The Palacio Nacional was an astounding piece of architecture. Though by the 1800s it featured balconies, columns, porticos and other European style features, there were parts of the structure that dated back to the Aztec King Montezuma II.
But at this particular moment of history, there was no time to appreciate a fine building. Rival factions had gathered outside and violence was underway.
“Guerrero is the rightful ruler of Mexico!” cried one of the president’s supporters. “Down with the traitors!”
“Fool!” shouted a supporter of the vice-president. “Bustamante will lead us into prosperity!”
Torches were brandished. Rocks and bricks were thrown. Heads were busted. Fists flew.
A shot was fired.
“Insolent rabble!” shouted Colonel Arroyo as he stepped down from his horse. “Cease this disruption of the peace and make way for the general so that he may sort out this matter at once!”
The opposing sides were ready to tear each others’ throats out over their disagreements, but they were united in their respect for Santa Anna. As the general marched up the steps in his dress uniform, the crowd gazed upon him in sheer reverence.
The general, the colonel, and Isadora entered the palace in lockstep with a dozen soldiers trailing behind them.
“General,” the Colonel said. “These past few months in your service have certainly been an adjustment. Your foray into the, well, for lack of a better word, ‘the occult,’ has certainly taught me many dark secrets about our world.”
“Your loyalty has always been your greatest virtue, Colonel,” Santa Anna replied.
“Yes,” the Colonel said. “And I must admit, it has taken me some time to get used to your new ‘advisor.’”
“Isadora’s advice has proven invaluable,” Santa Anna said.
“Right,” Colonel Urrea said. “But general, you are about to walk down a path from which you will never be able to come back from.”
The general placed his hand on a doorknob. “My dear friend, why would I ever want to come back from this?”
Santa Anna opened the door and entered the presidential library, a large room with walls lined with bookshelves that held ancient volumes and dusty old tomes.
On one side of an old oak conference table sat Vincente Guerrero, the tall, dark, brooding president. Two guards stood to his left. Two more stood to his right. All four men were loyal to the smug, smarmy looking vice-president Anastasio Bustamante, who was sitting across the table.
“You have signed your own death warrant, Bustamante,” Guerrero said. “I will enjoy seeing you swing from the end of a rope.”
“Oh come now, Vincente,” Bustamante said. “You’re in no position to make threats.”
Santa Anna’s troops spread out throughout the room.
“What is the meaning of this?” the general asked.
“Ahh,” Guerrero said with a grin. “Thank God! Santa Anna, this vile dog has dared to betray the will of the people.”
“Such drama,” Bustamante said.
“I won the election,” Guerrero said as he thumped his chest with his fist. “I chose you as Vice-President to make peace with your supporters and you reward me with a treacherous coup.”
“OK,” Bustamante said. “Yes, I’ll admit you make a good case that this isn’t very democratic but sometimes in a democracy the people must be prodded in the right direction and if they’re incapable of realizing that you’re little more than a common street charlatan…”
“Enough!” Santa Anna shouted.
The general looked to the guards. “You men. You are soldiers of the Mexican Army. I gave no order for an insurrection.”
The soldiers stayed quiet. Bustamante answered for them.
“Obviously I didn’t tell you that I was planning to overthrow this gorilla stuffed in a suit…
Upon hearing that remark, Guerrero attempted to stand up but was immediately shoved back down back by Bustamante’s guards.
“…because you might have warned him. But now that the deed is done, Antonio, you’ll have to make a choice. Him or me.”
“Yes, mi amor,” Isadora said. “Who will it be?”
Santa Anna withdrew his pistol and aimed it at Guerrero. After a few seconds of hesitation, the general moved his weapon and pointed it at Bustamante.
“Oh, fuck it,” Santa Anna said as he held out his free hand. “Colonel, your sidearm.”
Arroyo was perplexed but good solider that he was, he followed orders and placed his pistol in the general’s hand.
“Stop toying with us!” Guerrero hollered.
“Yes,” Bustamante said as he pounded his fist on the table. “Who will you side with?”
Santa Anna pulled both triggers. Holes opened in the heads of both men. Their bodies slumped forward in spent heaps.
“Neither of you,” Santa Anna said as he handed the pistol he borrowed back to the colonel.
The guards who had been loyal to Bustamante drew their swords. Santa Anna looked to his troops.
To the great horror of Bustamante’s men, the twelve soldiers that Santa Anna had brought with him flexed their muscles and burst out of their clothing. Fur sprang out of their bodies as they grew to well over seven feet tall. Snouts, long, sharp teeth, black noses, jagged claws.
The vice-president’s men were instantly ripped to shreds. One of the werewolves looked to Santa Anna.
“Search the palace,” Santa Anna said. “Round up all who sided with the vice-president. Those unwilling to pledge their allegiance to me shall be executed.”
The werewolf nodded and he and his furry brethren were off.
“I must say, Isadora,” Santa Anna said. “Had your new lycan recruits been in my service years ago, so many battles could have been won handily low these many years.”
“Yes,” Isadora said. “But do not forget they are only as loyal as your pockets are deep so never neglect to pay them and you’ll find they’re worth their weight in gold.”
The she-vamp caressed the cheek of a very frightened looking Colonel Arroyo. “It’s the loyalty of this one that I worry about.”
“Is she right?” Santa Anna asked Arroyo. “Does she have cause for concern?”
“No,” the Colonel said. “I serve Mexico and whoever happens to be in charge of it at the moment, in good times and in bad.”
Arroyo looked around the room and grimaced at the multitude of dead bodies. “I just wish there was more good.”
Santa Anna rested his hand on the Colonel’s shoulder. “That’s good enough for me, General.”
“I’ve been promoted?” Arroyo asked.
“We both have,” Santa Anna said.
The trio of Santa Anna, Isadora, and Arroyo left the library and exited the palace. Outside, the rabble was just as rambunctious as ever, but they quieted down for Santa Anna.
“Good people of Mexico,” Santa Anna said. “After a thorough investigation, I determined that the president and the vice-president were a duo of filthy corrupt criminals whose misdeeds are far too voluminous too mention at this time. Therefore, I was left with no choice but to pass summary judgement and execute them both on the spot so that they may never trespass against this great nation ever again.”
Hushed whispers could be heard throughout the crowd.
“As Mexico’s chief military officer, I must, though it brings me no joy and is a terrible burden upon me, assume the position of president,” Santa Anna said. “Further, in order to bring about order in the wake of this chaotic ordeal, I am left with no choice but to dissolve the Constitution of 1824 as well as all rights and privileges listed therein until such time as I determine that order has been restored.”
Arroyo leaned into Isadora’s ear and whispered. “They’ll never go for it.”
“Oh ye of little faith,” Isadora whispered back.
“I realize this will result in a great deal of power being concentrated into the hands of one man alone,” Santa Anna said. “But do not fear, my friends, for I have always served with honesty and dignity and will do so as your new president. From hereon, Santa Anna is Mexico and Mexico is Santa Anna!”
The rabble was silent and then…they cheered. Claps. Hoots. Hollers. Cheers. Chants of, “Santa Anna! Santa Anna! Santa Anna!”
“Dios mio,” Arroyo said.
“Tell a confused mass that you’ll solve all their problems and punish the idiots who caused them and they’ll applaud you all day,” Isadora replied. “This is a truth I have observed for ages.”