Day 3 - Darkest Moments,
This is my Reyes origin story. It is… dark. It includes implied violence and character death, however, nothing graphic. Also, sorry (again, eternally) for my crap Spanish.
Reyes pushed open the door to their apartment, his brothers close on his heels as he entered the living room. The sudden, hushed silence between his mother and father told him that they’d been fighting again. There’d been a lot of that ever since the Alliance slapped Reyes Sr with a dishonorable discharge.
“Reyito,” he mother said. “Go help your abuela in the kitchen.”
His father rolled his eyes, but Reyes obeyed. Paulo and Octavio followed him out of habit; none of them wanted to witness the fight between their parents.
As he turned into the kitchen, Reyes smiled. His abuela stood over the stove, swaying her hips to the song playing from the family’s omnitool.
“Reyito!” She called to him over the music. “Come stir this.” She pointed to a steaming pot on one of the back burners, and he didn’t hesitate to do her bidding.
Paulo and Octavio slumped into chairs at the small table in their eat-in kitchen and dealt cards to play slapjack together. Reyes stirred the sauce simmering in the pot, humming along as his grandma sang and danced while she seasoned the pork they were having for dinner.
“No tiene nada que ver con el,” his mother shouted from the living room.
“El deberia trabajar,” his father countered, just as loud. “El tiene edad suficiente.”
Reyes kept his focus on the stove, but felt his brothers’ eyes on his back.
“Don’t listen to your idiot father, Reyes.”
He turned to look at his abuela. Her wrinkled face was creased from the force of her smile, her amber eyes warm with understanding. He smiled back at her, grateful for the comfort offered by his usually stern grandmother.
Reyes watched over the sauce and had just started the rice, Paulito and Octavtio giggling as they each rushed to slap the jack of clubs before the other. That sound was much better than the continued shouts from their parents. But, as he stirred the sauce, trying to let the music and his brothers’ laughter soothe him, a loud knock at the door ended his parents argument.
A chill ran down Reyes’ spine as his abuela turned off the music. The knock came again, louder this time, followed by a thickly accented voice that sounded like gravel dragged over sandpaper.
“C’mon, Vidal,” the man on the other side of the door called. “We know you’re in there. We could hear you shoutin’ halfway down the hall!”
His grandmother grabbed his shoulder and spun him to face her. “Take your brothers and go to my room,” she whispered.
“But,” he protested.
“Now,” she snapped and stuffed her rosary into his hand. “Pray, Reyito!”
“What’s happening?” Paulo asked as Reyes herded his brothers into their abuela’s small bedroom.
“Shh,” Octavio said. At ten, he was old enough to understand that something bad was happening.
“Both of you, shut it!” Reyes snapped as he pushed them down onto the floor. “Get under the bed.”
The boys complied, the fear in their oldest brother’s voice enough to convince them to listen without complaint. Reyes shut the rickety, makeshift door his father had grudgingly built for their abuela, but left it ajar enough that he could see the kitchen through the crack. And then he knelt, his back to the bed, and prayed.
“Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”
The door to the apartment screeched open, like it was being pried back from the wall.
“Thy kingdom come,”
His father’s voice carried through the door. “No! Please,” he cried. “I just need more time!”
A wicked laugh filled the apartment. “More time? You were supposed to pay your debt two months ago!”
“I know,” his father said. “But-” There was a sickening crunch as armor met flesh and his father cried out.
“Thy will be done,” Reyes continued. “On Earth as it is in Heaven.”
“Grab him,” the accented voice growled, and the distinct sound of his father crying came closer. “Let’s all go to the kitchen, shall we?” The gravelly voice asked, brimming with false cheer.
“Please,” his mother’s voice rang through the apartment.
“Give us this day,” Reyes said, though his voice faltered at the sound of his mama crying. “Our daily bread.”
“Reyes,” Paulo mewled from under the bed.
“Shh, Paulito,” Octavio whispered, though he sounded just as frightened as their youngest brother. Both boys fell silent, but a hand clamped around each of Reyes’ ankles.
His father yelped and there was a thud as the kitchen floor shook. Reyes opened his eyes to see his father kneeling in the kitchen, his back facing the door to their abuela’s room. From this angle Reyes could see the blue and white striped armor of the mercenary, but not his face.
“Please,” his father sobbed, his voice thick and bubbling.
“Forgive us our trespasses,” Reyes whispered. “As we forgive those who trespass against us.”
“If you kill me, you’ll never be repaid,” his father hiccuped, begging for his life from his knees.
“Oh, I don’t know,” the merc said. The sneer on his face was plain in his voice as he pulled a pistol from his hip.
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Reyes’ grip on the rosary tightened, until he though the beads might burst in his fists.
“You’ve got a lovely family that I’m sure some Batarian shit-head will pay plenty for.”
“For thine is the kingdom,” Reyes breathed, afraid to be any louder than that. His mother and abuela joined into the chorus of his father’s sobbing pleas. “The power,” Reyes whispered, his voice thin as the pistol leveled its barrel at his father’s head. “And the glory, forever.”
“Please,” his father said, one last time. And then the merc fired his gun.