It was funny. The man who had physically assaulted me on landing in Tortuga was currently best friends with the guy who had defended me. Maybe "best friends" was a little strong, but the relationship between Vasquez and Aldrin was definitely heading that way.
I know, right?
This morning, though, something comically weird happened.
I was walking around the fort when I heard wild yelling from somewhere on the ground. I was curious (because I knew it was Vasquez yelling and was hoping that Aldrin was the person he was yelling at) so I climbed down to see what all the fuss was about.
“Now!” Vasquez screamed and then returned his voice to a neutral tone, “what am I going to do with you? You useless fuck!”
The guy he was screaming at (unfortunately, just a regular guard) shrank back, his hands shielding his face as he did so.
“You had one job! One job! To stand in one fucking place and watch one fucking supply shed! True or not?” Vasquez went quiet.
The guy whimpered.
“True! Or! Not!”
“If you can't stand and stare at a fucking shed for five fucking hours, then tell me, amigo - what can you do?” Vasquez jerked his head up, as if expecting an answer.
How do you even answer a question like that? The guard was wetting himself. Literally.
“Eh! Why are you crying!” Vasquez barked, “What do I look like, the ugly cow that nursed you into this snivelling piece of shit? Shut the fuck up! Stop fucking crying, you-”
I'd had just about enough.
“Good grief, Estaban!” I said, “The man's crying, for God's sake, leave him alone!”
He whipped around in a flash and was glaring at me, “Shouldn't you be getting your beauty sleep, chicca?”
What did he call me?!
I followed my better judgement, took a deep breath and asked him, “Why are you yelling at him?”
Vasquez sighed, “This shit-bucket here fell asleep last night. And when he woke up - all our gunpowder,” he clicked his tongue and snapped his fingers, “gone.”
“And why is yelling at him going to help?”
“Ah, you like cutting things short. Professional, I like it,” Vasquez pulled out a gun and shot the man before I could even blink. The man dropped dead in a heap, “What a waste of a bullet,” he tutted.
I stared at him wide-eyed. Why did anyone stick with him? And why would Midnight come anywhere near him? Maybe that's why we'd never heard of an Estaban Vasquez from her - this man was certifiably insane.
I didn't say anything for a while and Vasquez filled the air with idle chatter that I just couldn't hear. Don't get me wrong, I'd killed my fair share of people - but never with such... ease. The way Vasquez had just ended that man's life - it seemed almost involuntary.
Aldrin came down after a while and said, “What happened? I heard a gunshot.”
“Just sorting out some old mess,” Vasquez said, “But I have a job for you and your... cousin, if your up to the job, hermano.”
“Sure,” Aldrin said, “What would you have us do?”
“Cortés has successfully stolen all of our gunpowder,” Vasquez said, “Find our supplies or at least bring back one of his men so we can question him. And then we can bury him neck-deep in the sand and put a jar of spiders over his head.”
“That's an... interesting idea,” Aldrin said, “We'll get onto the job, right away.”
Vasquez nodded, and went back into the fort.
Aldrin knelt down and looked at the tracks left in the ground. They'd been covered, but in something of a hurry.
“You coming?” he said, looking at me for the first time this morning. He cocked his head to a side, “Everything alright? I know you're usually pasty and pale, Bex - but you look like you've seen a ghost.”
I considered the question, “Aldrin, doesn't Vasquez seem a little... off to you?”
“Well, doy. He's not mentally...” Aldrin tapped his head, “You know.”
“How do you think your mum knew him?”
“You know Mum. She knows every nut-case with a weapon from here to Timbuktu.”
“That's a very lovely impression you have of your mother,” I commented.
“They went this way, come on,” Aldrin said, getting up and leading us into the jungle.
“You know what my guess is?” I said, “I bet she slept with him - and that's what drove him crazy.”
“Really? Really, Bex?”
“Well, she is married to your dad.”
“And what's that supposed to mean?”
“Face it, Aldrin. Your parents are weird. And Midnight would so sleep with Vasquez.”
“Please, for the love of... whatever you love, stop it. I do not want to picture my mother...” he growled, “Just, don't.”
“Fine. How about you ask Vasquez after this? If I'm not right, I'll kiss Patrick. If I am, you'll... meet up with Amethyst Brindley again when we get back.”
“I'm not betting.”
“Why not? Afraid I'm right?”
“I am not meeting with the woman I knocked-up because I lost a bet. I just won't do it.”
“It was as much her mistake as it was yours, Aldrin.”
“Bex... Don't try to help.”
We travelled for a while. The weather was suffocating, like the heat just hung trapped in the air. As a vampire, I didn't sweat, so it was even more suffocating. By noon, I couldn't help but hang my tongue out of my mouth. I was so thirsty, it was insane. I swiftly killed a scurrying rodent and sucked the vital juices from its body. It was horrible, the equivalent of eating sprouts for a human being. I needed to find bigger prey with more of a meaty diet.
Aldrin saw the look I was giving him.
“Don't even think about it,” he said, with narrowed eyes.
“I can't help it,” I said, my voice sounding so parched, “I'm so thirsty.”
Aldrin's sniffed the air, his snout picking up a scent, “There's a deer in that direction. Should satisfy you, for the moment.”
I wrinkled my nose, “But it's deer.”
“Look, when we find some fat, juicy Spaniards you can suck them dry, alright?” he paused, “I'm sorry. That wasn't intended. But a deer will have to do for now.”
“You don't understand, Aldrin.”
So I went and drained the deer.
We eventually found Spaniards and the gunpowder, but that's just boring. They hadn't expected an ambush and an ambush was all they got. We dragged one man back (Aldrin had kept his word and let me feed on the five others. He insisted that I don't let them turn, though).
What was interested was Vasquez's reaction when we got back. It's so bad, so bad how funny it is two watch that man scream and yell and curse at another man who was probably shitting his pants. I never imagined Spanish to be a... shouty language. Anyway, Aldrin went to talk to Vasquez after his one-sided screaming-match was over and they talked about something. I didn't pay attention to it. I'd had enough of Vasquez for one day.