historical fiction set in 19th century california


1. conspiracy

~~I was a dandy. An American dandy. Everyone in town used to tell this  to me.Everyday I went in front of a mirror to comb my soft hair. One day when I was doing this as usual, I saw my father in the mirror and turned back to him. He said that he was going to Oregon. As usual for fur etc. I and my stepmother  said goodbye to him. My mother had been died two years ago in 1844.And my father had recently married sister of alcade(mayor) of Santa Elena(the pueblo we lived in). Everyday, I showed my mother s daguerreotype to my stepmother - Anita. And she used to say :"Muy bonita." (so beautiful).
It was 1846. U.S army had been surrounded California for monthes. Alcade del Rey, step mother s brother, was completely at America s side. That was because of that, that he had given her sister to my father- who was an American.
One day, Anita told me:"Hey, Fredreick. Now that your father has gone to Oregon, It s  better for us to go to Casa Roja."
Casa Roja was not very far from our house. That was the headquarter of alcade of Santa Elena. Anita wanted to talk to his brother but she didn t like to see his wife. So, Casa Roja was the best place. Casa Roja(red house) was not red as its name suggested. Anyway, that was a name which had been existed from the past.
In mayorality, alcade was doing almost nothing as usual. And he was encountering his absent minded but attractive assisstant Joaquin de La Cruz. De La Cruz was a handsome man. He had mid length brown hair and there were golden rings around his ears. His beautiful sombrerro hat had made him more attractive. When alcade saw us, he said:"OK OK Anita, where is Horatio?" –"He has gone to Oregon as usual for fur trapping." –"Oh think of him with his beatiful…."  Meanwhile, the door was knocked. De La Cruz opened the door. A woman with a  red silk headscarf and a puffy skirt entered the room. She dried her teardrops with an expensive kerchief and it was obvious that she was a rich woman. When she stopped crying, she said sadly:"Oh alcade, help me please. Yesterday, my husband, don Romeo Fidalgo, went to Simon Banderas s house, and he never came back. I m not brave enough to enter that house. Today when I passed through that street, I saw the house with no smoke of its chimney and no light on." –"Mmmm. So strange. Let me see, Did Mr. Banderas live lonely?" –"Yes." –"Maybe he became mad and killed both of them." Said Mr. de La Cruz.  –"De La Cruz!" Said alcade with anger.  –"Sorry Senor." And put his sombrerro hat on his chest.  –"So what do you want to do senora?" Asked alcade.   –"I think it is better someone goes and sees what has happened there."  -"Oh, yeah. I see. De La Cruz!" –" Digame senor."  –"Go  see what has happened there. You know the address?" –"Oh yeah man. Everyday we have a new  problem with that mad man- Banderas. Everybody in the pueblo knows his address.Mi madre! What can be happened this time?" Suddenly, I told alcade:" Mr. del Rey, may I go with him?" –"But it is dangerous."  -"No problem. Please don t curb my right to have experience." I talked to him for a while and finally persuaded him to let me go with Mr. de La Cruz.
When I and him were walking though the streets, I realized that I have signifitic difference with him. I was a gentleman in my own culture and he was a gentleman in his own culture. These differences make the world beautiful.
He was wearing blue trousers and fastened a red shawl around his waist. Many bottoms of his white shirt were open and a golden cross shined on his chest. On the way, he talked to me and also sang. His voice was very beautiful. He had been a mariachi (guitarist) before, and he had learned English from an American captain. He had a lovely accent and I really loved talking with him.
I found myself in an abondoned and dark house. Its architecture reminded me of gothic stories. Stuff like Frankestein or of Edgar Allan Poe s. De La Cruz s voice, tooked my out of my imaginations:" Hey chico, come help me put these knifes out of their bodies. " I couldn t believe what I was hearing. I said with fear:"Mmm… I m scared."  –" You re scared. Huh?" And put the knifes out of their bodies like a professional criminal. He put the bloody knife in front of him and said wirth laughter:" It s enough for today. I have killed enough people.hahaha" I laughed too.
