The Death of Zorro

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Literature Text

Written by: John Miller III

The long dark corridor reeked of the disease ridden filth I have been hunting down for months, and my nostrils ached because of it. Carlos Hernandez has been responsible for the illegal sex trafficking of more than 700 children in the last year. For months he’s managed to escape my grasp but tonight, that all changes. The edge of my long black cape and my boots soak in the dark, murky liquid that resided on the floor, I don’t even care to know what it is. Small holes in the roof allow a little light to come in so that I don’t have to walk completely blind towards my target. I make an extra effort to be quiet as to not alert any of the guards that may be in the surrounding vicinity. Making my way into the unknown my mind wanders to my wife and child at home. It’s been months since I last saw her face or kissed her lips. I can just picture my beautiful angel, Isabella holding precious Juliana in her arms, who’s just over a month old. I can see them sitting in the vast living room in the chair that’s positioned by the fireplace. I hear Juliana’s cross between a hiccup and a whine, the sound she makes just before she starts to cry. Isabella sings to calm our baby girl to a soft whine. Her angelic face illuminated in the fire’s glow, giving her smile an even more magical feel. “You’re father will be home soon my love. Then we can celebrate and be merry together once more.” She says to little Juliana. Her voice and face fades and instead of the smell of roses and vanilla, the stench of death and danger intrude the pores of my skin and nose once again. The sound of voices becomes apparent to my trained ears from down the stairs and across the hall. There’s obviously an argument going on among a group of men and I’m able to pinpoint Carlos’ voice among the many. Rage consumes my soul as I become aware of the sound of crying children as well. They must be in the middle of making a deal. I think to myself. Time to do this the old fashioned way. I jump down the stairs and enter into a front flip in mid air. My boots make loud sound upon making contact with marble flooring. “Zorro!” Carlos exclaims obviously caught off guard by my sudden appearance. “You’re finished Carlos! I’m bringing you and your whole operation down!” I respond with more confidence than I actually feel. “How could you have led Zorro here!” I’m guessing the guy who said that was a client and not just a henchman. I scan the room only to be disappointed. I am greatly outnumbered. Fifteen guards surround me, all of them are armed and none of them are skinny. My sword is drawn but so are their guns. My duel pistols are still in their resting place and I have nowhere to go. Thinking fast I drop to the floor as fast as my body and gravity let me, and even though the impact sores my body it saves me from being shot. The fools, instead of hitting me they end up hitting various others instead, including one of the clients and Carlos. I quickly pull out my flintlock pistols and at lightning speed shoot two other henchmen in the ankles. Quickly jumping to my feet I am able to disarm and defeat the other henchmen in a flurry of fancy sword moves. It was finally time to deal with Carol’s himself but as I turn to fight him a pain unlike any other penetrates my side. I look down to see a small cavity in my side from Carlos’ pistol. I look back up to see the menace pointing his brown and silver weapon between my eyes. My life flashes before my eyes because surely this is the end of Zorro. But how, after all I’ve been through and survived countless times, how could I fall like this? The satisfaction on Carlos’ face burned me but there was nothing else I could do. My head makes a whiplash motion as my executioner heel kicks me to the mold ridden ground. I look to my left to see the children in crates being loaded onto a truck by more henchmen. Obviously they’re just appearing because I’m certain I took out all that were here previously. “You could never save them.” Carlos proclaims assertively. “This operation has been going on for years. That’s not something someone can stop in just a few months, not even you...Zorro.” He presses his foot against my bullet wound, and while the pain is astounding all I feel is anger and wrath. “Before I kill you though...” He hesitates. “I wanna see who’s behind the mask. I wanna see the hate and terror in your eyes just before you draw your last breath.” “You’re making a mistake!” I respond bitterly. His laugh is one of arrogance. “That’s what they all say!” He responds as he reaches to take off my mask. “Carlos! We have to go! We can’t spend anymore time here, for all we know he could have alerted the authorities of our location! Do what you need to do and hurry!” The burly man then lifted the last two crates and rested them on his shoulders and hurried to the truck. “You’re coming with me. I’m going to get my revenge!” It was the last thing I heard Carlos say before everything went dark.
