Sartana usually didn’t care if people screamed when people saw her making her way downtown with her child. People would panic and run thinking La Catrina herself was coming for their souls - and she wouldn’t take them out of those wrong misconceptions. It was safer, for Machete and for herself.
However, that didn’t stop Machete from noticing things from the world around them. He tugged at her sleeve, and when she looked down, Sartana’s eyes went wide. These flowers… She looked up to him, and noticed the unspoken inquiry in his eyes. He wanted to know what flowers were these.
“These flowers are carnations. They’re magical… because they’re connected to me.” She smiled at him, then picked up one and placed it in his hands.
“Remember always, mi vida. These flowers will be always red and vibrant as long as I live. If you ever see these flowers turn to dust, you might be in danger, and me, too. If that ever happens… I want you to run. Run, live, and don’t worry for me. Will you do that, mi niño?”
Machete looked at the flower in confusion. Then he looked at his mom. His eyes went glassy, and in no time he was clinging to her leg, crying softly and whispering “Don’t go…”. It was heartbreaking to see.
“Oh!” Sartana gasped and knelt to hug him. “I’m… I’m sorry, mi amor. I didn’t want to scare you. Lo siento… lo siento mucho.” She picked him up into her arms and held him close. “Mamá is not going anywhere. Promise.”
She looked up to the sky.
At least, for now…
“Let's see what booty we got for the day… Money, money, money, more money…”
Sartana was counting the bags she had managed to steal with her son’s help. However, the next object the teenager had handed her wasn’t a money bag. It was a photo. A photo of a man she’d rather forget. It seemed pretty recent, too, as it showed how Jorge was training Rodolfo in his ways of evil. Not sucessfully, apparently.
But his image still managed to hurt her after all this time.
Sartana flinched and put it back on the table. “Where… where did you get this?”
Machete didn’t meet her gaze at first. After a moment of awkward silence, he took out a Polaroid camera and placed it on the table.
No words were needed.
Sartana could see the guilt eating up at him. But she understood, she understood this too well. The goddess got up and wrapped her arms around her son.
“I’m sorry, Machi… I really tried. I really wanted him to stay with us. We could have been a family, but…” She cupped lovingly his cheek. “He didn’t want to. But don’t worry… I didn’t give up yet.” She smiled. “I’ll force him to acknowledge us. He can’t ignore us forever, right?”
A quiet nod, and the little smile on his face was everything she needed. Sartana smiled as well and squeezed his hands with her own.
“Let’s plot the robbery of tomorrow. I’m sure it will be so much fun!”
“No! You can’t go to him in the middle of the night and bang on his door, Machete! It just doesn’t work that way!”
If there was one thing Sartana hated from being a mother, it was scolding her son. Why did he have to go to the Rivera household at those hours? Did he really think his father would listen if he showed up with nothing but himself?
“You even lost an eye over this! What would have happened if I couldn’t come to stop them?! You could have been killed… again…!!” She was sobbing in her hands, and Machete couldn’t take it any longer.
“ENOUGH!!!” He banged on the table with such strength, that the table crumbled to pieces. When he saw what he had done, Machete gasped and covered his mouth. “Lo… lo siento…” He turned around and hugged himself, embarrassed. His skull still ached horribly on his cracked side.
Sartana couldn’t cry anymore. She bit her bottom lip. If they fought each other, who else could he turn to? They only had each other in this cold, dark world. Before she could stop herself, their clawed hands were interlaced. She kissed gently his knuckles.
“I’m sorry too, mijo. This was one bad night… but all bad things pass. Pain is temporary.” She reached to caress gently his cheek, and Machete leaned into her touch. “Let’s go visit Dr. Chipotle. Maybe we can trade some money bags for a cure for your eye…”
He nodded weakly. His mom was right. She always was.
Sartana couldn’t stop crying that night. She had been so, SO close to fulfill her promise to Machete. She almost had managed to marry Jorge. But all ended in that ‘almost’, and in the fact her bed was cold and empty - all because, again, Jorge put other people first. She should have been able to hold this on her own, she was bitter and angry enough to do so… but she couldn’t. Tears pooled in her eyes instead, as she told everything to her son via phone.
“Alright. I’m on my way.”
The call ended there, but Machete never had been a man of many words. Something understandable, given his metallic jaw. But the fact he uttered those words to comfort her meant the world for Sartana. It reminded her she was not alone - and most importantly, her family was coming to see her. Machete. Camila. Django. All of them were coming.
Maybe they could work together to make Hell of the Riveras’ lives. Or maybe not. She was starting to feel really tired of this game, and too old to keep going. But Machete was coming. Her family was on her way.
That fact alone put her heart at ease. At least, just a little.