Chapter 25 (shooting horses)
I woke up to the sound of screaming in the distance. I looked over to see Peoria sleeping next to me. I lifted up a corner of the tarp just in time to see the last glimpse of the sun before it sank below the horizon. I gently shook Peoria by the shoulder to wake her up. She sat up slowly, sleepily, trying to remember where she was. When she heard the screaming, she looked at me with terrified eyes.
“You look awful,” she said.
“I don’t feel very good,” I told her. “We need to find the others,”
One by on we climbed down out of the wagon. My leg throbbed. I could feel every heart beat like a thunder bolt through my body. The pain made me nauseous and I feared I would be sick. My leg was so stiff I couldn’t bend it. I was able to stand, but immediately fell over when I attempted to walk. Peoria helped me get back on my feet. I put my arm around her shoulder and we slowly made our way back to Los Olvidados. I caught a glimpse of myself in the side mirror of a pick-up truck. I’d lost all color in my face. I looked like death it self.
As we neared the center of town the screaming became louder, angrier, like a cloud of drunken aggression. One voice was the loudest, yelling over and over again “Johnston Lewis! Bring me Johnston Lewis!” I immediately recognized the voice to belong to Scotty.
When we reached Zacatecas Cathedral, Peoria leaned me up against the wall and the two of us peered around the corner to see what was happening. Scotty and the rest of the Yuls were in front of Los Olvidados turning over wagons and setting them on fire. They were firing their guns into the air and describing at the top of their lungs the gruesome atrocities they planned to do to us once they found us.
A young boy rode up with a wagon full of lumber. One of the Yuls shot the horse in the head, while the other pulled the boy down and slung him to the ground. They kicked the wagon over and dosed it with tequila and whiskey, before setting it on fire like the rest.
Peoria put her hands to her mouth as tears rolled down her cheeks. I handed her the gun and slumped down against the wall. She sat down next to me and grabbed my hand. My head became heavy. I could barely keep my eyes open.
I woke up to a sharp searing pain in my leg. I tried to sit up but a hand calmly pushed me back down. An old man was standing over me with a knife and a bloody rag.
“Tranquilo,” he said. “Estoy intentando salir la bala de su pierna,”
He handed me a bottle of mescal and continued to work on my leg. I was lying on a small bed in a dark windowless room. Peoria was sitting at a desk in front of me.
“This is Rafael. He found us sleeping against the wall. He helped me carry you inside.”
“Where are we?” I asked.
“In the cathedral, down in the basement.”