Regent Park, Toronto
“Four on the roof,” Godan said, “stationed at each corner.”
Murrieta flew them closer. One of the Braves spotted Godan and Murrieta and shouted. They opened fire. Murrieta put his hand up to his face as the bullets bounced off him.
“Okay, now I’m curious,” Murrieta said. “Do the bullets even deflect back and hit—”
“Dodge! DODGE!” Godan yelled, gripping Murrieta’s hand. Murrieta looked down and saw Godan shielding himself as the bullets entered him.
Murrieta swerved. “My bad. I keep forgetting that you got soft flesh.”
“Shit, that hurts!” Godan shook his arm. “Just blast them already!”
Murrieta aimed his finger at the Braves and fired four Sun Bullets, knocking them out. They then set down on the roof of the apartment building.
“They’re on the sixth floor, right?” Godan asked as he clenched his fists, concentrating on his healing factor. “What apartment number?”
“I got it here.” Murrieta pulled out his phone and looked at the saved screenshot of the blog post. “Apartment seven!”
Godan looked over the ledge. “Hey, they’re gathered in front of the entrance.” Murrieta levitated over. “Bomb them, and let’s do this.”
Godan walked to the door. Murrieta looked down at the Braves. All of them were either looking up at him or talking amongst themselves. He flattened his palm and created a Sun Grenade. He threw it at the pavement. Light vaporized the Braves. It vanished, leaving cracks in the pavement.
Godan busted the lock and kicked the door open. He walked in, looked down the stairwell, and jumped down the gap. Murrieta flew past him and hovered in front of the sixth floor entrance. He extended his hand and Godan grabbed it.
They entered the hall and found apartment seven. Godan knocked on the door. No one answered.
“Bullshit, they better be home!” Godan said, knocking harder.
“They’re just scurrying to the door as we speak,” Murrieta said, rolling his eyes.
The doors of the other apartments on the floor opened. Braves entered the hall, talking and yelling amongst themselves. They fell silent when they spotted Godan and Murrieta. They cocked and aimed their firearms.
“I’ll take care of them.” Murrieta cracked his knuckles. “Again.”
Godan smashed the lock and opened the door. “You’re such a considerate partner.”
Gunfire erupted as Godan closed the door. He didn’t see anyone in the apartment. He growled, then he heard sobbing coming from behind the kitchen counter. He walked around and found an elderly woman holding a young girl.
“Ms. Ruiz? And you’re Ellen, right?” Godan asked, kneeling down. “Hey, we’re here to get you guys out of this hole!”
Ellen buried her face into her grandmother’s chest. Ms. Ruiz shook violently as she stared at Godan.
“I’m not with the Braves of Aztlan!” Godan said, offering his hand. “My partner’s taking care of them right now. We’re the heroes!”
Ms. Ruiz looked at Godan’s claws. Her eyes widened, and she scooted herself and her granddaughter into the corner. “EL DEMONIO!” she yelled. “EL DEMONIO! EL DEMONIO! EL DEMONIO!”
Godan backed away. Ellen began to cry. Godan shook his head and walked towards the door.
The Braves stopped shooting. The smoke cleared. Murrieta stood with his arms crossed. They lowered their guns.
“Good thing I can get these ponchos on the cheap,” Murrieta said.
<You little shit!> one of the Braves yelled, whipping out a machete.
Godan entered the hall. “You try to talk to them,” he said to Murrieta. “I don’t speak Spanish, plus I’m white. They’ll trust you more.”
Murrieta nodded and entered the apartment. The machete-wielding Brave rushed towards Godan.
Ms. Ritz screamed when Murrieta came into view.
<Miss, please don’t be afraid,> Murrieta said, <I’m not the bad guy here.>
The windows in the apartment rattled. Crashes and screams intruded from outside.
<You’re Ellen, aren’t you?> Murrieta kneeled in front of Ellen, holding up his phone. <This is an entry you posted, isn’t it?>
Ellen sat up. She stopped shaking and nodded.
<All your friends are worried about you, especially Selena. She showed us this, and we agreed to get you two out of here.>
The fire alarm went off, followed by more screams and crashes.
<This is the only place we can afford to live!> Ms. Ritz said.
