El SANTO PROLOGUE & FIRST TWO CHAPTERS!!!

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I’m going to tell you a story.

It’s dark.

It’s brutal.

It’s fucking real.

In order to understand my present, who I am, and what I’ve become…

You need to understand my past.

Evil doesn’t always hide in the shadows, in the darkness. Most of the time, it’s out in the open, in plain fucking sight. Possessing the man you’d least expect. You see, I never imagined another life until I made one for myself. By that time, I was too far-gone, engulfed in nothing but pitch black darkness. Exactly the way it was meant to be.

No one could touch me.

No one fucked with me.

I. Was. Invincible.

Nothing more…

Nothing less.

When I dreamed of true love—of soul mates, my other half, of her—the cruelty of my life would snap me back into my reality, making it just that, a dream. One that could easily turn into a nightmare.

My worst fucking nightmare.

Every memory, the good, the bad, the in between. All the I love yous, every last I fucking hate you, her heart and soul that I’d broken, shattered and destroyed along the years belonged to me.

Her pleasure.

Her pain.

It was all a part of me, carved so fucking deep into my skin where she would forever be engraved. My story is going to make you fucking hate me as much as she does, but I want you to.

I’m not looking for redemption.

I’m not looking for your forgiveness.

I don’t deserve yours like I don’t deserve hers.

I’m far from the hero in this story.

I’m closer to the villain.

You will think of me as the villain.

Except, I’m far worse.

I’m the fucking monster.

And, I’m perfectly alright with that.

I dare you to try to love me…

Like she did and probably still does.

Don’t say, I didn’t warn you.

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I gripped my .223 Remington rifle, holding it firmly in my fucking grasp. Feeling the grain of the wood resting securely beneath my fingertips. I was locked and fucking loaded, completely focused on what I had to do next. Tuning out everything around me, waiting for the moment to take my shot. A powerful emotion, one I couldn’t begin to describe, immediately washed over me. I felt it deep down to the roots of my core. 

I was a man.

A man leading the fucking convoy. 

Exactly how our fearless dictator, Emilio Salazar, had done thirty-nine years ago.

“Compañeros, compañeros, queridos, compañeros,” he announced, taking his place behind the podium on the stage. Silencing the large, open outdoor stadium where thousands upon thousands of his socialist countrymen were in attendance. Including my father—who was Salazar’s right-hand man—and myself.

The crowd stared up at the makeshift stage located in front of the massive yellow concrete building marred with bullet holes and Cuban flags. Taking in every last word that fell from our beloved dictator’s lips with wide, eyes, like they always did. Listening intently as he declared this day, July 26th, 1992, the thirty-ninth anniversary of his first monumental attack on the second largest military facility in Santiago de Cuba: the Moncada Barracks. The same exact yellow structure that towered behind us now.

I stood there with pride and honor, wearing military fatigues identical to the ones Salazar wore back on that day. Strategically placing my black combat boots in the same spot he stood when he began his revolutionary movement. I knew it then as much as I had known it in my last eighteen years of life. I wanted everything he had.

The respect.

The power.

The control.

Admiring the leader who almost four decades ago had organized his own military coup alongside a hundred and thirty-five other radicals. Making his presence fucking known.

By declaring war.

Little did the president at the time know that Emilio would devote all his blood, sweat, and tears over the next five and a half years to fulfill his sole promise of a better life. Claiming more cities, taking the lives of the thousands who stood in his way, and growing more powerful until he finally had no choice but to step down to stop the bloodshed.

Fucking pussy. 

Emilio may have lost the battle on that day in 1953, but the failure was of no consequence to him or to us. All that mattered was he eventually won the fucking war.

The rest is fucking history. 

“I wanted to write this speech to prevent the emotion stemming from this occasion,” Salazar professed in Spanish, glancing all around the vast space. Purposely making eye contact with people in the crowd, allowing them to feel like individuals instead of a sea of bodies. He created a profound connection no one could ever comprehend unless they understood that…

To his people.

To his men.

Especially me.

Emilio Salazar was God.

I couldn’t help but think of the last time I was standing here, only a few short weeks ago. A memory I would take to my grave.

The silence was deafening as the car sped down the vacant road to wherever the hell we were going that day. I just sat in the backseat beside Salazar as the chauffeur drove one of his personal, prestigious vehicles. His security team skillfully outlined the perimeter, driving in front and behind us with a few cars scattered alongside. Even though we were boxed in with armed guards, Pedro—a six-feet-four, two-hundred-and-twenty-pound brick fucking house—still accompanied us in the front seat of our vehicle.

