El Dia De Los Muertos



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Scene Title El Dia De Los Muertos
Synopsis Returning to South America haunts Peter Petrelli with the ghosts of lives since past.
Date November 25, 2009

El-Palenque, Argentina

It takes five steady kicks to finally break in the door.

Bright moonlight burns white against the glum and dusty gray interior of an old, abandoned building. One side of a pair of double doors swings open hard from the force, smashing into the interior and kicking up a cloud of debris and flakes of peeling paint from the door's exterior. Standing as little more than a black silhouette in the doorway, Peter Petrelli's blue eyes almost seem luminescent in the dark.

Ever since arriving in El-Palenque, the old and rotting missionary set out on the south hill of the town has stood out to him, itched and squirmed in the back of his mind the way deja-vu does. As he finally makes his way inside of the structure, his heart races in his chest for reasons he can't explain. Thin rays of pale silvery moonlight lance down from holes in the ceiling and through spaces between the boards that cover up the chapel windows.

Beyond a span of crooked pews, rises a dusty and old icon of Christ on the cross, arms spread and head bowed, paint long since faded from his divine figure. A dark brown-black stain on the otherwise gray wood of the floor at the foot of the statue draws Peter's attention, and also causes his stomach to turn.

He's silent, motionless, looking at the faded blood stain with an uneasiness that wracks his conscience and body. Here under the pale shafts of moonlight that pierce the gray darkness of this chapel, Peter can hear the last sermon ever served in this place…

…like it was just yesterday.

El-Palenque Argentina

November 1, 1979

"A ellos les fue revelado que, no para Sí mismos sino para vosotros, administraban las cosas que ahora os han sido anunciadas por los que os han predicado el evangelio por el Espíritu Santo enviado del cielo; cosas que hasta los ángeles anhelan contemplar…" The proud voice of a weathered old man standing at the head of the chapel reaches the back rows without difficulty. "Por eso, con la mente preparada para actuar y siendo sobrios, poned vuestra esperanza completamente en la gracia que os es Traída en la Revelación de Jesucristo."

A handful of parishioners from around El-Palenque have come under the warm summer sun to listen to an afternoon service on this Sunday. While the old priest has recognized the faces of locals, it is the two gentlemen seated in the furthest back pews that bring a smile to his face, newcomers, and from the looks of it a father and his son.

Far from the truth, however, that the old man's belief is. The old man with salt and pepper colored hair seated in the back of the church is no one's father. The sunlight coming in through the windows casts a sharp contrast of light and dark over the craggy features of Richard Santiago's face, his pale blue eyes leveled tiredly at the priest.

At his side, a young and slim man sits with an unlit cigarette pinched between his lips, eyes lidded droopily from nearly passing out from exhaustion during the sermon. "You should have taken off your hat in a church…" Comes the grumbling voice of Santiago as he looks to the black beret worn by the young man. "I thought I taught you better manners, Ricardo."

"Rico." The young man states grumpily, arms crossed and cigarette bobbing up and down between his lips, only to find it snatched away by gloved hands, a look of disgruntled consternation crossing his face as he looks up to Santiago.

"…and what did I tell you about smoking these?" One dark brow rises on the old man's forehead. "You shouldn't smoke." The cigarette is snapped it half between two fingers and thrown to the floor. Then, as his blue eyes lift up to focus on the sound of movement, he realizes the sermon has come to an end in the interim, and the townsfolk of El-Palenque are making their way out of the chapel.

"What now?" Rico asks with a quirk of his head to the side. "Why'd you take me to church, is this about that time with the rifle? I didn't see you there, it was an accident, I thought you were— "

"Rico." Santiago murmurs with one hand raised, "all in due time, my boy." Patting a gloved hand on the teen's shoulder, Santiago slowly rises from his seat and moves out from the pews to meet the approaching priest halfway.

"Father," Santiago notes in a rough but welcoming tone of voice, "that was a very wonderful sermon you gave today." Blue eyes search the man silently, even as Rico rises up from his pew and straightens the large unbuttoned collar of his shirt. "Richard Santiago…" he introduces himself humbly, offering out a gloved hand.

A grandfatherly smile comes from the pastor, taking the gloved hand with a surprisingly firm shake for such an old man. "Father Pierre Soldano, and it's a pleasure…" Looking over Santiago's shoulder, Soldano tilts his head to the side and considers the young man. "Is that your son?"

The question seems to take both Santiago and Rico by surprise, and the pair are silent for a moment, before Santiago's eyes close and his head shakes, a faint smile spread on his lips. "Not exactly, but I am his guardian. His father was a good friend of mine, and after he passed away I promised to look after young Ricardo here and his little sister." Blue eyes open, and Santiago steps aside, motioning to Rico.

