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Cruzando Fronteras

To my best friend, Yared.

History in its broadest aspect is a record of man's migrations from one environment to another.
- Ellsworth Huntington

It has been three hours so far since we fled the city.

As we walk hurriedly, trying to avoid the obstacles that are constantly getting in our way, we see the moon floating in the relatively calm water of the river, and, to my surprise, we don’t hear the buzzing of the mosquitoes that have been chasing us since our problems started, anymore; we all heard them when we found out that the government had discovered the existence of our magazine, as well as when Dolores died; but we don’t hear their buzzing anymore, they seem to have disappeared.

We are heading towards la Loma. When we left the city and entered the countryside, we asked a group of peasants how to cross the river; Dolores had said that in order to be safe, we would have to move to the other side of it; to the neighboring country. The peasants told us that they didn’t know how to cross it, but that there is a community right next to the river called La Loma that might be able to help us get to the other side.

The new “military regime,” as the tyranny calls it-self, has censured most of the books, the newspapers, and the magazines that are known in our country; many of the terms that we are used to use have been banned (they have been abstained from publication, by the new regime’s Department of Education, in the dictionaries that are being spread across all the public institutions in the nation); and the intellectual class is in a constant process of disappearance.

As an attempt to overcome these drastic changes in the society, my comrades and I had started an underground magazine under the name of “La Luna,” where we published, monthly, a compilation of the persuasive texts in which we expressed our critic views on the government that had peacefully, as they described it, installed in our country last March.

Five hours have passed now since the Urban Guard silently broke into the underground press, destroying our equipment and burning our files. They, just like the other branches of the new (and oppressive) Unitary Security System, had the dictator’s order to nullify all the media that didn’t agree with the new politics he had implemented in the country, or that didn’t serve the regime’s interests.

Except for Dolores, we were all on the rooftop about to escape when they came; she had gone downstairs to the main office to pick up the binder where she kept the explicit photographs that were going to be published in next month’s issue. While we waited for her, we heard a strong detonation at the front door of the building, and realized that they had already arrived. We knew that if we stayed there any longer we would be arrested, or even killed; but that didn’t matter then, all that mattered at that moment was Dolores. We waited a while for her to go back upstairs, with us; but she didn’t do it. We knew that they had killed her, or taken her away, so we left and headed to the countryside.

In order to leave behind, as much as possible, the Urban Guard (who by now must be tracking us), we have been jogging for a while. The buzzing starts again as we all start feeling sick. Since we have not drunk any water yet, we decide to stop and quench our thirst at the riverbank.

- They will eventually consume us. – I say, without even thinking about it, as I drink water.
- That doesn’t matter. We’re already dead, aren’t we? – Moans Cesar, the head of the magazine.
Dolores’ death had been devastating for him. It was as if he had died with her. His face looks pale, he barely talks, and he moves as if he was being controlled by someone else. He is not anymore whom I used to know; he is a lifeless man leading us in our flight from this despotic place.

- You are close now; I can see la Loma already. – I barely hear Cesar say.
- I can see it too. You are right, Cesar; we are indeed close. If we continue walking at this rate, we’ll get there in about half an hour. – I reply. – We’ll rest there ‘till the morning comes, and then we’ll ask somebody for help. –

When we arrive to La Loma, we notice that under the pale moonlight lie three abandoned-like houses, and a little chapel-like building; the community we have been looking for. Here, I can sense the smell of a different air, an air of freedom.

As we look around trying to find a place to stay, we see a big old tree under which we sit until, one by one, we all fall asleep. We wake up, whilst the sun rises on the horizon, to find an old man wearing a black tunic sitting right in front of us; he is only staring at us, but he seems to know in what kind of trouble we are.

- Can you help us cross to the other side? – I ask giving a quick glance to the river. -The USS authorities are after us; we have been escaping since yesterday. -
-Follow me. – He replies.
We are about to get up and follow him, when, astonished by the impacting scene, we stay motionless under the tree. While he moves towards the chapel-like building, we notice, although his feet are covered by his tunic, that they aren’t moving; just as if he was floating.

-Common fellows, let’s go. – says Cesar as if nothing had happened, as if it had been normal.
Without hesitating, we all get up and follow him into the building. As we approach we notice that it has no windows; everything inside is being illuminated by candles. When we enter, the man begins to speak in a native language, and then rubs our bodies all over with some bizarre herbs.

- We need to get to the other side. – I say – We’ll be in trouble if the Urban Guard, or anyone, catches us. –
- Don’t worry; you will be on the other side soon. – He replies.
As he finishes his sentence, I see the smile on his face; an evil smile. It comes to me a feeling of despair. I know he won’t help us get to the other side of the river; he is going to do something else. At first, I think he works for the government, but then I realize that he is some kind of magician, a chaman. Desperately, I try to explain to him what we meant by “the other side;” but it is too late.

It starts pouring rain outside the building, and after several thunder strokes, we all fall to the ground. I try to get up, but my feet don’t obey me. I look around trying to find my friends, but I can’t see them. I black out. When I wake up, I notice that both, the old man and Cesar have gone. I get up and walk towards my comrades, whose faces look different now. I remain silent; and as I stand next to them, I perceive that something is wrong. The chaman has not sent us to the other side of the river where we were supposed to go; he has sent us to the side of the unknown.

A sense of terror invades me when I notice that, except for Cesar’s body, which had stayed at the underground press when Dolores died, on the ground lie our corpses; all being consumed by a bunch of buzzing mosquitoes.



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