This is the fourth issue of the Uma Nova Vida series.
"Huh... This is weird..." Pedro said as we were walking up the hill, carefully not to make too much noise.
"What?" I asked.
"Isn't this place usually like... uh... Packed with people? It's empty now." he said. "Not a single person on the street."
I noticed it too. There wasn't a single person on the street, when usually it would be filled with people drinking, dancing to really loud music and shooting each other. We didn't see anyone, alive or dead there. All the windows were either shut with the curtains closed, or open, in seemingly abandoned houses.
"Yeah, this is really weird." I agreed with him. "Keep your eyes open, man. This place already wasn't exactly the safest place on Earth before, now we need to double our attention. And DON'T make any noises. The dead can hear it, or even worse, the living can."
"Yeah alright, I get you... Geez." he said, clearly ignoring what I just said. "Hey man, can I ask you a question? A serious question?"
I sighed. "Okay." I finally said.
"Do you think that I... uh..." he hesitated. I could feel by the tone of his voice he was really insecure about asking me this. "Do you think I'd have any chances if I tried to go and ask Agatha out?"
"Come on man, you said it'd be a serious question." I laughed alone, but after a few moments, seeing how Pedro frowned, I stopped. "Oh shit, you are actually being serious... Uh... Sure man, of course you would. You have good taste, brother. Frankly, if I wasn't with Clara, I'd hit on her myself."
"Now, I know you're just trying to sound nice. Thanks, though." he said sadly, as he shut himself for the rest of the way.
We walked for some more minutes until we reached the top of the hill. A big building stood upon us, Chacal's mansion and selling point. I gulped, knowing that this had a chance way bigger than 50/50 of going to shit, and I knew what would happen if it indeed, went to shit.
"It's here, come on. Stay close." I said, walking to the gates.
I approached the intercom and hesitated for a few seconds before pressing the button. Some moments passed before I could hear a strong and intimidating voice asking me:
"Who are you and what the fuck do you want?"
"I'm... uh... My name is Lucas and I... I'm here to see Chacal?" I replied, sweating. Just the man's voice already struck fear into me.
"Boss isn't waiting anyone today. Go fuck yourself." the man said.
"N-No, please! You don't understand, I need to speak with him! It's really important, like... Life or death important!" I pleaded.
"Get lost loser, if you don't want a hole in your head." the man said. I looked up and saw a skinny kid - couldn't be older than me - with an AK-47 on one of the upper rooms, carelessly sitting on the window. "If you try anything OR press that damn button again, that guy up there won't be responsible for his trigger finger."
"Hey, who the fuck is that?" I heard a second voice coming in from the box. Chacal. "Out of my way, retard! Who is there?"
"Some idiot called 'Lucas', sir."
"Lucas? Could it be that kid... Pass me this shit." he ordered. "Hey, Rodrigues! Is that you? The fuck you want with me?"
"I need to speak with you, Chacal. I'm in need of some, you understand? Please man, don't slam the door on me, this is serious shit."
"Oh, you want to talk business!" he laughed out loud. "Why didn't you say so in the first place? Come on in! Open the gates, you moron!"
The gates opened. We slowly and hesitantly walked inside. A huge goon, probably the one who talked to us on the intercom opened the door. Yeah, it was definitely the man who spoke to us. He looked really pissed off and grunted when we passed by.
While big, Chacal's crib wasn't pretty to look at. At all. To be fair, I think he actually took it from the drug dealer that ruled the community before and didn't even bother to clean up the place afterwards.
The carpets had bloodstains, I could notice several bullet holes on the walls, the furniture was nearly non-existent, probably sold to buy drugs, and the ones that were left were old and broken... Isn't this ironical? A dealer begging for help to another dealer, who is constantly in debt with a third dealer. Jeez...
The big goon escorted me and Pedro to Chacal's room. The moment the doors were open, I had the vision of Hell. The filthy one-eyed man, sitting on his table at the middle of the room, snorting the biggest dose of cocaine I've ever seen, with a girl, definitely a hooker, drank at the couch. A skinny guard wearing a cap leaned against the wall, holding an AK-47.
"Boss, here they are." said the huge goon, closing the door behind us.
