Chapter 5: The Waterfall
Diego snuck through the abandoned village and ransacked the houses. He searched through the houses and found himself new clothes. If he was going to get the baby, he would need to maintain a less urban punkish look. He removed his bandanna, poncho, and necklace. He threw on a dark orange coat that reached all the way down to his feet, and a red and black stocking cap over his head. He put the rest of his stuff in a green rucksack he found in the closet of an abandoned house.
At least the coat will hide my swords, Diego thought. He looked at himself in a cracked mirror. “This will work.” He told himself. “I guess.” He left the village after an hour of looting for supplies.
Manny and Sid walked near the bottom of the waterfall, both eating and chewing on apples as Sid was telling a story.
“And she picks a piece of lint off my shoulder and says ‘look, if you’re going to go on date, at least pick a female who doesn’t mind lint.’ And I thought, ‘whoa, she going praying mantis all over me.’ You know what I’m saying?” asked Sid.
Manny rolled his eyes and threw away his apple core. “Look, if you find a girl in life, you should thankful, in your case, grateful. Now leave me alone.”
“Well I think mating for life is stupid.” replied Sid, biting into his apple and throwing it away. “I mean, there’s plenty of Sid to go around for every-” he was cut off when Manny stopped and he ran into the back of him. “Manny?” he asked, going around him. “What are you looking at?”
Manny pointed at what he was looking at. Sid followed his arm and saw what he was looking at. In the river, hanging onto a log, was a young woman carrying a bundle, the mother from the village.
She was tired, and the cold water must have frozen her. She swam to the water’s edge and put the bundle on the shore. She pushed the bundle towards Manny. The bundle began to slide back, but Manny stopped it with his hand. He looked at the woman and nodded slowly. The woman smiled weakly, and then closed her eyes for good.
Manny rolled the bundle up towards him and Sid, and saw what it was… A baby! The baby opened it eyes and soon, it was cooing happily. Sid looked down at the baby. “Look at that! He’s okay!” he announced.
Manny and Sid looked up to find the woman, but she was gone. Manny and Sid looked at the river, and saw the body of the woman floating away. “She’s gone.” Sid spoke quietly. Sid and Manny stood in silence for a minute, in reverence for the woman.
Manny then began walking away. “Hey Manny!” Sid called. “Aren’t you forgetting something?” “No.” Manny replied in a grumpy tone of voice.
Sid looked at the baby and then at Manny, a confused look on his face. “But you just saved him.” He protested.
“Yeah, and I’m still trying to get rid of the last thing I said.” replied Manny, unphased by the fact that he was leaving a living, breathing, baby behind.
“You can’t leave him here.” said Sid. He looked at the baby and hesitated before picking it up. He looked up at the top of the waterfall. “Look, there’s smoke. That’s his family up on the hill.” He walked over to Manny, carrying the baby. “We should return him!”
Manny bent down and got in Sid’s face. “Let’s get something straight here, okay? There’s no ‘We’. There never was a ‘We’.” He said angrily. “In fact, without ‘Me’, there wouldn’t even be a ‘You.’” He pointed his index finger straight in Sid’s face. Sid backed up a little bit, fearing his eye would get poked.
“Just up the hill?” asked Sid.
“Listen very carefully.” said Manny. He made his hand look like a hand puppet. “I’M… NOT… GOING!”
“Fine, be a jerk.” Replied Sid, angrily. He walked off towards the cliff with the baby in his arms. “I’ll take care of him.”
“Oh, you’ll take care of him?” asked Manny. “You can’t even take care of yourself. This I gotta see.” He watched as Sid headed towards the cliff.
“I return you.” He wiggled his finger in front of the baby. “We don’t need the Meany, weany, giant do we?” Sid spoke in baby talk. “No we don’t.”
He looked up at the cliff nervously, then back at Manny. Manny stood there, watching him. Sid nodded and began climbing. He couldn’t find a good foothold, so he jumped up and held onto a ledge. Using his feet, he did a split and held himself between the crevices. He tried grabbing another ledge, but only succeeded in getting his head stuck.
“You’re embarrassing yourself, you know that?!” called Manny. Sid continued climbing. “This is cake! I’m fine, I’m fine…” he muttered under his breath. “I’m gonna die.”
He continued climbing while Manny got underneath him. Sid got a good handhold on the ledge, but he felt the bundle shifting weight. He looked and saw the baby slip out of the bundle. He grabbed the baby’s animal hide top with his toe.
“Manny!” he shouted. Manny looked up and saw the baby being held by Sid’s foot. “Whoa!” he grunted. He saw the baby slip from Sid’s foot and put his hands out to catch it. However, the baby didn’t land in his grasp. A flying blur flew across and caught the baby. The blur was Diego, who grabbed the baby and held him under his arm, like a football. He landed on a rock and turned around to escape, but Manny came at him. He knocked the baby out of Diego’s grasp, and grabbed the baby.
Diego growled and pulled out one of his knives. Manny backed off for a second and then came forward with an icy stare. Diego, feeling like he was in a bad situation, sheathed the knife and decide that maybe it was best to try to talk his way out of this.
“Ahem, uh, that child is mine.” Diego said coolly. “No actually, that child belongs to us.” replied Sid. He slipped and fell off the cliff, landing on his head.
“Us?” asked Diego, looking at Sid and Manny. “What are you two supposed to be, Father and Son?” “There is no us!” replied Manny, fed up with Sid telling people this.
“Oh, can’t have another, so you want to adopt.” said Diego, staring at the baby.
Sid saw that he was staring at the baby and began dragging him away from Diego. “Look, I’m sorry for interrupting your kill, but we have to go.”
“The baby?” asked Diego, jumping off a rock he was standing on. “Please, I was returning him to his family.”
“Oh yeah, nice try gangster.” replied Sid. Diego came over and got in Sid’s face. “You calling me a liar?” he asked.
“I didn’t say that.” protested Sid.
“You were thinking it.”
replied Diego. Sid looked over at Manny. “I don’t like this guy, he reads
minds.” He whispered.
“The name’s Diego, friend.” greeted Diego. “Manfred.” replied Manny. “And I’m not your friend.” “Fine, Manfred.” Diego muttered under his breath. He watched as Sid carried the baby behind Manny. “If you’re looking for the villagers, you’re wasting time. They struck the village and left this morning. I went scouting there and got supplies.”
Manny nodded. “Thanks for the advice. Now beat it.” He looked over at Sid. He sighed loudly. “Alright, I’ll help you return it to its herd. But leave me alone after this, okay?!”
“Okay, deal. What’s your problem?” asked Sid. “You are my problem.” replied Manny.
“Well, I think you’re threshed. And I’m not surprised. I mean, it’s hard to go on a diet, especially since there’s so many temptations.” said Sid.
Diego watched the baby waving at him, being carried away by a kid and a giant. He growled angrily and stalked off.
“I’m not fat.” said Manny. “It’s this sweater. It makes me look… Poofy.”
“Okay, Big Man, little sweater.” replied Sid, chuckling. “But when you’re ready to talk, I’m here.”