"This story is an amateur, not-for-profit publication produced solely for the enjoyment of other Zorro fans and is not intended to infringe upon any rights by Goodman/Rosen Productions, New World Television, Zorro Productions, the estate of Johnston McCulley or anyone else.

A stranger's face

Chapter 1

He woke up in a large bed that was covered with a blanket in red and orange design. It was a large room and some flowers were standing on a small side table. The sun coming through the closed shutters told him that it was already day. In his nightshirt that he didn't recognize, he opened the window to look outside.

The window was on the ground floor, opening up to the garden of a large hacienda. Behind the walls, enclosing the garden, he could see the stables where servants were already busy. The bright sun from the window blinded his eyes and increased his headache. He touched his head and felt a big lump on the side of his head where he had probably hit himself somewhere.

In the mirror on the wardrobe he saw the face of a tall man with Spanish features, blue eyes and a mustache. It was the face of a stranger.

Looking into the wardrobe, he found man's clothing that seemed to fit him. After doing his morning toilet at the washstand, he dressed himself in a blue suit and a white ruffled caballeros' shirt. Stepping out of the room, he followed the hallway where he heard some voices. He was about to pass by an open door that led into a study, but was stopped by an older man who approached him.

"Ah Diego, have you finally decided to get up? It's nearly noon!" The man from the study greeted him. He looked at the man bewildered. He didn't recognize him. What was his name? Only then did he realize that he couldn't remember his own name either. The man had called him Diego. Was that his own name? It must be, since the man seemed to know him.

"I'm sorry, I think I must have bumped my head," he replied, carefully avoiding to address the man.

"Did you fall from your chair when you were reading late again?" The man shook his head. "When will you ever change, Diego?"

He wanted to protest that he hadn't fallen from a chair, but then he stopped. How could he deny it when he didn't know himself what he had done last night? It was one of his least problems now. He needed to find out who was and get back his memory.

"Your breakfast is waiting for you in the dining room, Diego," the man said. "I'll tell the cook to brew you some fresh coffee."

"After you have finished, I want you to come with me to the pueblo. I'll meet with some friends there and we can have lunch together in the tavern. It's been some days since we have eaten in the tavern. Victoria will start to miss us."

He left the study to look for the dining room that could be anywhere behind those closed doors he had passed by or even further down the hall. He went to the left, farther down the hallway, and opened the next door by chance. It wasn't the dining room but a library with bookshelves, filled with books on both sides of the large fireplace in the center of the room.

He took randomly some of the books from the shelf and looked inside. One was a poetry book and on the inside there was a name written. Diego de la Vega. The book looked new, only a few years old, so it was probably his own book and his name. He was Diego de la Vega. Scanning through the pages, he couldn't remember any of the poems he read. He sighed. Either he hadn't read the book or it was one more memory that he had lost.

"Don Diego," a servant entered the room, "the coffee is ready. Your father told me to make some for you. I put it on the breakfast table. Do you need anything else?"

"I'll come with you and I'll tell you." So the man in the study had been his father who was the patron of the house. He put the book back on the shelf and followed the servant who led him to the dining room that he had passed by on his way from his bedchamber. Sitting down at the table, he helped himself to some breakfast that was laid out for him. He poured himself coffee in the hope that it would help him with his headache. If he could get rid of the headache, he might get back his memory too.

Without knocking, a teenage boy in an orange shirt and loose trousers entered the room and started to sign. He looked at him uncomprehendingly. What were these gestures about and why wasn't the boy saying a word?

"What do you want from me?" he asked. "I don't understand you."

The boy started to sign more agitated, but stopped soon again with a questioning look on his face when he got no reaction.

"You can't speak?" The boy looked at him surprised and shocked. "I don't understand your signs, so unless you have no other means of communication, I don't know what you want from me." The mouth of the boy gaped open at his statement and gestured again.

He waved his hand. "Please stop signing. This is futile. Can you write?"

The boy nodded, but was shocked again by the question. The boy left the room only to return with paper and pencil a few minutes later.

What happened? The boy wrote.

"I don't know what happened. I can't remember anything. Who are you?" The boy look scared at his question.

I'm Felipe. I'm in your charge and you are my guardian.

"Can I trust you, Felipe?" he asked the boy.

The boy nodded vehemently, a gesture that needed no explanation.

"Can I ask you some questions?" The boy nodded again. "You can hear but not speak?"

The boy nodded, but started to write again. I can hear, but it is a secret between us.


Felipe sighed. It's complicated. You can't remember anything?

"No, I'm sorry. I can't even remember my own name. Who am I and what happened to me?"