I and Mr. de La Cruz went to the only gunstore of pueblo and got the address of the last person who had bought that kind of knife. That was an American house with a farm around it. De La Cruz knocked the door. A man from the farm turned back and said:" What do you want gentlemen?"  -" We are alcade s men. Let me see, how many people are there in this house?" A woman probably the man s wife, arrived and said:" Me, my husband Bernard, his useless brother and seven children."      –" Are your children adult?" –" No, the oldest one is the fifth grade."  -" So it is of course done by your brother, Bernard."  -" Excuse me, what has he done?"  -" Murder." I said. –"Yes." Said Mr. de La Cruz.  –"Oh, my brother is very stupid and absent minded. He does really silly things. But I don t think he has done a murder." –"Probably he has killed two people!" I said. The woman said with anger:"See Bernard. Your brother has done something silly again. I m pretty tired of him." Meanwhile, there arrived a cowboy with vest and jeans on a black horse with a rough rope in his hands. He said:" Who are they Bernard?" –"They are alcade s men. They say you have murdered two people." –"Are you kidding?Me? Murder?" De La Cruz pushed the cowboys collar and said:"What were you doing at Simon Banderas s house last night?" –"Banderas? That mad man? Why should I have gone to him?" –"Don Romeo Fidalgo was there last night." –"I have no idea who he is. Why should he  have gone to Banderas s house?Let me see. Why re you here now? Who has given you my address?" –" The gunseller. Pueblo s only gunseller."  -"I have got a rival – or maybe an enemy – named Fabian Van Guten. He allways gives my address when he does something wrong. I have been punished for many times because of him. I really want a revenge." –"Senor, I promiss to get your revenge from him. Just tell me where can he be found?" –"In the French café."
We chased him from the café. Then we saw him going to a solouted place, wearing a mask and suddenly disappearing like he went through the earth. We found nothing on the ground – no door to enter where he went. Suddenly, de La Cruz said:" Hey, look at here. Mi madre! There something metal under my feet. " When I touched the ground, I realized there is a metal door on the ground. We opened the door and we saw many stairs going downside. Probably it had a road to a secret place under the ground. Bernard s brother tried to see there but there were a lot of stairs. De La Cruz said:" Hey, listen. It looks like someone is saying something." I and Bernard s brother went closer to hear it. The voice said:" So, brother Agustus, give it to brother Ordonius. Put it in order. (the secret order!)Now you, give it to me immmidately. Come on. I am your king, brothers and you should obey me." Suddenly, there was a sound like something exploding. And after that, sound of a loud laghter. The voice continued :" I am Marcus Bonapartus , king of you, Knights of the west cost, can prevent US dominance with your help.hahaha. Our date is tommorow, the border of Oregon and california, at the cost of the Pacific ocean. " A loud voice said:" Cum numquam"  (join, never)
The voice was so loud. Like hundreds of people were shouting at the same time. And then they shouted many meanless words which were probably secret codes. De La Cruz put his hat on his chest and said:" Holy Madonna, what should we do now?" Bernard s brother said:" Probably they are a secret society of fraternity. " –" Excuse me, what is your name?" –" Athlerbald." –"Athlerbald, do you think we can prevent them – the trouble makers- from doing their plan?" The want to prevent US dominance. They are opposites to the manifest destiny." –" What is the manifest destiny?" I asked. "A part of American dream which says that American lands should be extended to the west cost." Said Athlerbald. "This dream is almost coming true now." I said. " There is several monthes that US army has surrounded California."
We said goodbye to Athlerbald and came back to alcade. Athlerbald had asked us to inform him when alcade ordered something. He wanted to help us.Beacause he both hated Fabian and loved American dream and US land extension and the manifest  destiny.
We were sure that Don Romeo was  assassinated by the knights of the west cost because of his support of manifest destiny.
Alcade ordered us to gather brave and prepared men of pueblo to fight with the knights of the west cost. We and Athlerbald,used to shout and gather forces in the town for three days. Almost two third of people registered to fight. Finally, our contintional army arrived at Oregon with leadership of me, de La Cruz and Athlerbald. Almost all the way, we could see the Pacific ocean. One of the most beautiful scenes that I had seen in my lifetime was the place of meeting of the Pacific ocean and the California desert.and also watching the men – especially Californio men – riding. In our army, there could be found every type of men. Young and old, American or Californio – there was not any difference. Everybody had came. It was obvious that even Californios were at American side and they were agreed with the US dominance. When I was riding my horse beside mr. de La Cruz and Athlerbald with pleasure, I was thinking of when I and my father were active in campgain of James Polk in the presidental election. I remembered my father shouting:" Vote for Polk. A democrat." And shouted Polk s promisses:" The manifest destiny will come true when he becomes the president. This great man – the dark horse – needs your vote." And I shouted and repeated his words. Now that US had surrounded California, I used to know the meaning of James Polk fans – people like I and my father - hard work. Like all other historical events, manifest destiny had opposites too. I had helped it coming true, so I had to help protecting it too.
