Genoveva wasn't necessarily loud, but without her the whole house seemed quiet, even with the loud chaos rumbling around the grounds. The city was panicking; monsters were popping up less and less frequently, but people were afraid and paranoid, not only about corruption, but of the police as well. The media was throwing any insult at the police they could think of. Headlines read "Poor Police Work. Por Qué?" and "Corruption: To Panic or Not To Panic" and "Top 10 Recipes for Your Next Fiesta". That last one had nothing to do with the problems of the city, but Rosita enjoyed it.
Julio now read the newspaper every morning out-loud to the family for anything on Genoveva or García or another corruption attack. Imelda forbade anyone from leaving the house, keeping Hector away from the plaza and Miguel from searching for Genoveva again.
The teenager was quiet, slow to act, and depressed. He spent a good chunk of his time in his room, writing and drawing pictures in his journal, picking at his guitar and taking naps. He always came out to hear Julio read the paper and for dinner, but that was about it. Hector nearly glued himself to the tree outside in the courtyard and played his worries away out there, but even that didn't help.
The shop was exceptionally slow, many people thinking along lines as Imelda: stay home and stay close to family. Many were afraid of getting corrupted next, or getting caught in the middle of an attack. With the shop being so slow and everyone sardined into the house, the Rivera family got bored very quickly and were starting to get on each other's nerves. That became apparent when Oscar nearly flipped over the checkerboard and even Julio raised his voice. No one was prepared to hear Rosita swear like a sailor when she dropped a plate in the kitchen. Coco, Hector and Imelda tried to calm everyone down, but it was fruitless. They were anxious and irritable themselves. If Imelda was being honest, she desperately wanted to leave her property, even for a moment, but after losing Genoveva, she wasn't ready to lose anyone else.
No one ever said her name. It was taboo, now. They were worried about her, but also stressing over what the chief of police had threatened three weeks ago.
"Genoveva is hereby the most wanted criminal in the underworld for treason and conspiring with corruption! If anyone is found to have any contact with her, they will be arrest and charged with the same crimes!"
Once Miguel and Hector had come home, Imelda expected a full team of cops to raid the house for Genoveva, or even try to arrest the whole family and shut the shoe-shop down, but no one came. This, if it was even possible, set the family on a further edge and now they lived in constant fear of everything being torn apart. Which is exactly what Genoveva told them not to do.
Miguel now laid on his back in his bed, staring up at the ceiling of his bedroom, deep in though. Where was Genoveva? Did she fade? Had she been forgotten? Or had she been corrupted? And what about García or Lopez? What about the other corrupted monsters? What was going on? Was anyone safe?
He desperately wanted Genoveva. He wanted her to sit with him on his bed and simply talk. He tried to think of what Genoveva would say. Well, for starters she would never step foot into this house again until her name was cleared, Miguel knew that much, but what would she say to him if she could?
"Trapped in the house with nothing to do but stress? Yeah, that's keep corruption at bay. Try to have a little faith, muchacho."
Miguel smiled at the thought of Genoveva disapproving of Imelda's tactics of keeping the family safe. She never spoke against Imelda, but Genoveva was nearly forty years older than her and was usually the one to, at least, voice her opinions on such matters. He closed his eyes and tried to ease his mind by thinking of anything else but the problems at hand.
"You… you really mean it?"
"Genoveva, we want you to be a part of our family. You want to be a Rivera?"
"Are you kidding? I wouldn't want to be anything else!"
Miguel sat up and looked out his window. It was dark outside and the clock on his nightstand read 10:09. He decided that his choice of action would most likely go unnoticed by the adults, so he quietly stood up, left his bedroom, and walked into Genoveva's room. The door had been kept shut and when he opened it, a chill ran by his bones. He crept in and closed the door behind him as quietly as he could.
The bedroom was plainer than Miguel's. There was a bed, a nightstand, a dresser, and a small desk, but that was it. On the dresser, there were candles and photos of living family members Miguel had given to her. He can remember pointing out each person in the photos, most of which included a dead family member.
"That's Tia Gloria."
"Elena's daughter? Your father's sister?"
"Si! And that's Tio Berto, my father's other sibling."
"That's his wife, Tia Carmen."
"Is that Able as a baby?!"
"HA! It is! Last I heard, he got a scholarship to a nearby college because of futbol."
"Eso es genial! Wait, I know… your mama, Luisa?"
"I knew I'd get it right eventually! So many names to keep track of… and that's Rosa? Is that short for Rosita?"
