blue moon (2)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Red Clay: Part Fifteen ©

Jeb saw Hali running back from the field of battle carrying what looked like a body from this distance and he began walking faster towards him.
Jeb met Hali half way back where Hali said something to Jeb and they both started running towards the hospital tent with a man between them.

Hali walked into the tent and took the wounded man to the first open bed he saw and grabbed the doctor by the arm and brought him to his patient.
When the doctor saw it was an enemy soldier he refused saying his priority was American wounded not those of the enemy and started walking away.
He grabbed the doctor's arm and insisted that he help but the doctor pulled his arm away and told him no.

The doctor started to walk away when the colonel with Jeb by his side walked into the hospital tent.
He told the doctor to shut his mouth and to tend to the wounded man if he knew what was good for his health.

The doctor didn’t waste any time and went to the man on the bed and opened his shirt to see what the damage was.
His side had been torn open by shrapnel and the shirt was what was keeping his insides from being on the outside.

He called for another doctor to come to help him and they managed to adjust the body so they could get to the wound before they could look to see if there was internal damage.
He was lucky and had no internal damage as far as they could see so they sowed him up and wrapped up the wound with clean bandages.

The doctor reported back to Hali about the wound and that they had patched it up the best that they could but he had lost a lot of blood and may die from that or the infection that was setting in.
Hali thanked him and then turned to the colonel and thanked him for his intervention.
The colonel told him that it was least he could do for him, after all he was one of them now and they take care of their own.

Hali thanked Jeb to for running to get the colonel and Jeb told him it’s what friends do for friends.
Hali turned and walked back into the hospital to look in on his brother.

Domingo was in a bad way, infection had set in and he was running a fever.
Hali opened his medicine bag and took out some of the herbs and extracts he had brought with him from Haiti.
He knew if he could keep the fever down he would have a better chance, for eight days Hali sat by his brother’s side caring for him.
On the ninth day Domingo opened his eyes and smiled at his big brother.

Over the next few weeks while Domingo got better they did some catching up on things back home, real life not this nightmare they were sharing now.
Hali learned that he was an uncle and that Isabella is going to have another soon.
Their mother spends a lot of time in the garden tending a jungle of different flowers she has acquired from all over the world.

Hali asked how he came to be here on Cuba.
Domingo told him that he had just graduated from the military academy and he was shipped out a month before formal graduation ceremonies because Spain declared war on America.
They were told it would be easy because we were more experienced but they were wrong and underestimated the Americans.
The rest he knew.

Now Domingo wanted to know how Hali came to be here himself.
Hali told Domingo about how they came to get the hacienda after Diego was gone and threw him in irons as a slave.
If it wasn’t for Baba and Dakarai coming to resue him, he may still be a prisoner there or worse, dead.
He told him about the hacienda being burned to the ground and the workers put back to slave like conditions.

When Halo had finished Domingo said when he got back to Spain he will talk to people he knew there and they would get justice.
Hali told him that the only justice needed was for the workers.

Just then Jeb walked into the hospital.
Hali hadn’t seen him for a couple of weeks because he had been sent off to take care of some things for the military.
The war was almost over now and they were beginning to ship back the wounded first and then some of the troops that saw the worse of it and replacing them with fresh men.
Jeb was helping with the deployment and recall of troops.

Jeb came over and shook hands with his friend and introduced himself to Domingo, it was the first time they have met since Domingo woke up from his fever.
Jeb told them he had a surprise for the both of them and waved towards the door and Dakarai walked in.

All three brothers were now together again in almost ten years.
Jeb had gone back to Haiti to help close down the operation at the hotel and he met Dakarai while he was there.
Jeb told him about Hali and Domingo and asked to come along back with him and here is was.

Dakarai had asked Baba if he would like to come along also but Baba told him that his place was here but it was his time to go look beyond the horizon.
Dakarai looked at Baba and felt that this was the last time he will see his mentor.

After embracing Hali, Dakarai walked to Domingo embraced him as well then wanted to see his wound.
Domingo told Dakarai that Hali was taking good care of him while he was sick but Dakarai told Domingo he was probably lucky Hali didn’t poison him first.
This started a series of verbal jabs in jest between the Hali and Dakarai.
When Dakarai had finished examining the wound he told Hali that he had done an excellent job on Domingo’s wound and they would not have to amputate his tadpole.
Hali thanked him for the compliment but Domingo hurled a couple of counters in reference to his manhood.

They spent the next week getting to know each other again while Domingo got stronger and would soon be able to leave the hospital.
Hali told him that he was going to go back to Spain with him to make sure he didn’t get to bored and went to join another war.
This way he could also see his mother and the others as well.

Dakarai told them that he would come along also to keep the both of them out of trouble and to see Ada as well.
It was settled then, they were all going to Spain.

