Bad Times In LA

Parte Dos-C

Nancy Smith

Zorro slowed Tornado to a canter as they neared the small adobe house where Dr. Hernandez lived. As they neared the house, he noticed a light in the window and trotted Tornado to the back where it was dark.

'I don't have time for formalities.' Thought Zorro decisively. He hopped off Tornado and stepped up to a window and pulled out a small knife from his waistband. He carefully slid the blade between the shuttered window, and with a slight twist of his wrist he flipped the lock from the window and slowly opened it. He quietly crawled through the window and made his way to the room where he had noticed the light. He crept up to the door that was slightly ajar and slowly opened it. As he peered inside the room, he saw Dr. Hernandez sitting slightly hunched over at his desk with a book open and writing in his journal.

Zorro quietly walked into the room and eased his sword out of his scabbard and lightly tapped the doctor on his shoulder with the flat part of his sword. Dr. Hernandez quickly dropped his pen and whirled around to see Zorro as big as life standing right behind him with those same determined steel blue eyes of his staring back at him.

"Zorro!!!" Dr. Hernandez replied in a low tone, but obviously startled. He sat for a moment and inwardly composed himself. "Please forgive, I wasn't expecting you! But then again I never know when you're going to show up!" he replied sighing resolutely, putting his hand to his chest.

Zorro eyed the doctor decidedly as he looked at him. "I'm sorry I frightened you seņor, but I come to you on an urgent matter! I desperately need your services!" Replied Zorro trying to conceal his worry for Felipe.

Dr. Hernandez looked at Zorro guardedly and slowly rose from his seat. "What is it Zorro? Are you injured or is there someone else injured?" Inquired the kind doctor anxiously. He was used to treating gunshot or sword wounds, which was a common occurrence in the territory. Often tempers flared and challenges were made which resulted in either someone getting shot or stabbed. Fortunately there were usually just wounds to patch up and very seldom a death would occur.

The people in this pueblo were relatively mild mannered compared to other pueblos. They would rather argue with words or fists than use actual weapons. Everyone was too busy just trying to survive and being wounded or killed due to a senseless argument, was just not an option.

Zorro shook his head and looked at Hernandez decisively. "It's the young de la Vega servant boy Felipe. I was informed that he has suddenly become gravely ill and they need you at the hacienda." Replied Zorro earnestly.

As Dr. Hernandez walked toward his medicine chest, he glanced over at Zorro and looked at him inquisitively.

"Why didn't Don Alejandro or Don Diego come, why did they send you?" He inquired curiously.

Zorro eyed the doctor resolutely. "It was very late and since I just happened to be in the area I volunteered my services. Besides, the boy is very ill and they needed to be with him." He responded assuredly.

Dr. Hernandez nodded and began filling up his medical bag. He turned to Zorro and looked at him inquisitively.

"What is the boy's condition? Is there any fever or rash?" Inquired the doctor.

Zorro shook his head. "They informed me that he has a very high fever. He is also very weak." Replied Zorro resolutely.

Dr. Hernandez pulled out a few herbs that he had used for fevers that he had stored in jars and crushed into powders and carefully measured them out into small packets and placed them in his bag. Some of the herbs he kept whole because of their curative property and the fact that they were more potent in their natural forms. He placed those in a pouch and put them in his bag. After collecting his instruments, he was finally ready to go.

To Zorro, what took just minutes, seemed to take hours. He had to inwardly restrain himself from rushing the doctor because of his deep concern over Felipe. Dr. Hernandez was a good doctor and had helped many people in the pueblo during times of illness and random acts of violence from bandits or renegades. He had also delivered half the people that now resided in the pueblo with very few complications. Even in times of famine, he came to their aid. He never turned anyone away if they couldn't pay, and was usually compensated with vegetables from farmers or sides of meat from cattle ranchers. Once he even received as payment a jar of preserves from an elderly woman that he had treated for a small cut.

Dr. Hernandez extinguished his light and followed Zorro out the back door. He looked up at Tornado and turned to Zorro and looked at him somewhat hesitantly. He had seen Tornado from a distance, but upon seeing him up close he was quite taken aback at how big this beautiful black steed really was. As Tornado pitched his head and whinnied, Zorro stepped up to him and patted his neck. "Shhh, easy boy! It's only Dr. Hernandez!" Zorro reassured Tornado.

"Maybe I should get my wagon." Replied Hernandez nervously.

Zorro flashed a stern look at Hernandez and shook his head. "We don't have time! It's all right, Tornado is used to having passengers." He replied mildly. He patted Tornado's neck and took Dr. Hernandez's bag and tied it to the saddle. He hopped up on Tornado and extended his hand to the doctor. Dr. Hernandez reached up and took Zorro's hand and in seconds he was on the back of Zorro's horse! Hernandez shook his head in amazement at how strong Zorro was and the fact that he was riding on Tornado!

Tornado impatiently pawed the ground as Zorro gathered the reins in his hand. As Dr. Hernandez firmly wrapped his arms around Zorro's waist, he slightly groaned.

"That's a pretty firm grip you have there, doctor! Don't worry, you're not going to fall!" Zorro assured calmly.

Hernandez leaned against Zorro. "I'm not taking any chances!"

Zorro slightly chuckled and shook his head. "All right boy, let's go!" He gave a clicking sound to Tornado and lightly pressed his heels into his flanks and they rode off into the night.

Doctor Hernandez closed his eyes during the first part of the ride, but later opened them and slightly relaxed his grip. He ultimately realized that this charismatic masked man and his larger than life beautiful black horse had his best interest at heart and was not about to take any chances and risk losing the one man that could help save a young boy's life.

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