"Ah, I think Carmen just liked the same, but when abuelita asked if that was why they chose the name, they didn't say otherwise."
Miguel looked at his parent's wedding photo. Franco and Elena stood by Enrique while Coco and Julio stood by Luisa. They all wore beautiful suits and dresses and looked very happy. Luisa was beaming in her new husband's hold and Miguel smiled at his parents. There were other photos, like Enrique, Gloria, and Berto as children with their mama and Tia Victoria, Miguel as a toddler with his parents, and one of Berto and Carmen with Abel and Rosa when they were younger. None of the candles were lit and the room was dark, but Miguel could make out each person.
He looked around the room for any sign of Genoveva's existence, just to remind him that she wasn't an imaginary friend. Genoveva didn't have anything when she moved in, only her dagger, and she had never had any personal belongings, even in life.
"Material objects are fleeting."
But now Miguel could see that every object he had ever given her was in this room, hidden. He moved to the desk and saw some shells he had given her one day at the river, a notebook that matched his own and a pencil. He looked on her bed and saw that it was still a tangled mess of blankets and sheets. She never could get into the habit of making her bed.
Miguel looked closer and recognised a blue-plaid flannel that he had let Genoveva borrow one night and he never got back.
"It's not my fault men's clothes are more comfortable than women's! You try sleeping in that scratchy stuff!"
He shook his head with a grin and restrained from stealing it back. The rest of the room was generic; Genoveva needed to break it in some more. Miguel didn't feel any better and decided to leave, but when he turned for the door, it was opened by Victoria, who stood in a nightgown, hair down, and she looked wide awake.
"Miguel!" She gasped and added in a more hushed voice. "What are you doing here?"
"Sorry, Tia Victoria!" Miguel hissed. "I was just… thinking."
Victoria gave him a stern and looked ready to give a scold like her sister. Miguel, however, was surprised when she sighed and relaxed. "Entiendo, mijo. I miss her, too. We all do."
Miguel relaxed and nodded. Victoria may be very stern, like Imelda and Elena, but she knew when it was okay to relax and show emotion. He was glad she was doing that tonight.
"I… I really want to go out there and find her." Miguel confessed. He instantly regretted it, afraid she would snitch on him, so he quickly added, "It's just, what if she's hurt and needs help? Or what if she's fine, but she can't tell us because of the cops?"
"We can't just let that imbécil frame her for something she didn't do. I saw her…"
"... she was trying to calm it down! And after everything she's done fo…"
"Miguel!" Victoria said in a loud voice. She listened for a moment to see if she woke anyone up, but then she closed the door and look his great-nephew dead in the eye. "I agree with you. We need to find her, and staying cooped up in this house won't solve anything. You need to go look for her."
Miguel stared at her. Was this a joke? Victoria looked serious and determined, her arms crossed as they usually were and her glasses flashing.
"But not alone, mijo. Go with Hector and Julio. If you work together, you're bound to find her. I'll cover for you boys, and I know Coco, Oscar and Felipe will, too."
"What about Tia Rosita?"
Victoria blew a strand of hair that was by her eyes in annoyance. "She could never keep a secret. Not even for something as simple as a birthday surprise."
Miguel chuckled and hugged his aunt. "Gracias, Tia Victoria."
The woman hugged him back and said, "De nada, Miguel. Bring her home."
Julio woke up to someone calling his name and tapping on his shoulder. His mouth was covered by his daughter's hand and it was a good thing, too, for he almost yelled in shock.
"Shh! Papa, Mama, we need your help."
Coco woke up too, and soon Julio was up and dressed. Coco snuck down the hall with him and met Miguel, Hector, and Victoria at the front door. Miguel had the fencing sword and it's belt over his shoulder, rather his guitar. Once outside, Coco hugged her father and kissed her husband goodbye.
"If you don't find her in a week, come home to let us know that you're okay." Victoria instructed. "We can't fool Mama Imelda forever, but we can stop her from hunting you three down and beating you with a shoe."
"Gracias, mija." Hector said gently.
Victoria hugged him and replied with, "Adios, abuelito. Por favor ven a casa."
Hector gave her a gentle squeeze. They had a special relationship that no one quite even understood, not even them, but he loved it and knew he wouldn't give it up for anything.
"We will. All of us."
Hector let go of his granddaughter and hoisted the strap of his guitar up a little higher on his shoulder. He turned and led the way down the street. Miguel followed and Julio walked behind them. He paused to wave goodbye to his girls, who returned the wave, and then Julio walked quickly to catch up with the other men.
