29. Fagen goes home

Aguinaldo stood frozen on the porch, too overcome with bewilderment to move. Through white, billowing clouds of gun smoke Fagen watched the Spaniard turn his pistol on the rebel leader and shout, "Hands up General! We are not replacements for your insurgent army. We are Americans, surrender or be killed!

At that moment Simon Villa burst through the door, pistol in his hand. Segovia fired two quick shots and the brave colonel slumped to the floor. Aguinaldo knelt over his wounded friend, shielding him from further harm and cried out, "Stop! Stop this killing!" Then Doctor Barcelona rushed onto the porch waving a white handkerchief. "We surrender, Capitan ! This is the flag of peace!"

No soldiers left to kill, the Macabebes ended their slaughter, and save for the terrified barking of village dogs, quiet reigned in the little plaza. Fagen, stunned by the earth-shaking event he'd just witnessed, was gripped by a deep, gut wrenching sense of loss. He'd raced a hundred miles to save the revolution and failed. His heart fluttered in his chest as he wrestled with thoughts of what would happen next. He'd never even considered a Filipino struggle for independence without Emilio Aguinaldo. It didn't seem possible they could carry on without him. What other man had the intellect, the vision, the iron will? What man was so beloved, so revered? Who else could inspire an ignorant, peasant population armed with little more than bolo knives and nipa sheaves to wage a death struggle against a nation as powerful as the United States?

On seeing General Funston's approach through a window, Hilario Talplacido, who'd thrown himself to the floor when the shooting started, now rushed outside and grasped Aguinaldo's arm. "I have captured the villain, sir!"

Ignoring him, Funston bounded up the porch steps, faced the Filipino President and declared, "You are a prisoner of the army of the United States. I am Brigadier General Fredrick Funston, commander of this expedition. You've been ordered to surrender. I suggest you order your men to do the same. Unless I have your full and immediate cooperation, my soldiers will finish what they've started here."

Aguinaldo lifted his chin and returned the American's gaze. "So be it, General." Then he pushed past him and walked to the center of the plaza, the bloody bodies of his countrymen scattered around him. Fagen watched in silent dismay while the man who'd promised him a future stood at attention in the dust with tears in his eyes and cried out, "I, Presidente Emilio Aguinaldo, commander of all national forces, now entreat every Filipino patriot to lay down his arms. Enough of killing! Enough of blood! Enough of tears and desolation! Henceforth, let every man seek peace."

General Funston and the other Americans escorted Aguinaldo into the headquarters building. The Spaniard gave an order and the Macabebes began a house-to-house search of the village. Seeing nothing more to be done, and concerned for their safety, Atias tugged at Fagen's sleeve and made a sign. He was right, there was nothing more to be done. The revolution was over. Millions of Filipinos prayed every day for the killing to stop, for the struggle to end. Now that day had arrived. Fagen remembered the afternoon Colonel Urbano De Castro drank lemon water and told him he was a wanted man. He knew then someday, no matter which side won, he'd have to face the fact he was a man without a country.

Atias tugged at his sleeve again, and David Fagen followed him out of Palanan. Navigating on instinct, the little Igorrote led his Negrito Americano comrade north and west deep into the remote jungle mountains until he reach the place of his people, the place no outsider had ever seen. The place he called home.

<< Previous   View List of Excerpts


1. Fagen arrives in the Philippines

2. White soldiers bring their prejudice with them

3. Fagen hears another side of the story

4. Dinner with Colonel Funston

5. Fagen's first taste of combat

6. Fagen meets Clarita

7. More than fair?

8. The water cure

9. Fagen gets his fortune told

10. Imperialism exposed

11. Sergeant Rivers speaks his mind

12. Genocide

13. Fagen meets El Presidente

14. Bad news comes to Fagen

15. Fate takes over

16. San Lazaro leper hospital

17. An offer Fagen can't refuse

18. Funston makes a plan

19. "Capitan" Fagen

20. Funston assembles his team

21. Morality, ethics and war

22. Jungle encounter

23. Commencement

24. Benevolent assimilation

25. Colonel Bloody Shirt pays a call

26. Fagen declares war on God

27. Major Baston tastes his own medicine

28. Funston on the march

29. Fagen goes home