blue moon (2)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Red Clay: Part Twelve ©

Hali drove into Vegas but wasn’t in the mood to go anywhere or even to look at the bright lights flashing around him, he drove to his hotel and booked in.
He followed the bellhop to the eleventh floor, to his room where he just fell into bed and went to sleep.

As he lay there sleeping he dreamed of a gazelle running for dear life as it was being chased down by a lion.
No matter how the gazelle turned to get away the lion stayed with him until it was knocked down with one blow from the cats massive paw then the lion pounced on it tearing it’s throat out.

After the lion was sure he had killed the gazelle he turned and looked at Hali then roared in a loud clear voice before it ran off with his kill.
This is where he always wakes up at the same spot.
He has been having this same dream for years now and his grandmother had told him that his father had the same dream.
What did this all mean?

He looked at the clock on top of the TV and it said it was 11pm so he decided to go out and find something to eat.
He emerged from the elevator in the front lobby, to the right there was a restaurant with a buffet and to the left was the entrance to the hotel’s casino.
The sound of bells and coins dropping into the machines dispenser filled the air as Hali walked into the restaurant to eat what he could from the buffet.
Afterwards he walked into the casino and to look around.

He didn’t have much money and needed most of it for gas but he did play the nickel slots and won twenty dollars, which he pocketed and left with.
He walked down along the strip until he got to where old Vegas had been and looked at the light show dancing above his head.
It was an amazing sight to see as he strolled down the walkway.

Later he crossed the street and came back the other way and stopped in front of the MGM Grand and stared at the large lion head staring back at him.
What did the lion represent?
Was it something to do with his family or something he had to do?
He walked back to his hotel and went to his room to sleep once more.
In the morning he was leaving and going back to finish his last semester at medical school then try and forget as much of what has happened this last week if possible.

Jonas sat in his office looking over his papers in his keeping track of all his holdings.
It had been twenty years since he left Georgia for London before he returned to the United States after the war between the States had ended and establishing himself in the manufacturing industry as a major investor in many of the foundries in the State and elsewhere.

That’s when he came across the deeds to the plantations in the south.
Since the war there had been a lot of reconstruction done down there but he had no desire to return to the life he had once in the south especially when all the money was to be had up here in the north.
Besides it represented the past and Jonas always strived to bury the past, like Smith and his old crew.

After returning to New York from London Jonas arraigned for Smith to sail with the Abigail to South America and to bring up some contraband then anonymously reported it to the United States military who subsequently sank the Abigail off the coast of Costa Rica on her return trip.
She sank with all hands on board as was reported to the Naval department.
So that took care of all the loose ends from his past, all except his son that is and young Jonas had been a disappointment to him.

Returning from England he immediately enrolled his son into boarding schools for the hoping to make him into a man but to his disappointment his son lacked his backbone.

Even when he sent him to a local boxing school all he did was get beaten like a wet dog and never tried to defend himself.
He was a coward in his eyes.
He must have gotten that from his mother’s side of the family.
Jonas Jr. had a gift for numbers though and could figure out large sums in the blink of an eye.
He also knew how to balance the accounts with little efforts but even here he lacked in his father’s ambition.
As smart as he was with numbers he was just as honest, a quality that Jonas didn’t appreciate in his business dealings.
Still, he was his son and there was little he could do about it now.

Jonas sat there reading over the deeds of the three properties wondering how he was going to deal with them without actually going down to Savannah to stake claim and sell them.
That’s when it came to him, he would send Jonas Jr. to Savannah, stake claim and put them up for sale.
He could stay down there until they are sold and maybe the life down there would toughen him up a little and give him an opportunity to learn how to deal in the business world.
Jonas called for one of his servants then told him to go to the house and to bring back his son to the office, tell him he wanted to talk to him.

Two months later Jonas Jr. was walking down a gangplank into Savannah, following the same path they used to escape on twenty years earlier.
He didn’t remember much from when he was a boy.
It was like it had been lost or hidden away from him, the time he arrived in England after leaving Savannah as a boy and his mother.
He did have nightmares sometimes about a fire consuming everything around him that he thought was part of his past.

