Lucia came running to Smith as her eyes welled with tears and she blurted out, "Potter has been arrested again". Smith did not look the least bit surprised about that and he calmly put his tools down and wrapped his wife in a tight embrace. "My betrothed all will be well" is all he could say to her as her sobs shook them in their warm embrace. Potter was their son and he was an activist involved in pressing for government reforms against the discrimination of immigrants. He was already accustomed to getting arrested and the number of times he had been arrested exceeded count (George 636). Smith was the local blacksmith and he ran a small shop in the town center making enough to cater for his small family and Lucia's brother, Rafael (Oscar n.p.).
"When I finish work I will go to see him and talk to the sheriff about letting him go free", Smith said as he slowly loosened the embrace. "You always value your work and never put your family first! What is wrong with you Smith? Do you even care about what happens to our young boy? Have you ever really supported him?" Lucia started blurting out in an angry fit. "I want my son back by dinner time", she said as she stormed out of the little shack that her husband worked in. Smith was left standing with arms at akimbo looking beaten.
Every time Potter had been arrested there was always conflict between him and Lucia and he was getting tired of all this. The young man had to change and find something better to do rather than always fighting for people who did even recognize his efforts let alone help him in any way (Sadowski-Smith 804). He sighed and shook his head then took off his work apron; he was going to deal with this issue before it caused more rifts between him and Lucia than there already were.
As Lucia walked slowly heading home, thoughts clouded her mind as she tried to stop the tears from flowing. Was it that God was punishing her for running away with their mother to avoid getting married to Brother Jonah? Or was it because she had not given her tithe for the past season's harvest? Maybe it was because of the fact that she had lusted over their neighbor's young man. But he was a fine young man; which lady would not admire that stud? Lucia was jolted back to her senses as she stumbled on a pile of bags at the side of the road. She fell down face first and ended up soiling her dress. "Lady, are you fine?” a native American voice from behind her enquired worriedly as a hand reached out to grab her.
"You!” Lucia shouted as she yanked herself away from the man. "You are the one who arrested my son! It was you and your bad men!" she kept shouting as tears started welling her eyes yet again. "My lady, I was just doing my job which is t….” the sheriff tried to explain but Lucia cut him short. “To oppress the poor and the Mexicans right?" she asked amid sobs that shook her to the core. "I... I..", the sheriff tried to find words to say so that he could calm the woman down but it did not seem to be working. A group of people were beginning to gather around them and the sheriff knew it was not safe to be standing around such an area so he quickly hurried off. This town was San Francisco shortly after the United States of America had annexed a big portion of Mexico during the war in the 19th century because of the secession treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (Luna- Firebaugh 181).
Lucia and her mother had been running off to try and prevent her from getting married off at an early age when the treaty took effect. At first it looked like a good thing for them to be on the American side but this was short lived when the Mexicans started getting mistreated by the Americans (Josiah 13). They would be executed and have their land forcefully taken away from them (Dunbar n.p.). One night when they were taking refuge in an inn in San Francisco, they were attacked by sheriffs who claimed they were witches and that they were practicing black magic which was outlawed (Taylor n.p.). Lucia's mother was shot at the inn as Lucia hid under the bed and she had to withstand the smell of her mother's blood for a whole night as she was too scared to come out. In the morning she was taken from under the bed by one of the inn's workers (Florey and Avery 233). This man was Smith and he hid her in his place as a bounty was placed on her head.
One night he came home and hurriedly asked Lucia to pack everything important as they needed to leave with haste. He did not mention why but from the look on his face, something was terribly wrong; so Lucia stopped pressing him and packed. They left that very night and headed out to another part of town where they were not very well known. It was here that they settled down and Smith opened a small shop to sell hoes and small weapons and before long he learnt how to be a blacksmith and started making the tools himself. Lucia agreed to become his wife and they had their first child. Unfortunately, the child died because of Typhoid and this broke Lucia as she had not completely gotten over her mother's death (Alfred n.p.). At one point she even tried committing suicide but luckily Smith found her just as she was about to jump of a tree and hang herself.
