The compound was engulfed in turmoil. Brothers and natives battled flaming tumbleweeds and smoldering palm branches. The old cart that Sal brought from México and all the tools burned.
The scaffold supporting the Mission bell sagged, about to collapse. Sal spotted Brother Jayme running toward the bell. “Where are you going? ¡Cuídate, careful!”
Heading toward a group of natives, waving his arms above his head, Brother Jayme didn’t hear him. The Brother attempted to warn the others to stand back from the heavy bell before it fell and crushed them. Moments later, he fell to the ground. Some of the natives rushed around him. But, to Sal’s horror, they didn’t help him escape the fire. They beat his body with burning clubs.
“What are you doing? Get away from him!” Sal said. He struggled to his feet, too far away to be of any help.
“It’s Brother Jayme, stop, stop!” another Brother said. This man was fearless as he ran forward, trying to defend Brother Jayme. It was Blas! He struggled to reach Brother Jayme, and in seconds, he too laid sprawled on the ground. Native men beat Blas and also attacked other tribal converts.
These men moved like tall, dark shadows through the ash and continued to stoke fires in all parts of the compound. Still choking on the smoke, Sal tried to reach Blas. What could he do? Blinded by the ash, he could identify only one man who held his ground and looked past the wreckage.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish