Pancho Villa

From the new edition of In the Shadow of the Angel:

Albert Blair fighting alongside Mexican Revolutionaries Pancho Villa and Julio Madero

A blast of cool air swept through the closed room and Colonel Pascual Orozco entered.  Behind him, a figure filled the doorway and Albert felt something akin to a charge of electricity spark the atmosphere.  “Pancho Villa,” Chucho whispered.

Orozco planted himself and his 30-30 rifle in front of the Chief.  He saluted and tersely declared: “A sus órdenes, Señor Presidente.  At your service. I have three hundred men encamped downriver, as you ordered, and a hundred horses fed and watered.”

Orozco stood with arms folded, his long, dour face expressionless. Madero directed his remarks to everyone in the room.  “Thanks to your brave leadership and brave men, we are here. General Navarro has the city well fortified.  I want you to be on the alert every moment for a surprise attack.  And under no circumstances provoke one.”  He looked from Orozco to Villa.  “I hold you responsible for the temper of your men.  The plan now is to surround Navarro as closely as we can.  And wait for his surrender.”

Albert had automatically stepped back as Pancho Villa pushed his way forward to stand by Orozco.  Mesmerized by the bulk of this near-mythical bandit-turned-hero, Albert had not moved when Villa backed up.  Their hands touched.  A crude and primitive power seemed to emanate from his very skin.

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