Over the next few days they made arraignments to go back to Haiti and take a ship to Spain from there.
With Jeb’s help and the help of the colonel they got a ride to Haiti on a supply ship.
They all stood at the dock saying their goodbyes and Jeb passed a piece of paper to Hali and told him that if they came to America to come to Louisiana and see him, his address was on the paper.
Hali told him he would and shook hands one last time before he boarded the ship following Dakarai as he helped Domingo up the gangplank.

Jonas and Maggie had moved into the best hotel they could find since they had no place to go because of the house burning down.
The police had come by to see him a couple of times and question him about the butler who tried to kill him.
They had come to the conclusion that the butler had killed his father and burned down the house to cover up his crime but you saw him running away from the house and had to kill you also to keep the police from finding out.

Jonas praised them for their astute deduction of the crime and they managed to get their man when the police shot him dead while trying to kill him.
It shows how safe they are by having them around.

Over the next few weeks Jonas acquainted himself with his father business while going through all his files and looking at what his investments were.
He still was waiting for the courts to clear the estate for him to have access the bank accounts.

While looking through his father’s cabinets he came across on that had a large safe in it that opened with a large key by the looks of it.
He started going through the drawers looking to find the key but the wasn't anything around the office and the house was burned to the ground.
There had to be a way to open the safe and see whats inside.
There were no hinges on the outside so he would have to find a way to break in with hammer and chisel.
He didn’t want anyone to know what he was up to though so he could hire someone to come and break into it for him.

All day he had the contents of the safe on his mind.
What did his father keep in it he wondered.
At the end of the day he started getting up to head back to the hotel and Maggie when the police e showed up at the office looking for him.
They told Jonas that they found a body in the rubble of the house but it was burned beyond recognition.
They did find something on it that maybe he could identify for them if he could and one officer held out a chain with a key on the end of it.

Jonas stared at the key, could it be the one that opened the safe?
He quickly told the police that it was his fathers key to the box that help the letter’s his mother had sent him during the war.
She was now dead as was his father and the letter probably perished in the fire and the only thing that remained now was that key that once kept the love of his parents together.
Jonas held the key tightly in his hand.

The officer told him that he could keep the key as a keepsake to remind him of his parents, they had no use for in now that they know it was his fathers and he is identified.
Jonas thanked them for the key and walked them out of the office and locked the door.
He went back to the safe and with a shake hand he slipped the key into the lock and turned.

Hali was laying back in his bed smiling at the ceiling as the early morning sunlight coming through the window bathed him.
Everything was going in the right direction for a change.
School was going well and his relationship with Adalia was getting stronger every day.
He knew his grandmother would approve of her.

Just then there was a knock at his door.
His roommate was out so he got up and opened the door.
There was a courier at the door with a package for him.
He signed for the box and went back to his bed to see what it was.
He wasn’t expecting anything from anybody, the return address said Nevada State Police.
What was this all about now, he had stopped thinking about that nightmare and now this comes is just another reminder of what he was trying to forget.

He began tearing the wrapping off when the phone rang so he had to stop and go see who was calling him.
It was Adalia calling to see if he wanted to go for breakfast before she went to work.
He told he he would love to and quickly ran to take a shower before he got dressed.
It took him ten minutes to wash and get dressed, his hair would be dry by the time he met her and started to leave when the box caught his eye once more.
He walked over to in and picked the box up.
He shook it once then slipped it under his bed and took off to meet Adalia at the restaurant for breakfast.

While at breakfast They talked about what they were going to do after they were out of school.
Hali said he was beginning to have a change of heart.
He wanted to go to Africa but now was thinking about staying and being with her.
Adalia smiled at him and told Hali that she was thinking of quitting her job and going to Africa with him.
They both started laughing and began to discuss their future together until Adalia had to go to work.
She kissed him and took off for the commissary.

Hali took the long way back home so he could think a little bit more of what they talked about.
If he waited for her to finish school he would need to find work for six months until she was done and then they could head off to Africa together.
When he got home he grabbed a biology book and lay back on his bed to do some reading when he remembered the box he got.
Putting the book down he reached under the bed and pulled out the box.
He read the front once more to make sure it was for him and then started to tear off the brown wrapping paper.
When the paper was off he opened the box and inside was the satchel the dead man gave him from the Gas Bar.

He pulled it out and tossed the box on the floor.
With his back propped up against the wall he stared at the satchel.
It was beautifully tooled with silver rivets decorating it and it looked old.
There were some brown stains on parts of the metal, dried blood, his, he could still see his bloody hands as he passed him the satchel in the bar just before he died.

He opened the satchel and looked inside, there was a large envelope and a Small box.
Opening the envelope he took out a check for five hundred and forty five thousand dollars and thirty two cents.
A letter with it said that since no claimed the satchel and its contents then it became rightfully his.
He was stunned, he kept looking from the cheque to the letter then out the window.
What was he going to do now?
He looked back into the satchel and took out the small box and opened that up and it was the red statue.

