* * *
In his bedroom, Fr. Kane had trouble sleeping. He tossed and turns in his bed as if tormented by a horrible dream.
It was night and the wind was howling mad. And out of the blue, along with the howling, a soft humming filled the air and as the voice took a high pitch, the howling slowly diminished as if in defeat just as the newly rising sun filtered across the plateau. And a rose swayed gently to the morning breeze.
In his sleep, Fr. Kane slowly murmured. ‘Roza…’ Fr. Kane quickly opened his eyes with a jerk. His body was covered in sweat and his breath comes faster as he realized what he just said in his sleep. He got up and walked to the window. There was thunder and lightening happening outside. He shut the window and slowly paced the room. He then walked out of the room.
He entered the church and walked over to the ‘Pieta’. He knelt in front of it. His face appeared tormented. He closed his eyes for a few seconds. Slowly he opened them again and tearfully looked up at the statue. He found it difficult to look at Jesus’ face. Suddenly he heard someone discreetly opening the Church door. His concentration was broken and he looked around. He saw Pascal Costa who quickly entered and closed the door behind him. He walked over to the alter and knelt down and quickly murmured a prayer. He sensed someone and quickly looked around to find Fr. Kane. ‘What happened? What are you doing here so early morning, Senor Pascal??’
‘Padre, I have come to ask God for forgiveness.’
‘Forgiveness? I don’t get you.’
‘Padre, I am leaving this town for good and…’
‘Wait a second. What do you mean leaving this town for good?’
Pascal Costa hesitated. ‘Padre, I am traveling away for good. I am leaving everyone and everything behind.’
‘Pascal Costa, that is absolutely wrong. You have a family to take care of. What about them?’
‘They have Rosalin to take care of them.’
‘I don’t understand Tia. Why are you doing this? Do you realise that at this age, its your family who’s going to take care of you.’
‘No Padre, I have someone else to take care of me. I need to go Padre. Please pray for me and Padre…’
‘Padre… please tell my family that I love them and will miss them.’
Tearfully Pascal Costa shook hands with Fr. Kane and turning around hurriedly walked over to the door and disappeared outside in the darkness.
Dawn was about to break when Pascal Costa reached the quay. He quickly boarded his ship and soon the ship sets sail. Pascal Costa gave one last look at the fast disappearing shoreline. There was a remorse look on his face. The girl from the bar was at his side as she held on to his arm. She leaned back a little to watch the captain as he approached them. They exchanged coy and secretive glances with each other. The girl then took Pascal Costa’s face in her palms and gently kissed him softly on his lips. Smile broke on his Pascal Costa’s face as he temporarily forgot his sorrows.
Rosalin stood at the balcony and stared broodingly at the vast sea. Antonio walked up. ‘You still haven’t told me where you had been last evening.’
‘Is it important enough for you to know that?’
‘Shut up. Do you realise that you could have got killed.’ Antonio yelled at her.
‘Killed? By my own uncle? You are mistaken.’
‘Your uncle was a member of the rebels. I am going to make life miserable for everyone of his clans. Once again I am asking you, who had you been visiting? Your good-for-nothing family? ’
‘No! I was at the Church.’
‘Church? Ahhhh. Then let me tell you something. While you were praying to your Lord, your good-for-nothing Pai had some other plans lined up. And you will be pleased to know that this morning he set sail never to return back and yes, that’s not all. He’s taken his mistress with him, a girl your age.’
‘I don’t believe you.’
‘You’d better!’ Antonio stomped his feet and angrily walked out of the room.
In his private study, Viceroy Fonseca was impatiently walking up and down. Marcos and other others patiently waited for him to say something. Marcos was impatient and cursed under his breath for the time wastage. Viceroy paused in his track. ’I want stern actions taken against the guards who were at the gate last night. Marcos, take your men and scout all the villages. Do a search in their homes for weapons. I want all the rebels arrested!’
‘Yes your highness.’
Antonio walked in the room in time to hear the order. ‘I’ll go with you Marcos. I want to make sure whoever’s behind this is dealt with severely!’ He offered. Marcos nodded in agreement.
Soldiers rushed to the villages and started evicting people. Houses are searched and people killed or arrested on suspicion. Antonio and Marcos supervised it. Antonio gave the orders loudly. ‘I want all houses search for weapons of any kind and who’s found with anything, I want them arrested and taken to the prison. And if any one tries to resist, shoot him down. You get me? Now go. Marcos you see that no one escapes. I am going back.’ Antonio raced away on his horse. Marcos supervised as the soldiers went about searching houses in brutal manner. Across the village, Marcos laid his eyes on Rosalin’s house. He indicated it one of the soldiers. ‘Hey, check that house too.’
‘Sire, that is Lady Rosalin’s house.’ The soldier pointed out.
‘I don’t care.’ Marcos yelled at him. ‘Now check it out and if anyone tries to intervene, kill them!’
The soldier hesitantly replied, ‘Yes Sire.’ He and another then entered Rosalin’s house. Rosalin’s mother came out running hysterically and seeing Marcos, ran up to him.
‘Stop it your highness, stop it. I am Antonio’s Mother-in-law. Please leave us alone. We are innocent.’
With deep sarcasm Marcos looked at her. ‘Oh yes.’ The next second, Marcos pierced his sword in her body brutally and pulled it out. She fell down, bleeding profously. He signaled another soldier who ran up with a flaming torch. Marcos took the torch from his hand and flung in on Rosalin’s house. The house caught fire. There was crying and wailing from inside the house as it went up in flames. Marcos turned to the soldier.
‘One word of this and I’ll kill you. You understand?’
‘Yes Sire.’ The soldier answered in fear.