"Oh, amazing. Simply amazing." he said, raising his head for a split second, before diving in the coke again. "Fucking amazing! Here, take a seat, what are you waiting? Jesus... So, you said you wanted to talk business. Make it quick, I'm a busy man." He said every single sentence directly after the other, without even breathing.
"Y-Yes, sure..." I stuttered, taking a seat. I'm usually not this easy to be scared but just being around this man sent shivers down my spines. "Well, this is kinda hard to explain but... Shit happened. Huge shit. No, not huge... Colossal shit."
"Titan shit." Pedro added, trying to back me up. "Size of a skyscraper."
"...Yeah, thanks." I said, awkwardly. "Anyway, we NEED some of your guns, and we need it like, right now. It's a life or death situation. I was thinking if you could give us like... How many? Ten?"
"Yeah, ten is good." Pedro replied.
"Ten pistols or something... I don't want to ask for too much, heh I barely know you, I don't want to pass the wrong impression y'know?"
"Yeah, yeah... Whatever. Like I give a shit about your problems, anyway." Chacal said, standing up and going to the girl. He, without any ceremony, groped her breast from behind while licking her neck. "Look, I got the guns, you got the money. What's the big fucking problem?"
"Well, it's a little more complicated than that." I said, realizing I couldn't make turns around it anymore. I had no choice but explain the situation. "We don't have the money, Chacal."
The atmosphere turned from light to tense almost immediately. I could feel the stare of the huge man behind us. Chacal turned serious at the spot, and let go of the woman. He walked back to his table, biting his finger in silence, before with a pondering expression on his face, then with anger. I swear he was about to bit off his own finger.
"You... Don't have the money." he said sighing, trying to contain his anger.
"I don't have the money." I replied. I was terrified about having to say this, but there was no way.
"WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN BY YOU DON'T HAVE THE MONEY??" Chacal exploded, yelling right to my face. His bad breath alone was enough to regret even coming here.
"Look man, I can explain everything, really, I can!" I said, trying to get the man away from me. "I know this will be hard to believe, okay? But the shit I said happened, it's... It's the end of the world, man!"
The huge goon gave a long and unpleasant laugh behind me.
"Looks like someone's been tripping too much on his own stuff." the skinny guard said.
"This motherfucker lost his damn mind." added the huge man.
"Oooooh, the end of the world, you say?" Chacal asked me, sarcastically faking surprise and interest. "Please, I beg you to tell me more about this."
"Look man, I know this might sound bullshit but-"
"Bullshit? Oh no, absolutely! You want to fuck me RIGHT IN THE ASSHOLE, getting my stuff for free, because it's the end of the world. It's totally believable. I'll give you this, Rodrigues. I didn't think someone was stupid enough to try to pull this one."
"H-He's telling the truth, I swear!" Pedro said, shakily. I could feel he was even more terrified than me right now. Poor Pedro, was always the scared sheep of the group, shouldn't have made him go through this shit. "People are going apeshit out there, stealing and killing and shit... There are fucking zombies out there, eating people, like in the movies and shit. Please man, don't kill us!"
"Z... Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha... Fucking Zom... Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha..." Chacal snapped into hysterical laughter. "Zombies! It's a zombie apocalypse, honey! Like in the TV! Isn't this... exciting?" he asked maniacally to the girl, who at this point was even more horrified of the man than us.
"No, in fact shut up." he said, pulling a pistol from his pants and shooting the girl in the chest, making her fall to the floor.
The girl grasped for air, struggling at the floor, and slowly started to choke on her own blood. While the skinny guard had a somewhat disturbed look on his face, Chacal and the other man remained serious, as if they were just ignoring what happened. Finally, the girl stopped struggling and died a painful, but rather quick death.
"I never liked you anyway. Swear to God she was stealing from me. Now... Let me ask you something, Rodrigues." Chacal said, getting on my face. His horrible smell of sweat, sex and cocaine filled my nostrils and I couldn't stop it. His crazy face inches away from mine, his menacing one eye that would scare even the toughest guy looking directly into mine. "Do I look like an idiot to you?"
"W-What? N-No... I..."
"You must really think my mother - God rest her soul - fucked an idiot instead of my father. Are you calling my mother an idiot who goes with morons?"