Over time they got over this and she was able to conceive and gave birth to Potter who she loved so dearly. The birth of Potter brought a type of happiness that Smith had never seen come from his wife and this strengthened their union. Smith loved his son even more because he had brought Joy between him and the wife who was willing to kill herself at one point. Potter grew to be a fine young man who was very much interested in knowing about his roots but this was hard as his father was the only child in his family and both his parents were already deceased. On the mother's side, his grandmother had been killed shortly after she became an American while his grandfather had been left on the Mexican side of the border (Del n.p.).
During Potter's tenth birthday, an unexpected visitor visited the family. It was none other than Rafael, Lucia's younger brother. Lucia was more than overjoyed to see the brother that she had left behind when she ran away from her father. Rafael had come with a message from her father. The message was that he had forgiven her and that he wanted her to go back home and marry whoever she wanted. On hearing this, Lucia got very angry and sent Rafael back to her father to tell him that she had already found love and she blamed him for her mother's death. Getting to learn to learn of his mother's death broke Rafael and he stayed for days on end without eating or speaking to anyone. He eventually got better and asked to leave and head back home. He also mentioned that it had been very hard to track her down and if she planned on moving she should make it known to him.
Not long after Rafael left, he came back in a very bad state. The sheriffs around the border had apparently been increased and this made it very hard to cross the border to go back home. He had encountered some guards and they beat him very badly and left him for dead. Lucia asked him to stay in the country but Rafael would have none of it. He mentioned that unlike him, Lucia was married to a local which made it easy for her to stay in the country. He stated that he feared being harassed and he preferred to find a way to go back home.
Finally Lucia was able to persuade her younger brother to stay around though in hiding so as to stay safe. Potter and Rafael spent a lot of time together and this made them very close and basing on the fact that they only had an age difference of about six years made it easy for them to coexist. This relationship and the fact that his uncle had to live in hiding is what led to potter becoming an activist and started pushing for the better treatment of the Latinos that lived in the country (Meier and Margo n.p.).
Rafael was the first person to arrive at the holding cells was Potter was being held. "Sir may I see a young man by the name Potter Smith?" he asked the sheriff in charge. "And I assume you are one of the pests that he is defending", the sheriff said with a distasteful grin on his face. "Sir please, I am his uncle", Rafael said timidly. The sheriff burst out laughing as other colleagues who were sited at the porch joined in the laughter. Amid the laughter, the sheriff was able to ask, "Gringo, are you trying to call me stupid?” By this time a tear had rolled down to his moustache due to the laughter and he roughly wiped it off as he leaned closer to the scared Rafael. "Boy I asked you a question, and when I ask a question I expect an answer. Boy!” he growled.
"Sheriff please let the young man be. This is my in law", came a voice from behind. Rafael did not have to turn as he knew who the voice belonged to. Smith came up and stood next to him as he stretched out his arm to greet the sheriff. The sheriff greeted him back but just before he let go of Smith's hand, he went forward to cheekily comment "and this is the blacksmith who thinks he can refine metal and also Mexicans". The whole group burst out laughing uncontrollably yet again and from the look on Smith's face, he was getting angry. "Can I see my son?” he asked with clenched teach. "No I will not, go make a key and come open the door yourself", the sheriff further went on to mock Smith and kept the others laughing.
"Sheriff! Sheriff! Sheriff! They are burning down my home!” a woman came in screaming. From her accent, it was clear that she was of Latin origin. She fell at the sheriff's feet as she cried. "Please sir help me, my two babies are in the house", she cried out. The laughter now completely died down. "Since all of you are witches you should consider that as sacrifice" he bellowed as he kicked her away from his feet (Taylor n.p.). Rafael had had enough of this treatment and he lunged at the big bellied officer. "All you people do is to mistreat us yet this is our land! When will you leave as alone and go back to your country?", he screamed as he rained blows on the officer's face. "Ad te reversus in donum suam canibus!" he yelled in Latin which translated to 'go back home you dogs'.