"Coco, where is your papa?"
Coco glaced at Victoria, who merely sipped her coffee two-handed, and looked at her mother. If she wasn't a grown lady, Coco would have grounded her daughter for letting her drown like this.
"He went out with Julio and Miguel to the market, Mama." She said softly.
"The marketplace?!" Imelda yelled. "What part of 'stay home' did they not understand?!"
"The poor boy needed some fresh air, Mama." Coco soothed. "And they thought they'd get some treats for the family, maybe even some fresh mangos and bananas."
"Oo! That sounds nice! Maybe I'll make a special dessert tonight!" Rosita said gleefully, just as oblivious as Imelda.
The business-woman calmed down a little, but still looked upset. She pursed the edges of her mouth that used to be lips and sipped her coffee grumpily.
"Come on, hermana." Felipe said cooly.
"Why don't we play cards?" Oscar suggested.
"Si!" Victoria said and jumped up to get a deck from on top of the refrigerator. "Poker or Conquian?"
"Poker!" The twins voted. Their niece-in-law nodded and so it was decided.
Victoria shuffled the cards and started to dealt them. Imelda smiled and was happy to play, but added stiffly,
"Well, as long as they're home soon."
She didn't notice the uncomfortable looks on everyone's faces, except Rosita's, who happily sipped her coffee and nearly told what her cards were.
Once out and about, the real question was where to start looking. Miguel suggested the docks, so they arrived around one in the morning. As usual, it was a party and it took a lot of self-control not to accept a shot and stay awhile. No one had seen Genoveva, so they moved on. Julio suggested the sewers, so they spent most of the day combing the underground tunnels of the city. It was clean, since there was no human waste, but it was still cold, wet, and moldy. They checked as many tunnels as they could find and didn't find her, so they resurfaced at night.
The search sent them all over the city for five days. They traveled far from the city and wanted to check the jungle, but knew decided to save that for a last resort. They even speculated of going to Mexico City, but she didn't go on a joy-ride; she had been captured. Why would a corrupted monster take her there?
On the fifth day of searching, they walked to a rocky mountainside with cave-mouths and entrances to tunnels. The rumor had always been that the tunnels were full of dark alejibres who hated humans and refused to guide them to the Land of the Dead, so they loomed in the darkness and waited for wandering spirits to destroy.
Julio shook his head when Hector teased his son-in-law and great-great-grandson and told them the legend.
"There's no such thing as dark alejibre." Julio said calmly to reassure himself.
"There's such thing as corrupted alejibre, isn't there?" Miguel asked and started for the entrance of the tunnel. "Vamonos."
"Whoa, Miguel." Julio said and stepped in front of him. "Let's think about this for a moment; those tunnels are known for being nothing more than an impossible maze. We need a strategy."
"Your Papa Julio is right." Hector said with a smile. "We should leave behind a trail of breadcrumbs."
Julio rolled his eyes and Miguel walked past him. "Siento, but if that's where Genoveva is, then that's where we're going."
Hector walked over to a dead tree and broke off a branch. He then pick up two rocks and cleashed them together over the wood. Soon he had a little torch and he broke of another branch and lit the tip of it on fire and rejoined the group and gave it to Julio.
"Let's at least make sure we can see."
The two older them followed Miguel, who paused and looked around the cave to give them time to catch up. It was incredibly interesting to be inside of a cave, seeing all the walls curved and rocky like that. It was amazing that nature could make that. The three men walked on, guilded by the short line of vision they had thanks to Hector's fire, and prayed they wouldn't get lost.
At first, it looked straight, but then it divided into four tunnels. They left one torch at the beginning of one tunnel and decided to try it first. They walked for about thirty minutes until they hit a dead end. They walked back, found the torch, and kept it there to remind them that they already tried it. They tried the second tunnel, only to find a deep drop about ten minutes away from the entrance. The ditch glistened with rubies and jewels, but the gap was too big to jump across and only darkness waited on the other side, so they turned back.
They moved the spare torch to the second mouth and tried the third tunnel. The other two did have turns, but this one went left, right, up, down, and it was getting a little dizzy. Hector had to shut his eyes and shake his skull after a while and Julio suggested trying another tunnel. Miguel reluctantly agreed and so they tried the forth one.
