Second in the Destiny Series.
ďIt is time, Mestizo, time to meet your destiny.Ē
As I take another few steps to stand in front of him, I canít help myself. I stare once again into his eyes. Although he smiles, thereís 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 doesnít 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 Iím 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 themÖ his laugh echoes in the empty corridor. Iím escorted to another room and pushed inside. Right in the middle of the room, thereís a bathtub filled with steamy hot water. I look at them questioningly but I donít 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, thatís plain to see. For one brief moment, I think that they will leave me alone but no, theyíre staying Ė all four of them.
Obviously, they wonít leave me any privacy. I donít 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 grimeÖ although I know that I canít take the time to truly relax. Hell, my guards might drag me out of the tub if I take too long. But, Iím gonna enjoy it as much as I can and will show them Iím not afraid of whatever they have planned Ė I doubt there will be lots of opportunities for a bath where Iíll 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 doesnít speak to meÖ I suppose heís not allowed to. So I donít speak either as I donít want him to get into trouble... I simply let him shave me and then cut my hair. I just hope he wonít cut it too short. I hate it when my hair is too short. Whatís wrong with me? Why the hell am I thinking about that? I mean, Iím 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 canít 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 canít help it and I snort loudlyÖ as if I could escape! The room only has a small window and itís not large enough for me to pass through the opening, the door has been firmly locked after the barber left, and theyíre all fully armed. Nowís not the time to try somethingÖ Iím not stupid. Iím about to face the judges and I have no doubt Iíll be sentenced to hard labor in a prison. Once Iím there, Iíll 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 CapitŠn 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 CapitŠn 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 smiledÖ 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 Ė 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 donít 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 Ė I wasnít 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. Weíre all dressed alike and I wonder if their trial has been as quick as mine. Wouldnít surprise me.
Itís Ramonís turnÖ I canít help but be proud of him, standing up straight against that adobe wall. He raises his head and yells ďViva la revolÖĒ. He has no time to finish as the rurales shoot him. The sound startles meÖ then I hear myself saying ďlucionĒ.
As I wait my turn, I see my life unfolding before my eyes. Everything Iíve done, all my bad deedsÖ 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 Iím told to get up is El Diablo. Heís right there and he looks at me, smiling, knowing that itís 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 snortÖ El CapitŠn is not even here to watch Ė unless heís hiding someplace. I would have thought heíd enjoy watching me go down. I would have liked to look him in the eyes and show him Iím not afraid of dying.
Hell, who am I trying to fool? I AM afraid. Dying this way is frightening. Guess Iíve always known Iíd end with a bullet in meÖ I just never thought it would be in front of a firing squad.
The lieutenant is at my shoulder now that Iím standing right where Old Ramon was just a few minutes ago. He wants to blindfold me but I shake my head. Thereís no way Iím gonna go with my eyes blindfolded. No. Iíll face death as a man and I hope I wonít disgrace myself.
Iíve made my peace with God and Iím ready, I think. Thereís only one thing I regretÖ I wonít be able to face Murdoch Lancer Ė the bastard who brought me into this shitty world. May he rot in hell when his time comes Ė and it canít come soon enough! Iíll be waiting for him on the other side.
THE END? Maybe, maybe not.