As he walked along the street with a porter following behind with his bags he looked at all the buildings around him trying to see if it would trigger a memory from the past but nothing stimulated any thoughts until a woman ran to him, threw her arms around his neck and kissed him deeply on the lips then told him she was happy to see he was back and ran off across the street.
Jonas stood there watching her run off to the sidewalk before she stopped and waved at him before she disappeared through a door.
The sign above the door said Belle’s Social Club.

Jonas was surprised that a strange beautiful woman would run up to him and kiss him on the street like she knew who he was when he was positive he didn’t know who she was.
He went to the hotel where he registered and was shown to a room where he could wash up before he went out to conduct his business.

After having washed up he went downstairs and enquired at the front desk to where City Hall was or the registry office.
After learning where he needed to go he went over to see the clerk at the registry office where he presented his papers staking claim to the three plantations his father held the deeds for.
The clerk looked at the deeds and said they looked in order then he told Jonas that there wasn’t much left of the buildings out there because when the slaves had revolted they burned down a lot of the old abandoned buildings as Sherman marched into Savannah.

The clerk asked him if he was planning to move back to the region and Jonas told him that no he wasn’t and that the properties were to be put up for sale as soon as possible so if he knew of an interested party there would be a commission.
The clerk told him that he will keep that in mind then he told Jonas that there were outstanding taxes that needed to be paid before it was sold.
After paying the back taxes on the property he left the registry office then went to get something to eat before he went to the bank and posted the property up for sale there.

As he sat at the front of the restaurant eating his lunch he could see men going in and out of the social club.
He remembered the sweet kiss from the young lady in the street today and his heart started beating faster.
When he finished eating he went to the bank and asked to see the manager.
A man in his late fifties walked over and introduced himself as Dalton Henry.

Jonas introduced himself and Mr Henry froze for a second and asked him if Jonas Beckman was his father and Jonas said it was.
He was shown to his office and preceded in telling him how he knew his mother from when she was a little girl and knew his father when he arrived in Savannah and how terrible he felt when he heard about his mother murder at the hands of their slaves and the plantation being burned to the ground.

This was all news to Jonas, his father had never told him about how his mother died other than she died in Georgia before they moved to New York.
He sat there absorbing everything he was hearing and trying to fill in the blanks in his head but it wasn’t ringing any bells.

After realizing he had talked the whole time, Mr Henry asked him what he was doing in Savannah and if he was planning on moving back.
Jonas told him that they weren’t returning but his father wanted the properties sold and he thought maybe the bank would know if there was anyone looking for property.

Dalton Henry told him that he knew a few people that would be interested in buying the property if the price was right and the bank would be more than happy to arrange the sale for a small fee.
Jonas saw nothing wrong with that if it was a reasonable fee and told him to make enquiries and he could be found at the Liberty Hotel down the street.
They shook hands and parted ways.

Jonas walked out of the bank and started up the street to the hotel when he glimpsed Belle’s Social Club across the street and decided he wouldn’t mind a drink, not that he was much of a drinker, in fact he couldn’t hold his liquor and usually found himself sick after the second one.

He crossed the street and walked up to the door but before he entered he brushed himself off then opened the door and walked in.
A bell rang as the door swung open alerting the hostess who turned and stared at him with a big smile.
She told him he was looking more of a gentleman with his new clothes than his usual garb.
Jonas looked down at his clothes and then told her he always dressed like this, which only made the young woman laugh.
Just then an older women stepped out from behind a fancy curtain all smiles until her eyes fell on him and she stopped dead in her tracks.

After a few seconds she regained her composure then introduced herself as the owner of the social club, Belle.
The girl looked at her curiously and went to say something but Belle cut her off then told her to go in the back and to take care of the customer there.

Belle took Jonas by the arm and led him to a sitting room which was decorated lushly with red, gold and black curtains with large beautifully ornate furniture.
The walls were covered with paintings of nude women in various positions, lustfully luring the viewer into her dream.

Belle offered Jonas a drink, maybe a brandy to which Jonas accepted.
When she returned with his drink she placed it in front of him then asked him what brought him to Savannah and her fine establishment.
He told her his name was Jonas Beacham II and he was here on some family business.