When we arrived at Oregon border, expectedly Marquis Bonaparte or as he called himself, Marcus Bonapartus and his masked fellow were awaiting us. –"Who are you?" asked Bonaparte. De La Cruz jumped off his horse like a proffesional rider. I and Athlerbald did so too. De La Cruz pushed his matches on Athlerbald s cheeks and lighted his cigarette with it. Bonaparte laughed loudly. "we  never let anyone prevent the manifest destiny." Said Athlerbald. –"Really?but I ….I mean we have thought of this. Do you comfrim this my friends?"  His fellow shouted at the same time:" Cum Numquam." And other secret words. De La Cruz ordered his men to fight. Bonaparte s fellow, realaxedly threw large balls at us. There was a strange liquid pouring out of the balls. Which prevented our movements. Bonaparte shouted excitedly:" I am a Bonaparte. Hahaha. My uncle was Napoleon, who had conquested half of the world. But I conquest all of the world. The world where everything is in order. Were everything is under controll. Hahaha. " when we finally succeeded getting out of the liquid, we were forced to come back to Santa Elena frustrated.
Back in the pueblo, people who were expecting us to be victorious, pulled off all of the flowers and light decorations from the streets. Athlerbald said goodbye to I and de La Cruz sadly. Some people sweared. some helped us to have a strong heart and some simply did nothing. In that rainy night, I and mr, de La Cruz laied under a wet palm tree at outskirts of the pueblo.we didn t have enough courage to look at alcade and Anita s faces. Mr. de La Cruz started playing his flamenco guitar. Singing a very beautiful song in Spanish with a lovely accent.
After about ten minuetes staring at eachother, finally de La Cruz started talking:" Unfortunately they were victorious." Alcade said relaxedly:" I know that. Anita has told me. Her friend s husband had been there. Let me see, what was that liquid?" –"We couldn t realize what it really was.  It lookes like it was a new substance." –"De La Cruz, let s go straight to what I really wanna say. " De la Cruz stopped smoking. –" I had given you three days to gather forces. And now I give you three days to prevent the knights of the west cost." –" But senor…" –"no excuse is allowed." –"but… ah…si senior" and he went out of room sadly. I went with him. He sat on the side of the pool which was in the middle of the yard. The yard was very beautiful. Also the building with white walls and arches and orange gable roof. I sat at the side of mr. de La Cruz and told him:" don t you sing a song?" –"no chico, not right now. I am tired." And put his cigarette on his lips. I lighted his cigarette with my matches. That was the only thing I could do at the moment. He huged me. He cried and said:"  Good times there were. When I used to drink white tequila and play the guitar with mariachis. My good days with captain Peterson, alcade, Anita, you and mysel. Many days later, there will be all over. And I can do nothing." –"why do you say so?" –"I was the one who gathered forces against Bonaparte. So if thet capture here, I will be executed." –"don t say so. I will help you." –"really?" –"yeah." And pushed my hand on his hand.
-"Sorry Joaquin. I didn t have to talk to you that way." Said alcade. "oh alcade, my sadness was not beacause of your words, but beacause of future of Santa Elena and California." –"don t worry. Of course there should be a way to solve this problem." –"What way senor?" suddenly, the door was knocked. "it is Anita. Of course she s worried about you Fredreick." Said alcade. I opened the door. It was Athlerbald. It was obvious that he had ran fast to reach us of his deep breath. He had a piece of paper in his hand and he said:" Last night I saw a masked man who ran away fast when he saw me. He just threw a this paper on me." And he showed us the paper. It was written in it:"El Libertador" which means the liberator. Alcade wondered:" who can he be – el libertdaor?" –"maybe he is raelly our liberator." Said mr. de La Cruz. The door was knocked again. I opened the door. It was Anita. "Fredreick, you are here?i was raelly worried about you." She said. "Last night, a masked man threw a piece of paper on me. I have lost the paper. In which it was written "el libertador". " Alcade said:"Let me see, was the paper like this?" and showed Athlerbald s paper to her. "yes, it was exactly like this. Even the handwriting." She said. "So strange!" said alcade. And started thinking….
Everybody in pueblo said that a masked man can be our liberator. Everywhere people were talking about him. In the town sqaure, in church, in plaza and so on…. A lot of peple said that they have met him and they gave their papers to alcade. One day, alcade started counting the papaers, and when he finished all the 768 of them, he turned back to me and mr. de la cruz and said:" We need to get help from el libertador. If not, the knights of the west cost will surround California." –"but how can we inform him?" –"he is of course one of the pueblo people. And he knows about the knights west cost. That is why he showed us that papers. He wanted to tell us that he can help us.and that he is raedy for my order." –"but how can we inform him about your order?"
