THE WHITE HORSE OF ALIH
Mig Alvarez Enriquez
Alih moved along with the crowd which flowed like a river to the edge of the town where the big parade was to wind up. The town was made up of a hodgepodge of races—brown, yellow, and white, brown-yellow and brown-white; and its culture was a mixture of Malay, Chinese, and American. Alih was brown, but he did not feel he belonged in the town. He walked its concrete sidewalks, strolled on its wooden-planked wharf, rode its pony-drawn rigs, drank the fermented coconut juice, the tuba, and ate pork in its restaurants like a Christian; still, he felt he did not belong.
Alih lived in the village across the river on the edge of the sea where the nipa-thatched houses were perched on posts above the water; where the women sat in rows on the bamboo cat-walks combing their long, glossy hair, chewing betel nuts, or gossiping; where the children played naked on the beach all day; where the men came home for the night smelling of fish from the open sea or the market place; for Alih was a Moro, a non-Christian, and today he felt all the more alien to the town because he was there to kill!
The day was the Fourth of July, the big American holiday that the town celebrated with a huge parade followed by cockfighting, pony-racing, hog-catching, pole-climbing, and dancing in the streets. Nobody within reach of the town would miss the great spectacle: Nobody who could walk, ride, or crawl would be left out of the fun. Nobody cared about Alih. Nobody knew he was in town, sworn to kill—not the men Who had wronged him and his brother Omar—but anyone and everyone he could until he was killed!
As he moves with the crowd he felt pushed and pulled one way and another. It filled him with resentment, but he locked his jaw and dammed his feeling. His time had not yet come. S The heat beat down on him and drew the sweat from the pores of his lean hard body, soaking the light, white cotton shin he wore. When he came to an acacia tree...