Chapter Thirty-Five - Abby
“Mommy! Can I pick a flower?” A small child’s voice said in the distance. My eyes fluttered open slowly, trying to figure out where the voice had come from. I was laying in soft grass, the sun warming my skin. Sitting up, I recognized that I was in the courtyard of the Villa. Roses were blooming everywhere and the stone fountain in the middle of the garden was flowing freely.
In the middle of the gazebo, a little girl about seven years old ran in. She had long red curls that trickled down her back and she was dressed in a light blue dress. Her feet were bare as she skipped around, counting the tiles in the floor of the gazebo. Behind her, a young woman with similar long red hair entered the gazebo. Her kind face smiled as she looked at the girl. Her own dress was black, flowing to her thigh. I watched as my mother, Amelia Marrero sat in the gazebo. She was as beautiful as I remembered. I pushed myself to my feet, stepping closer. It had been three years since I had seen her last, hours before her suicide. I was sixteen at the time and the feeling of grief sunk into my chest as I took the site of her in.
“Can I, Mommy?” The younger version of myself asked again, stopping to look at Mother. She smiled at me, patting the seat next to her.
“Come sit with me first.” She replied. I skipped over, climbing up to sit. She ran a hand over my hair and kissed the top of my head. “Do you know how much I love you?”
“You tell me all the time!” My younger self exclaimed, smiling at her. My mother chuckled, nodding.
“Yes. I do. I just want you to know how much I love you every day. I don’t know what I would do without you.”
“I love you too, Mommy. And Daddy.” My mother’s face dimmed slightly at the mention of my father’s name from my lips. “Do I have to learn karate?”
“It’s something your father wants you to know.”
“It’s a boy thing.” Little me made a face of disgust, crossing her arms.
“No. It’s an anyone thing and it’s very important you learn as much as you can. It’s a skill that you might need to save you some day. I want you to promise me that you are going to try your hardest and listen to everything they have to teach you, okay?”
“Okay, Mommy. Will Daddy like me more if I learn karate?”
“Your father cares about you very much, Abby. He just doesn’t show it as much as I do. He wants the best for you like I do.”
“He told me that I have to take care of the family business when I’m older. Do I have to?” Tears welled in my mother’s eyes as she turned away for the child form of me.
“If it’s what your father wishes, you must. I’m going to try to protect you from it as much as I can.” A tear slid down her cheek and she quickly wiped it away. “You were born to be so much more than your he wishes you to be. I’m not going to let anything happen to you as long as I’m alive.” Leaning in, she kissed the top of my head and stood. “You may pick one flower but be careful of the thorns.” Young Abby squealed in delight as she jumped off the bench. I watched as she ran over to the rose bush of white roses. Carefully, she picked a smaller rose and pulled it from the stem.
“Look at this one, Mommy!” She exclaimed, holding it up.
“You’re as beautiful as I always imagined you would be.” My mother’s voice said next to me. Surprised, I turned and saw her standing on my right side. She held a white rose in her hand and her soft smile adorned her face. Her soft brown eyes gazed at me the same way they did when I was a child. “You have my mother’s smile. It’s nice to see it again.”
“I remember this day.” I responded, glancing back at the child form of me. She was smelling all the roses on the bush. “It was the last time I was allowed to pick roses from the garden. Father felt as if I should be treated as a child no more.”
“That’s correct. He said you were never going to learn how to be responsible if you were allowed to do as you wished. I suppose his heart was in the right place at some point.” I shot her a look of disbelief. “It was a joke.”
“I sure hope so.” I smiled, turning to face her. “Am I dead? Did my plan work?”
“No, dear. You are very much alive. The crystal is still controlling your body and hell is breaking lose all around you. Your mind just wasn’t sure what to do with itself so it ran and hid somewhere you felt safe. I’m glad it decided on a memory with me.” Reaching out, she stroked my cheek. “I am so terribly sorry for the way your life has panned out. I never intended for this to happen. I thought for sure once we had a child and your father held you, he would see the error of his doings. It only seemed to fuel his need to build his empire. He saw great things in your future even though they were terrible at the same time.”
“I have an uncle? Why didn’t I know this?”
“I can’t tell you anything you don’t already know, dear. This is your memory. If you don’t know it, then I don’t know either.” She gave me a sad smile. “What I do know is that the only way to end this whole thing is to push out all of these negative emotions you have against our father. I know he is a horrible man but you can’t let it consume your life anymore. You need to be your own person and the first step of that is moving on. You’ll never be able to do anything until you forgive yourself.”
“Forgive myself?” She nodded.
“You were not destined for this. You were destined to become the person you want to become. None of this is your fault. You need to know that even though you were born to pursue evil, that is not who you are. You are a sweet, caring, compassionate young woman who is meant to save the world from the same evil that tried to mold you.”
“I’m scared, Mom.” I whispered, a tear slipping down my cheek.
“Shh.” She cooed, pulling me into her arms. She was warm as she embraced me, a touch I hadn’t felt in so long. She stroked my hair as I cried into her shoulder. A beautiful sound came as she starting to sing softly in my ear. It was a lullaby she used to sing to me when I was younger. It made my chest fill with a warm feeling of comfort. Reluctantly, I pulled away from her and dried my face with the palms of my hands.
“I know what I have to do now. Thank you.” I said, smiling at her.
