This is the first issue in Volume 4 of A Long Road to Fortune. It is given the title ABBA, after the musical group.
Liza continued to walk down the alley fully aware of the man trailing her. Much to her dismay, she was met with a small group of groseros nearing the end of it. She took this as chance to push her way through them.
From afar, Leo could observe her disappearing into the groseros. Leo recognized the girl's power, so he continued to make his way down the alley as well. He pulled out a large hunting knife and snuck up on 2 groseros, silently killing them. Liza had been separated from him between a wall of about a dozen groseros.
Liza was eagerly awaiting her murderer's approach. She had managed to kill 5 groseros with her rod and set them up to look like she hid underneath their bodies while she hid behind an old car nearby.
Unbelievable. The groseros had thinned out before his very eyes. Leo had been silently going at it for 8 groseros until he noticed 5 of them piled up. "The girl is smarter than she looks..." Leo said to himself calmly. He kicked the groseros out of the way in hopes of uncovering a hidden Liza. But what he had found instead was a large bag of supplies. It was near empty though. Pretty convincing way to fool him into thinking she hiding underneath them. Leo was suddenly surprised by the sound of a gun's safety turning off.
Liza had Leo at gunpoint, it was perfect. All she needed to do was pull the trigger and that would be the end of Leo.
"Toss your rifle. Toss it far. That gun too. Now. If you don't or try anything funny, the sooner I shoot.
"Chiquitita, you and I know that you won't kill me."
"Toss them. Now."
Leo complied to Liza's order, tossing both of his weapons about 15 feet away.
"Turn around with your hands in the air."
Leo complied once again.
"I know who you are. You have the same putrid eyes and the same tattoo."
"Don't forget about my bandana"
"Why would I?"
Leo took a deep breath.
"How'd you know I was chasing you?"
"The dead tell us more than we think."
Leo felt stupid for not realizing it sooner. He was attracting groseros from behind, making their cries louder and louder. Liza turned back a few times when he was tailing her but Leo took to her blind spot very well.
"You were far enough for me to get suspicious. Why would groseros so far from me snarl so loudly?"
"Good point, Chiquitita."
Liza and the man exchanged serious looks for a few seconds. Leo soon comprehended his fate. Had he not been there that day, he'd still be here tomorrow.
"What are you waiting for? Pull the trigger. You'll be dancing once again and the pain will e-"
Leo was cut off mid-sentence by a bullet piercing his skull. A second later, his lifeless body fell to the rough concrete ground with a thud.
"The pain doesn't end so easily..."
Valdez was making his way to the cartel hit men with suave quietness. They would not expect him like this. Ashton watched from a considerably far distance. He could see Valdez very well and was far enough behind him. Keeping his distance was important, the cartel was too sneaky.
Valdez removed his safety and got the attention of the two men. He pulled the trigger and one of them fell dead with a fresh bullet to the head. He shook his hand upon realizing he'd committed his first murder but he wouldn't let that fact hinder him now.
"Why don't you tell me what you're doing here?" Valdez asked with calmness, as to reassure to the hit man that he was not terrified.
The hit man did not respond and simply stared. Moments later, a third hit man struck Valdez in the back of the head with the butt of his rifle and knocked him out cold.
Ashton had seen this and knew he had to shoot, for Valdez. Though instead, Ashton got closer attacked the man from behind. Luckily for him, the man was about to shoot Valdez in the head before Ashton jumped at him from behind and changed the direction of his bullet. Instead of hitting Valdez, it hit the other hit man in the knee, with a nice little pop to accompany that fresh, permanent injury. As the hitman fell to the floor, Ashton had whacked the other hit man unconscious. The injured man on the ground was too busy clutching his wound to realize what Ashton had done.
"I'm not going to kill you." Ashton said to the man. He proceeded shot his other kneecap and beat him some more, leaving him unconscious.
Ashton dragged both men back out to the street, where a few groseros were beginning to appear, all wanting to get a meal.
"But they sure will."
