The Spaniards had returned for what they deemed was rightfully theirs. An army of nearly three thousand men loyal to King Ferdinand approached with rifles at the ready.
Sitting atop his horse, the middle-aged Colonel Javier Arroyo peaked at the uninvited guests through a spy glass.
“Madness,” the Colonel said. “General, we have no choice but to…”
Before Arroyo could say “surrender,” his commander, the brash, young General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was off, charging his steed towards the invaders with his saber drawn, a battle cry pouring out of his lungs, and a thousand of his own men in tow.
“Dios mio,” Colonel Arroyo said as he drew his sword and pointed it at the Spaniards. “Attack!”
The air grew thick with the scent of gunpowder as shots rang out from both sides. Swords clanged. Blood was spilled, staining the soil crimson.
Before long, the Colonel and the General found themselves fighting in close proximity to one another.
“I find myself questioning your sanity, Antonio!” the Colonel cried as ran his sword through a Spaniard’s gut.
Santa Anna fired his pistol at one Spanish soldier, then, lacking sufficient time to reload, socked another square in the jaw with his bare fist.
“And I question your intestinal fortitude, Javier,” Santa Anna replied.
The general’s sword clanged against a Spanish rapier. Parry…parry…thrust! Another Spaniard down.
“Your guts!” Santa Anna said.
“There are too many of them!” Arroyo shouted. “There’s cowardice and then there’s using the head that God gave you!”
Pow! A Spanish cannonball emerged from a cannon perched on a hilltop, tore through the air, and landed twenty feet away, causing a contingent of Mexican soldiers to erupt in an explosion of blood and viscera.
Santa Anna picked up a dead Spaniard’s rifle and fired a shot, opening up a giant hole in the middle of a Spanish officer’s head.
“Fighting to keep what is yours?” Santa Anna asked. “If you think that’s a bad idea, then you’re the one who has something wrong his head, amigo.”
Pow! A second cannonball landed. It was closer this time. Ten feet away. More blood. More guts.
Arroyo ducked just in time to avoid getting his faced smashed in with the butt of a rifle. He returned the favor by jamming his sword through his opponent’s stomach.
“I think its a good idea to live,” Arroyo said.
“And you will,” Santa Anna said. “Trust me, tonight we will celebrate by…”
Pow! A third cannonball landed less than a foot away. It exploded.
The general was on the ground. His ears were ringing. His sight was blurry.
“Antonio!” Arroyo shouted as he fought his way to his fallen leader’s side.
Santa Anna looked to his left. A bloody, shredded leg laid in the dirt. Even with all the pain and confusion, he could tell the limb looked all too familiar.
The general looked down. His right leg was still there. His left leg was not. Scraps of flesh and bone jutted out of the left side of his pelvis where his leg once was.
“Antonio?” the Colonel asked. “Antonio!”
Santa Anna’s eyes closed and he slipped into a deep, dark state of unconsciousness.
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