A Very Frosty Christmas
(Harry Potter June Challenge)
A lone figure squatted on the hill above the large, white, adobe hacienda. Luminaria lit the perimeters and paths of the garden and the patio; where the festively dressed celebrants enjoyed an abundance of food and drink. Every surface was adorned with greenery and candles. In one corner of the patio stood a large brightly lit Christmas tree, under it was a pile of gifts wrapped in colored paper.
The young man recognized the decorations, he had seen them in a store a few years back. That had been a bad time. He had crossed the border to lay low and heal up after being paid off with a bullet to the back. “Should have known better than to trust some damn gringo rancher.” His handsome face was marred by the frown as he remembered the incident.
Shaking his head he wondered, why had he thought it was a good idea to go north this time of year? Dios, but he hated being cold and at least is wasn’t snowing. He glared up at the dark sky, with his luck he expected it to start snowing any minute.
The watcher snuck back to his camp that was hidden from the road and the hacienda. The fire had died down so he added some twigs and poked it into flame. He felt the side of the coffee pot, it was cold, so he placed it near the fire.
A soft nicker drew his attention and he looked to his faithful pinto, “Sorry boy.” Grabbing his canteen he took his hat off and poured some water into it as he walked toward the horse. “Here ya go.” He patted the horse’s cheek as it drank. When the water was gone, he shook out the hat and tossed it on the blanket laid out by the fire. Then he dug in the supply bag and laid some oats on the ground, “Enjoy Amigo.”
Turning back to the campfire he placed his hat on the rock behind his saddle, and laid down. He pulled the blanket up to his chin, and watched the flames.
While he waited for the coffee to boil, his mind wandered. He imagined the surprise on his ol’ man’s face if he rode down to the hacienda and announced, “Hey Pa, I’m back.” Hell, ol’ man Lancer would probably drop over dead. Then there was all his highfaluting friends. He grinned at the thought. Hell, they would turn up their noses and back away from him as fast as they could. Sure would kill the celebration real quick. His chuckle caused Amigo to snort at the interruption to his evening meal.
“Sorry boy.” He called. Amigo nodded at his master, lowered his head and finished off the oats.
When the coffee started to boil over he sat up, took out his bandana, and grabbed the pot. He poured a cup and resumed his place on the saddle. Cupping the mug, he blew on the coffee and took a careful sip.
At the sound of a shot, he jumped almost spilling the hot liquid in his lap. “What the hell?” Aggravated, he threw the coffee toward the fire, stood up, and carefully made his way to the hill. Below, he saw a tall man light another flare. Then there was a bang and the sky was filled with colorful light. “Damn, he sure goes all out for his rich, gringo friends.”
Staying low, he snuck back to his camp, he didn’t want to be spotted when the sky lit up again.
A frightened Amigo was not happy about the noise, so the watcher went to comfort the horse, “Easy boy.” He debated moving his camp.
Or he thought, he could just ride down to the party and announce…
“Johnny Madrid is home.”
Author’s Note: I purposely didn’t use his name until the end, although we all knew who was watching. I just wanted to have the name jump out at the end.