This left everyone shocked and for a second everybody was left rooted at the spot they were. Even the crying woman was too shocked to cry. The other sheriffs ran to the spot where their colleague was being beaten and they roughly pulled away Rafael as they kicked him. The boy managed to break free and ran off but not before he was shot on the shoulder by one of the sheriffs. He fell due to the impact and force of the bullet but he got up and disappeared into the town. The beaten sheriff goes up shaking with fury and pointed at Smith, "Yoooouuuu! You are the one who has been harboring that animal and for that you will rot with your pathetic son in Prison!" he shouted. "Take him and lock him in with his poor excuse of a son", he instructed the other officers. "And you woman, get out of here before I sacrifice you like those dolls you call babies" he shouted as he wiped off the dirt from his clothes.
Rafael ran straight home and found Lucia busy preparing food to cook for dinner as she awaited her son. She had even bought lamb meat which was her son's favorite meal. When she saw her brother running from a distance with one hand on his shoulder and filled with dirt, her heart sunk. She knew something was terribly wrong and this was confirmed when Rafael came closer with a blood soaked shirt. He fell at her feet as he screamed, "Volunt nos consummare! Volunt Nos consummare!” This translated to 'they want to finish us'. When Lucia noticed this was a bullet wound, she dropped everything and kneeled to look at the wound. She took off her head scarf and put it on the wound to prevent her brother from losing more blood. "Sister", Rafael gasped in a weak voice as his pale eyes looked at his sister. "Yes brother" Lucia said in a calm voice. By now she had stopped crying as she did not have the strength to do it anymore.
"Please go find your husband. I am dying and it is better if you take care of those who are still alive and leave me here to die. I have caused you enough da….” Rafael was saying this before Lucia placed a finger on his lips to keep him quiet. "I will not repeat the same mistake I did with mother", she said. I might not be able to save you by I want to hold you for as long as I can then I can take care of my husband and my son. They stayed there on the ground as Lucia stroked his head which was on her lap in complete silence. Her dress was now soaked in her brother's blood which was seeping slowly out of the wound on his shoulder. Just as darkness was beginning to creep in, Rafael died a peaceful and quiet death at the arms of his beloved sister. Lucia held him for another hour as she remembered all their memories and smiled knowing that he died a good man and he had a place in heaven where the virgin of Guadalupe would watch over him.
Lucia slowly go up and went to the house where she got a sheet to cover her brother and after she had covered him she found a torch, lit it and went to the place where the sheriffs were holding her son. She had no idea where her husband was and it did not dawn on her that it was already past the time that he was supposed to be home. She slowly walked to the police station with one intention which was to see her son. Just as she was approaching the sheriff's station, she noticed that a large crowd had convened there. There was a large fire consuming what used to be the cells where arrested people were held (Parish 1). She sensed that something was not right as she slowly walked towards the gathering her legs became heavier as she felt a deep emptiness in her heart.
When she came close enough to the crowd, she noticed that there were two bodies that were hanging from the tree at the compound. She now started walking hurriedly as she edged to the centre of the crowd to get a look at the people who were hanging from the tree and know their identities. Just as she was almost near the tree she emerged at the centre of the crowd and stumbled on someone who was sited at the ground. As she raised herself and turned to see who it was, she came face to face with her husband. He had blood all over his face and his beard was deep red in color because of being drenched in blood. Two lines on his face marked the path where there tears flowed and in his hands was their only son; their only son who was now dead.
Lucia was about to say something but her mouth went dry and it became hard for her to breathe. Her legs gave way as she collapsed to the ground. She crawled to where her son was and reached out to touch his lifeless body. She sat next to her husband who freed one hand and held her back. Together they held their dead son as the crowd which largely composed of Mexicans and a few native Americans kept on chanting as they stoned the suspended bodies of the dead sheriffs (Ortiz n.p.). The battle lines had been drawn and this was going to be a blood bath when the other two escaped sheriffs came back with reinforcements. One thing was lingering in the minds of both Lucia and Smith and it was that they were prepared for what was coming. They were going to avenge the death of their loved ones even if it would cost them their lives.
Lucia particularly felt that she had lost so much in the hands of her oppressors as the body count had now been raised to three. She would gladly become the fourth one but not without going down with some of these animals who had no conscience. Smith only had one thing in mind and that thing was that his own people had taken away the one thing he loved the most and what he was sure of is that things would never be the same again with his wife after all the loss that they had experienced in a single day. Loss so large that it seemed ridiculous that it had all happened in less than 8 hours. One thing was for sure and that thing was the fact that they were going to pay for all this.
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