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Lenora's Love (story 2)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic


Lenora Lopez, Mexican immigrant and survivor of a major El Paso earthquake, may never see her family again if she and her guy can’t escape imminent incarceration.

Submitted: September 14, 2018

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Submitted: September 14, 2018

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I squeeze Adham’s hand on the gear shifter, my pulse speeding faster than the bullets ricocheting off our fender. They smack the pavement beside dad.

Please Abuela. If your heavenly ears can hearHelp! Send one of those earth-angels you once told me about before we moved from Tijuana. Before my life sunk to hell. Before that earthquake flung me off Franklin Peak, and possibly killed my mom and sis who I can’t find anywhere. Not that I’m able to search for them when I’m trapped in this damn van, my casted thigh shattered in two different places, my friend Adham fear-stricken in the driver’s seat while two El Paso cops storm straight for us — the two wide-eyed teens scared shitless in the stopped Homeland Security van that we should never have hijacked. Never have pretended we could outdrive the law either.

Crap, I’m in it deep. Despite that it was self-defense, I’m an accessory to Adham’s murder and equally bad I’m certain dad’s dying.

He bleeds from his bullet-impaled belly as he crawls away from his military helicopter, my focus flipping between him and the rear-view mirror where the half-demolished mountaintop towers above my neighbor, Mrs. Spencer. She guides a herd of mooing cattle across the devastated Texan desert. Spanning for miles and miles, the roads lay cracked under toppled ponderosa pines, bashed in houses, scattered cactus shrubs and downed power-lines crackling out blue volts. Like an electric eel, this power-line yards ahead snakes sideways spitting sparks into the massive crevice that dad drags himself around. He rolls to his hip, plucking something from his pocket. A phone. He draws it to his ear. His mouth moving slowly, he speaks maybe to a general or a corporal. Hopefully to someone who can rescue us. Rescue him. Regardless that he’s been a dead-beat parent my entire existence, I still care whether he lives or dies. I’d get someone to fly him to the nearest medical facility, if a cop wasn’t behind my door.

Oh Abuela. I wheeze. Santo Christo. Salvanos!

The cop points his gun at my window. “Out of the van.”

My leg’s broken. I try to say, my voice sticks, my throat as parched as the sand under dad’s helicopter, the propellers whirling so loudly they almost drown the cop’s next shout.

“Out of the van or I take you out myself.”

I frantically gawk from the cop to dad. Dad suddenly slumps, dropping his phone while Adham gulps in the driver’s seat. He clenches my fingers harder than he fists the steering wheel, his brown knuckles going whiter than the cop banging on my door.

He growls. “Have it your way.”  He bashes my window in with the side of his gun.

I scream, shielding my head from flying shards of glass and from a raunchy desert stench. It invades my nostrils, my stomach lurching when a second cop, with a chest-badge stating Officer Kilson, wedges a crowbar into the side of Adham’s door. He pries it open.

I scream harder. The cop, who bashed my window in, smirks.

 “You’re under arrest for the murder of a federal authority.” Kilson yanks Adham from his seat. “Get down, Taliban.” He throws Adham to the ground as I watch in horror, unable to stop the attack.

Kilson kicks Adham. Adham struggles, sweat soaking his unraveling turban where a smidge of his black hair peeks out.

“Anything you say or do will be used against you in a court of law.” Kilson knees Adham’s spine with full force.

Adham groans, his eyes darting to mine, his sheer terror unmistakable below his bushy brows.

“Don’t do this.” I shuder in a breath as Kilson cuffs Adham’s wrists. “He was trying to protect me. Lieutenant Lynch would’ve killed us if Adham hadn’t stepped up.”

“Stepped up. Huh? Proves you’re as guilty as Taliban here.” Kilson aims his gun at me while the other cop jerks my door open. He grabs me under my arms. My thigh aching to the bone, I cringe, attempting to flail against the cop’s grip. Can’t. Every body part hurts too much. Hurts more when the cop pins me to the hood of the van.

I shriek.

He gropes my hips. “Nice tight ass. Little chocolate beaner will fit my fancy.” He grinds his groin between my legs.

I whimper.

“Get your nasty hands off her.” Adham rips out of Kilson’s hold and staggers to the hood of the car.

“Not so fast.” Kilson presses the barrel of his gun to Adham’s skull.

Adham freezes, the coarse hairs on his skin rising. I reach my hand over the hood and clasp his arm.