"Actually, that brings me to why we're here, Father." Santiago looks from Rico to the priest. "Ricardo suffers from a blood disease, degenerative…" The old priest's eyes hood slightly at the sentiment. "None of the doctors here have the necessary tools to help him, and getting to the States is simply out of the question."

Ricardo looks down at his feet, wringing his hands together as Santiago continues. "I'd heard stories, all the way down in Rio, about a miracle working doctor here in this town." Those tired blue eyes track to Soldano's, and Richard Santiago levels his burdened stare at the old man. "Are you the miracle worker of El-Palenque?"

Soldano's first response isn't verbal, but rather a worried look beyond the pair asking after him and towards the chapel's doors. Then, seeing the last of the parishioners having departed, he slowly nods his head. "Yes, yes… I had thought people had given up on seeking me out. The miracles, they do not come as easy to me in my old age as they once did, signor." A look is offered to Santiago, then over to Rico.

"But I do not turn away those in need, regardless of my self." Words that in a way haunt Santiago's ghost, reminding him of days lost in the winters of Russia finding God and losing faith. "Come, sit, I will see what the Lord can do for you."

Rico's anxious expression comes with a tilt of his head to one side and a suspicious stare to Santiago, followed by a reluctant nod as he moves to settle down on one of the nearby pews. "I'm not much of a religious man, padre." Rico's tone is clipped and terse, fingers anxiously reaching for another cigarette that he keeps in the pack in his breast pocket, but a stern look from Santiago arrests the motion.

"God need not you to believe in him, for him to believe in you." Soldano says quietly as he approaches Rico's side. Giving them distance, Santiago watches in silence, arms folded and brows furrowed, as if he were studying the very art of faith like some strange and alien construct. The priest first lays a hand on Rico's shoulder, then his cheek.

"I…" Brows crease, his head cants to the side, "I can feel it." There's a troubled look on the old man's face. "You… Your blood is twisted, thin and knife-like, it slips from you too easily…" His head tilts back, eyes turning a milky white coloration. In that moment, Santiago's breath hitches in the back of his throat.

Rico, for all his worth, seems stunned by the moment. His back straightens, eyes twitch and then roll back into his head. "Heavenly Father… I know your design for this young man, imperfect as we all are, and through the gift you have bestowed upon me, I ask of you to reconsider." The words are spoken hushed, reverently. All the while, Santiago's stare becomes piercing, a look of bristling irritation crossing his weathered face.

Rico's arms tense, fingers digging into the palms of his hands as he begins to tremble. The skin around where Soldano has touched his cheek begins to redden feverishly, sweat beading on his forehead as a rasping sound erupts from the back of his throat. "Take away his pain, oh Lord… heal this boy so that he may carry out your will."

The moment the priest's hand comes away from Rico's face, the sweating stops, but the bright red palm-print looks almost like the aftermath of a slap across the cheek. Eyes watering and coming into focus, Rico looks up at the priest with a confused expression. Soldano's answer is merely a wordless nod, but that isn't enough for Santiago.

"How do you feel?" Comes the immediate response from the old man, and Rico looks up to Santiago with a stunned expression. The smile is response enough, and Santiago allows him to recollect himself, turning to focus on the old priest, the miracle-worker of El-Palenque. "Father, we should give you what you deserve for this service… for showing us this gift you have."

Soldano misunderstands, and what else could he make of it? There's a shake of his head, a warm smile, and his back offered to Rico. "No payment is required, the work I do is God's— " Soldano finds his words hitch when Santiago lays a gloved hand on his shoulder, blue eyes narrowed.

"I insist." The unexpected pain of betrayal does not come from the front, it never does. The knife driven into Soldano's body is at his back, level with a kidney and drawn up along to his ribs and then to the side, split open as his legs give out and he topples to the floor in a wheezing heap. Revealed by Soldano's fallen figure, young Rico stands with a long knife in hand wet and tacky with blood. He wipes it off on his jeans, looking up with a tense and emotional stare to Santiago.

Stepping into the dying priest's blood, Santiago lays his hand on Rico's shoulder, giving it a firm squeeze. "You've done your father proud…" he intones in a rumbling, weathered voice as Soldano's gurgling pleas for help serve as the background music to this display of loyalty and heartlessness. "Come, we have Work to do."

El-Palenque, Argentina

November 25, 2009

Moving his shoe out of the dark stain on the floor, Peter Petrelli stares down at the vague outline of a shoe in the mark on the floor. His neck muscles tighten, eyes fall shut, and head bows repentantly in the shadow of the Son of Christ's figure. "Heavenly Father…" he begins in hushed reverence, "Hallowed by thy name…"

"Thy Kingdom come…"

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