ethangranger: (steady to hell)
[personal profile] ethangranger
Part of this series

A friend whose got your back, one last bullet in your gun, someone you trust. Whatever man, all those things? Fuck. They're just another way to die. Trust is the potion of fools and he sure as hell wasn't gonna drink from that flask. Except...

"Deh fuck you waiting for?" Granger turned back toward the voice with the heavy accent. Taking a drag of the cigarette, he slowly let the smoke out in the guy's face. His face was something else, too. It looked like his features had melted half off his face and soured into a curdled lump somewhere where his nose was supposed to be. This was man he was expected to trust? Right. There was a snowballs chance in hell.
"You in a rush to get somewhere, Manuel?" Like the Mexican border perhaps? Granger threw the butt onto the ground and snuffed it out under his boot while lighting up another. Walking around American classic car, he got in, put the car into drive and shuttled off toward Algodones, just across the border. Manuel grinned and in that moment Granger decided that he would try to refrain from doing or saying anything that would make that man grin again.

See a dentist with all that money, will you?

The Mexican hung onto the soft leather satchel like a two year old with a teddy bear. Granger's dark eyes glanced into the rearview mirror to watch the car kick up dirt like a rodeo horse. The future was measured by the empty highway that stretched out for miles. There was no one behind him either. "How is this gonna roll? I don't like surprises." The Marlboro swung up an down as he mumbled, sprinkling ash on his dark blue sandwashed jeans. The burly tall Mexican, a fuckin' contradiction in terms to his kind, grinned, which was not better than his smile but said nothing. His eyes peered over to his 'colleague' who seemed tense as his knuckles grasped the steering wheel, sleeve of the leather jacket moving back to reveal an odd looking bracelet curled around his wrist. It was made from dark brown leather wound around his wrist with what looked like a fang of some sort. "What is that?" He asked, instead. Some people just can't mind their damn business, now can they? The scientist's mouth set in a firm line as his eyes continued to stare into the horizon. "You gonna answer my question or pretend that you can't hear me? Cause let me tell you, the walk to Mexico from here is hot and long."
"Can't this car go any faster?" Manuel sighed, raising his fingers only long enough to signal 'okay, okay', when Granger threw him a disgruntled look. "Will they be alone?"
"Maybe."
"Will they be armed?"
"Most probably."
"What are our chances of getting outta there alive?" Granger muttered.
"Mine look excellent." He answered patting the bag. "Yours? Eh, my friend. Do I look like a fortune teller to you?" No, he looked like a fucking jaundiced con whose skin was as yellow as the cheap Tequila he downed everyday and whose sins were written on his face with each pockmark.
Ethan sighed, shaking his head. He didn't like this. This was going in double blind. Worse off, he had to trust the man he wouldn't trust not to slap sense into, say, a pregnant woman who was craving fajitas and vanilla ice cream, in other words, his own wife. The wind wiped through the window, tousling his hair into his eyes and slapping into the sunglasses that hid the apprehension in his eyes. "Shit's gonna hit the fan. I can feel it." Something was off. No, many things were off, starting from the meeting place being out in the middle of nowhere. Why the fuck was that? Obviously they knew that it was impossible to find a gas station out here but, maybe that was the point.
"So this is how this goes down in a perfect world. We get out of the car, we exchange the money for Suarez. He's probably already infected so don't pussy out on me, man. We see who the ringleader is and get out. We only want to see 'em this time. Then we can follow these shit sucking mestizo M-13 bastards back to their leaders. You understand? There's just one problem-"
" It's not a perfect world." Manuel smirked, a silent scoff getting lost in the noise from the wind squeezing through the open window. Still, the Mexican nodded with that spooky shit eating grin. Yeah, keep smiling, asshole.
"So what's your link to the Lakota? You sure don't look like one of 'em redskin pendejos." Ethan asked sacastically, brows knitted into a tight fold of skin as he veered off the road and took one of the old narrow Indian trails through the what was now the desert. If that beaner laughed one more time, Granger was certain he'd leave his ass here and come back to pick him up when the sun and sand bleached his bones to a glistening white.
"Yeah, maybe not, amigo. But you do. " It was Granger's time to scoff, but the Mexican knew better. "Come on man, can't say you ain't got that blood in you. What? Lakota, Navajo...." His voice trailed off as he looked to Granger to fill in the blanks with a small amused smile, which reached his dead fish shaped eyes regardless. "Apache. Blue mountain." His knuckles tightened on the steering wheel.