Kilson slaps my hand. “No touching.”

A female hollers far behind. “Enough of this.”

I glance over my shoulder and spot Mrs. Spencer. She strides in our direction, her Mojave Rattlesnake, Flo squinting at me. Yikes. I swivel my focus from Adham snarling at the cops to Mrs. Spencer.

She scrutinizes Kilson.

“Ma’am. I suggest you leave.” Kilson thumbs his trigger. “A respectable lady like yourself. Don’t bother with these filthy immigrants. They’ll suffer the full force of the law.”

“You aren’t the law at the moment. I am.” Mrs. Spencer leans against the van, waggling a piece of paper in Kilson’s direction. “This warrant puts me in charge of who goes where.”

“Give me that.” Kilson plucks the paper out of her hand.

 Wish I had ultra-extending vision so I could read it.

He looks up, arching his brow. “You’re pretty old to be in the military.”

Military?

“Tough birds like me don’t let retirement end their careers.” She retrieves the paper for him as he rubs the bridge of his nose. “I grew up in Harlam New York and I don’t put up with rude, bigoted cops. Trust me, people out there are dying. They require your assistance more than these two innocent children. Let’s not add them to the death toll.” She narrows her eyes on Kilson, lifting her cellphone. “Defy me and that will be grounds for your arrest.”

“You wouldn’t.” Kilson flinches momentarily as if a bear trap just chomped his ankle.

“Try me. One word from me and you can wave bye to your career and say hello to a jail cell. Would hate for you to get caught in the cross-fire.”

Cross-fire? I’m officially confused. Mrs. Spencer never talks to anyone this way. Much less to cops. Mind revealing what she’s up to? Why it feels like she has some ulterior motive? A bad motive? From the crazy snake-lady who lives next-door to my parish-owned trailer? I suppose not. She’s defending us. That casts her in a positive light. Doesn’t it?

“Now...” Mrs. Spencer pets Flo’s tail, dangling it across her chest as if it’s some freaky necklace. “Put them in my custody.”

Her custody? Sounds shady. Then again, I could be misreading the gritty tone of her voice. She’s displaying neighborly kindness. Right?

“Fine. I value my job and freedom more than some dead Homeland Security Officer.” Kilson uncuffs Adham. Adham rubs his wrist, exposing the red welts rimming them. “My family depends on my income.”

“Smart choice.” Mrs. Spencer flicks her nose up, studyingthe other cop. “And you?”

“Yeah. Okay.” He mutters, sniffing my hair, my skin crawling. “You’re not off the hook, beaner.” He pushes me forward.

Adham catches me, glaring at the cop. “Assaulting prick. Suffer the full force of the law yourself.”

The cop scowls.

Adham lifts me. I hide my face in his biceps, shuddering at the memory of what that cop did to me. His disgusting hands; I still feel them jabbing into my flesh. Feel his sweaty palms fondling my bum. Feel puke rising up my esophagus. I dry heave, nearly barfing on Adham’s sleeve.

“Hey, Hey.” He slides a lock of my hair behind my ear. “You’re safe now, bae.”

“Safe? Nah. None of you illegals are safe.” Kilson laughs.

“Give it a rest, Kilson.” Mrs. Spencer gestures to dad’s military helicopter. “Be a dear, Adham. Take her to the helicopter. I’ll be there momentarily.”

Wait? Why does she want us in the helicopter? And who’s supposed to fly it? Her? She doesn’t know how to operate a helicopter. Or does she? Whichever it is, one thing’s certain. She’s a bundle of mysteries. Mysteries I won’t trust.

She lectures the cops as Adham carries me, their voices lowering. Wish I could hear their conversation, determine if she has an ulterior motive or not. Too bad the helicopter’s vooshing propellers suffocate her words and almost Adham’s words too.

He halts short of my dad. “Wonder who this dude is?”

“My dad.”

Adham’s brows rise. “Damn. I’m sorry.”

“Me too.” I examine dad, his flat black mustache twitching under his subtle breath, his unconscious body motionless beside that crack in the pavement. “No way we can leave him here to die.“

“Stay calm, Lenora. We’ll figure this out.” Adham ducks under the helicopter door and props me into a seat then retraces his steps to my dad.

Oh Adham. Grateful doesn’t even begin to describe what I feel for you. The fact that he risked his life twice for me and now is saving my dad, it’s unbelievable. Makes my feelings for him much more intense. Honestly. Ever since Adham moved to El Paso a year ago and became my high-school’s first Pakistani exchange student, I’ve had this secret crush on him. A secret I concealed the entire spring semester in my Sophomore calculus class. I spent more moments gazing at him than analyzing my differential equations. Spent more hours daydreaming about that kiss we shared. Beneath the bleachers last fall. Gosh, his full tan lips. Lips smoother than savory sauce on a hot tamale. Lips that still feel like they’re gliding over mine. Still keep me up at night. Keep me begging for more. More of that tall dark cola boy. He’s absolutely gorgeous with his unshaven jaw and those curly sideburns lining his temples. Even the way he checks dad’s pulse and lugs him up is hot. Agreed? I know. It’s sorta weird for me to be imagining him removing his shirt and strutting his six-pack when my half-alive dad is slung over his broad shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Like I can squash my feelings. He’s bewitched me beyond a crush. This is admiration mixed with a sprinkle of lust dust, the kind of fall in love stuff. Go ahead. Label me a romantic. Don’t label me heartless. There’s plenty of worry swirling inside me ‘bout dad. Eveni if my worry for him is closer to concern.

If you knew how dad abandoned us from the time I was five and only visited us once every few years to lead mom on and to throw her a small sum of money, well your emotions might be conflicted as mine are. Emotions that bewilder more once Adham lays him on the two seats behind me. I gape at dad’s unresponsive face as if I’m drifting out of my own body and analyzing some unidentified corpse. Detachment, that’s what this must be. Combined with my anger, my resentment for the years dad drove mom to poverty. Provoked her to flee Tijuana. To ditch Abuela’s death-bed. To pinch pennies in America as a single mom while her illegal alien daughters barely survived on ramen noodles, spam and three-week-old bread. Answer this. How can you mourn someone who was never there? Was never a provider? Was never a dad? Was simply a sperm donor? A sperm donor Mom still refuses to discuss. It’s like one day he left and in her brain his abandonment never happened. No wonder my relationship went south with mom. Her silence pushed me away. Pushed me into loneliness. Into this dark place where I became ignored and unloved. Became the one person who guarded my sister, Fatima. Fiercely I must say. So fiercely I have no choice but to find them. Wherever mom and Fatima are, I pray Mrs. Spencer will give me this chance to search the mountain for them.

I scoot over once Adham closes the door. He climbs into the seat adjacent me, his thigh brushing mine. His hand curls over my fingers.

I swallow hard, my eyes locked with his, my mouth drier than the desert floor. Perhaps I should say something. Say what? A compliment. A funny joke.

He breaks our gaze, disappointing me as he averts his attention to dad. “He’s still got a pulse.”

“That’s good.” Mrs. Spencer claims the pilot’s seat. “Glad your dad’s hanging in there, Lenora.”

“You know my dad?”

“I know a lot of things.” She wraps Flo’s snake body round her arm then pulls a lever on the dash. We ascend. High in the air, we soar above that sand-hill crane cawing below. Those power-lines, continuing to crackle out blue volts, shoot a spark toward the cops who retreat in their SUV. They plow toward St. Thomas’ Parish. Probably to harass more recovering immigrants.

Mrs. Spencer says. “Your dad isn’t who you think he is.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Let’s discuss that later. Right now, I believe you have a mother and sister to find.”

Okay. I’m beyond creeped. “I haven’t even mentioned my mom and sis.” How’s she aware that they’re missing?

“I’ve kept tabs on my neighbors. As far as I’ve been told, your mom and sister weren’t evacuated off the mountain.”

An unsettling revelation. Guess I’ll have to be the one evacuating them. If they’re still... Stop. Don’t go there.

Mrs. Spencer flies over the desert. The lopsided peak looming before us like a misshapen top-hat, quivers momentarily. A few boulders crash down. I gulp. Adham squeezes my hand. We climb in elevation.

“It’s imperative we locate your family before the next quake hits.” Mrs. Spencer says.

“Next quake?”

“Risk of aftershock is tremendous after a major quake.” Adham blurts.

“Afraid he’s right.” Mrs. Spencer adds. “Listen, we’ll search the entire road. Start to finish. It’s a large area to cover though. Can’t make any promises.”

“I understand.” Least she said she’ll try. That’s worth something.

I look through the window as three more military helicopters zoosh around us. One drops toward a group of people waving wildly on a jagged cliff while a low voice reverberates over our intercom.

“Detective Lorenzo?”

Thats dad’s first name! A detective though? News to me.

Mrs. Spencer taps the intercom. “This is Regina Spencer. Retired military commander. Detective Lorenzo is down. Requesting medical aid.”

“Descend.”

“Will do.”

We land on the cliff between the waving people and the other military helicopter that three soldiers bolt out of. One dashes for our helicopter and opens the door.

“Back there, Corporal Arnold.” Mrs. Spencer points to the seat behind Adham and I where dad lays.

Arnold sneaks around us, heaves dad up, transports him to the waiting helicopter then assists the other soldiers as they usher more people to safety.

“He’ll mend. They’ve got a doc in their ride.” Mrs. Spencer pats my knee in the same way she pets her spooktastic snake. Gently, a little scary too, witnessing this side of her. A side she’s buried for as long as I’ve known her; over a decade.

Adham slams the door shut as Mrs. Spencer flips a switch and we lift off again. The road, spanning under us in a spiral formation, mirrors a massive construction-zone bulldozed into piles of rock, dug up asphalt and fallen trees, all strewn in every direction and covering every vehicle in my view. In this chaotic mess, how do you find one car?

Maybe you don’t. Maybe it’s too late. I exhale shakily into Adham’s chest. “What if they’re gone?”

He folds his arms round me. “Life isn’t guaranteed to any of us.”

“Wow. Mr. cheer me-up. Take motivational speech one-o-one then message me maybe.”

He chuckles, his breath wafting on my cheeks.

I must be blushing cause my face heats quicker than a furnace. Phone the fire department cause I think I’m gonna burst into flames. Right here before my guy who’s lips are inches from mine. Takes everything inside me not to close the space between us and surrender to a second kiss. “I’m a tough girl, Adham. When I’m walking again, I’ll be the first one to save your life.”

He chuckles harder. “You’re cute, bae.”

Cute? Seriously? Can’t he sense how much I like him? How many months I’ve longed to lay my lips on his? How I’ve desperately wished for him to see me as a sexy young woman; one he’d consider touching? Touching in ways no cute girl can fathom? Clue in, Adham! Don’t call me cute. Cute is my eleven-year-old sister. A sister I must believe is alive.

I whip my focus to the window while we circle to the other side of the mountain, the same bull-dozed landscape appearing. Far below, I spy a small less decimated section of road. Atop it, a long line of smashed cars, indented by hefty boulders and occupied with mangled bodies, loiters like a construction-zone-graveyard. In the middle of the line, our car wobbles on its caved in roof as if it was flung from the mountain before it hit this lower road.

“Go down!” I shout, my blood pumping a mile a minute once I notice Fatima. She screams, griping the ledge of the mountain, her legs thrashing faster than a rabbit hopping from a feral predator. Worse, mom’s wedged upside down under our crushed roof, hollering and clawing at the smushed windshield.

“We’re coming.” Mrs. Spencer hovers toward the only other clear space — a slab of bedrock extending to a sheer drop. We settle on it.

Adham busts out of the helicopter and darts for Fatima. Leaping over a patch of split asphalt where the ground belches out sulfuric farts, he bends over a ditch and reaches for my sister’s outstretched fingers.

“You can do it, Fatima.” I call out the door.

She latches onto his wrist. With one quick tug, he heaves her up. Motioning her to the helicopter, she rushes to it, her tear-stained face brightening once she sees me.

“Lenora! Mi hermana.” She takes the seat beside me. “Thought I’d never see you again.” She hugs me, sobbing on my torn blouse.

I stroke her matted hair, tossing Mrs. Spencer a slight grin. “Snaps for Mrs. Spencer and Adham. Our personal earth angels.”

Mrs. Spencer fidgets in her seat as if she’s uncomfortable. Uncomfortable ‘bout what?

“Give me a sec.” She exits the helicopter as Adham clears the rocks and rubble off the wheels and frame of our car. Flo, left behind on her seat, rotates its scaly snake-head and hisses our way.

“Hiss at someone else.” I toggle my attention between the snake slithering over the dash to Mrs. Spencer lifting a cell-phone to her ear chatting to someone while Adham continues removing rubble. Rubble I’d be clearing right with him if I could walk like Mrs Spencer is walking. Near the edge of that cliff, her gaze aims downward as if she’s inspecting something. What? And Why isn’t she helping Adham! She’s wasting precious time. The next quake is coming. Soon. Maybe too soon given the way that crack in the road emits belch after belch.

