Special report: Habitants Flee From Violence And Organized Crime.

Submitted into Contest #137 in response to: Write a story about a character forced to give up something important to stand up for what they believe in.... view prompt

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Creative Nonfiction Crime Horror

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

“Why are you fleeing?”

 I waved down the small-sized pickup driving towards the entrance. The wind must have carried my question swiftly inside the four-door midsize SUV because the small pickup came to a sudden halt.

 I walked a couple steps towards the driver’s door and saw an older woman, mid-fifties, her skin light brown like Mexican soil, and a Panama hat whose shadow barely hid the wrinkles and bags around her eyes.

“Why..?” She rolled her head back laughing bitterly, thinking she was being mocked.

“Oh...please, You still ask why?? Do you want to know why?” 

“Please… I’m sorry…I didn’t mean…I’m a journalist... from the local press —“

“Can’t you see the shoot-outs we had? Eh? Are you blind? Can you see the houses filled with holes?!“ Her voice cracked angrily like a whip. 

“….It’s…. very sad wha—“

“Of course it’s sad! Eh? Don’t you see what they are doing to us? Can’t anyone see what’s happened to us? And nobody does anything about it. Eh? Not the National Guard. Not the Federal Police. Not the President. I’m excluding the local Police,_those_disgusting pigs are worst than_Narcos._ There is a special place in hell for those scumbags. For selling us out. For selling out their own people, like if we were animals, even animals receive more justice than us. Eh? Do you still want to know why everyone is fleeing? Eh? There is no justice. Do you think it’s fair that people are fleeing the rancho?, Abandoning their lands? Just take a look at this community, eh? Do you think this is fair?” With trembling hands, she shifted the truck into park and pointed up the mountain. “ Up there. You see that house up there? There is an elderly woman that can’t walk. There are people up there that don’t have anywhere to go. Eh? What about them?” Her eyes sparkled like she wanted to cry but her hands balled into an angry fist. “ Eh? Why isn’t the worthless military parked day and night outside the town? Eh? I can’t carry a syringe in my purse let alone a firearm. Screw us right?” A large tear rolled gently down her cheek. She chuckled angrily “Screw us… as long as every single one of those filthy bastards gets their pockets stuffed with green bills.”

The drive up the mountains of northern Zacatecas had been a long one. And a quiet one. The dirt road was rough, filled with potholes and loose rocks that as soon as the speedometer rose past ten mph, the dash would shake violently and the car felt like it was falling apart. It reminded me of the roller coaster rides I had as a kid. When Mexico was safe. Or safer. Before President Felipe Calderon’s so-called “War on Drugs.”

I began documenting everything I saw. Occasionally adjusting my old camera’s focal length. At times I wasn’t entirely sure if I was recording a live documentary or filming a scene for “The Walking Dead.”

At the entrance, two thick black stains like demonic tattoos outlined the shape of trucks that had been set ablaze. The town’s name had been crossed out with cheap black spray paint and a new name had been declared. Scribbled in bright red paint; ” Territorio CJNG.”

Confused cows roamed freely through the main street, one or two eating the median strip’s outgrown grass.

 Dogs seemed like the least baffled. The days of barking at each other were long gone. The smaller dogs huddled around the stronger taller ones like orphan children to a big brother. Their huge watery eyes like old Vintage reel tapes projected the heinous events taken place. They understood the sudden departure of their owners. There was no need to explain. They would wait. 

 A small Chihuahua refused to join the pack and stayed outside his doorstep, his tail no longer wagging. Trudging back and forth glancing towards the road. His owners were out there. Somewhere. They would come back.

The small town evacuated three days earlier. 

A rival Cartel captured a scout, who presumably thought spilling the beans would stop them from pulling out his teeth. “Up there..” He mumbled petrified after a molar had been yanked out. “La Ermita… they… are hiding in … La Ermita.”

He said no more. In broad daylight, like Hitler’s Sturmabteilung, they stormed into the town, guns-blazing and snatching anyone that happened to be outside. 

Everyone was considered an enemy. The real enemies had been tipped off and vanished through the back roads faster than Houdini.

The only ones who received any type of warning.

A white Chevrolet pickup, parked outside someone’s home loaded with an old mattress, kitchen utensils, and old mismatched,over-filled luggage bags, sat there, keys stuck in the ignition and driver's door sprung wide. The house door was wide open and no one was in sight.

 Brass casings of different large-caliber rifles flowed through the street like a small water stream after a thunderstorm.

A message had to be made clear. Their presence had to be made known. 

Farm trucks became bonfires. Houses became targets. Every house had a couple rounds. Except for the local convenience store near the entrance. It was probably the guiltiest of them all. Thousands of gray spots on what had been blue paint.

Surprisingly they didn’t blame the dogs or the cows or even the horses as co-conspirators. They were the only innocent ones. Everyone else was automatically labeled guilty, taken for interrogation, and laid to rest somewhere in the hills or in a black bag alongside the highway.

“Eh? With tears in our eyes and with a lot of anger.” She pursed her lips for a brief second. She moved her hands in a choke position and tightened her teeth together “What I would give to get my hands on one of them… just one.” She squeezed her hands slowly “… and shove a pistol down his throat and spoon feed him some lead. They barged in here starving, looking for something…. I would make sure they left with a full belly….Eh. ”

March 18, 2022 20:30

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