Coyote Moon

The Wall goes on forever.  It is gray and blemished with the occasional splash of red or black graffiti.  To the north, there is desert. To the south, desert.  Cuauhtémoc doesn't understand how he'll be getting through, but the man with leathery skin and alcoholic's eyes assures him that it'll be fine.  They've just got to walk a little further.  There aren't any cameras where the mountains start to rise. 

As they walk along the wall, all fourteen of them, Cuauhtémoc's doubts begin to crystallize and expand in his mind.  They the inside of his skull like knives.  He's leading us to the Border Patrol, he thought.  They're going to pay him for turning fourteen illegals in.  The man assured him, dry-lipped and hoarse, that they never watched the cameras closely.  When they came to the mountains the cameras would be gone, anyway.  That's what the man said. 

Cuauhtémoc did not trust his alcoholic's eyes.

They saw the mountains loom in the distance, dark and low.  The sky was starting to blush pink as dawn reached over the horizon. Cuauhtémoc took a swig from his canteen.  He'd promised himself water as soon as they saw the mountains.  The coyote said they'd have to camp out in the hills as soon as the sun rose.  The cameras were more active during the day, he told them. If they got spotted one of those horrid spiders would come out.

"You know," he said. "The Spiders."

Nobody wanted to think about the legs that tore the teeth that gnashed and the eyes that flashed red, warning you that the penalty for approaching the border was was death. The penalty is DEATH.  Nobody wanted to think about it.  But they all did.  Especially the woman with a three year old clutched to her chest.  She'd been carrying him for miles.  Cuauhtémoc bit his lip and ran a hand through his thick, wavy black hair. He didn't want to think about it either.  But he did.

The sun blazed out from the horizon, blinding them all.  The coyote indicated that it was time to camp out.  The ventured away from the wall and into the arid hills.  They found a shady spot between two boulders and they tried to sleep.  Cuauhtémoc mostly thought about home.  It was dusty and dry and dull.  And he didn't think it was worth it to leave it behind anymore.  Not for this torture.  He drank some more water.  A spider crawled over his leg and he smashed it, dead.

Death is the penalty, he thought to himself, and he waited.

The End

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