I used to put the declaration papers on the walls and mr. de la cruz played the guitar and sang beautiful songs about el libertador. Hoping him to come and help the people of pueblo.  Many days passed. Our agents came back from Oregon with bad news. They said that Bonaparte and his men not only have pushed the limits of Oregon border, but they are advancing through the south. I and Anita became very worried. We knew that families of other fur trappers were sad too. Because the fur traders were in Oregon and it was possible that they would be trapped at Oregon and California border. Many days later, the agents got us even worse news! Bonaparte had inprisoned the fur traders at the border and used to give them very little food and polluted water. I could imagine how hard it was for fur trappers. My father was one of them. Anita used to cry almost all of the day. And in the streets, almost all people were depressed. Mariachis didn t play the guitar or sing , and women didn t carry water above their head anymore. Sadness and depression was in the air. Everyone was sad. 1846: whould it be a year of depression or  el libertador would make it a year of victory? This was the question everybody asked of eachother.
There was no hope to el libertador to come. I didn t put declarations and de la cruz didn t sing anymore. But one day that all people believed that the next week Bonaparte will capture Santa Elena, someone named Benedict said that he had seen el libertador. He told alcade that he is back but alcade didn t believe it. He thought that benedict just wants to make him have strong heart. The next day, alcade told me and mr. de la cruz:" last night I was awake late and I was thinking to a soloution when someone knocked the door. I opened the door and saw a masked man with green hat and cloack. "are you el libertador?" I asked. He just shook his head and gave me a piece of paper in which it was written"senor, I m raedy for your order. Just tell me." I just asked him to avoid Bonaparte rule. He shook his head again and went. I neither saw his face nor heared his voice."
De la cruz gathered people at the town square and asked them to await el libertador. He also told them what alcade had said. People were excited to see him. Some prayed, some cried and some sang. Suddenly, we could see a man from far away with green cloack who looked like a green shadow. Everybody cried:"viva el libertador!" he became closer and closer until everyone could see his face definitely. Songs and prayers and cries were stopped. El libertador had raised his hand and saluted to people like Napoleon. He rided very professionally. His gesture on his horse, reminded me of Jacques Louise David s Napoleon crossing the alps. The difference was his green cloack instead of Napoleon s red cloack. And that he had covered his face with a mask. After he disappeared, everybody continued crying, singing or praying. I, alcade and de la cruz were standing at a corner and awaiting Anita. She said that she doesn t have the courage to see. She was very worried about father. She kissed father s daguerreotype and cried. I helped her to calm down and took him to alcade and mr. de la cruz. Alcade tried to calm her down and was a little successful. Everybody was at the town sqaure, awaiting the return of el libertador. It started raining. People became more excited. It reminded me the day of our failure of Bonaparte. "el libertador can be victorious" thought me and maybe many others…..
There passed thre days of el libertador s glorious return. He had rescued the last group of fur trappers. I and Anita wondered why father was not one of them. Everybody in pueblo was happy except us. Athlerbald came to see my father but when he realized that he hasn t came back, he was very shocked and left us sadly. I and Anita were left criying. Alcade came to see my father and when he realized he hasn t came back, he invited us to his house. His wife and children were so kind to us. I almost forgot everything but anita didn t.
One day,when we woke up in the morning, we saw el libertador sleeping at alcade s house s yard, near the pool. When he woke up, he turned to us and wanted to say something when mr. de la cruz suddenly enetered the house and said:"oh god, I wanted to go to Horatio s house to see him but they weren t there. So I came hereto see him."when he saw me and Anita, he said:"so, were is he?" I and Anita looked at eachother. De la cruz put his hat on his chest and turned down his head. He beacme very shocked when he saw el lbertador. While he hadn t put his hat on his head yet, he asked him:"oh hero, has anything bad happened to Horatio?" alcade s wife and children came to yard. Alcade s house wasvery similar to casa roja. The same white walls and arches, and the same orange roof. Also a beautiful garden and a pool. I remembered when I and de la cruz were sitting sadly on casa roja s yard s pool and I lighted his cigarette. I did it again.everybody in the yard was sad and staring at el libertador awaiting very bad and sad news.
Suddenly, el libertador put away his mask and everybody scried:" Horatio!" "father!" I cried. De la cruz put his sombrerro on his head and again on his chest:" senor!" everybody cried. Father, burned the maska nd the cloack, and put me and Anita in his arms. Alcade and de la cruz went to their bussiness, also me and Anita. "father, how?" I asked."this is asecret." He said.
The end



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