He held it closer and took a good look at it, it was African that he was sure but he couldn’t tell from which part.
It was the figure of a man sitting on the ground staring at you.
His eyes felt like they were looking into your soul.

Hali put the statue on the bed and looked back into the satchel but there was nothing else, so he took the statue and put it back into the satchel again.
He will go to the African studies professor and ask him if he could tell him anything about the statue, for now he was going to the bank and deposit this cheque.
Things were definitely looking good for a change.

They waited for almost a month before they found a ship going to Spain from Haiti and it took another month and a half before they say the shores of home.
But was it home?
He yearned for the wilds of the world and not the life the others craved in the cities and villages.

The got off the ship in Valencia and went through customs.
All Spanish citizens had to show their papers before they were allowed to disembark any vessel
From here they had to hire a carriage to take them to Madrid where they lived.
They decided to stay in Valencia for a couple of days before they started off but Domingo said they should notify them of their arrival and went to the post masters office and sent a letter on ahead to Madrid.

Domingo was getting stronger and looked a lot healthier to since being wounded.
He showed Hali and Dakarai around Valencia.
There was much that they had never seen before and even though they all spoke Spanish it was not the same.
Hali had never seen a big city like this before and Domingo said that this was small compared to Madrid.

Four days later they hired a coach for the three day ride home and headed off for Madrid and the rest of the family.
It will be nice to see everyone again Hali thought.
Hali and Dakarai enjoyed the scenery as the made their way through the countryside.
There were hills covered in grape vines and orchards as far as the eye could see.
Domingo told him that even here there was a danger with bandits along the way and they had to keep on alert until they got to Madrid.

Three days later the reached the outskirts of Madrid but they still had a way to go because they lived on the opposite side and had to go around ti the estate of the Dela Rosa family.
When their coach pulled into the front of the estate Isabella ran out the front door to them in tears.
She told them they had to hurry they were just in time.
Hali asked where their mother was and Isabella told him that she was in her bedroom at waiting for the reaper to come.

She told them that she was happy when they got word that they were in Spain and on their way.
She didn’t think that they had even gotten word of the urgency of at least one them to return.

Isabella led them to the second floor and to the master bedroom.
There was a wheelchair at the door as they entered.

Hali saw his mother and went to her immediately and kissed her.
He looked at her and ran his hand over her hair and the grey streak that had not been there the last time he saw her.
Ada greeted Domingo and Dakarai next.
She smiled at Dakarai and thanked him for taking care of Hali for her.

They all gathered around the bed and watched on as this one life that meant so much to all of them slowly drifted away and out of their lives, but not memories.
Never memories.

Seven years ago a battle was fought on distance shores by a family who just wanted to be left to live in peace but others had different ideas and they learned the price of freedom when Diego was struck down.
The enemy was repealed but Diego was mortally wounded.
They carried him into the hacienda where Dakarai and Baba went to work on his wounds.
His shoulder blade was severed and a bad gash in his chest but wasn't to deep, probably stopped by the breast bone.

The wound in his back was another matter.
It was obvious that his spine had been cut and the blow had left a cut all the way to his side.
Both men opened their pouches and started administering what ever knowledge they had.
Hali has sent someone to fetch the doctor while the others were trying to stop the bleeding.
The doctor arrived an hour after the attack and the three of them set to putting Diego back together as well as they could.
The doctor said that he didn’t know if he would live, he had lost a lot of blood and didn’t know what to do about his spine.
No one knew how Diego managed to survive, but he did.
He fought through a burning fever that had his screaming through the night.
Was it the efforts of three men who pooled their knowledge to save him or was it the love of a woman who sat at his bed until he opened his eyes and saw her there.

He regained his strength but he was never to be the same again.
He could not walk any more and was left to the wheelchair they had built for him to get around in but it wasn’t all bad.
Áda would push him through the garden every day and they would stare at the stars in the night sky and remember all the stars they have seen together.

He got seven extra years with the woman he loved when he would have given everything he owned for just one second more.
He looked up from his bed at three tall sons
A beautiful daughter
A new grand child
The woman of his dreams by his side.

He could hear his father calling him.
Yes, there he is……..

To be continued ...

Have a nice day



Anonymous Boxer said...

15? Really? I hope this saga never really ends. Have a great weekend!

nachtwache said...

So many twists, one really can't assume anything in this story. Your good! Fascinating!

Gypsy said...

So dear Diego wasn't dead after all.....the man is indestructible. Young Jonas is quite the chip off the old block isn't he? Clearly the apple didn't fall too far from that tree. Can't wait to see where you go next with this story.

patti_cake said...

I so love this tale....

Peter said...

It's good to see you relented and gave Diego an extra seven years Walker, you are a kind soul.