Chapter 9: The Good Son, Part 1
“I promise I’ll pay the gas when I get the chance, okay?”
“Don’t worry about it! We barely use this thing anymore ever since the falling out with my sister; burning some gas won’t hurt it. Besides, you guys need it the most, and I promise to look after your car!”
The three turtles stared from the inside of a luxurious RV, one that was obviously barely used, and watched as Cheyenne conversed with a Korean-American girl; this was indeed the brunette’s friend Erika Soongnan. Erika apparently knew that Cheyenne’s brother was a mutant turtle, as indicated by her fawning over them when she first saw them. It made Donatello and Raphael uncomfortable, but Michelangelo basked in the attention. Speaking of whom, the smaller turtle found a bunk bed of sorts in the RV and immediately went for the top bunk. Raphael crossed his arms and stared up at his brother.
“Careful up there Mikey!” The rougher turtle commanded. “Don’t want ya to crack your skull!”
“What, you’re worried about me?” Mikey asked in surprise. “And here I thought you only had a soft spot for Spike!”
Raph blushed a little; he held in the urge to pummel Michelangelo because he didn’t want to face Cheyenne’s wrath again. Still…it felt good to care about someone besides his pet turtle. He glanced over at Donatello, who was standing right behind the driver’s seat, where their sister would be occupying shortly once she got done talking to her friend. The taller turtle noticed a small kitchen set in the middle of the RV; was this really an RV or a tour bus? He sat down at the table and stared out the window. They were finally down to looking for their final sibling…what would they be like? Did this one grow up in a rough situation too? Or did they actually find a great family like he did? Would they be cool, smart, funny, nice? He had so many questions about it that he didn’t notice his sister coming into the RV and hopping into the driver’s seat.
“All right boys, ready to go?” Cheyenne asked from over her shoulder.
“We’re totally ready!” Michelangelo shouted from his spot on the top bunk.
The brunette nodded and started up the engine, Raphael quickly taking a seat across from Donatello with Spike in tow. The human made sure to fire up the GPS and punch in the coordinates that Erika gave her; the Korean girl after all knew California like the back of her hand. She wasn’t used to driving this kind of vehicle, so she would take it a little slow, hopefully arriving in California in less than a week. She would stay up during the night as much as she could to make the trip shorter, but if she felt too sleep-deprived, she would pull over and sleep; the last thing she wanted was to put the boys in danger. Whenever sleep was needed, she would take the second set of bunk beds where Donatello would sleep…but she would take the front seat once they found turtle number four.
Turtle number four…she had a hunch they would be a boy…so she would become the older sister to four younger brothers. Would she be able to handle having no one, but FOUR brothers? She thought about that for a moment…but then she smiled.
Yeah…she could handle it.
“Raph?” Mikey whispered from the top bunk as he looked down. “Raphie? You awake?”
Raphael stirred and let out a soft moan, hugging Spike closer to his chest as he was trying to stay asleep. Unfortunately, Michelangelo felt like staying up and trying to wake everybody else up. Well, he wasn’t the only one awake; Cheyenne was still awake at the wheel but he could tell she was going to pull over soon to get herself some sleep. Donatello was fast asleep across from them, and the darker turtle hoped that his little brother would just leave him alone and go to sleep himself. However, that wouldn’t be the case tonight…at least not until Mikey got some sort of attention from him.
“Raphie, wake up! I can’t be the only one awake here!”
Raphael finally grumbled and forced his eyes to open, only to be looking up at the huge smile Michelangelo had plastered on his lips. Great…he could tell that the smaller turtle wanted to do nothing but talk to him…most likely all through the night. Breathing a deep sigh…he knew he would have to go along with this; it was time to put his deep-seeded anger aside and be nice for Mikey’s sake…
“…What is it, Mikey?” Raph asked in a tired voice.
“Whaddya wanna do first when we get to California? We definitely gotta hit the beaches; I’ve always wanted to surf! I also wanna meet the movie stars and get some autographs!”
