread.
Honestly I was not trying to hide him, but since I only meet with a few people, nobody knew about him.
After Cody saw Zafiro, everyone knew he was my son. Everyone also knew not to mess with him after that.
I guess you could say I was one of the big names here. I tended to get my hands dirty when the need arises.
That happened to be quite a lot thanks to Arturo.
Soon I reach the entrance of Cody’s block full of buildings.Of course, the one he resides in is always being watched over by the giant android standing in the front.
Parking my bike in front of it, I nod to the android and he nods back.
Making my way inside, I walk past everyone and head straight for the elevator.
The young girl at the desk does not even stop to question me. She actually tries to keep her eyes off of me.
Ok, so maybe I do have a big name here. That isn’t exactly comforting when I have someone to look out for.
Apparently I also have a cat to worry about too.
I may hate it, but it makes Zafiro happy so I’ll die for it as well.
The elevator dings and then opens up to Cody’s office.
Now there are very few things that surprise me, this will definitely be one of them.
Arturo is sitting in a chair in front of Cody’s desk.
Whenever they are together, they constantly fight.
For once they are not.
To those who have never met Arturo before, they might assume that he is an alien. They would be wrong. He is a human. A human who took too many augments.
Arturo is eight feet tall, and maybe four feet wide. He is pure muscle. They bulge out in ways that just do not seem natural.
You can see all the many veins that trail along his skin. Especially his arms.
His skin has actually changed into a strange deep green color. It is completely hairless.
On his head, there are strange ridges. They seem solid as a rock. Those same ridges also run along the skin of his body.
Those don’t stop his veins from bulging out in those weird nasty ways.
Arturo’s face looks relatively normal. His eyes are a glowing yellow and his pupils remind me of a frog. That would be the main difference.
I remember how different he was years ago. Way before Zafiro was even born. Arturo looked like every other human.
Even now, I wonder what pushed him to take on so many augments. I am surprised he never died from them.
I also wonder how he managed to find suits to fit his strange frame.
Turning to Cody, I raise an eyebrow.
“Why are we here?” I ask.
Cody smiles and hands us each a tablet.
On the tablet, I see a video.
Narrowing my eyes, I just see a camera following someone in the street. They have on a jacket and pants so I can’t exactly tell who this is.
Glancing at Arturo, I see he has messages flashing along his screen.
I try to read it but I only see small snippets on it.
It looks like messages from U.U.P.P.? Why would he be looking at that?
Looking back at my tablet, the person in a jacket stops in front of a big van parked under the train tracks.
Narrowing my eyes, I bring the tablet closer so that I may see better.
“Hey there, little blues,” A man in a dirty chef’s hat grins from his van. “Didn’t realize you were the one ordering!”
My heart almost stops beating when I hear the next voice.
“Ah well, my Mama wanted your awfully nutritious food tonight!” Zafiro giggles.
I had a feeling it was him. I was just really hoping it wasn’t.
Looking up at Cody, I see he is smiling.
“What is this?” I glare. “You better tell your dog on the camera to stay away from my child.”
Cody shrugs and leans back on his desk.
“Nothing will happen to him,” He says casually. “Don’t worry.”
Shaking my head, I stand.
“Don’t worry?” I almost laugh. “Why the fuck are you trailing my kid? I swear to god if you hurt him.”
I reach out and grab a fistfull of his suit.
“Ah, Ah, Ah,” He chuckles and nods to something behind me.
When I look, I see a man holding a button in his hand.
Turning back to Cody, I narrow my eyes.
“You touch me, I touch your little boy,” He says. “We wouldn’t want that now would we?”
Looking over at Arturo, I see he is watching Cody with a glare on his face.
“You going to do something about this?” I exclaim.
Arturo blinks and nods.
“These show that U.U.P.P. are keeping track of our whereabouts,” Arturo says slowly. “Why are you showing me this.”
Cody looks at me.
“If our lovely Sophie would be so kind,” He gestures to my hand that has somehow wrapped around his neck.