Belle’s eyes took in his features slowly looking at every chiselled curve of his face then travelled down his body at his build and stature.
As her brain was analysing what she was looking at she asked him what brought him to her establishment.

Even as Belle was probing him with questions and looking him over, Jonas was studying his surroundings and it was beginning to dawn on him that he was not only in a men’s club but a brothel.
Jonas thought for a second and told her that he was looking for a woman that he met outside on the street.
He told her she was about five foot six with blonde hair and turquoise blue eyes that sparkled.

Belle told him that sounded like Maggie and if he liked, she would go out back and fetch her for him.
Jonas’ excitement got the better of him and he answered Belle back with a yes before he could think if he really wanted too.

Belle got up and told him that Maggie will be with him shortly then left the room.
She walked down the long hallway to a room she used as an office.
Endless thoughts ran through her head, memories of the past at such a rate a dizzy spell came over her causing her to stumbled at the door and had to brace herself against the door jam so she wouldn’t fall.

Pressed up to the wall, she started to collect her thoughts before she called for Cindy to come to her office.
When they were both in the office Belle asked her where Maggie was.
Cindy told her she was upstairs with a customer.
Belle thought for a seconds then told her to go upstairs and to send her down then to take care of her customer for her and to tell him this is a free one so he won’t complain.
Cindy nodded and left to do what she was told.

Belle took out a paper from her drawer and started writing a letter, she had just finished when Maggie walked in and wanted to know why she was taken from a customer.
Belle folded the paper and slipped it into an envelope then looked up at Maggie and asked her about the man from this morning in the street.

Maggie looked at her curiously trying to figure out what man she was talking about.
The only man she talked to on the street today was Jonas.
Belle got up and led Maggie to the curtain and had her peek through to see if the man sitting waiting for her was the same man she saw on the street.
Maggie looked at Jonas sitting there waiting and turned to Belle and told her yes, that it was Jonas.

Belle told Maggie to follow her to the office, there she told her that the man in the sitting room is not who she thinks he is.
She has never seen the man in the other room and he has never seen her.

Maggie thought Belle was loosing her mind; Jonas was sitting out there in the room Belle was trying to tell her that he wasn’t.
Belle told her that he wasn’t the Jonas she knew but she wanted her to go out there and be with him, he had asked for her personally.

Maggie started laughing and thought this was all some elaborate joke but the change in Belle’s eyes warned her that it was not a joke.
Belle told her to go wash up quickly then to go out to the sitting room and be with him.

When Maggie had gone Belle walked to the front door and waved to Tommy to come to her.
When he got to her she gave him a dollar and the envelope then told him where to take it.
Tommy took the dollar and ran off to do his job while Belle turned and went back inside to do hers.

Diego was sitting in his office looking over the plantations books and was seeing how much he was loosing and it.
A lot of it was due to the constant outbreaks of civil war or insurgents from Haiti.
It was becoming more and more dangerous for them to live here also and he was considering going to Spanish held lands or even back to Spain with his family.
His family held many holdings in Spain and in Cuba where they would be safer, anywhere else but here.

He got up and walked out to find Ada walking around tending to the wild garden she had cultivated in the back of the hacienda over the years.
He stood there looking over the years as they had passed by in front of him; he watched his family grow from this perch.
From being alone, to married to this beautiful woman then his beautiful daughter and three brave sons.
He was proud of all of them and what they had all accomplished here together.

Isabella was now married and living in Spain as was Domingo who was attending the military academy in Madrid.
Dakarai he had heard was becoming a well known medicine man in Haiti and was traveling with Baba helping those in need.
Hali was still here with him and his mother, Ada.
He remembered the first time he found her half drowned on the beach and as he rode back to the hacienda with her limp body infront of him, he saw the woman he would love forever

Her son Hali whom he had adopted as one of his own had grown into a tall strong man but possessed a kind heart.
Diego had made him foreman of the whole plantation but he still preferred to work in the fields with the other workers for hours, the workers worshiped the ground he walked on and would do anything he asked of them.

Life has been good and would still be if not for the greed of others.
Ada looked up and waved at her husband, he waved back then walked down to be with her.