I dream of my wife Isabella and daughter Juliana. But this dream is not as happy as the vision I had earlier. I see my beautiful wife crying along with my precious daughter as they kneel over a shiny black tombstone. Upon closer look I see the name on the tombstone. It says: “Here lies Zorro (Gabriel Rivera), 2007-2040, Loving father and legendary hero.” Lightning and thunder blind me to the sorrowful scene and cover my ears from hearing any more cries. My eyes snap open in a terrible dread as I am blind to the comfy suite I now reside in. I run and scream frantically and nearly break my arm trying to break through anything to see my wife and daughter one last time. I black out once again in response to a sharp pain in my lower neck.
My eyes open only to see the face of my enemy smirking back at me. “Welcome back to the land of the living sleeping beauty.” He says. Suddenly a smaller male of youth age barges into the room. “Maestro! Maestro! One of the children escaped! What should I do?” The youth is dirty and has obviously been neglected of proper food consumption for some time. I heard a loud shot ring out and where the boy stood his body was not slumped on the floor, a pool of blood leaking from him. My eyes turn to see Carlos with a gun in his hand pointed in the same direction where the boy fell. His face shows no regret. He only cleans his gun and turns his focus back to me. He breaks out laughing obviously amused by the horrific face expression my face was now somehow glued to. The room goes from normal color to all I see is red. I feel blood fill my mouth and a pain unlike any other tear through my body as he inserts a small sharp knife into my abdomen. “That was for my brother.” His words are bitter as he slowly moves the knife around in me. I can’t speak, I can only try to gasp for air. I finally manage to tell Carlos that it wasn’t me who killed his brother, but it was Carlos himself that killed his brother. This hurt him I could tell, more than anything I could ever physically do to him. “Leave us! LEAVE US NOW!” I hear Carlos say to everyone else in the room. Everything starts to fade, the light is either too bright or too dim and my whole body aches. But most of all, my heart shatters at the thought of never seeing my family again. Tears swell in my eyes like of the great lakes in The West. “It was you who killed my brother that night! If you had not shown up, he would have never died! This is all your fault!” I stare at him with blank eyes. “If you had never brought him along, he would still be alive.” I respond. “No!” His voice has changed completely now. It’s at least an octave higher and breaks between words. “You didn’t have to come to stop us! Everything was just fine until you showed up!” “No, everything was not fine. And either way Carlos, you had lost your brother long before his death.” A ear piercing scream lept from Carlos’ lips as he tore my hat and mask from off my face. His face reaction was something I hoped was one he wouldn’t have, but it said it all. Betrayal. Water fell from his eyes like the falls of South America and his face no longer looked like one of a sec traffiker and murderer. “No! No! No! NOOO! Gabriel?” He was on his knees looking at me with horror. “Brother-” No!” I interrupted him heatedly. “I am not your brother! Not anymore!” My eyes were hot and every word I spoke issued unbearable pain throughout my whole body. Like I said. You lost your brother long before the night of my death.” “Why?” Are the only words he can manage to say. “Because it’s the right thing to do.” With the little strength I have left and all the passion and rage in my heart I manage to kick Carlos on his back, stand up, and knock him out before he can call for reinforcements. Luckily I found some bandages in the cupboard and tended to both my gun wound and knife wound. My body screamed out bloody hell with every step I took but I fought it. The children, I must get to the children. My child, my wife, I will see them again. Those thoughts keep me going, despite the fact that I’m slowly dying due to a lack of blood. I almost feel bad about leaving blood stain on the nice bleached carpet as I tread to find my way to the children. Hopefully they’re here. I put my mask and hat back on and make my way to the nearest guard. It will take a lot but i have to somehow look menacing, not hurting, and manage to knock out the guard after finding out where the children are. I take a deep breath then grab the guard suddenly and pull him to a ledge. His mouth is covered and my sword is at his throat. “Tell me where the children are..and I’ll let you live.” He doesn’t hesitate and tells me exactly where they are. Now comes the hard part. I whack him across the face as hard as I can with the handle of my sword and it seems to do justice. It probably hurt me more than it hurt him though. I manage to find my way to the basement level without having to fight any guards. Upon reaching it I hide behind some empty crates and scout out the area with my fading vision. There