A Prairie Tale

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Chapter 11: The Rebel

In the righteous heat of the Mexican sun, guns were tested in the open desert on hunting cougars. Pack mules followed on for the transport and luggage carry. They were not hunters, just rebel militia protecting their state from the north. Valley to valley, lake to lake, they hunt and live in their unfortunate but yet sustainable life.

But they needed more, desperate for their independence from the north. It seemed impossible, but not for Emilio Sanchez, who leads the rebels to victory. He may have great sway in Mexico, but mostly remains a lost legend and a secluded shadow.

Even he made mistakes, and some of the rebel so called ‘divisions’ were highly unprepared and stupidly unorganized. It was late, so Fort Habanero had its final guard checks before the final military repeat. The fort itself looked old and crumbled, with cracked concrete walls and an ageing past. Though it stood standing strong and defiant, it needed revitalising.

Sanchez held his gun at his side and watched above his soldiers preparing to protect their land. His strong look in his eye and well-built body showed he is a developing fighter. Some troops were elite and the finest, while others were dirty beggars working for the highest bidder. One caught his eye and by his casual approach and laid back feeling, they had seen themselves before.

“Ay, Gringo!” Sanchez called out to the man. He replied,

“It’s been a while. ‘Join the army’ they said. ‘Good pesos’ they said. It was great so far, until the conquest.”

The man Emilio was talking to was Javier Torres, an expert thief and master of hold ups. Instead of arrest, Sanchez offered him a place in the army. He enjoyed his job, became Sanchez’s right hand man and they then became good friends. Emilio walked over and said slowly,

“So, are we expecting anything big tomorrow?”

“In fact, sí! Well, fortunately for us next week. Scouts report a man by the name of Patrick O’Neil, who is already over the border to Mexican soil as we speak. He has a private army…”

“He is not welcome on these lands. He will move immediately.” Torres rallies the troops and calls out,

“Or we will throw the fool out!” All the rebels cheer, with Sanchez speaking out,

“His men will come tomorrow… now I have a plan, so listen carefully, and he will either end up back to his useless little home, in shackles or in a coffin.”

“The plan sounds good to me, with pleasure.” When Torres said this, he and Emilio smiled. O’Neil seemed like a strong stable commander in these lands and knew how to survive in the harsh Mexican heat and terrain. The cheering of the rebels cooled down and the midnight light reflected on the night torches in the fort.

There were rumours about the shrewd officer that Mexico was his birthplace and brought up in a mystical nunnery after found in the desert as an infant. He had a passion for justice and was loyal only to his superior. Still dangerous, his powerful ego remains secret by himself.

“So what are the stakes here, commander?” Torres said, strongly questioning on the situation.

“Uriah Coleman, the true favourite of the armed forces in southern America. O’Neil is just placed as a sentry, his tactics and power is controlled by his aggressiveness and mercy. The stakes you ask? A specific number of troops I can’t say, so it is either fish in a barrel or piranhas on prey.”

“Well, either way we can’t stand a chance surely!”

“Time will tell, Javier, time will tell.”

Torres gave an understood nod and walked to his dormitory. Meanwhile, Sanchez gave support to the other troops, smoking their cigars in pure desire. Another glad look crossed his face, and turned back to his room for the fate of the following day.

Silent sounds and whistling winds; sounds of freedom in an absolute remote area. Sleep was hard in the troubled air, but remained serene. Tomorrow, Sanchez has never ending work to do. Patrick O’Neil is on the long road.

Campfires in the daylight of the defiant ruins of the fort, the men seen prepared and ready. Sanchez woke up and saw the men sensing delight from the scene. Javier ran to him, with the hot Mexican sun reflecting off his shimmering sombrero. He said,

“O’Neil is falling back to the border; seems he is thinking of a canny trick on us later. But don’t seem too relaxed… he’ll be back…”

“Well, we’ll enjoy our peace while it lasted. And we’ll be ready on his return…”

“We certainly will.” replied one of the soldiers, polishing his machete.

A small object then appeared into the distance, and it was getting closer and closer towards the fort. It was feared to be an armed cavalryman, but only turned out to be a scout. He turned out to be a scout for the rebels, and had a hogtied victim on the back of his horse.

“Give us a report, sergeant. And who is this guest of yours?” Sanchez questioned. The lone rider replied,

“Here is a letter given by the watchman at Alejandro’s peak; it is about a particular invasion, but not at us. It seemed to be orders of a rendezvous somewhere of a different location. This scoundrel here was the bearer looking ahead for our weak spots. Is he useful, sir?”

“Where is this ‘rendezvous point’? Somewhere close by?”

“Across the border in fact, towards an old native American encampment; I don’t know exactly where. Their fate is unknown however.

“Could we have saved them?”

“They would have had the same luck as us, sir. But nevertheless, were this information and your time sufficient?”

“Very. And as for your guest…” Emilio gave a nod to the guard with the machete, who smiled and walked over to the hogtied soldier.

Unable to speak, the soldier struggled to break free, but unfortunately came to the fate of the blade. The guard with the machete, who goes by the name El Macho, made a swift slash to the torso, with the soldier’s stomach bleeding grievously. He kicked the soldier’s body, his body flat on the ground. Spooked, the lone rider added,

“I… have suggestion to give. Since the Indians are also in danger, should we offer out support to them? I mean, strong allies cannot be broken…”

Emilio chuckled softly, and then all the soldiers were bursting in laughter. “An alliance… with the Indians? Sure, amigo. They’ll probably put us in a stew afterwards.” One of the soldiers chortled. Emilio then patted him on the back and said,

“You have made me laugh the first time in over 6 months. Now don’t you have papers to deliver, friend?”

The lone rider shook his head and returned to his horse in embarrassment. Emilio went to the war room and reflected carefully on the lone rider’s advice. Could an alliance with the natives help them succeed in the rebellion? ‘They are an infamous lot’ Emilio thought to himself. He then considered,

‘Someone has to give them a chance, even from across the border’.

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