"Aaaah, yeah man. Aye know 'bout them. Weren't they the most bloody of the bunch?" There was that smile again. Of course it followed the twisted meaning behind his words. Ethan grew stiff, the wrinkles around his mouth deepening with his frown. "The Apache used to believe that protecting their ancestors and their land was paramount because they and the land had a soul that could not be lost or else, they believed, they would be lost as well."
"Yea?" Half interested the Mexican hunter looked out the window, leaning his hand on the sill and grasping onto the top of the car before looking back at Granger. "What do they believe in now?"
"Now?" Granger sighed with aggravation. Why did people think they needed to make small talk? "Now they believe in whiskey, cigarettes and casinos." He said with a dry finality that closed the matter. The Mexican shrugged. It wasn't his business. "Well, the Lakota believe in cocaine. Lots of it. Wonder why they got problems? Fuck." Manuel shook his head. "If I snorted that much, my life would be fucked too." Wait, what? That was news to Granger. "The hell they need with that stuff? Peyote not enough anymore for their mumbo jumbo spirit journey bull crap?"
"I asked them the very same question, man. The very same. Know what the chief said?" Manuel laughed then, the folds of his fat belly shaking like jello as it stuck to his dingy white wife beater. "He said that 'it was the only thing that kept the beast down'. Crazy pendejos! I said, 'well, man, if y'all are doing so much of this shit, you gotta lotta beast to keep down! Never worked like that for me but, whatever José." He looked down at his crotch lewdly, laughing crazily as he reinacted his conversation with the tribal chief with much vigor. Wiping the snot from his nose with his finger, his sniffle sounded like a plugged up trash disposal. Coughing like a dying Tuberculosis victim, he spat thick yellow phlegm out the window. Almost as an after thought he said, "Fucker had a bracelet just like yours, s' why I asked."
Like a car hitting a Mack truck, the burly Mexican flew into the dashboard face first as Granger slammed on the brakes. Whose to say that the rearrangement wouldn't actually improve his features?
"Woaw! Pendejos! What the fuck you doin' man?! " Manuel hissed in a breath. "Ay, my frickin' nose!" Blood streamed down it where the skin broke just over the ridge. Granger's demeanor had changed somehow. Silence settled in the car as the Mexican dabbed the blood with his shirt. "What did you say?" Granger asked after a moment, his gravelly voice twisted through a prism of broken black glass as it hissed out of his throat and slashed at the Manuals words.
He spat out blood through the window. "Yeah, something like that."
"Something like it? Or exactly like it?" The Mexican knew Ethan's voice was too calm, too serene.
"Yeah well, don't really remember, man. Ooomph." Blood drops spilled over the seat as Granger grabbed the man's collar and pulled him closer to him. Dark thunderous eyes peered over the rim of his sunglasses. "Think harder."
Manuel peered at the leather cord wound around Granger's wrist, now real close to his face. He took note to the gleaming fang that was wrapped in leather and a piece of rope fashioned into this odd bracelet. Nodding slowly he gestured toward a piece of turquoise that was set upon the dark leather. "Yeah, man. Yeah." His eyes flickered from Granger back to the turquoise set in the leather. "Same thing. I recognize the symbol carved into the stone...and the fang."
Fuck. Fuck! Granger scowled, letting the man go and nearly hurling him back into the seat. Brushing his hand over his face, Granger looked like he was riding on empty. Like a man that was left with only a rope. Bet your life he'd hang someone with it before reaching his own end. Sand kicked out from under the tires as he put the car in reverse and sped back toward LA County. "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Were you goin' man? We've a deal goin' d-" Manuel looked down staring, cross eyed, at the gun Granger shoved into his face. "Detour. Don't like it? Walk." For a moment Manuel actually considered it before sitting back in his seat and muttering, "No, no problem man...whatever."

Only one Lakota chief had the same damn totem. And that chief had helped Granger track and kill those...those fuc- after they...they... His teeth pressed together causing pressure to build up in his temples.That totem celebrated their victory over the monsters. Granger pressed his eyes shut for a moment as his lips drew themselves into a thin line. The breath he took nearly burned as it expanded his lungs fully. He said that it was the only thing that kept the beast down.

No. No, no, no...hell no.

His knuckles were white against the steering wheel.

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March 2016

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