The fourth one was straighter than the other ones. It went on, but it passed what looked like the entrance of an underground church and courtyard. The ceiling was very high and cracked in the crystal-like rock seeped in sunlight, making the cobblestone of the old church shine. Tempted to go in, they walked on to try to find something new, knowing they'd go back to it.
The tunnel got bigger and bigger as they went, the wall climbing higher since the old cathedral. They walked for a long time, nearly an hour, until the tunnel opened enormously and they saw a huge underground waterfall that poured into a small river! The river ran under some rocks and out of sight, but the little cavern was at least fifty stories tall and sparkled with crystals and jewels. If anyone had a guess ,it looked like they were inside the mountain. Before anyone could say a word of awe, a loud growl echoed and bounced off the walls, making the men's skulls ring.
The search party looked up and on the steps of rocks and ledges, circling the waterfall, corrupted creatures hid and walked about. The huge dragon that looked Genoveva leaped down and approached the Riviera men. Hector put a protective arm in front of Miguel and Julio lifted two fists, ready to fight. Creeping slowly, other corrupted creatures trapped the family, some were tall and stood on two legs, some were on all fours. Some were spiky, some looked like mist. All were different.
Miguel drew his sword and pointed it forward, ready to stab anything if needed. He remembered all that Genoveva had taught him and knew this was his chance to prove that he could fight. That he could be a man. The dragon's yellow eyes flashed in anger when it saw Miguel bring out his weapon and he gave a snarl. He looked ready to pounce. Miguel was ready for it.
The monsters looked up at one mouth about ten feet up the wall and saw a hooded figure standing. It leaped down and landed on the flap of the dragon's tail, who helped the newcomer gratefully. The dragon almost seemed to smile. It looked back on it's prey and waited for the all-clear to attack. The one who yelled the command did not seem corrupted, but it was hard to tell; he or she wore a rugged brown cloak that covered it's face and shoulders and back, but it's legs were a human skeleton's. Miguel could see it's ribs, but two of the bottom-right ones were missing.
He let the sword slip from his bony fingers in shock and it clanged against the stone. "Veva?"
She stepped closer and lifted her hood. Her crop-top and blue-jean shorts were dirty and nearly in shreds, her hair was a little messy, but she looked fine. Azul, the butterfly-spirit, landed on her shoulder. The monsters were protective, but were calm at her raised hand. Did she find a way to control them? She took a step closer to her family and blinked. She seemed to be doing some quick thinking.
"Miguel? Papa Hector? Papa Julio?"
"Genoveva!" Hector called gleefully and started to run towards her.
Before he could reach her, however, the dragon swung his tail in front of Genoveva and shielded her, bringing her close and growling. Hector froze and lifted his hands in surrender.
"Espiga, abajo!" Genoveva commanded and the dragon relaxed slightly, but did not let his guard down.
Miguel pocketed his sword and took a step towards her. "You named that thing?!"
"That thing saved my afterlife, Miguel." Genoveva said firmly and stepped over Espiga's tail. "A better question is, what are you three doing here?"
"We've been looking all over for you!" Julio answered. "Everyone's worried sick!"
"We thought you were hurt or kept as prisoner, or worse!" Hector explained. "We've come to bring you home."
Genoveva looked around at the group of corrupted creatures and then back at the men. "Look, I'm sure you are all sore; let's go sit somewhere and talk."
She walked past them and out the way they came. The monsters cleared a path for her and the Rivera men quickly followed. She walked down the tunnel without a single word and led them back to the old cathedral. She opened a door for them and led them inside. Azul flew up and sat on a pillar, close to the sunlight.
It was like many churches, except it had a water fountain with a statue of Jesus Christ sitting on his knees and water leaked from his closed eyes. By the fountain, there was a firepit and two rocks. Genoveva struck them, much like how Hector lit the torches, and she lit the fireplace. She picked up some wooden cups and gave them out.
"Help yourself to some clean water."
Genoveva let cold water run down into her cup and then sipped it. The boys did so as well and were pleased by the refreshing drink.
"Now that we've got that out of the way…" Hector said and put his wooden cup down at the rim of the fountain's bowl. He brought Genoveva into a hug. "I'm so glad you're okay, mija."
"Lo siento, lo siento mucho." Genoveva said into his vest, holding him back tightly.
"Don't worry about it, Veva." Miguel said and joined their hug.
Julio did as well. After a moment of silence, they let go and sat around the campfire. Miguel, Hector and Julio told Genoveva how they found her and how Victoria, Coco, Oscar and Felipe were covering for them, but by now there cover had most likely been blown; they tried not to think about it.
