Word Count 1,375
“It is time, Mestizo, time to meet your destiny.”
As I take another few steps to stand in front of him, I can’t help myself. I stare once again into his eyes. Although he smiles, there’s no warmth and his eyes are cold, deadly cold. He looks like a snake about to strike at his prey. Makes me shudder a bit. I try to return the stare with a look of my own but he doesn’t even flinch.
I drop my head to my chest with a soft sigh and inwardly, I curse myself. I could have escaped that day but no, I needed to make sure at least some of those good people that had fought alongside me were able to get away. But then, if I had escaped, would I have been able to live with myself? Am I getting too soft or what?
I guess I’m not moving fast enough because I feel his hands in the small of my back as he pushes me roughly in front of him. My first reflex is to turn on him and lash out. I think he expected this because I suddenly see three guards coming out of nowhere.
They surround me quickly while he leaves me with them… his laugh echoes in the empty corridor. I’m escorted to another room and pushed inside. Right in the middle of the room, there’s a bathtub filled with steamy hot water. I look at them questioningly but I don’t speak. No one has spoken to me since I was brought from my cell to a heavily guarded room in the mansion a couple of days ago.
A fourth guard comes in and hands me a plain shirt along with another pair of pants, as plain as the shirt and both spotlessly white. They want me to wash, that’s plain to see. For one brief moment, I think that they will leave me alone but no, they’re staying – all four of them.
Obviously, they won’t leave me any privacy. I don’t need an audience, leastways that type of one. I already feel naked enough without my gun.
I climb in the tub and soak in the hot water. Feels good, so good to get rid of all the grime… although I know that I can’t take the time to truly relax. Hell, my guards might drag me out of the tub if I take too long. But, I’m gonna enjoy it as much as I can and will show them I’m not afraid of whatever they have planned – I doubt there will be lots of opportunities for a bath where I’ll be going. I duck completely in the tub to wet my hair, wash it and rinse it carefully then I grab the bar of soap again and I scrub myself clean.
I hear a knock on the door and I raise my head to look. Soon, an elderly man comes in and approaches the tub. In his hands, he holds a shaving kit and a pair of scissors. He doesn’t speak to me… I suppose he’s not allowed to. So I don’t speak either as I don’t want him to get into trouble… I simply let him shave me and then cut my hair. I just hope he won’t cut it too short. I hate it when my hair is too short. What’s wrong with me? Why the hell am I thinking about that? I mean, I’m about to be locked away forever, who cares if my hair is too short or too long?
He finishes and leaves the room. Now, I can’t delay anymore and have to get out of the tub and dry myself. My guardians are still there, still watching me with eagle eyes. I can’t help it and I snort loudly… as if I could escape! The room only has a small window and it’s not large enough for me to pass through the opening, the door has been firmly locked after the barber left, and they’re all fully armed. Now’s not the time to try something… I’m not stupid. I’m about to face the judges and I have no doubt I’ll be sentenced to hard labor in a prison. Once I’m there, I’ll find a way to escape.
I kneel in the dirt, an oversized sombrero on the top of my head, its brim hiding my face and my eyes. I wait for my turn to face my destiny. I snort at myself as I curse my stupidity. When El Capitán came this morning, I thought he was meaning to take me to the court.
Well, I was shocked, totally shocked. Once I was fully dressed, my guards took me to another room where El Capitán was waiting, relaxing comfortably in an armchair. Once again, as I was forced to my knees in front of him, our eyes locked and his maniacal laugh burst out. I tried to block all feelings from showing on my face, and maybe I managed all right. His laugh died in his throat and his eyes looked at me with that crazy anger.
He moved from his chair and stood in front of me. I looked at him and smiled… the smile I show those who face me in the street. He grabbed me by the front of my shirt and pulled me up and then, he slapped me hard on my face and I saw stars – a whole galaxy. Only the guards behind me kept me off the floor. And then, he whispered in my ear and I guess this time, I let my feelings show, because, I heard his laugh again and saw that crazy light in his eyes.
I don’t suppose he ever meant to let me face my judges. He did everything behind my back and got me condemned without any chance to defend myself. Talk about a speedy trial – I wasn’t even there! I shake my head. Some things never change.
There are a few poor peons kneeling in the dirt beside me and I know all of them. We’re all dressed alike and I wonder if their trial has been as quick as mine. Wouldn’t surprise me.
It’s Ramon’s turn… I can’t help but be proud of him, standing up straight against that adobe wall. He raises his head and yells “Viva la revol…”. He has no time to finish as the rurales shoot him. The sound startles me… then I hear myself saying “lucion”.
As I wait my turn, I see my life unfolding before my eyes. Everything I’ve done, all my bad deeds… and some of the good ones, too. But I doubt there are enough of those to redeem me before the eyes of God. No, all I see as I’m told to get up is El Diablo. He’s right there and he looks at me, smiling, knowing that it’s the end of the road for me; and time for him to claim my soul.
I get up slowly. I take my time and that pisses off the lieutenant who keeps yelling at me. Again, I snort… El Capitán is not even here to watch – unless he’s hiding someplace. I would have thought he’d enjoy watching me go down. I would have liked to look him in the eyes and show him I’m not afraid of dying.
Hell, who am I trying to fool? I AM afraid. Dying this way is frightening. Guess I’ve always known I’d end with a bullet in me… I just never thought it would be in front of a firing squad.
The lieutenant is at my shoulder now that I’m standing right where Old Ramon was just a few minutes ago. He wants to blindfold me but I shake my head. There’s no way I’m gonna go with my eyes blindfolded. No. I’ll face death as a man and I hope I won’t disgrace myself.
I’ve made my peace with God and I’m ready, I think. There’s only one thing I regret… I won’t be able to face Murdoch Lancer – the bastard who brought me into this shitty world. May he rot in hell when his time comes – and it can’t come soon enough! I’ll be waiting for him on the other side.
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