Ashton then proceeded to pick the unconscious Valdez over his shoulder and walk into the marketplace. He knew what he just did was inhumane. He was no better than the carteleros and Ashton knew this himself. He never considered himself a good person, in fact quite the opposite. Sure he didn't take pleasure in physically hurting people, often opting to take the beating himself. These new circumstances didn't demand it however. Valdez' life was at stake. He continued on but stopped at the sounds of the groseros enjoying their 3 new meals. Shooting those men in the head would have been the more humane thing to do, but he promised himself he would never take life with a gun. What was the point anyway? Had he not virtually done the same thing by feeding those men to the groseros? It was still murder, murder. He didn't care if it was in self-defense, after Bristol and now them, he reassured himself of being a monster.
As he made his way deeper into the marketplace, he was greeted by a shotgun blast from a terrified Sandra Gomes. Sandra's terrible aim made Ashton drop to the ground safely. He was hyperventilating, with Valdez now laying on top of him.
"St-st-st-st-op. Safe. Safe. Safe." Ashton tried saying, his speech slurred by his breathing and yet again another close call. Sandra hadn't realized she was this close to killing her child's savior until she snapped out of her fear.
"Mom! Don't shoot again! It's Ashton! Mom!" Max yelled.
Sandra took a deep breath and dropped the shotgun. "Oh my-Oh my god. Ashton, I'm so sorry!"
"It's okay." Ashton repeated "It's okay" still trying to get out of his shock.
Francisco had heard the shotgun blast and decided to take the safety off of his gun.
"Frank, they're getting close!"
"Yuri, if anything happens to us I want you to know that these last 3 months would have been true hell had it not been for you. Yuri, I l-"
Ashton came barging into the room holding Valdez with Sandra and Max behind him, surprising the hell out of Yuri and Francisco. He placed Valdez on a bed next to Yuri's and headed back out, leaving Sandra to take care of Valdez.
"What the hell happened?" Francisco asked.
"Let's just say the north entrance is safe.
"Frank, were you saying something?" Yuri asked, a big grin visible in her face.
"Uh, well, I uh."
"Relax Frank, take your time."
"I guess now's not the moment"
"Anytime can be the moment Frank. Let it out."
"I love you."
Sandra watched with amusement as she rubbed alcohol on Valdez's now cleaned wound.
Back at the north entrance, the Suares, the Barreras, and the twins were making themselves useful for once. Daniel was helping too.
"Come on, faster!" Jacobo and Pedro yelled. "We need to barricade this shit!"
The group picked anything useful for a barricading job they could find, and made haste while doing so.
Three fresh bodies laid dead in front of Mario and Mr. Chet.
"Nice shooting, Mario". Mr. Chet said, complementing Mario's shooting skills. He had placed a bullet right between the eyes of a hit man.
"Too bad the other 2 got away..." Mario scoffed.
"No time for them now, we need to go take care of that M60 shooter..."
Mario nodded and both Mr. Chet and Mario made haste to the east wall, the same wall that leads to the zocalo. Mr. Chet noticed Ashton peeking out to the exit. He could see Gustavo, Aguila, Jaime, Pepe, and Mendoza engaging in a gunfight. Apart from Manuel, Juarez also laid dead on the ground.
Roberto had been joined by 3 other shooters. M60 bullets were flying around the place and the marketplace defendants could not get a clear shot or they would risk themselves ending up like Juarez.
"Those bullets and bound to ricochet and kill someone else unless we put a stop to them. Anyone got a sniper?"
"Ashton's little novia took the spare." Mario said.
"Wait, Liza left?" Ashton exclaimed, shocked.
"A while ago." Mario replied.
"I have to go find her, I need to make sure she's okay. She could be hurt, she could be dead! If she dies, I don't know what I wi-"
"Focus Ashton." Mr. Chet said. "Liza can take care of herself. Believe me. We found her defending herself from a dozen groseros over at the Apolonio. Funny thing is, she had that rod with her. So focus on this for a bit okay?"
Ashton took a quick breath and nodded in response.
"Okay, so what's the plan." Mario asked.
Suddenly, a bullet was heard flying off from within the marketplace.
Ashton and Mario ran to investigate it, leaving Mr. Chet as the sole problem solver.
Outside the marketplace, Saul was waiting.
"Here it is." a hit man said to Saul. He brought a case and set it down on the ground.
"Yeeah! Now we're talking!" Saul said.
He knelled in to open the case, revealing a grenade launcher attachment.
"Mamma mia. Que chulada!" Saul exclaimed. He soon kissed it.
- This issue contains references to ABBA.
|A Long Road to Fortune Volume 4|
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