The darker turtle sighed and rubbed at his eyes. “Hate to burst your bubble…but we can’t go to the beaches in public. How do ya think people will react to a mutant turtle waltzing around on the sand?” He paused when he saw his little brother whine softly. “Autographs…maybe…just as long as we stick close to Cheyenne. But you have to ask her first, and remember our main thing is finding our brother…”
“I know…and I can’t wait to meet him!” Michelangelo suddenly noticed Donatello fast asleep in the other bed. “Let’s wake Donnie and ask him what he wants to do!”
Raphael glared at him, which caused the freckled turtle to draw back. “I don’t think so…let Donnie sleep. You can ask him in the morning, okay?”
Mikey pouted for a moment before plopping back down on his bed and muttering, “…Okay…” He was silent for a good moment before he raised back up and asked his brother, “Hey Raph…how did you get Spike anyway?”
Raph was surprised by the question; no one ever cared enough about Spike except him to even bring up that question. He petted the turtle on the shell before looking up at his younger brother. “Well…I was hiding from some of the gang members one day in the Chicago sewers on my way home…and I found him trapped in some debris. From what I could tell…someone tried to flush him; he was just a baby back then. This was after I lost my mom…and he became the only family I had…until you guys came along…”
The two suddenly heard some quiet chuckling and they turned their heads to the front of the RV, where Cheyenne was seated behind the wheel. She had pulled over and turned off the engine, stretching her arms and legs before stating, “When I first saw you Raphael…I knew you weren’t all bad…you just needed someone. Saving Spike from sewer debris just proves how sweet you really are.”
Raphael blushed and just laid back down, hugging Spike back to his chest. Cheyenne just giggled before letting out a yawn and climbing up to the bed above Donatello. She smiled at the taller turtle and turned her attention to the smaller turtle. “Go to sleep Mikey, okay? We’ll get to California before you know it.”
“Okay, Sis!” Mikey smiled before plopping down on the bed and falling fast asleep.
Cheyenne smiled and slowly laid her body on the mattress and pulling the covers up to her shoulders. She closed her eyes…but still kept herself alert just in case any danger was nearby that threatened her or her brothers…
“Wake up boys! Breakfast is ready!”
All three turtles moaned as they opened their eyes…but they became more alert when a pleasant smell hit their nostrils. Donatello was the first to focus his eyes, and he saw Cheyenne at the kitchenette stove fixing what looked like scrambled eggs and bacon. Where did the food come from? Wait…he remembered that the brunette discovered the refrigerator stocked with food, apparently another gift from Erika. It seemed like there was enough for everyone, but she would want to leave some for turtle number four during their trip back to Kentucky. Yeah…they would be going home before going to New York…it was close to Christmas, after all.
“Aw right, breakfast!” Mikey cheered once he was fully awake. “I’m first in line!”
Raphael grabbed Michelangelo by the shirt collar, stopping him dead in his tracks. “Not so fast, freckles. Let the lady go first; she cooked our breakfast, after all.”
Cheyenne chuckled. “My, aren’t you the gentleman, Raphael? If you say so.”
The brunette laid out plates and went first as Raphael suggested. She filled her plate and grabbed a glass filled with pomegranate juice. She also took the time to fix some orange juice for Donnie, milk for Mikey, and grapefruit juice for Raph. She waited for the boys to fill their plates before she sat down, the turtles following suit behind her. Michelangelo was about to shove his fork into the eggs when he met Donatello’s glare. Why was he glaring at him? Cheyenne’s response answered that question.
“We say grace first, Mikey.” She turned to Donatello. “Donnie, would you like to do the honors?”
Donatello nodded and clasped his hands together before bowing his head. Michelangelo copied the pose and Raphael did it as well, despite not being a religious person. The taller turtle breathed a sigh before stating, “Lord, we thank you for this meal and that it will give us strength…and thank you that we’ll finally be able to find our final brother…and thank you for helping us find our family…in your Holy name we pray. Amen.”