are guards strategically set up around the area and about 40 crates with children in each one. I listen in on one of the conversation a few of the guards are having. “Did they catch the little girl that escaped?” Said one. “No, they aren’t even searching for her. They think she’s just gonna die I guess.” the ugly one responded. Suddenly another guard appears saying they sighted the girl, this draws most of the guards attention and allows me easy access to filled crates. It then occurs to me that I have no real plan on how to get all the children out alive. I guess I’ll just play it by ear. I think to myself. I’m not ignorant to the pain my body still feels but I can’t worry about it with so much at risk. I manage to take out most of the guards still lurking around even though it was just a few, and in moments I’m freeing children. Half of them don’t even know who I am, and they don’t speak English or Spanish. I give hand movements to try to communicate with them instead, and it works out okay. I’m saving the last kid when suddenly, “Zorro! I’ll drink your blood!” I turn around to see Carlos with his golden bladed sword drawn. “Run!” I scream to the children, and those who understood me motion to the other children to follow them. An eerie silence falls over the room as I unsheath my sword and get in a ready fighting position. I stare in the twisted face of my once eldest blood brother, but who fell upon a dark road that forever destroyed us. He attacks first. His style is aggressive and involves a lot of strong strikes and fierce jabs, but he is much slower than I. He would have been an easier fight if I wasn’t so wounded, and is only a challenge because of that. My smooth, quick, yet balanced style is actually overcome eventually by Carlos’ only because my wounds cried out louder than they had previously been doing. I fall to my knees in broken despair and look at the blade of my executioner once more. I flashback to the dream I had. This is it then, this is the death of Zorro. This is how the legend dies. “You were right! My brother did die off that ledge 12 years ago!” The lights go out as soon as he’s about to finish me off. I manage to grab my sword because he misses me and only grazes my right cheek. I slice his front thighs immobilizing him and I quickly stand up with my sword at his throat. The lights come back on and I look to see the little girl who escaped at the light switch. We each exchange a smile, then I look back down at the villian. “You’re wrong Carlos.” I say to him bitterly. “I was always dead those years of being your brother. The Zorro before me brought me back to life.” My eyes shut tight before my sword runs itself through his throat. I feel the blade as the flesh, muscle, and bone try and fail to resist it’s course to make it’s way to the other side. Tears spill from my eyes as I retract my blade from his throat and put it back on my hilt. “Come on. We have to save the other. I found a boat we can get on so we can get off of this island and go back to shore.” I’m shocked at the girls intelligence and more so shocked that I never realized we were on an island the whole time.
We find the rest of the children huddled in a cave on the outskirts of the island. I manage to stop the various guards we run into on our way to the boat. The sky wears a beautiful orange, blue, and purple haze and all I can think of is my wife and daughter as I slowly drift off into blackness. I’ve lost too much blood. The last thing I see are the children crowding around me and I leave earth for the third time today.
The cries of a baby child cause my eyes to reawaken. “Isabella. Juliana.” I barely manage to say. Her lips against mine keep me from wasting anymore wasted energy and seem to heal my wounds at the same time. I feel immortal again. After a few weeks I’m good to ride again. I admire the black suit that’s affiliated with Zorro. “Tornado.” I say to my trusty steed. “I’m getting too old for this.” He seems to share in the amusement in my voice, and we both have a good laugh before I return to the villa with my wife and daughter. I embrace Isabella like we fell in love all over again. “I thought I would never see you again. We both did.” She said with tears strolling down her cheeks. My hands find their way to her face to wipe away her tears as a half smile spreads across my face. “So did I. That’s what kept me going.” I stop to stare at the rising sun. “I thought, if I could kiss your lips and hold my baby girl one more time. I could die peacefully...and now. I see, it’s more important to live for you rather than die for you.” I turn back to my wife and daughter. “I will always be Zorro for as long as I can. But I’ll never stop being your husband and Juliana’s father for as long as I live.” I finish. “I love you.” Isabella says leaning in to kiss me. “I love you too.” I finish as our lips make contact for the first time it seems, in a very long time.

Zorro has a new face, same purpose, and uncertain fate.
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