I was running. Running far far away. Running and hoping they would never find me. My footfalls sounding like a pounding drum amid this October night. I'm sorry this is a terrible introduction to my story. Let me start from the beginning. Just one panic-stricken day prior...
My mother at the time had lived in a small town in Mexico. I lived a bit farther up the road in Louisianna but it never stopped me from visiting her before. Our love for each other was greater than any country boundary.
Anyway, that day I was riding the rental bike to the small town. I wasn't one for sports but the bike was cheap and functioned well enough so I stuck with it.
The scenery here was beautiful. There was nothing to stand in your way besides a vast, expansive blue sky occasionally dotted with a fluffy white cloud. It was truly breathtaking.
I see a familiar flower-topped roof in the distance. My mother's small house was always garnished by some sort of bright flower. Or flowers in today's case. When I was little before dad brought me to the states, I enjoyed countless days frolicking through the flower-topped roof and the familiar winding dirt road.
So many great memories.
I pull up to the small brick building, my hand poised to knock when I hear a familiar voice behind me.
I whip around to find a good friend of my mother, Armando.
"Hola Armando," I say, a wide smile spreading across my face. When I was younger and my father was out working Armando would spend countless evenings teaching me how to ride a bike, never realizing it would be the thing that got me back too him.
"Javier, Javier! Gracias a Dios que viniste!"(Javier, Javier! Thank goodness you came!) Armando said, hobbling towards me, a look of worry splayed across his face.
"Armando estas bien?Está todo bien?" (Armando are you ok? Is everything alright?) I asked, running toward the old man.
"Javier, tu madre se fue. Ella está tratando de cruzarlo. Ella va a morir, Javier, tenemos que ayudarla!"(Javier, your mother is gone. She's trying to cross it. She's going to die, Javier, we have to help her!) the old man shouted, a look of desperation flashing in his eves as he took another shaky step forward.
"Armando. Armando! Cálmate! Qué es lo que está tratando de cruzar con Armando? (Armando. Armando Calm down! What is it she's trying to cross Armando?) I finally caught up to the old man where I leaned him up against the side of my mother's house and gave him a sip of water.
"La Frontera, "(The border) the old man said in-between gulps of water and gasps of air.
I immediately dropped the water from the man's lips. It landed on the ground with a thud. I dashed into the house and sure enough, the man was right. There was no food in the cupboards, no blankets on the bed, and no money in the shoebox underneath her bed.
I dashed upstairs to my mother's rose garden and that's when I realized why I had such a queezy feeling in my stomach. There were no weeds in the garden. That only meant one of two things.
A: My mother had asked somebody to weed her garden which made no sense because everybody that lived near her could barely get up the stairs.
Or B: My mother had left recently and was on her way now to the border.
I decided to trust my gut and go with option B.
I dashed back out the front door to find Armando screening something at me in rough Spanish. I didn't care. I was going to find my mother and I was going to do it now.
I hopped on the bike and pedaled away, suddenly realizing crossing the whole of Mexico with nothing but an old beat-up bike looking for my mom wasn't the best idea. But it was all I had.
As I pedaled away the same thought kept entering my mind.
Why did she leave?
The evening was approaching when I mentally decided to make a list of exactly how stupid this plan was.
1. I didn't have enough water to last me another 5 hours
2. Mexico was huge! My mother could be anywhere.
3. I had no food.
4. No shelter
5. And no clue about how to survive out here
I'd heard terrible stories of people getting kidnapped on the way to the border. At this point, I'd put all my faith in God. Hoping he'd help me through this.
That was when the unthinkable happened. My bike hit a rock and I went flying forward. I hit the ground with a thump and then cried out as I went to lift my arm. I looked over my shoulder to my left to find a bike wheel.
No Survival skills
No left arm
I decided that this would be a great thing to sleep on. I slept heavily and dreamlessly.
I woke up to mid-day sun, a parched mouth, and a throbbing arm. I slowly pushed myself arm while biting my tongue to keep myself from crying out due too the agonizing pain in my arm.
I grabbed whatever water I had left, took a swig, and then threw the empty bottle to the ground.
A good fifteen yards away was what seemed to be the edge of a wood. I slowly stumbled toward it, each step sending another wave of agony through my body.
Once the treeline was in sight I sat down to rest. I was so tired, hungry, thirsty. I laid my head down and sighed.
That was when I heard it.
A strange wailing sound coming from deep within the wood. The sound was progressively getting closer by the moment.
I shook my head, this was clearly just my imagination, right? But there it was again! Another wail.
I turned around and saw a familiar womanly figure running towards me.
I stood up, "Mama!"
That was when I noticed the crying, wailing baby in her arms.
I ran towards her without thinking. Not even my throbbing arm could stop me.
She opened her mouth to say something but was cut off by the chocking and gurgling of blood in her throat.
She collapsed to the ground, a pool of blood at her feet.
"Mama!" I said again, this time desperate.
At that moment, out of the wood came 3 strange men all dressed in black, hooded.
"Look's like we got another one"
"Aw man Jason this one as good as gone."
"I don't care about the woman just the baby, now load em up in the truck."
The first cloaked figure to speak noticed me first.
"Well well well, it looks like we got another one, "The man said, a sinister smile plastered across his face.
At this point, I didn't care. I ran toward the man, or as much as I could run my right fist balled up and ready to strike.
I was about to sock the man, right in the jaw, when he sidestepped me and slashed at my fist with a knife I didn't know was there.
I moaned in agony and then made the smarter choice.
The one I should've made in the first place.
I ran. I ran like the devil was chasing after me. I could hear the men thrashing behind me, every snapping twig like a death sentence. My heart pounding in my ears I just stopped.
I knew I couldn't outrun them. I was weak with a broken arm and malnourished. It was three on one anyway. I turned to face the men that ruined everything.
My mother and that baby.
Maybe she was my sister.
I would never know.
I turned to think them, tears running down my face and blurring my vision.
If this was how I died then so be it.
I shivered to myself as I looked at the man that cut me square in the eyes.
Not caring that it meant certain death.