Not to mention, I was fucking strapped too. I’d been carrying a gun since I was un chamaco, a twelve-year-old boy, which was far from fucking normal in Cuba. Salazar had made sure of it. His first order of business after his revolution was to strip every one of their firearms. It was easier to control the dissidents who were still against him, if they couldn’t fight back. I was the exception to the rule, given the high position my father held in Salazar’s regime. I had no choice but to carry. He was the captain of Emilio’s army, which made him just as much of a fucking target as Salazar himself.

My father always said I came into this world kicking and screaming, making my presence fucking known, a force to be reckoned with. A natural-born prodigy ready to fight for a purpose. Although there was a mandatory draft from the ages of seventeen to twenty-eight, which most men dreaded, I busted my ass making sure I graduated a year early. Willingly signing up to serve my country the day I turned of age. Most men only served their required two years, but I had made it clear to my father that the military was my career. Making him one proud son of a bitch.

“Damien,” Salazar addressed me, breaking the silence.

“Yes, sir,” I replied in Spanish, giving him my full attention.

“Relax, no need for formalities right now. There’s a reason I asked you to come with me, and it wasn’t for you to kiss my ass.”

I breathed out a chuckle, nodding.

“Do you realize I’ve known you since the day you were born? Your whore of a mother pushed you out of her pussy and abandoned you like you meant nothing. The heartless cunt left you, just like that, and walked out of the hospital hours after giving birth to you. Never looking back. Leaving you to be raised by your father, one of the few men I can truly trust.”

I narrowed my eyes at him, trying to figure out where he was going with this. My father didn’t speak of my mother very often, and I never asked about her. Salazar was as much of a role model in my life as my father, both honorable men to look up to. I would’ve rather been raised the way I was, than by the woman everyone claimed was a puta. But I still found myself listening intently as if his words were a piece of the puzzle I never knew needed to be put together.

“The only role a woman needs in a man’s life is in the bedroom. Men are what make the world go round. Men like us, we’re not followers, we’re fucking leaders—we take, we fight, and we kill for our own. We protect with our last breath, if necessary. That’s why other people fear Cuba. Fuck Yankee imperialists and their liberal bullshit. I know the right way of life, and so do you. I do this for my people, for my country. I owe it to you, to them, to everybody. America, with their greed and lack of social standards, isn’t a way of life. I take from the rich and give to the poor because it’s my fucking duty. Damien, one day, one fucking day, you’re going to stand where I am, and you’re going to show the world that Communism is the only way of life.”

As if on cue, the car came to a complete stop in front of the formidable yellow and white building. The Moncada Barracks. His security detail checked the perimeter, opening the doors to our vehicle once it was safe for us to exit. I followed closely behind Salazar, anxiously awaiting what was to come next.

“You’re eighteen now, eres un hombre.” A fucking man, he said. “The older you get, Damien, the more I see myself reflected in you. It is why I brought you here,” he addressed, nodding to the spot where we were standing. “I stood right here thirty-nine years ago with only a vision, a dream of what I could do with my country, and I want YOU to reenact that dream.”

I was frozen in place, staring him right in the eyes. Never expecting the next words that came out of his mouth.

He held his head up high and spoke with conviction. “Damien, I want you to be me.”

The sound of Salazar’s voice brought me back to the present and I shook away my thoughts, not wanting to disrespect my leader.

“Our people have looked forward to this anniversary with love, enthusiasm, joy, and fervor. For me and for those comrades who are still alive, it’s a very special experience to meet here with the people of Santiago de Cuba all these years later. To celebrate the action in which our generation opened the path toward the final liberation of our fatherland. None of the predecessors in our people's long struggle for independence, freedom, and justice have had such a privilege.” Emilio paused, taking a breath. Allowing his words to once again sink into the depths of our souls.

“It is proper that we pay respectful tribute to those who have shown us the way. To those who from 1868 to today have shown our people the paths of the revolution, who made it possible with the cost of their sacrifice and heroism. Often experiencing only the bitterness of failure and feeling unable to overcome the seemingly infinite, unattainable gap between their efforts and their goals. We needed to go through these primitive years of enriching, unimaginable experiences to acquire the knowledge and maturity in which only the school of the revolution can teach. Everything was like a dream then. Many of our contemporaries, still completely unconvinced that the fate of our nation could and must inevitably change, went as far as to call us dreamers, but I knew better. I led us to this day. I led us to this freedom!” he shouted, raising his right arm up in the air. Making the crowd go wild as Salazar’s words drowned out through the speakers, echoing off the concrete walls. Seeping into the pores of every man, woman, and child in attendance.