<But you’re living right in the heart of Aztlan territory! Selena said Ellen hasn’t been seen at school for over a week. When was the last time you guys even left this building?>
Gunfire drowned out the fire alarm before it was silenced.
<I want to leave!> Ellen said. She breathed deeply, trying to control her crying.
Murrieta stood up. He extended his hand. <I’ll get you out of here. Selena said you can stay with her as long as you want.> He looked Ms. Ritz in the eye. <Seriously, it’s all good.>
Ellen got to her feet. Ms. Ritz took Murrieta’s hand and he pulled her up. They walked to the door. Murrieta put his hand up. He could only hear the fire alarm and the sprinklers going off. He opened the door slightly. The bodies of unconscious Braves were strewn across the floor. He pushed it open all the way.
Godan was leaning against the wall, covered in blood and water. “I was beginning to think we would have to drag them out,” he said. “Let’s go.”
Godan walked over the Braves. Murrieta told Ellen and Ms. Ritz to hug him tightly, then he levitated them down the hall, following Godan.
Godan held the door open. He looked down the stairwell and saw Braves running up. “GO!” Godan yelled, jabbing his thumb upwards before he started ascending the stairs.
Murrieta flew to the top level. Ms. Ritz screamed. He stopped himself before they hit the roof. He flew them out the door.
<Okay, we’re gonna go real fast now!> he yelled as they flew higher into the air. <Keep your heads down and hang on!>
Ellen dug her face into Murrieta’s poncho. He tightened his grip on them and sped off. He gritted his teeth as the wind slapped his face. He hoped that the speed and air pressure wasn’t harming them.
Out of the corner of his eye, Murrieta saw Selena’s house passing by. He stopped, causing Ellen to gasp. He apologized, flew back, and landed in the backyard.
Ellen and Ms. Ritz dropped to the ground. Ellen immediately got up and ran to the screen door and banged on it. Selena answered and they embraced.
<I think you guys are good now,> Murrieta said, helping Ms. Ritz to her feet. <I gotta get back and help my partner.>
Murrieta slowly flew up. He heard Ellen and Selena calling to him. He flew over and levitated above them.
<Sir, I have—> Ellen said.
< ‘Sir’? I’m not even a teenager yet! Just call me Murrieta.>
<Murrieta, could you save our other friends at the apartment?> Selena asked.
Murrieta’s eyes widened. <Other friends?> He felt a tingle go up his spine. <Yeah, I’ll save your friends. No prob!>
<I also have a cousin that lives on the first floor.> Ellen said. <Could you please make sure the Braves don’t hurt him?>
Murrieta bumped his chest. <Call TPS for me. Tell them that Murrieta and Godan will have so many Braves waiting for them that every cell in Toronto will be filled to the brim!>
Murrieta launched himself into the air and flew back to the complex. As it came into view, he saw Godan choke-slam a cyborg Brave. Godan stomped on a Braves metal tentacle that was about to lash out at him. He kicked the Brave in the head, knocking him out.
“Hey, I made another promise to Selena and Ellen,” Murrieta said, looking over the Braves that Godan put down.
Godan tore off the tentacle and tossed it to Murrieta. “I suggest we finish this first, then we’ll do whatever they asked.”
Godan nodded towards the edge of the roof. Murrieta landed and walked over. He looked down and saw the Braves gathering in front of the entrance, initiating their arm cannons, distributing firearms, stretching their tentacles, and spreading Judas Ashes on themselves.
One of the Braves looked up and, spotting Murrieta, shouted <YOU WILL BURN BEFORE AZTLAN! WE WILL COVER OUR FLESH WITH YOUR ASHES!>
“What did he say?” Godan asked, dragging the cyborg Brave over.
Murrieta tossed the tentacle over his shoulder. “Loose translation: they’re gonna annihilate us.”
Godan laughed. He heaved the Brave over the ledge. The Brave’s tentacles smacked against the side of the building as it tumbled down. He crashed into a car that had its trunk open, full of firearms.
“Nice shot,” Murrieta said.
“I wasn’t even aiming for anything in particular!” Godan said.
The Braves raged. They started to enter the building. Some took aim with their arm cannons and guns. Godan crossed his arms. Murrieta pointed his finger at them. It started to glow yellow. He grinned.