Courage without fear is not courage. It is a meaningless decision, mundane and insignificant. An action the wind sees and deems it unnecessary to remember.

Heroes didn't decide to be heroes. They never chose to be one. They simply saw what was happening and decided to take action, no matter the risks, no matter the cost, no matter the fear. 

Heroes didn't want to be called heroes. In their time, they just did what they had to do. They didn't want the tragic death most of them received. They didn’t expect to be glorified and commemorated for what they have done. They simply stood for what was right, even if it means they would be silenced.

Heroes and their origin stories are generic. Typical. Routinary, even.

This is the story of such a hero.

Rizal was his name. Jose Rizal, to be exact. Or to be more specific, Jose Protasio Rizal Mercado Y Alonso Realonda. He had his flaws, just as any hero did. He was a flirt. No, he was a gentleman, he viewed each lady in a way that will make you believe chivalry is not dead. Women swoon over his charms and smooth words. But this is not what this story is about.

The gates open and the men escort him outside. The soldiers led him into another room. Upon seeing Rizal, his mother and sisters rise and scramble to their feet, wrapping Rizal in an embrace. Their tight hugs refuse Rizal to let go, even when he has to depart. Once they were separated, tears streamed on each of their faces. Rizal hands a gift to each of his sisters, feigning smiles and inciting laughter despite the solemn mood the room displays. Facing her mother, he kneels and holds her hands. Calloused, wrinkled, from old age and from the tiresome work she has done. Rizal kisses her mother’s hands and a tear finally appears on his eyes, dropping to her mother’s hands.

“Mother, I am sorry for the harm I have caused you. I have brought you and my sisters pain, and I can only ask for your forgiveness.”

His mother smiles at her son. Ever so formal, even when everything and everyone has abandoned him. She takes Rizal’s arms and lets him rise on his feet, only to be enveloped in an embrace.

The men tap Rizal’s shoulders. His time with his family is up.

Rizal looks at his family one last time, and summons a smile, a small grin to comfort them. But they know what will happen after the door closes.

One last night and everything will be over.

Rizal sighs and lays on his bed. Looking up the ceiling, he remembers what He has done to lead to this event.

A land surveyor, a poet, a novelist, a doctor, a painter, and a linguist. To have accomplished so much in so little time. To be known and accomplished in so many fields, only to end up in this state.

He didn’t regret anything, that was for sure. He smiles once again as he recalled the peaceful days he spent in Dapitan. His provocative actions led to his exile. It was difficult, but he made use of his time. Building a school, setting up a hospital, and making a water system for the place. Even in isolation, he still used his time well. He continued to write, faithfully, truthfully of his time. He became a teacher to both young and old, advancing in agriculture and farming to try to make this place a better one.

As his mind continues to wander, his eyelids drop. Sleep is finally overtaking his thoughts. Josephine Bracken, ah his lover envelops his dreams. Her family, and the lives they have, surround his visions.

Sunshine awakens him. The men gather in his room and bring him out once more. He breathes deep and steps out of the room, and follows the soldiers.

Covering his hands to block the rays of the sun, the men lead him to the center of the field. He looks up, it’s a bright and sunny day.

“Jose Protasio Rizal Mercado Y Alonso Realonda.” A deep voice shouts across the field. 

Rizal recalls the words he has penned down as he wrote his poem to the Filipino youth, pushing them that they are the hope of the nation.

The priest continues his statement. “You have been charged with sedition, conspiracy, and rebellion before the Spanish government.”

Rizal remembers the emotion he felt when writing “Kundiman,” with his heart beating fast. His hand on the pen keeping up the pace of his thoughts as they are being written on the paper. Oh to be free from this treacherous government! Oh to see justice and receive it! His hopes soar high that he might see the day he finally experiences this. He smiles. He knows this cannot be.

“Because of the crimes, you have committed,”

Rizal remembers his two novels, Noli me Tangere, and El Filibusterismo. Two novels exposing the dark truth the Spaniards tried desperately to keep. The eyes of the Filipinos were opened. Sparks and whispers of a revolution are heard in the streets. The wind picks up the message, and the people’s seed of bravery were squashed by those in charge.

“You have been sentenced to death.”

Rizal recalls the last poem he wrote for the country, “Mi Ultimo Adios.” A last goodbye to the nation he loves. A final farewell to the people he has fought for.

“Death by the firing squad.”

Rizal turns to the squad, their guns raised and pointed at him.

Turning back, he screams his last words, “IT IS FINISHED!”


The shot hits him in the heart. He cries a shout of pain and crumbles to the ground. Lying on the side, blood spreads throughout the floor. His life has been well spent.

Rizal didn’t know he was going to be a hero. He never held a sword to murder the enemies. He never raised a gun to become a trained soldier, shooting to kill.

No, he fought with the pen as his weapon. And he was immortalized for all Filipinos to see.

His words sparked a flame in the hearts of the nation then.

It continues to spark a flame in the people now.

His death became a tipping point for the revolution.

Heroes didn’t ask to become heroes.

They simply did what they had to do.

And sometimes, that means exposing the darkness the rulers try so hard to keep.

Heroes didn’t ask to become heroes.

They simply did what they had to do.

They spoke out when silence was demanded.

They fought back when freedom is being withheld.

They longed for the day when people can walk on the streets without fear of gripping them.

It didn’t matter if they couldn’t see the day this takes place.

What matters is they tried to make it come sooner.

And for Rizal, it came soon after his death.

His legacy.





July 10, 2020 16:04

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Karen McDermott
10:09 Jul 16, 2020

Very interesting story! Great build up of tension. Good job!


Faith Chrayon
13:05 Jul 16, 2020

thank you so much!


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