I watched and listened, feeling as though he was only talking to me. He entranced me in a way that only Emilio Salazar always had.

I wanted it more.

I wanted it all.

Armed military men raised their rifles up in the air, while I continued to wait. Soon it would be my time to prove that I could fill our leader’s shoes. He personally chose me for one reason and one reason alone; he knew I could make him fucking proud. As Salazar continued his speech and spoke about the historical events of that day, his words that stuck out to me the most were of how a true man did not look first on which side he can live better, but on which side his duties lie and that was what shaped the laws of tomorrow.

I was that man.

I was trained to be that solider. That warrior. The one who bled for my fatherland.

Died for my fucking leader.

My duty was to my country.

Serving Emilio Salazar in any way I could. Exactly like my father and the Montero men before him.

 “Fatherland or death, we shall win!” Salazar shouted into the microphone for all to relish, but it felt like he was only truly speaking to me.  His last words were my cue to spring into action.

My feet moved on their own accord, hauling ass toward the Moncada building, firing off my rifle. Shot after shot rang out with my convoy steady behind me, following my lead. We aimed our rifles toward the barracks, lacing the structure with our bullets, mimicking the shots of 1953 that were still embedded deep into the concrete walls. All I could hear were the sounds of open fire echoing off the building as the crowd continued to go wild. My brothers from the armed forces joined in on the reenactment, setting off their rifles. Only adding to the momentum encased all around me. The adrenaline pumped so fucking hard through my body while my boots pounded into the pavement, one step right after the other. I couldn’t get up the stairs and inside the barracks fast enough.

My heart was beating rapidly, I found it almost hard to breathe. My mind raced and my chest heaved with each passing movement, escalating with every gunshot that fell from my rifle. I was a possessed man on a mission, and no one would fucking stop me. To most this was only a reenactment, but to me it was so much more.

It was the first time in my life I ever felt…

Fucking important.

Come hell or high water, no one could ever take that away from me.  It was mine. Along with the future of what I’d become.

El Santo…

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“You did good, son,” my father acknowledged, gripping my shoulder after the parade and festivities had begun. We were standing beside the stage, watching the fireworks go off.

I nodded, trying to hide the smile of satisfaction on my face. My father was a military man, through and through. I could only recall a handful of times I’d ever seen him smile or laugh. He held back his emotions like a shield, saying it was easier for enemies to identify your weaknesses if you wore them on your sleeve. You’d become a target the moment they caught a whiff of feelings, catching yourself a fucking bullet and earning you a place six feet under.

To this day, I didn’t know if I would be considered one of his weaknesses or just his son. Physical affection was also a lost concept in my home. When I was a boy, I once asked him why there were never any hugs or love in our home. His response was “Because I’m not raising a goddamn pussy. I’m raising a man.”

It was the first and last time I ever asked that question.

The only women in my life were the ones who worked for us. I had great respect for all of them, especially our housekeeper, Rosarío. She was the closest thing to a mother that I ever had. When I was younger, she used to be around all the time, but as the years passed, she wasn’t needed in our home as often.

It didn’t affect our relationship though, I checked in with her every chance I got. Her home always felt more like my own than the one I lived in with my father. It was my favorite part of the week, catching up with her over a cup of coffee and her homemade torticas de moron. Rosarío’s husband died at a really young age, and she never remarried. She didn’t have any children of her own, but she always told me even though God didn’t bless her with her own kids, he gave her me. The affection I lacked from my father, Rosarío made up for tenfold. She’d known me all my life.

As far as girls were concerned, I didn’t have time to waste on them. Nor did I give a fuck about the bullshit that came along with dating and pussy. Women were unnecessary complications. A soldier didn’t waste time on love or what it entailed.

Nonetheless, I was grateful for and appreciated the life I was given. The world I was born into. There was no other way of life for me. This was all I’d ever known. I had attended the best schools, received the finest education, and knew more about the world than most men my age. I was fluent in five languages, including English, the language of the Yankees.

I never wanted for anything.