You are Don Diego de la Vega and Zorro fell from Toronado last night when the horse was frightened by a bullet.

"If I'm Diego de la Vega, why does Zorro's fall affect me? And who is this fox? Is this a kind of unusual pet? What does a fox have to do with a storm?" He could see that Felipe's exasperation grew with every question.

No, Zorro is a man. You are Zorro! And Toronado is your horse.

"Why am I called Zorro? I thought my name is Diego?!"

Felipe threw his hands in the air. This was getting more and more annoying by the minute.

"I'm sorry, Felipe, that I ask so many stupid question, but can you imagine how it feels to wake up knowing nothing about yourself?" He asked, trying to make the boy understand. To his surprise the boy nodded. "You do?" The boy nodded again.

I lost my parents when they were caught in a battle of the rebellion. You found me and took me in when I could neither speak nor hear after that day. You called me Felipe and gave me a home. I regained my hearing, but not my ability to speak and I never remembered my parents. So I know how it feels!

"Felipe, I'm sorry to hear that about your parents, but I also know now that I can trust you. So we are friends?"

"You have been like a father to me; you raised me and you had me educated."

He smiled at the boys sincere expression of love. "I need to find out what happened and get back my memory. So you say that I or Zorro was thrown from my horse, because I was in a fight. Who was I fighting with? And I haven't understood yet what Zorro means. Is that a nickname for me?"

Felipe sighed again, but patiently he started to write again.

Zorro is a black rider whose identity is hidden behind a black mask. He has taken over the task to protect the pueblo from bandits and from the alcalde. Zorro is an outlaw!

"So I have a secret identity as Zorro?" The boy nodded. "So I was riding as Zorro last night and I got a concussion during that trip? How do you know that?"

You told me and I helped you when you got back. Felipe smiled proudly at him.

He wanted to asked another question, but his headache overwhelmed him. Bracing his head in his hands, he tried to fight the sudden dizziness and the blurring of his sight. Felipe looked at him concerned, putting a hand on his shoulder.

"Have you finished breakfast, Diego?" his father asked, entering the dining room. "Are you ready for our trip to Los Angeles?"

"I'm sorry, Father, but I can't join you. I hit my head yesterday and now I may have a concussion. I will go back to bed." He apologized, still holding his head. Getting up, he swayed a little and he saw the sudden concern in his father's eyes.

"I'll talk to Dr. Hernandez when I ride to the pueblo and tell him to come looking for you."

"Thank you, Father." Leaning a little on the boy, he let Felipe guide him back to his room. Putting on his nightshirt again, he slipped between the covers. He noticed Felipe closing the curtains before he fell asleep.


When he woke up again, he saw a white-haired man standing by his bed who was examining him.

"Don Diego? How are you feeling?"

He blinked at little, trying to focus on the man. "Dr..., Dr. ..?" He tried to remember the name of the doctor. Hadn't his father mentioned the name?

"Yes, it's me, Dr. Hernandez," the doctor assisted him. "You told your father you had a concussion. What are your symptoms? Headache? Dizziness? Problems to focus?"

He nodded to all of them.

"Can you tell me what happened?"

"I don't know, I can't remember. I can't remember anything!"

"That happens quite often that the patient doesn't remember his fall after a concussion. You will remember it eventually."

"You don't understand, doctor. I don't remember anything, anything at all."

"Please explain, Don Diego, what can't you remember?"

"I can't remember who I am, my family, this house, you, ..., I have no memory at all."

"I see, a memory loss is the result of your concussion, but most of the time it's only partial. Patients lose the memory, how they got hit or sometimes they are missing some time of their past. Tell me, Don Diego, what is the last thing you remember?"

"I remember waking up this morning here in my bed and from that time on."

"What about yesterday or last week? Or your childhood?"

He shook his head, only to have his headache return. "Ow! Nothing. I know my name is Diego de la Vega because others told me, but I can't remember myself!" He tried not to show his frustration. "When will my memory return, Doctor?"

"The human brain is still a mystery to us, Don Diego. I can't give you a prognosis. I may return in a day, a week or never."

"Does that mean that I may never remember at all?" He was shocked.

"It's a possibility that I can't keep from you. I'm sorry, Don Diego. But you must not lose faith. There is hope that you will remember all. Just give it time."

"Is there anything I can do, doctor?"

"You need to rest now and stay in bed at least today until your headaches are gone. I'll come back tomorrow and look at you again."

He leaned back into the pillows and closed his eyes. This was a nightmare. To imagine he'd never get his memory back!