The Stranger in Black


Gail Manfre




Forward:  As usual, I generally dream beforehand what I am going to write, and this statement is extremely applicable when the subject of my nocturnal musings is my favorite "stranger in black," El Zorro.  

It seems that one dark and dreary night, the Fox rides to the rescue of a maiden fair... well, let us kindly permit the lady to relate her tale of meeting every female's fantasy, El Zorro!

Gail D. Manfre,                                                                                                               Copyright, 5/9/2002



The Stranger in Black



As worked by day in the tavern
And slept in a tiny room there by night, 
I heard Los Hombres tell tall tales
Of a mysterious man who would fight
To destroy evil Monastario's corruption.
A protector of justice wearing black,
With his sword he defended the weak
Fighting to turn the Comandante's evil tide back.


Such tall tales were always as legends
To a simple, young serving girl like me
Who struggled each day for a living?
With no one to care what befell me.
I had no Father, no Uncle, no Brother
To summon in danger or in need
No husband, nor handsome betrothed
For help to whom could a poor girl plead?


The Posada owner had rented out my room, 
To pay high taxes the Comandante had laid.
What rest could I ever hope to find after
A long journey home of two miles I made
Each night?  The wind was cold and miserable
One dark and terrible rainy night
'Twas very hard to force myself to go on
I dreaded that walk--- I was filled with fright.


Yet as my limbs grew weak I truly thought
That I heard above the deep thunder's roar
A kind voice say: "Chiquita mia, never have I
seen you so late on this wretched road before
On a night such as this one so foul
From such cruel treatment men have died.
Tornado and I will escort you to your door
Seņorita, you've heard of me, you can trust your eyes.


As the white lightning flashed it revealed
A black mask hiding kind eyes of hazel.
He laughed softly as he pulled me up
And in those strong arms me he did cradle.
So, this was the "outlaw" of local legend,
El Zorro! From the Fox I feared no attack,
I truly thought that he was an angel, and 
Drew closer to him as more thunder cracked.


Little did we know this night held another
Who watched whither El Zorro would go,
For evil Monastario planned to seize him.
But the Fox's thoughts were not of his foe.
"Seņorita, the weather is so fierce that I
Must find us some shelter from this foul storm.
Monastario smiled; he could not believe his eyes.
Surely this time, Zorro would not be warned.


The outlaw who called himself the Fox was leading 
Him to his lair.  Over the howling winds and rains
I told my beloved hero that I saw the 
Comandante's horse very near me. 'Twas very plain
He was planning soon to begin his attack
The Masked One nodded and found a dry cave
To shelter us from the brutal wind and cold.
From Monastario both of us he would save.


"How long," I asked Seņor Zorro, the Fox,
Did you know that the Comandante was here?"
He laughed as he replied "I have know for
Quite a while the grand raton would appear.
Sometimes the Hunted must become the Hunter
If good is to prevail.  Much shame does he bear
He is not content to arrest me and hold a fair
Trial.  He truly disgraces the noble uniform he wears!


"I believe you since you are the people's hero
The Comandante would murder you if he could
You must defeat him in an honorable duel, man
to man, Just as any fine true caballero would!"
My defender wrapped me in a dry cloak.  Then
Zorro brushed back my long raven hair
'Tis a fate I long pondered.  It does seem
That I must again face him in combat fair!"


With his enemy so near no fire would the Fox build
He held me even closer, so our warmth we'd share.
Zorro gazed deeply into my jade green eyes
Saying long had he admired my ivory fair
Skin.  "Such beauty any man would prize!"
And wished he could remain with me instead. 
His words were sweeter to me than fine wine, 
And on his strong shoulder did I lay my weary head.


The Dark Angel kissed me as no other man had done.
Since that night I swore ne'er another man would.
How peaceful was my sleep in his strong arms; 
His caress soothed me as no other man could!
But too soon I was awakened by the forceful sound
Of metal clashing upon metal, two eternal enemies
Were locked in mortal combat.  The Comandante
Assured the Fox that in his bed he would soon have me.


They fought on and on 'til a new day was near.
Their fury was so great each had cuts bleeding;
Both men dueled if time itself they could ignore
Neither cuts nor bruises would they be heeding.
Monastario then yelled that I should abandon
My beloved since the Fox is an outlaw and not a real man!
But I knew that the true hero would be left standing,


Because good always spurns evil, and Zorro's
Saber blows reflected his outrage and mounting anger.
And in no time Monastario was laid low on the earth!
For Zorro did promise that he'd defend me from danger
"You are but a weakling, ever fearful of the strong,"
As he taunted the Comandante, "Defeat me if you can!
Do you realize that you will never best the Fox?
Because you are a shirker and never will be a man!"


With El Zorro's saber tip pressed against Monastario's neck
The Comandante gave me the respect I demanded. 
Since their duel the evil Monastario has not bothered me,
His worthless life did my sweet Fox to him remand.
My kind-hearted savior swore I would no longer labor
At the tavern, with my back and arms hurting me.
For me he found a position with the nice de la Vegas
And each day in that hacienda much joy did I see.


Alas, time passed and the glorious Fox no longer did I see.
Yet one night when I exited the hacienda's gate
I saw the full moon shining bright and I heard
Tornado's hooves behind me.  It was so very late.
Could it possibly be... then from the inky shadows
I heard his deep, husky voice whispering to me
"I have something to say for only your gentle ears
Esta noche, chiquita, will you travel with me?"


Muscular arms raised me onto Tornado's back
And that sexy baritone voice murmured to me
"Siempre be my corazon, always be mine!"
Weak were my protests and my tears were those
Of purest joy, for the kindest heart of the Stranger
In Black, El Zorro was now mine forever to claim.
My lips did he cover with his own so filled with
Desire, the Fox's kisses nearly drove me insane.


Then as at last as dawn's light finally appeared
El Zorro with a heavy heart released me.
As the full moon played silent rhapsody of
Shadows across his masked face, it occurred to me
That something yet strange yet happily familiar
Lay beneath that disguise.  Dios! 'Twas those
Resplendent hazel eyes, certainly no matter trivial!


For just as the Fox's kiss upon the back
Of my hand caused our eyes to lock anew
Only then did I realize that my sweet, dear
El Zorro's and Don Diego's gorgeous, true
Hazel eyes, were no mistake, one and the same.
"Now my secret you know, and I trust you
With all my heart it you shall never reveal!"
And I replied, "My corazon, I exist only to protect you!"


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