My heart was hardened to hide any emotion, like it never existed in my body. I was already conditioned for battle. Taught how to shoot a gun by the time I was five, trained how to fight and kill with my bare hands before I even entered high school. But despite all that, I never witnessed any real acts of violence.

Although it was just my father and I, we had come across hundreds of men in my eighteen years of life. Partially being raised in Salazar’s homes, due to the fact my father barely ever left his side. It was the norm to see Emilio Salazar behind closed doors, the power and control he held were things that needed to be admired. When he walked into a room, everyone stopped what they were doing and waited. When he spoke, they listened. When he moved, they watched his every step.

When he…

When he…

When he…

It didn’t fucking matter.

All eyes were always on him, no matter what.

The life I lived was one to be envied. Not many men could say the leader of our country was also a second father to them.

“How do you feel?” Salazar questioned in Spanish, walking over to my father and me. “Let me guess, important, right?”

I nodded, unable to form words. I wasn’t surprised he knew how I felt, he could read everyone like a damn book.

“You are important, Damien. That’s why I chose you, and it’s time you recognize that. It’s your moment to prove yourself to your leader. Do you understand me?”

“Emilio—”

With one look, Salazar rendered my father speechless. For a split-second, I swear I saw fear overtake my dad’s eyes, but just as fast as it appeared, it was gone. Quickly replaced with his natural, solemn demeanor. Immediately making me wonder if I had only imagined it.

“With all due respect, Emilio, Damien is merely a—”

“Damien can answer for himself,” I crudely interrupted my father, speaking about myself in the third person. Standing tall and stepping out in front of him. Getting right up in his face until my chest touched his. I spoke with conviction. “I don’t need you to answer for me, ever! I’m not a child,” I affirmed, cocking my head to the side, not holding back. I didn’t think twice about putting him in his place, repeating Emilio’s words back to him. “Do you understand me?”

Salazar grinned, narrowing his eyes at my father. “He may be your son, Ramón, but let me remind you he answers to me, as do you. Fuck his rank. He proved to me tonight that he’s more than ready. He comes with us, and that’s an order. Let’s go!”

As we made our way to his limo, I was still agitated with my father. I didn’t know what bothered me more, the fact that he didn’t think I was capable of whatever the fuck Salazar wanted me to take part in. Or the fact that I still sensed he was worried about me. We drove down some dimly lit streets, the tension in the limo was so thick you could cut it with a knife. The silence was almost unbearable. I did my best to ignore it by staring out the tinted windows to pass the time, waiting to reach our final destination. There were three others from the security detail riding along with us, including Pedro. I couldn’t help but notice that my father had yet to make eye contact with me. His glare hadn’t shifted from his hands clasped out in front of him. Plagued by his thoughts that I knew had nothing to do with my outburst. 

I turned my attention back to the road, still not knowing where the hell we were going. Tree after tree whipped by, making it hard to see our path. Blurring into the background. Fading into the distance. I ignored my looming thoughts, focusing on the adrenaline pumping through my veins. Trying my hardest to keep them in check. The last thing I wanted was for them to mistake my anxiousness for fear, or worse, prove that I wasn’t ready for this.

When in reality, this was all I ever wanted.

The only sounds I could hear were the tires tracking through the unsteady route, my heartbeat, and the thoughts running through my mind. Not one person moved an inch the entire way as the limo continued down its unstable path. It got darker the longer we drove, stirring the mixed concerns in my gut, wondering when the fuck we’d get there. The neighborhoods began to get more rural and run down with each passing minute. Even though I had been packing heat since my twelfth birthday, this could be the first time I would actually have to use my gun. My thoughts incessantly shifted for what felt like the tenth time.

I forced myself to keep my shit together. The eerie quietness wasn’t helping my disposition. I felt my nerves creeping up once again, adding to the endless questions I knew I’d never get answers for. The limo’s headlights shined off the obscure road until finally all the trees suddenly cleared, and it was then I realized we were in a rancho. We must have been at least an hour away from the city, driving into what was considered el campo—the slums. Now that the full moon wasn’t blocked by a bunch of trees, it shined bright against the dark sky, illuminating a vast piece of land. A small, run-down finca-style home that looked like it would collapse on a windy day stood in the middle of the land. The tattered wood siding falling at the seams with paint chips scattered along the hazardous porch. There was a barn in the far back in the same condition, covered by more trees and acres of land.

