THE INSURGENCE of CHAN SANTA CRUZ
BOOK SEVEN: CUAHTENOTL EPACT
Some hours after midnight, the angle of the trail leveled out, and he ducked between those crossed, fallen pines. Ahead of him, there was actually a slight descent into a sort of bowl of great expanse, with mountains rising to all sides and even... to the east, by the Major's reckoning... a pale glint of silver that must be the very railroad tracks ascending up, up... and over the Sierras into Puebla State, with Orizaba beyond and below, and Veracruz beyond and beneath even that.
The plain of the bowl of Cuahtenotl was littered with ghastly shapes in the wan moonlight that reminded José only of the strange headstones and mausoleums of the many cemeteries of New Orleans in America, where he had gone as a student, with gaily-aspected others, to drink and rendezvous with ladies of compromised virtue who frequented the stalls of don del Muerte.
There were no ladies visible in Cuahtenotl, virtuous or not... nobody at all... nothing to drink, either, but the rainwater collecting in the hollows of his slouch hat.
And... bless the pretentious ancianos of San Sebastien... no dogs!
José crouched and ran hurriedly across a plain of sawgrass to a group of huts that, even by the decomposed moonlight, could not have been home to anyone for a good many years. One of these had a part of a roof, and even a long sheet of tin by the door that José dragged across the threshold and set against two of the walls. Then, he crawled behind this... hoping that any intruder would stop to ponder at the sight of such obstacle and, in doing so, make some noise which would awaken him so he might have recourse to his Webley, which he had removed from his bag and placed under his head... a useful, if uncomfortable pillow.
It was not the counsel of eagles... but at least it was something. And José shook the rain from his coat and fell into a deep, exhausted sleep... and dreams of Cortes and Malinche waving to those lining the streets of Merida who had come to do homage to Porfirio Diaz. And, now, Malinche and Diaz... not to mention Cortes, also, were...
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