My chest felt fit to burst, and my vision had blurred to colors and light hours ago out of dazed boredom and tedium. The heat was burdening, pushing on our backs like another bag to carry, and my mother believed that we were close to the border. She was right, but also uninformed of the patrolling men that hunted us.
We had escaped from my father’s house days before. My mother wanted nothing more than for me to experience life outside the confinements of a drug lord’s nightmare. But when someone who possesses that kind of power feels they have lost something, retrieving their property is of no complication—and meager property we were.
The engines were drawing closer, the violent yells from their occupants shouting for us to stop; my mother wouldn’t listen. I was pulled through thorns, yanked across rocks, and thrown into the rare shadows that we could find. Only, now, it mattered not where we hid. They had found us.
The tires squealed through the dry dirt, popping above the rocks, tearing through the unforgiving cactus, forcing us into the unknown distance. Then suddenly the truck screamed to a stop—my mother threw her head backwards to gauge why, and I could see her pallid face, sweat on her forehead and fear in her eyes. But we soon found out. The ground beneath us disappeared and we started to free-fall down a massive elevation, landing on every stone that God had placed within its bearing. My mother groaned in pain as we slid to a stop, holding her side.
“Are… are you okay, baby?” she asked, crawling towards me.
I didn’t speak, for two men stood towering over us. One held rope, the other a pistol. I was yanked from the ground; the pistol-wielding goon gripped tight around my waist, pulling me from my mother with a rough yank. Rope was then thrown around my mother’s feet, knotted round her broken ankles.
“Please, please just let us go!” she pleaded to the man, but his face was stone like, impassive. My mother threw her hands over her face and screamed into her palms. I glanced up at my kidnapper, then made a daring move I can’t believe to this day. My teeth sank into his forearm and I was dropped, the man’s pistol falling beside me as he howled in pain.
I reached down, wrapping my hands around the grip, and pointed the barrel squarely at the man. Beneath my fingers the trigger moved, and he dropped.
My aim directed towards the rope-bearer; he froze. Again, I squeezed, and he dropped on top of my mother. The pistol shook in my grip, and distantly I felt myself taking in what I had done. I felt the handle be taken from my grasp, and I fell into my mother’s chest, unblinking. She held me at a shoulders distance and nodded her head, shoving the pistol into the waist of her jeans.
The men’s truck’s engine still idled. I helped her to the door, ignoring the wrong way her ankles bent. She glanced back at the bodies that lay in the desert heat, then shot me look, forcing a smile.
“Feel like driving?”