We were out in the middle of fucking nowhere.

As soon as the driver hit the brakes in front of the house, my father opened his door as if he couldn’t get out of the limo fast enough. Salazar and his men weren’t far behind him. I instinctively placed my hand on my gun before stepping out into the humid air.

Waiting.

Watching.

Prepared.

Emilio’s security team formed a barricade at the front door, my father in the middle, shielding Salazar right behind him. Weapons drawn and aimed at the entrance, anticipating our leader’s signal.

The sequence of events that occurred next happened so fucking fast, yet the whole night seemed to play out in slow fucking motion.

Salazar knowingly nodded to my father who didn’t have to be told twice. He pulled his guns from his holsters, took a step back, and rammed his foot against the door. The sound of a woman’s screams caught my attention first, it was impossible not to hear it. They echoed through the night and the carried cross the acres of open land.

I watched with dark, dilated eyes as Salazar’s men, my father included, rushed into the home, not giving anyone inside a chance to run or hide. To seek safety. Nothing.

In that moment, I became fully aware that this was a skilled ambush—one that had been carried out many, many times before tonight. My body voluntarily moved like it was being pulled by a thread, crossing the battered threshold. More ear-piercing chatter rang out, stopping me dead in my tracks. I stood there frozen in place, my feet suddenly glued to the goddamn ground, forgetting for a moment all the years of training I’d had. I quickly shook off the confusion, taking in every last detail like the expert soldier I was.

There were shards of wood from the front door scattered around the foyer. A table overturned in the middle of all the debris. Broken glass from a vase with white ginger mariposa flowers, trampled all over the worn flooring. Family pictures that had fallen from the walls upon impact, casually laying there with smiling faces staring back at me through shattered pieces.

The irony was not lost on me.

My father and his men didn’t waver, not even for one fucking second, springing into action. Each of them grabbing ahold of what appeared to be members of a loving family. My father forcefully gripped onto an older man’s shoulders, crudely ripping him away from what I assumed was his wife and young daughter. He begged for their lives and they pleaded for his, fighting to get free, reaching their flailing arms out to each other, and praying to God not to hurt him. He must have been in his late sixties, judging by his gray hair and frail appearance. There was no need for the severe assault my father was handing him. The man would have gone willingly, done anything to save his loved one’s lives.

“Por favor! Te lo ruego! No las lastimes!” he bellowed, “Please! I beg you! Don’t hurt them!” in a tone that resonated deep in my core as my father slammed his fist into the side of the man’s torso. Making him barrel over in pain.

Pedro held back the young girl who couldn’t have been any older than me, while she bellowed, “Papi! Papi! Papi! Por favor! Papi!”  The tremor in her voice made me sick to my stomach.

Two of the guards stood watch by the mangled door, closest to me. Not even fazed by the vile scene unfolding in front of them, as if it was nothing out of the ordinary, just another routine night on the job. My eyes shifted to the last guard who had a death grip on the mother, holding her so fucking tight that I thought her arms were going to tear right out of her sockets. Watching her struggle against him, desperately wanting to run to her family. Both of the guards held onto the petite females like they were holding back a couple of two hundred pound men, instead of a couple of fragile women. Manhandling them on purpose, getting off on the fucked-up situation.

“Please! Let them go! It’s me you want! Please! Just let them go!” the older man pleaded relentlessly, breathing through the agony of what was happening before him. He tried to fight my father off with all the strength he could muster, clawing, shoving, whipping his body all around. Taking hit after hit my father delivered to the side of his head for each word that fell from his bloody lips. Never once silencing his pleas for their lives.

“NO! Don’t hurt him! Please! Don’t hurt my husband! We will give you whatever you want! Please don’t hurt him! Please! I beg you! Have mercy!” the older woman shrieked while endless tears streamed down her face. One right after the other with no end in sight, mirroring the exact expressions on her teenage daughter’s face.

“Te amo, Julio! Te amo con todo mi corazón!” she added, “I love you, Julio! I love you with all my heart!” Putting up one hell of a fight.

“Shut the fuck up!” Salazar roared in Spanish. “Shut them the fuck up! NOW! Enough with the theatrics!”

Wasting no time, my father dragged the man to a nearby chair and punched him in the face until he was nearly unconscious. Hanging on by a thread. Causing a trail of blood to ooze from his battered face. His head drooped forward as his body hunched over, going in and out of consciousness. No longer putting up a fight. My father then pulled zip ties from his back pocket, using them to secure the old man’s hands behind his back and his ankles to the chair legs.