We both watched the young Abby skip around the garden, chasing a butterfly through the air. Everything began to fade to darkness, the image of my mother and me dissolving. The sound of rain and gunfire filled my ears and the feeling of hard ground underneath me became present. Blinking, I realized I was staring up at the dark clouds in the sky. Rain poured from them everywhere but around me. It hit an invisible barrier and disappeared. It was magical to watch, knowing I was powering everything happening around me. From the rain to the thunder rumbling loud enough to shake the ground.
“I’ve had enough of you meddling in my family’s affairs, Agent Forester. Say hello to your brother for me.” My father’s voice said to my left. Sitting up, I saw he was standing over Cory who was on his knees. Scorpio held a gun pressed against Cory’s forehead. Cory closed his eyes as my father went to pull the trigger.
“No!” I exclaimed, flicking my hand towards them. My father flew through the air, landing a few feet away. His gun slid out of his hands and next to Cory who turned and looked at me, shocked. I stood, glancing around. Men were firing guns at each other, bullets flying towards the lines of cars. “Enough!” I yelled, swinging my hands. Everyone was tossed off their feet by a gust of wind, their guns landing in a pile in the middle. The rain and the wind stopped, the gathering water receding into the dirt. “There will be no more bloodshed today! This is insane. You are all fighting a war started by this man who wants nothing but pain and suffering for everyone he has ever met.” I glared at my father who was scrambling to get to his feet.
“Abigail, this is it. This is our chance.” He said, stepping towards me. I held my hand up, causing him to cower back.
“No. I’m not doing what you say anymore. You are a horrible monster and you aren’t in control of my life anymore. You are never going to tell me what to do ever again. I’m releasing you out of my life and I never want to look at your face ever again.” I said, balling my fists. Thunder and lightning crackled above us. Taking a deep breath, I tried to calm myself down. A hand touching my shoulder brought me back. Facing it, I saw Cory standing there.
“So, you’re going to kill me? The only person who has been there your entire life?” Scorpio asked, a glint of fear in his eyes. I had never seen him like this before. He looked afraid for the first time in his life.
“No. I’m not like you. I have faith that the justice system and the CIA will take good care of you for the rest of your miserable life.” He smiled, shaking his head.
“I knew you were too weak. You’re just like your mother. She could never stand the fact you were going to grow up to be nothing. No wonder she killed herself.” He snarled.
“That’s not true.” Pedro’s voice said as he stepped forward. Blood trickled down his arm from a bullet wound in his shoulder.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Your mother didn’t commit suicide. A week before her death, she reached out to me begging for help. She wanted to escape Scorpio and had no way to. She asked me if I could help her run. Before I could though, he discovered she was planning on fleeing. He murdered her so she wouldn’t be able to take you away from him.” Pedro glared at Scorpio. “Amelia was the love of my life and your father stole her away from me. When he found out she was pregnant with our child, he made sure that she had no contact with me.”
“He’s lying!” Scorpio shouted, practically fuming.
“Abby, Scorpio is not your real father. I am. Your mother and I were together when my brother fell in love with her. He made a deal with her father that he could buy her off of him. She was at a lost until she discovered she was pregnant with you. We tried like hell to get her away from him but he always found a way to stop it. Around the time you turned 16, she feared that he would start pushing you to be more involved in the drug cartel. She contacted me, asking to help her escape for good. It had been years since I had last seen her and we thought for sure Scorpio would have let his guard down. Sadly, he didn’t. One of his guards told him about our plan. Scorpio poisoned her the following week, making it look like a suicide. He then hid you away from the world, hoping I would never be able to locate you to save you.” It felt like my world was being tipped upside down. Scorpio wasn’t my real father? This man who had tortured me my entire life had no ties to me greater than an uncle would?
“You murdered her.” I said softly, facing Scorpio again. He shot Pedro a nasty look, seething practically.
“I may not be your biological father but I raised you as my own!” He exclaimed, pleading with me. “You are the only child I have ever had. Family doesn’t end in blood.”
“I’m not your child.” I responded. “You killed my mother. You took away the only person I had who cared about me to follow your own plan. How dare you stand there and preach to me about family values.”
“Your mother was mine! I loved her but all she cared about was the bastard child my father had with some whore across the border. I gave her anything she could have wanted but she didn’t care. You were all that mattered to her and getting back to him. I had to stop her before she ruined everything I worked for.” My whole body was beginning to fill with energy again as the anger bubbled in my chest. I wanted to strike him down with whatever kind of power I could.
“Abby, don’t.” Cory whispered, stepping in front of me. He gripped my shoulders and looked down at me. “He isn’t worth it. Killing him would make you no better than him. Believe me.” He said softly. I nodded, feeling the emotions inside of me begin to calm.
“Cory, look out!” A voice behind me called. Cory and I both turned to see my father grab the handgun he had lost before. He pointed it at us, a dark smile on his face. Cory wrapped himself around me, shielding me from him. A loud bang sounded, blood exploding from Scorpio’s chest. His eyes widened as he looked down to see the red seeping into his white blazer. We locked eyes as he dropped to his knees. A dribble of blood came from the right side of his mouth as he fell forward on his chest in the wet dirt. I turned, looking for the source of the shooter. Pedro stood there, his arm extended towards where his brother had stood. A pistol was in his hand and smoke drifted out of the barrel.