"So, how did you survive?" Miguel asked his best-friend. "I thought he might have…"
"Oh, Espiga never meant to hurt me." Genoveva said plainly. "He knew that I was an outlaw, just like him, and that we could help each other. That's why I didn't come home. That, and the fact that if I did I would be arrested. No doubt the police are watching the house carefully."
"That'd explain the lack of officers." Miguel muttered.
"We thought they'd barge in and search the place, or try to arrest us." Julio said.
Genoveva nodded. "Perhaps, if the Rivera family wasn't so well liked. The last thing García needs right now is to piss the public off even more. Arresting all of you would be the last straw and would send García to the unemployment line."
"So, you've been helping those corrupted monsters?" Hector asked.
"Trying to, anyways." Genoveva said and stood up.
She opened a door to what looked like must have been a classroom at one point, but the chalkboard now sported drawings and notes and ideas, all randomly placed and connected with arrows and lines, all of it drawn by chalk.
"I thought if I drew out what was in my head it'd help untangle the mess," Genoveva explained. "But all it did was confuse me even more." She placed a hand tenderly on a doodle of a corrupted monster and said, "I've done everything I can think of, but I can't find a cure or a cause. I think I've gotten through to them, but their still not… there, in the mind."
Miguel entered the room while Julio and Hector stood at the doorway. Genoveva's head was low and she looked defeated, her hair over her eyes and her hand curling into a fist.
"I've been searching for an answer for years, getting closer and closer. Everytime I think I get an idea or have found a solution, it slips away!" She growled and punched the chalkboard. She backed into the right wall and slid down to hug her knees. "It's maddening!"
Azul zoomed down into the room and landed on her shoulder again. She lifted a bony finger to the butterfly and stroked her gently.
"You said you think you've gotten through to them." Miguel recalled. "How?"
"I just talked to them." Genoveva answered with a shrug, but did not look uo at him. "I… I think it's a nice change to have someone actually try, rather than scream and run away."
Miguel went up to the board and read it. At a first glance, it did seem to be nonsense, but when he slowed down and read carefully, he could understand the complex web of thoughts. He placed a finger on one line and followed it, passing drawings and notes of how each corrupted monster reacted to a tactic. Some were quick to sit and listen to Genoveva as she held a one-sided conversation, while some weren't interested. There was a hint here and there on how to differ humans and alejibres, and carefully Miguel tried to see through Genoveva's eyes.
"Corrupting effects the soul, right?" Miguel asked.
He turned to her. "Well, have you tried focusing on that instead of the mind?"
"They're the same thing in death." Genoveva muttered.
"I mean, focusing on the soul itself." Miguel quickly elaborated. "You once said that corruption effects the only thing we have left: the soul. What if… is there some way to break through it and talk to them?"
Genoveva shrugged. "I think sometimes they understand when I talked to them, but they're slow. If only I could…" She stopped and her eyes looked ready to fly out of her skull. She held herself even tighter and her mouth opened and closed, but no words came out.
"I could… I could… reach in and… Dios mio."
"Veva?" Miguel tried again and took a step towards her.
Genoveva stood up surprisingly quickly and rushed to the board and started to write and doodle things. Azul flew off to do his own thing. Genoveva circled some notes and her eyes were wide and flashing with excitement. Miguel could see that she had gone through a breakthrough.
"Tell me, mariachi," Genoveva asked and turned to Miguel, her bones quivering with adrenaline. "What do all the corrupted have in common?"
Miguel thought for a moment. He looked at the chalkboard and tried to find a line of thought to follow. "Em… they all lost their thoughts?"
"No, in appearance!" She said quickly, waiting for Miguel to catch on.
"Oh, um…" Miguel thought back to all the monsters he had seen by the waterfall. They came in so many different shapes and sizes, all different, except… except… "They're all… black?"
"SI!" Genoveva yelled and went back to the board. "It's not just a metaphor or a simple change in color! Ever heard the phrase 'wool over the eyes'? What if that applies here?! What if corruption is…"
"The black stuff!" Miguel gasped, catching on. He grabbed some chalk and started to write, too. "It would cover them, making it hard to see and hear clearly, clouding the mind…"
"... And if we could somehow take it away…"
"Or in this case 'pull off the wool'..."
"...THEN THEY'D BE FREE!" They both yelled at the same time and yelled out loud gritos that made Hector and Julio laugh.
"This theory seems valid, niños," Julio said kindly. "But how would you take corruption away?"