Dakarai was checking the little girl’s temperature while her mother stood back with Baba and watched.
He smiled at her as he stood up, he told her she will be fine, her fever had broken and was now on the mend.
Her mother was happy at the news and went to her daughter as her father lead Dakarai and Baba to the table for some food and drink.

For the last 20 years he along with Baba have traveled over Haiti many times over learning about different herbs and remedies which they have been using to help the people with illnesses and other diseases.
Their payment has been food and a place to stay as they travel from village to village helping the sick.

His travels had brought him close to home once more and now he was on his way back to see his family after his long absence.
He had heard little bits from people who had come from the Dominican Republic about the constant state of civil war going on there and of certain factions of the Haitian military who went on periodic raids into their neighbour’s lands but from what he understood his family was still safe.

As they were sitting there eating Dakarai noticed the lack of young men in the village and asked his host where all the young men were?
Their host explained that the army came through there a few days earlier and took them on their way to cross the border and attack some of the plantations there.
This news sent fear through Dakarai, his families plantation was not far from here.
Baba was already standing at the door as Dakarai stood up and with a few fleeting words left his host standing there wondering what he had done wrong.
Dakarai started leaving the village at a brisk walk with Baba at his side, they had to get back to the hacienda as quickly as possible to warn them.
At the outskirts of the village they both broke into a jog, it was fifty miles to the hacienda and they had to beat the insurgents there.

The branches and leaves whipped their bodies as they charged through the thick brush.
Dakarai remembered the last time he ran through this same jungle with the same urgency as a child.
Back then he was with Ada and Hali running for their lives, today he was running through the same jungle to save those same lives.
Dakarai ran as fast as he could, pacing himself and was not surprised to see Baba staying up with him even though he was much older.
They stopped twice to drink some water but took off without resting so they wouldn’t waste any time.

They exited the jungle about ten miles from the hacienda and raced across the fields towards the house.
When the topped the top of a hill three miles from the main house they could see fires burning in the sugar fields.
They must have attacked the fields first and are on their way to the hacienda now.
Dakarai ran down the hill trying to keep himself from falling and at the bottom sprung ahead like a panther without breaking stride on the straight away.
He could hear Baba close behind on his heels.

Maggie walked out from behind the curtain with a smile on her face and a brandy in her hand but her heart was racing.
She sat down and gave him his brandy and introduced herself as Maggie.
When she heard his say his name was Jonas she almost fainted with confusion.

Jonas told her he was happy to see her again then asked her what she meant out on the street about her being happy to see him back when he has never been here before, well not sinse he was a child and can’t recalled ever meeting her before, he would most definitly not forget such beautiful flower as her if he had.

His flattery perked up her interest and she told him that he looked a little like someone she knew but now could see how wrong she was because he was more of a gentleman than the person she mistakened him for.

Jonas was sipping his brandy and could slowly begin to feel its heat rising up inside his body or was it because of her proximity to him.
At 25 years of age he had yet to be with a woman and Maggie was beginning to arouse his interest in one at the moment.
So it was no surprise to him when she took him by the hand led him up the stairs to a room that he followed her willingly.
Belle stood by behind the curtain as Maggie walked past with Jonas up the stairs to one of the rooms.

Dakarai ran to the courtyard where he had heard shots being fired and witnessed the hand to hand battle going on.
The workers had rushed in from the fields with Hali in the lead to defend their employer and were now in a life and death struggle.

Diego was fighting back two men with his sabre as they hacked at him with their machetes.
Hali was in the thick of it showing his skill with a blade as had been taught him by Diego’s skilled hands.

Ada was watching from the second floor window as the battle raged on and was the first to see the man come up behind Diego.
Her fists shattered the glass as she screamed her warning to him but he didn’t hear her as the cold steal split his back open.
Diego slashed backwards chopping the top of his assailant’s head off but the other two moved in and hacked at him until he was down on the ground.

Dakarai rushed towards Diego swinging his staff and coming down on one man’s head splitting it open like a ripe melon then turn to the second man but Baba had already disposed of him.
Hali faught his way to the back and the fallen body of his father to stand over him with the others repelling the attack until they had turned them back sending them running away and leaving them with their dead and dieing.

Ada burst out of the Hacienda and ran to Diego as he lay there dieing on the blood soaked ground.


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