I let him go but I keep standing in front of him.
He pulls on his collar and moves to sit behind his desk. “Now, as you can see, U.U.P.P. has their eyes on us. I was thinking, why not find someone they know nothing about, and use them to help our case?”
Frowning, I look between him and Arturo. Arturo looks just as confused.
“You want to use Sophie? In what way?” He asks.
“Yeah, in what way,” I ask, perhaps a bit as a threat.
Cody cracks his knuckles as he speaks. “Well, I was thinking, we start you off in the Rich Side. Get you a nice house, maybe even buy you a fancy car. You would just be living over there for fun basically! After a few years of keeping a clean streak, you would apply for U.U.P.P. to try and push us off their radar.”
“Why would I want to live in that shithole, let alone work for U.U.P.P.,” I laugh. “I would rather sleep under the track tracks.”
Cody smirks at that.
“Funny you say that,” He says. “I thought the camera would have been enough to push you, but I guess I will have to spell it out.”
Sitting back in the chair slowly, I fold my arms.
“You see, I have about three men trailing your little bluebird as of right now. If you choose to cooperate, then he gets to take his lovely dinner home and not go hungry. If you decide to disagree with me, then I can just remove the ‘Mother’ title you carry.”
My blood seems to boil when he says that with a smile.
“I bet you would not like to start over with another kid now would you?” He tilts his head in question.
Clenching my jaw, I turn to Arturo. I see he is not happy with this either. At least he has a soft spot for children.
Perhaps this will be fine? It is just the Rich Side right? What could be so hard about that? Who knows, Zafiro might even enjoy it there.
“When should we pack?” I ask, a bit quietly.
Cody leans with his elbows on the desk.
“Oh, my dear,” he says. “You will be going alone.”
I blink when I realize what he just said to me.
“Excuse me? Zafiro is coming with me.” I stand abruptly. “I am not leaving him alone. Are you insane?”
Cody shrugs. “Perhaps, but believe me, this is very much happening. I hope you left off with a nice farewell, you are leaving as soon as you get in that elevator.”
“Like hell I am,” I shout and jump out to choke his damn throat.
I barely get over the desk before Arturo grabs me.
The man by the door comes up to stand next to Cody. Cody grabs the button and holds it up, his thumb hovering over the red circle.
Instantly I go silent.
“Ah good!” Cody grins. “You’re getting it now. You know your fence’s wife? Yeah she’s on my side. She will be taking in your child. Well, after a few days of being alone of course. We really want the kid to feel like this was personal, ya know?”
My hands are shaking and my blood in pumping.
Fucking Vero? Is she the one following Zafiro right now?
“If by any chance you try to come back to the Poor Side,” Cody says, wiggling the button in his hand. “Just know that you will find a dead little bird waiting for you. Trust me. I have my ways on making sure you are staying in line.”
Arturo lets me go but he leaves his hand on my shoulder.
Glaring up at him, I end up slapping him across the face.
“Are you not going to say anything about this?” I yell.
“Oh he can’t,” Cody butts in.
Arturo glares at him. “That would mean?”
“If you say anything, help Sophie in anyway, or even try and hurt me over this issue, Then I will erase all details of my activities from U.U.P.P. Hell, I might even give you some of my shit just to make them really want you! All I’d need to do is alert them and they will come right for you.”
Arturo immediately looks defeated by that.
“If you can just easily delete that shit, then why the hell do you need me?” I grit out, a bit afraid I might do something that will harm Zafiro.
Cody smiles and pours out a glass of wine for himself.
“Lets just say that you both were stray dogs, and now I made some leashes.”
It should be known that Vero actually ended up caring for Zafiro in the end, which I guess was obvious since she died fighting Cody's men, but just incase, SHE LOVED HIM I SWEAR!
Also, should I provide Spanish translations? I rarely use Spanish in the story but they just seemed so small to translate for me. If you need them I can do that! Though Google seems pretty accurate...I think? Never really checked to see if they mean the same thing I use them for.