Get your ass over to Adham so we can free my mom! I consider shouting. Not that Mrs. Spencer is willing to listen. Her attention is fixated on something yellow on the road below. It looks identical to an El Paso school bus. Driving up the mountain? Really Who’d be nuts enough to maneuver that rickety bus up this unstable and treacherous road? Let alone after a major earth quake bull-dozed it?

Dumb with a capital D. Whoever’s manning the wheel must have have some serious mental issues. Issues I could care less about at the moment.

I poke my head out the door and yell. “Stop talking and start helping!”

Mrs. Spencer ignores me. Crap!

Fatima says, “Maybe I can help.”

“Absolutely not. It’s unsafe. You’ve encountered enough today.” Enough danger to last a lifetime for both of us. Especially once that snake hisses around the pilot’s seat. Someone better get that thing away from us or I’ll karate chop it. Not that I know how to karate chop. Still, that snake is friknasty. It widens its mouth, saliva dripping from its fangs.

“It’s gonna bite me!” Fatima scrambles to her knees as the snake slithers closer. It swoops for Fatima.

“Demon snake!” I grab it by its middle, its scales slimier than rotten sushi. Blech. Think I’m gonna vomit. I fling it out the door. Good riddance. It slinks toward Mrs. Spencer. She scoops it up then glares my way.

Cray, cray! Serves you right for sticking us with your ickster pet. I copy her glare. Except mine is stone-cold. I yell again. “Go help, Adham!”

He muscles a large boulder by himself. It starts to fall. She dives for him and nabs the edge of it before it pulverizes his foot. Before he lifts the next rock, I hear an engine.

The bus. It swerves round a bend then halts behind the long line of smashed cars. A gun peeking from its door shoots. Bullets fly, smacking the asphalt near Mrs. Spencer and Adham while two men tear out of the bus.

One I’ve never met. The other — Officer Kilson! He barrels ahead, firing more bullets at Mrs. Spencer and Adham who duck beside a truck. I hunch in my seat, crossing my arms over Fatima’s head as the men quickly gain on the helicopter. They charge aboard.

Kilson seizing me by the arms; the other man nabs Fatima.

She shrieks as they lug us away.

“Nasty perps. Let them go!” Adham pops up from behind the car.

They fire at him multiple times. He stoops under the bullets. The nearer we get to the bus the quieter Adham’s shouts become.

“Let them go! Let them go!”

“You heard him.” I butt my head against Kilson’s chest.

He snickers, fisting me harder til my elbows sting. “Told you. None of you filthy immigrants are safe.”

He shoves me on the bus’ steps. I slug up one stair at a time. Sweat soaking my blouse, the noxious sulphuric fumes in my nose, I wince at the sharp pains darting though my broken leg. Wince at the sound of the other man hurtling Fatima. Her shoulder twhacks the bus’ door.

“Fatima.” I stretch my arm to my rear and pull her up by her waist.

She cowers. “Don’t hurt us!”

“Don’t hurt us.” Kilson mocks her.

“Find a seat beaners.” The other man barks. “It’s a long ride to Mexico.”

Mexico? So that’s their plan, huh?

I lug myself to the last step where I spy the cop from earlier. He mans the wheel. Behind him, ten other Mexican children whimper on the benches. Some with their knees folded to their chins. Others with their faces in their hands. A toddler wails on the floor.

Oh my God! I drag myself to the toddler then haul both of us into a seat and motion Fatima our way.

“Here you go.” One of the cops grabs Fatima by the nape of her neck and throws her in the seat beside me.

I grit my teeth when he snickers down on us. “What the hell is wrong with you? Release us from this bus!”

“Not til we rid you from our country.” Kilson stomps up the bus’s steps.

“Right about that.” The other man follows. “I’m tired of you illegals taking our jobs.”

Jobs? How can we, the most innocent and vulnerable in society, steal jobs?

The driver slams the door then reverses, the tires spitting up rocks, the toddler begins to wail again. I cuddle him, whispering a Spanish lullaby Abuela used to sing to me before cancer took her.

“Arrorró mi niño. Arrorró mi amor. Arrorró pedazo de mi corazón...”

The toddler won’t settle. Where are his parents? All of these kids’ parents?

“Mama!” Fatima presses her hands on the half-cracked window. “Take us back! I need my mom!”

You and me both. I hold Fatima and the toddler to either side of me, trying to be brave when all I want to do is cry as the bus peels off. The road above shrinks smaller and smaller along with Adham and Mrs. Spencer who now have to choose between saving us or saving mom.