Everyone raised their heads and finally got to dig into their food. Michelangelo literally inhaled the food and guzzled his milk, dribbling some onto his t-shirt. Raphael gave him a funny look before slowly eating his food and taking small sips of his grapefruit juice. Donatello ate quietly beside his sister, while the brunette paused in her eating to observe the smaller turtle.
“Mikey, don’t eat so fast; you’re going to get choked.” She scolded him. “And if you drink your milk too fast, you’ll get the diarrhea.”
Michelangelo paused before wearing a sheepish smile. “Sorry Sis…”
Cheyenne suddenly gasped and got up from the table. “Oh, I almost forgot! Little Spike needs some breakfast too!”
She went to the fridge and pulled out a head of fresh lettuce, slightly dripping with water as a result of refrigerator condensation. She peeled off a few leaves and put them on a plate, holding it while she fetched the turtle from Raphael’s bed. She sat the turtle in front of the small television set next to the table and placed the plate of lettuce in front of him…and surely but slowly, the turtle started eating. Raphael smiled at how much she took animals into consideration.
“Thanks…” Raphael smiled shyly.
“Hey Donnie…what’s yours and Sis’s mom and dad like?” Mikey asked. “You haven’t really told us about ‘em.”
Donatello sat down his fork onto his plate and swallowed his food before answering. “Well…our mom used to work at a factory, but she ended up getting fired after our dad got sick…it was due to attendance because of our visits to the hospital. She's nice…but she’s a little clingy at times. As for our dad, he used to be a teacher, but of course his sickness forced him to retire, mostly because he didn’t need to have any more stress. It was a little stroke, but it only took his peripheral vision. We’ve got limited income now, but Cheyenne works odd jobs and I have a tech support job on the side.”
“Sounds like other than that, you guys have a pretty good life!”
Cheyenne smiled…but something was off in her eyes concerning that remark; why would it seem she disagreed with Michelangelo’s compliment? Nevertheless, she just simply answered, “Yeah…we’ve had it pretty well all these years. You guys will enjoy it once we go home!”
Raphael stared out the window before focusing his attention to Spike and petting his shell. “So…there’s no going back to our old lives, huh? We’ll be…starting fresh…” He breathed a deep sigh and nodded. “It feels weird…but it’s a good thing…right?”
“Of course, Raph.” Donatello agreed. “It’ll be even better once we get to California and find our brother…or sister…it would feel weird to have another sister.”
“Are we there YET?” Michelangelo asked as he quickly became bored from playing poker with Donatello and Raphael.
“Almost Mikey…we’re about at the Nevada/California border; just be patient.” Cheyenne called from the driver’s seat before glancing back at the boys. “And you guys better not be playing STRIP POKER!”
The turtles looked at each other for a moment before hurriedly putting back on whatever clothes they had laid out on the edges of the table before their sister could notice from the huge rearview mirror. Well, so much for seeing who could get down to their underwear…though Donatello didn’t even want his brothers to know that he wore…rocket ship underwear… Michelangelo didn’t want his brothers to get a whiff of his underwear, but Raphael didn’t care either way as he wore boxers. It made the latter wonder if the brunette ever wore frilly underwear or even lingerie. Of course if he wondered that out-loud, he would get yet another spanking.
“Have you got enough money for the toll?” Donatello asked when he remembered the multiple toll booth they had to cross at the state borders. “If you don’t, I’ll get my wallet.”
“Nah, it’s okay; I’ve got enough!” The brunette assured. “We’re coming up on the booth right now!”
The turtles hurriedly placed their hats and hoods on as they approached the toll booth, where their sister offered a polite smile and wave to the middle-aged woman tending the money flowing in, and the young woman calmly dropped change into the slot, which caused the gate to automatically lift open. As the RV cruised forward, Michelangelo waved at the booth woman and flashed a huge grin, which caused Raphael to punch him on the shoulder. The smaller turtle was about the retaliate, but then…
“Guys…take a look!” Cheyenne called as she pointed to the windshield. “Welcome to California!”
Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo got up from the table and ran up behind her to look out the windshield, despite the fact they almost fell over because of the moving vehicle. The turtles stared in awe; so many cities, so many people, so many cars…would they be going through Hollywood? Santa Monica? San Diego? The excitement was building up in all of them to the point that they were about to burst.
“So…is turtle number four located in the city?”
Cheyenne thought for a moment, remembering the address and what Erika told her. “No…they won’t be in the city. If I remember right, the Rocky Mountains extend into California, and there’s a few communities there…including a couple Japanese communities.”
“They’re all the way up in the mountains?” Michelangelo asked in disbelief.
“More than likely, more towards the base, so we don’t have to do much climbing.” She suddenly glanced at them and flashed a cheeky grin. “Besides, climbing will do you guys good; you need to work off that pizza you ate!”
“What about you?” Raphael asked, crossing his arms. “You ate more than we did!”
Cheyenne just offered a smug grin. “I have better metabolism.”
“How much more do we have to go?” Michelangelo whined. “My feet are KILLING me!”
“Quit complaining, Freckles.” Raphael growled before smacking him on the back of the head. “You’ll make the trip even more grueling.”
“Would you guys quit complaining?” Donatello moaned. “We’re not climbing the whole mountain range!”
Cheyenne sighed and glanced over at the turtles. After a few hours in heavy traffic, she managed to make it to the mountain range. Once the RV was parked and locked, she and the turtles proceeded on foot, going from door-to-door at the secluded houses and communes to question if they had seen any strange figures…besides themselves, of course. One resident, seeing as how she was of the same mindset as him, admitted that he caught a glimpse of a strange green figure towards the house of an old Japanese couple. The four proceeded to thank this stranger before heading off in the direction of the given house. Though they had big three-toed feet, they were fortunate to be wearing shoes, as the rocky terrain would definitely give them blisters…or worse.
“Don’t worry guys…” Cheyenne reassured. “We’re almost there…I can see the roof of the house.”
Donnie let out a sigh. “Ahh…FINALLY…”
As the group continued to make their way, Cheyenne noticed a few persimmon trees planted around the vicinity. Persimmons…she heard they were popular in Japan, but she had never eaten any. And for a moment…she could’ve sworn she saw something…or SOMEONE…hidden in one of the trees. Maybe she was tired and her eyes were playing tricks on her…but it was good to give your gut instincts a chance, especially in unfamiliar territory.
Then the rustling started…
“W-What was that!?” Mikey jumped.
Raph sweated but was able to remain calm. “I-It was probably just a squirrel or something…”
Donnie stared at the vegetation around the area. “…I don’t know if you’d find a squirrel near mountains…”
More rustling started. The turtles jumped, but Cheyenne was prepared for whatever what trying to frighten them. She pulled out one of her guns and kept her right index finger on the trigger, fighting not to squeeze it at the slightest noise. Who was threatening them with this petty sneaking around? Whoever they were, they would soon know better than to mess with a young woman protecting her brothers.
“Come out and show yourself!” Cheyenne shouted. “Enough of the sneaking around!”
The one doing the sneaking around apparently obeyed, as a dark blue flash leapt from one of the persimmon trees and landed in front of them. The four of them stood frozen for a moment…and all of them let out a choked gasp when they got a good look at this potential attacker.
Mutant turtle number four.
This one had skin that was an asparagus green, only a tad darker. He stood in a dark blue hakama with a lighter-blue sash, and he was wearing a pair of geta large enough for his feet. His sapphire-blue eyes glared at them as he held out a wooden practice sword at these strange people…
“Yame!” He shouted, apparently fluent in Japanese. “Dochira sama desuka!?”