The Adventures of Maite and Kepa: Part 152

“You know,” said Kepa as they made their way through the narrow streets that intertwined in the Parte Vieja of Donostia, “if we can just point our way to the zatia, that will make our lives a lot easier.”

The Adventures of Maite and Kepa is a weekly serial. While it is a work of fiction, it has elements from both my own experiences and stories I’ve heard from various people. The characters, while in some cases inspired by real people, aren’t directly modeled on anyone in particular. I expect there will be inconsistencies and factual errors. I don’t know where it is going, and I’ll probably forget where it’s been. Why am I doing this? To give me an excuse and a deadline for some creative writing and because I thought people might enjoy it. Gozatu!

Maite nodded. “If we could have done this with Donnie, you wouldn’t have gotten shot.”

Remembering the bullet that had pierced his heart made Kepa wince. He had thought he was over it, but a pain shot through his chest and he stumbled. 

“What’s wrong?” asked Maite, obvious concern in her face as she put an arm around his shoulder to keep him from falling.

“Just the thought of Donnie’s bullet, it’s overwhelming at times.”

“It is for me too, and I wasn’t the one who got shot.”

“I’m ok,” said Kepa as he straightened up. “Let’s keep going. Where did you say the zatia is?”

Maite pointed. “That way.” Her finger was pointing to Urgull, the small hill that rose out of the end of the old part of town. In his time, this is where the San Telmo museum stood, at the base of Mount Urgull. He didn’t expect to find any tourists this time.

They rounded a corner and nearly bumped into a group of three French soldiers. Before the soldiers could respond, they turned and ran.

“Halt!” cried one of them as the other two began pursuit. The first one raised his musket and fired, a ball ricocheting off the walls next to him.

“Dammit!” cried Kepa as they turned another corner. He was beginning to lose his sense of direction, buried deep in the Parte Vieja without any visible landmark to guide him. He wasn’t sure which way he was going. It didn’t matter, as he could hear the heavy footsteps of the soldiers and their boots behind them.

“When we make it out of this bubble,” said Maite between panting breaths, “we need a proper vacation.”

Kepa nodded silently as he pulled her around another corner. He suddenly stopped. In front of them was a wall. 

“Dammit!” he cried, his face scrunched in frustration. He turned, putting Maite between himself and the wall as the French appeared in front of him. Two of them had their muskets raised while the third, a young man no older than Kepa with a dark mustache and a sickening smile, approached them.

“Why do you run?” he asked in broken Spanish.

“We want no trouble,” replied Kepa.

“Then you should not run,” said the soldier. His smile slowly transformed into a snarl. “No one is allowed out of doors.”

“We needed food,” said Kepa. 

“There is no food here,” snapped the soldier. “But there is plenty in the cells.” He waved to his comrades. “Take them.”

Kepa raised his hand, the light from his palm beginning to grow in brightness. Just as a flash burst forth, one of the soldiers yelled “Sorcière! Witch!” while the first one, the one that had been talked, raised his pistol and fired blindly into the light. 

Maite heard Kepa scream as the soldiers stumbled, their hands over their eyes. Kepa’s body slumped to the ground. Maite rushed to his side. “Not again,” she whispered over and over to herself as she saw the bright red stain spread across Kepa’s shirt.

Tears fell across her face as she looked down at him. “Why are you always trying to play the hero?” she said between her sobs. 

Kepa coughed, his spittle bright red. “I just want to keep you safe,” was all he could muster.

His eyes glanced over at the soldiers, who were slowly recovering from the light.

“You need to go,” he said. “Find the zatia, and get us home.”

Maite was about to protest leaving him there but she just nodded. She got up and calmly walked up to the still dazed soldiers. The first one took an elbow in the nose. His hands covered his face as blood gushed down his front as he collapsed to the ground. Maite hit the second one hard in his throat with the side of her hand, knocking the air out of him. She then grabbed his head and threw it down as she slammed her knee up. The soldier crumpled to the ground. Maite approached the third soldier, who had dropped his musket and was fumbling to find his pistol. His face was ashen. “Sorcière!” he repeated. “Stay away!” he cried. 

He backed against the wall, his hands too sweaty to grab his gun. Maite leaned in, her eyes flashing with the light of the zatia. “Boo,” she whispered. The soldier fainted in a pool of his own urine. Maite turned to look back at Kepa who lay lifeless at the end of the alley, then walked back into the street, light crackling at her fingertips.

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