"Please man, just listen to me..."
"You know I'm going to kill you both for this right?" he interrupted me. "Because, see... This right here is disrespecting to me. It's like you're trying to insult my intelligence. You can't just come to someone's house, try to stab him in the back and then call him an idiot."
"We never said you're an idiot, man..." Pedro said, in the edge of tears.
"Shut up, please. Your voice is irritating. Alex, bring him here, please?"
"Sure thing, boss." Alex, the skinny guard said.
Alex came in our direction, and grabbed Pedro by the arm. He tried to struggle and free himself, but the man hit him on the face with the butt of his assault rifle, making him shut up.
He looked to me, desperate. I could see true fear inside his eyes, as if they were begging for me to help him. I couldn't. If I tried to do something, I'd be shot dead the second I got up. I watched uselessly while he was handed to Chacal.
"Now, let's see..." Chacal said, reaching for a drawer on his table and pulling a big knife out of it. "Maybe just killing you two won't do the job right... Maybe I need to make sure you understand that you fucked up before..."
Alex forced Pedro's head against the table, restraining him while Chacal stretched one of his arms on it.
"P-Please, let me go..." Pedro cried.
"What was that? Let you go?" he joked. "Sorry, can't do. Thank your friend for this... If he didn't try to fuck me over, you wouldn't lose this fingers... Or should I cut the whole hand? Oh, I know! Maybe an ear... Never cut an ear before, must be reeeeeeeal easy..."
I looked to my watch. Lucas and the other kid were gone for one hour now. I looked at his girlfriend in the backseat in the rear-view mirror, she was worried sick about him. I felt bad for the girl, but he told me that if they weren't back by now, I should leave.
"Fuck..." I said, hitting the steering wheel. "Okay, we gotta go."
Everyone looked at me, surprised.
"What? Why?" Agatha asked.
"No, they're not back yet!" Clara protested.
"Look, your boyfriend told me this himself. He said that if they weren't back in one hour, I should start the car and get you all out of here. I'm doing that."
"No, fuck that! I'm not leaving Lucas behind!" Clara said. "Guys, come on! We can't do this!"
"I wouldn't mind..." Giovanni said monotonically, looking out of the window. "Just saying." he added, when glared at by the girls and Jhefferson.
"Shush, Gi. Not the time!" his sister scolded him. "Clara's right, we can't just leave them behind!"
"This is what he wanted us to do. Look, let's face the facts... They're gone for one hour, in a favela and in the middle of an apocalypse. They're probably dead by now." I said. This was hard for me to say, because I didn't want to hurt their feelings, but I knew deep inside that it was very probable to be true.
"What? How can you fucking say that?!" Agatha let out. "If he's in danger, shouldn't we try to help him instead of ditching it?"
"I don't care what he told you to. He's an idiot who doesn't know what he was talking about. I won't let my boyfriend to die here."
"I'm telling you to turn this shit around and go up the hill so we can look for him and Pedro."
"Now!" she said looking me straight in the eyes.
"Fuck... Okay, shit, fine!" I said, turning the car on.
The engine started way more silently than I'd expect from a car this big, and I turned the car around to face the entrance of the favela. I gave a last quick look to Davi's corpse. The man I tried so hard to save, even if I didn't know him at all. It was in vain. I couldn't do anything.
But maybe Clara is right... I shouldn't have complied with Lucas' orders. I couldn't help Davi, but I can help Lucas, I just didn't have the courage to do it... Man what a fucking piece of shit I was being. I can't believe I was willing to let two kids die just to save myself...
I can't believe I'm getting bossed around by a bunch of teenagers. God fucking damn it this outbreak.
- Giovanni Rocha
- Agatha Rocha
- Lucas Rodrigues
- Clara de Souza
- Jhefferson da Silva (No Lines)
- Marcos Andrade
- Davi Dias (Corpse)
- Huge Goon
- Unnamed woman.
- First appearance of Chacal.
- First appearance of Alex.
- First appearance of the Huge Goon.
- Last appearance of Davi Dias (Corpse).
- This issue was originally planned to feature only one POV segment (Lucas'), but it was changed to two during writing.