The two guards, who were still holding the women captive, didn’t bother tying them up. Knowing they didn’t have to because the women were of no challenge to them. They slapped them around a few times, making their frail bodies even weaker from the force of their blows. Taking hold of their hair, pulling their heads back before placing the barrels of their guns to the sides of their temples. That was all it took to render them speechless, barely being able to hold themselves up any longer.

I swallowed hard when my blank stare found their sadistic expressions. They were showcasing their handy work. Wearing their bloody knuckles proudly.

No remorse.

No guilt.

I couldn’t stop myself from looking back at my father, the captain of Emilio Salazar’s fucking army, the man who had always taught me that women were different.

They weren’t part of the battle.

They weren’t casualties.

They weren’t prisoners of war.

Our eyes locked across the distance between us, it all made sense now. His stare telling me everything that couldn’t be spoken. His concern, his need to speak for me, his shame and remorse currently eating him alive.

They were all fucking lies.

“Damien,” Emilio called out, bringing my gaze to him.

It was the first time I ever felt like I was truly looking at him. The real him. Our fearless dictator leaned against the wall, his arms folded over his chest, one leg draped over the other. Not a hair out of place, his military fatigues intact, and a smug expression spread across his fucking face. But that’s not what had my attention. It was the fire in his eyes, burning into my soul.

He was getting off on this as much as his men were.

The power.

The control.

The fight he brought into this family’s home.

“I know what you’re thinking,” he acknowledged, nodding to me. “Things aren’t always the way they appear. I can see the judgment in your eyes, it’s radiating off your body. You dare judge me, your leader who has done nothing but turn you into a man? I made our country what it is today, and you still stand there and question me? Are you questioning your loyalty to me because of a couple of whores and an old fuck? Eh?” He pushed off the wall, placing his hands into the pockets of his pants. Slowly walking over to where my father stood with the older man who was still struggling to stay alert.

“I didn’t say a word,” I simply stated, watching his every move.

“You didn’t have to. You see, Damien, I was once like you.”

I blinked, taking in his words, still completely aware of my surroundings. How the guards kept fucking with the women, running their guns down their breasts, stomach, and thighs. Making their torn, flimsy nightgowns stick to their sweaty skin. Pressing their cocks into their asses, purposely making their terrified bodies sway against their dicks. The only sounds that could be heard were their low, subtle whimpers, knowing they probably would not make it out of here alive. The men who were standing guard by the doors just waiting for their fucking turns.

I played my part, acting as if I didn’t notice the invasive acts. Giving the monster standing in front of me exactly what he craved.

Respect.

“I wanted to protect my country, I wanted freedom for all my people, I wanted a life where everyone was equal. I—”

“Everyone but you,” I interrupted, standing taller, not backing down.

He grinned, peering up and down at me. “And you. What? You think you’re not treated different? Held to higher standards? Given privileges most would die for? Oh, come on, Damien… look in the goddamn mirror. You’re just fucking like me. Always have been and always will be. You should be thanking me, not doubting me. The man who has given you everything!” he seethed, making the women yelp in response. “There isn’t anything running through your little mind that couldn’t be more wrong. You see this man?” He roughly grabbed ahold of the father’s hair, jerking it back so I could see his mangled face. “This man is a fucking traitor!”

“What did he do? Not pay his fucking taxes because he had to feed his family?!” I spewed the truth, the one I’d been hiding from myself my entire life.

Emilio cocked his head to the side, once again eyeing me up and down with a look I’d never seen before. “He was working with the enemy to bring me down. He and a bunch of other traitors were having meetings in this house! Organizing my demise to bring down everything I’ve worked for my whole life! And do you know what we do to traitors?” He paused, shoving the man away, causing his chair to stagger.

An eerie silence filled the room as he walked toward the women, beaming from ear to ear. Enjoying the effect he evoked on the helpless women. Both tried to weakly back away from him, only sinking further into the guards’ dominant hold. Salazar didn’t hesitate, pulling the teenage girl away from his henchmen.

“NO!” the mother shrieked an ear-piercing scream that would forever haunt me.

That night and his words would change who I was, and everything I believed in for the rest of my life.

It all started with…

Four simple words.

“We make them pay.”

-COPYRIGHT OF M. ROBINSON-