“Oh the suspense!” The other man laughs in the back of the bus.

Kilson smirks, plopping in the seat next to me, his gun in hand, less than a foot from my thigh.

One fast move and I can probably snag it. Put a bullet through each of these vile cops. Despite that I hate guns this solution may be my one ray of hope.

Please Abuela, if your heavenly ears can hear me — Help!

I inhale slowly. Mustering every ounce of courage I have, I settle the toddler in Fatima’s lap then eye her and the gun. Fatima nods. I lean to the side, snatch the gun and shoot Kilson. He flops. The other men fumbling for their guns, I nail them both. One straight in the skull. The other in the chest. They bleed out. The cop at the wheel slumps forward, the bus suddenly jerking to the side. I hadn’t thought this far.

Holy Shit! We’re gonna slide off that cliff.

Fatima dashes around me. Elbowing the cop to the floor, she grabs the wheel. Regardless that she’s never driven, she lays on the brake, steadying the bus enough for me hop on my good foot to the front.

I hoist my casted leg on the driver’s seat behind Fatima. Happy that my driving foot is not injured, I swiftly switch places with Fatima. Half-standing, half-sitting, I steer us down the winding road as Fatima returns to the toddler. The mountain above shivers for a second. I inhale stiffly, uttering a quick prayer that we can outdrive the impending aftershock. No such luck. The peak crumbles like a Jenga tower. From every angle, rocks hurtle. Cars fall. I slam that pedal to the metal, probably the max speed for this rickety bus.

“Hold onto to your seats!” I scream over my shoulder, watching in the rear-view mirror as a boulder almost collides with our fender. Conjures my worst fear, that mom has already perished in our car. That Adham and Mrs. Spencer have already bit the dust. I wanna cry. Can’t. These kids are depending on me. I drive faster, navigating the bumpy foothills. Down. Down. Down. To the bottom until I hear something. The whirring of a helicopter.

I beg you. Let it be Mom and Adham, and Mrs. Spencer. Let everything be okay.

I veer past St. Thomas’ Parish and toward that Homeland Security van where we first started our escape. Where dad’s military helicopter lands in the same place. Right in front of those crackling power-lines, mom careens out. Thank heavens! Adham sprints after.

I park. Fatima hands the toddler to me then runs from her seat, meeting mom on the pavement. They embrace as Adham advances to the bus. He enters and guides all nine children and the toddler to Mrs. Spencer. She gathers them in a circle, doling them juice boxes and crackers while she taps her phone and more military helicopters descend from Franklin Peak. They descend in our direction as Adham nears me. He lifts me. Carrying me from the bus, he steps down the stairs.

“So glad you’re safe, bae. You had me worried there for a moment.” He whispers in my ear, his brown eyes glued to my face.

Beside that crack in the road, he plants his lips over mine in a sweet kiss. Seductive kiss. Sexy kiss. A kiss that takes my breath away. That’s warmer than a thousand blankets on a sizzling day. That lasts well past our first kiss. Past anything I imagined. My mouth parts. He invites me to play with him, a tongue tangling slow dance to the beat of butterflies fluttering in my belly. I claim his mouth. Skating my hands across his hefty shoulders, I cling to him, ignoring the awkward gawks of mom, Fatima, the kids, even Mrs. Spencer.

This moment is for Adham and I. For the passion we ignite. The struggles we conquered together.

We come up for air, my pulse like a galloping horse.

Mom smiles my way. Fatima giggles. I blush.

Mrs. Spencer winks then lowers her phone, her expression darkening. “News just broke out. Government’s rounding up all illegal immigrant children under the age of eighteen.”

“That’s sick. And completely wrong.” Adham balls his fist as Corporal Arnold, the same soldier who rescued dad earlier, jumps from his helicopter.

He approaches Mrs. Spencer. “Our militia army has located a safe house. Best we go now.”

“Course we’ll go.” I blurt, straightening in Adham’s arms, his biceps tensing around me. “Problem is. How many other kids and teens face deportation?”

“Thousands. Tens of thousand even.” Adham says.

Mrs. Spencer shakes her head. “Freedom has a price-tag.”

“A price-tag no-one should have to pay.” I step one leg to the ground, bracing my weight on Adham. “If it’s a war they want, it’s a war they’ll get.”


© Copyright 2018 Joy Shaw. All rights reserved.

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