A Message from the King

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From the end of her driveway, all Maria could see was two blurry figures slowly getting smaller. The shorter one, Tony, was swaying back and forth as he slowed his pace to match his brother’s. The taller figure was dragging his feet, and his head hung almost lifelessly as they made their way back home. The taller figure’s name was Rico.

Maria began shivering as she realized she was standing in the snow without a coat. She wiped her tear-filled eyes and folded her arms across her chest in an attempt to keep warm. Before heading back inside, she took one last glimpse at the dark figures fading into the snowy night.

As Tony and Rico pushed their way though the blizzard, Rico couldn’t help but think about what had happened just three hours earlier. Rico had been walking alone on his way to the drugstore. While cutting through an alleyway to make his trip shorter, someone came up behind him and pushed him against a wall. Rico immediately thought that wearing his black and yellow Latin King’s jacket had been a bad idea. As the man turned Rico around, Rico noticed the man harassing him was wearing the same jacket as on his own back.

“Are you Rico Rodriguez?” The man asked in a husky voice with a strong Hispanic accent. He was about 6’1, strongly build with dark brown hair that was combed over like a middle school boy’s.

“Who’s asking?” Rico replied trying not to sound afraid. The man shoved Rico once again up against the wall, and Rico let out a groan. “Yes, yes, I’m Rico Rodriguez,” Rico stammered, hoping that this would keep the man’s anger down.

The man looked Rico up and down one more time before releasing him and taking a step back. He took a breath and relaxed for a brief moment before speaking again. “I have been instructed to send you a message from the King,” the man began. “My name is Andre. The King asked me to warn you about a so called ‘Maria’,” Andre said.
Rico’s heart dropped. “Was something wrong with her?” Rico thought. Memories of the times they had spent together flashed through his mind as he waited for Andre to continue.
“The counsel has advised me to warn you that Maria is involved with the Bloods,” Andre continued with a look of disgust on his face.
A wave of discomfort and relief came over Rico. “What am I to do now?” he thought. He couldn’t just break up with his high school love over something like this...could he? He stared blankly at Andre and waited for him to continue.
“So it basically comes down to you ending your relationship with the Bloods or ending your time in this world,” Andre scoffed. And with one last look, Andre decided he had said enough and started off in the opposite direction.
Rico just stood there for a few moments contemplating where to go from here. He stood for a second longer and then crumpled to the ground of the alleyway. He knew what he had to do, but how on earth could he do it without breaking her heart?
After lying in the dirt, Rico stood, brushed his jacket off and started off towards town. He met up with his brother Tony, all the while thinking of an easy way to break it off with Maria. Tony and Rico walked in silence for about an hour, just wandering the streets.
“Will you come with me so I can do something?” Rico asked Tony.
“Yeah, what’s up?” Tony replied, looked straight into his eyes and knew something was wrong.
“I just need a shoulder for something the King has told me to do,” Rico replied, looking down at the pavement.
“Sure thing bro,” Tony replied. “Lead the way.” The boys walked in silence as they headed towards Maria’s house. Tony thought to himself why Rico would need a shoulder for anything involving Maria. Rico and Maria were meant to be. They did everything imaginable together and were truly in love, or as in love as you can be as a teenager. Tony kept on thinking as to why his big brother would need help from him for anything. He smiled to himself and held his high as they walked on.

As they neared Maria’s house, Rico told Tony to wait outside. Rico knocked on the door, and went inside promptly when Maria pulled it open. Tony sat on the curb for what seemed to be hours. When Rico finally emerged, his head was hanging and Maria was at his heels. They weren’t speaking at first as they both scuffed their way down the path to the driveway. Rico turned suddenly towards Maria and held her tight as the snow began to fall harder. When their embrace ended, they looked into each other's eyes, and they both knew the end had come. Rico turned his head and nodded towards Tony. Rico looked up at Maria one last time before turning and meeting Tony at the sidewalk. Together, they headed silently down the street in the direction they’d come.

And there Maria stood, at the end of her driveway, staring off at the life she had once known; however, that life that had come to an end and everything was different now. Snow was falling steadily as Maria headed back inside, thinking to herself how she had not seen this coming and would have rid herself of the Bloods title in a second if she could have. That same everlasting title that would haunt both of them for the rest of their lives.





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