A RACE INTO SAN DIEGO
Everybody’s nerves were on edge as the Coyote gave final instructions in the afternoon. The Coyote wanted them to be alert and awake as they crossed the border into California from Mexico. He split the group into smaller teams in order to balance the men and the women, the weak and the strong, the younger and the elders. He gave bursts of direction throughout the day, as he thought of what to say. Do not fall behind, I will have to leave you, we MUST leave you, there are going to be dangers from all direction, on this side and on the other side. No one is going to give you a break if you get caught.
On cue, they ran across the valley, across a creek, and then into bushes. Quietly they ran and ran staying close, without looking back. They ran like they never ran before or since. They would have run over anything or anyone. As they went further in the bushes, it got darker and darker. Together they moved as one, for they could not see ahead. The stars provided some light when they were in the open, but most of the time in the bushes it was pitch dark.Finally they stopped on cue and laid down on the desert ground to rest. As they caught their breath, they could hear their own breathing, and some distant chatter. It got colder than Alicia expected. She thought she heard a baby cry somewhat close. In the dark, on the ground, they could see each other’s eyeballs, if only for a second. They kept quiet as instructed. Next they ran toward a hill that they could faintly distinguish. As they approached, the group slowed down, and then stopped altogether. As they got on the ground, they understood something was happening around them, something not good. They stayed on the ground for a long time, their only movements were to hush away the large insects. Other voices seemed to be fairly close, and someone seemed to cry. Coyote said a single word; Thieves.
It was so dark it was not possible to tell if Coyote was standing or not. Alicia could not even see eyeballs anymore, but could hear the breathing and feel the warmth. After a long time they got up and continued walking towards the hill, slowly and quietly, in a single line formation. It got darker around them as they climbed, but from this new vantage point they could see at the distance behind them. It was not a tall hill. As they reached the peak and started the descent, it was really, really dark… They were under trees and bushes as they climbed down, and somehow developed the ability to see in the dark, at least to see where to step on.On the bottom of the hill, a wagon awaited. Alicia is surprised, she did not hear it nor see it until she was right next to it. Coyote directs them to enter quickly and lay flat on top of each other, he directs each one in line so there in no time to accommodate. No one complains. The wagon starts once everyone is in, apparently reaching good terrain soon, but the half-hour ride is still absolutely nerve-wracking. However, they sense things are going well so far. After the half –hour ride, they feel the wagon slowing down, and it sounds like it enters a garage. Once inside, with the garage lights on, they exit the car and confirm everybody made it to safety. Everybody smiles, but there cannot be any loud celebration. Besides, the guys on charge of them are not smiling at all. The group spends the night at this farm.
Next morning, Coyote divides the group once more in order to go to the airport. It appears they are in San Diego, and they are to fly to Los Angeles immediately. Alicia is assigned to fly with Coyote, and to sit with him. They carry no luggage, and are to act as locals. Everything runs as smooth as can be, although Alicia has no propensity to enjoy this trip. Her nerves are shot, her stomach is upside down. But all goes well indeed, and soon enough she arrives in L.A.
On the airport’s terminal, she exits the plane like everybody else, avoiding any eye contact or conversation. She follows a part of her group, which go directly outside to board a cab together with yet another Coyote assistant. Only outside she acknowledges knowing this people. This ride lasts about 30 minutes, and take them to the nicest neighborhood she had seen to date. Nice big modern houses with manicured front yards, backyards that seem to have no end! Well-kept landscaped boulevards! New cars all over!
It must be the best safe-house you could hope for.