"Si, you can't literally grab it and pull it off, can you?" Hector asked.
Genoveva shook her head. "No, you're right. I've touched it before and even though it looked like mist, it feels like skin. We won't be able to do it physically, but there might be another way."
She turned quickly and walked past Hulio and Hector. The men followed her out of the church and towards the waterfall again. When inside the underground cavern, Espiga landed in front of Genoveva and gave a terrible roar that made the whole cave quake. Many other corrupted creatures had left or growled along with Espiga. But Genoveva was not afraid.
"It's okay, Espiga." She said calmly and clearly. "It's me. Genoveva."
The dragon did not relax, but seemed to be listening to her. That was enough, for now.
"I know you don't remember me, but you will." Genoveva explained and took a step closer.
Espiga growled and the darkness on his back spiked higher, like a cat's fur, but Genoveva did not back down.
"What happened to you wasn't fair, but life isn't fair; whoever said death was?" Genoveva asked and took one more step towards Espiga. "I want to help you. I want to help you overcome with and remember. I know it's bad enough no one remembers you, but that doesn't mean you should forget, too. You deserve that much."
All while Genoveva spoke, she was calm and kind to him. Espiga listened carefully to her to try to understand, and even if he didn't understand every word, he gathered her meaning and her purpose. He relaxed and slowly lowered his head so they were leveled.
"Let me help you. Por vavor."
At that moment, Espiga realised how tired he was. He was tired and came to face with just how much hope he had lost He closed his yellow-glowing eyes and gave himself up to Genoveva. She placed a hand tenderly on his forehead and closed her eyes as well focusing. The Rivera men watched carefully. Miguel had his sword out and Hector had his torch ready to attack if needed, but there wouldn't be a need for such actions.
She clenched her hand into a fist, but Miguel gasped to see the black material crawl into her hands, like cloth. Genoveva grabbed Espiga's chin and clenched again, grabbing more of the corruption. Her eyes still shut, she pulled with all her might and the darkness seeped off of the dragon, like smoke, and revealed a red and yellow dragon, like fire. Genoveva threw the infection to her right and it disappeared, like the forgotten, but with white light, like stars. Genoveva opened her eyes to find Espiga doing the same, but his eyes weren't glowing anymore; they were hazel and sparkling with relief and joy.
"Espiga." Genoveva whispered.
The alejibre purred and rubbed his head against Genoveva's side. She scratched his head an cooed softly to him.
"It's okay, it's alright now. You're back. And here to stay."
Imelda passed the living room, stomping so hard her boots clikced furiously on the floor and her teeth clenched like an angry cat. Her brothers were smart and hid up in their bedroom, but her daughter and granddaughter sat on the couch, one knitting and keeping an eye on her mother, while the youngest of the three women read her book quietly, cool headed and unafraid.
Rosita emerged from the kitchen unsure if it was safe to call out for dinner, but she hated to see food get cold.
"Dinner, familia." She said in a quirt, cherry voice, to try to cut through the thick air.
"Eat without me!" Imelda snapped and headed for the door. "I'm going out!"
"Mama, please." Coco said as she p0ut down her knitting and stood up. "They'll be home soon, I promise."
"Coco, what good are your promises?" Imelda scolded. "You lied to me!"
Coco looked down at her hands in shame and said, "I… I apologise for that." She could not hide the tiny grin on her skull.
"Oh, you ARE your father's daughter!" Imelda yelled, throwing her hands in the air. "Of all the lying, backstabbing…"
"Mama Imelda, please." Victoria said coldly as she snapped her book shut. "They are grown men; they can take care of themselves. Besides, don't you want Genoveva home?"
Imelda looked shocked and hurt by the question and her granddaughter's retaliation, and shouted, "Of course I do, but not at the expense of half of our family! It's dangerous out there! For all we know, they could have been corrupted, or shattered on the street, or… or WHO KNOWS WHAT!"
Imelda opened the door to find Hector, Julio, and Miguel standing there; Julio looked like he was just about to open the door himself. Imelda quickly slipped off her boot and Julio and Miguel ran for it, leaving poor Hector at her mercy.
A/N: Hey guys! So, yeah. I loved your theories, and honestly they could've worked, but I have a special message and reason for corruption being real and I can't WAIT for you all to read the ending! And FYI, Espiga is Spanish for Spike. ^^ I hope you all liked this chapter, and thank you so so so much for reading! Be sure to leave a comment and tell me what you think!