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Published by Pepe Caleb

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Published by: Pepe Caleb on Sep 23, 2011
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09/23/2011

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Three hours ago Malena was flying around her room rolling clothes into lumpy bundles and tossing keepsakes, reminders of this dungeon, aside. Those moments waiting for her aunt to finish packing food and money for her ailing mother seemedto play with time like it were a lazy Sunday afternoon. The curtains caught thewind and nearly made her heart stop, the creak of the porch where the dog had shifted caused a coughing fit as she attempted to take in air and when her aunt absentmindedly dropped a glass she nearly vomited all over her bed. She knew that at any moment fate would tire of this cat and mouse and he would come walkingthrough the door, his wry smile and slimy eyes pulling her back into the abyss.By the time she finally boarded the bus and half-heartedly waved goodbye to heraunt, her nerves were shot. She was so exhausted that she couldn’t enjoy the unfamiliar pang of joy as she slipped into sleep.Malena noticed the air grow excessively warmer as the bus descended into the valley, closer to home, further from him. Her eyes fluttered and she snapped awakeat the thought of being so close to home. Home. She thought it strange that she was looking forward to returning to a place which had always been so cold anduninviting. She suddenly remembered that her mother had no idea she was coming. She had been so focused on fleeing that she forgot she may not exactly have aplace to flee too. Relatively speaking, however, this was of little concern because she wouldn’t allow her mother to send her back.Out the bus window she watched as the low-growing mesquite brush, blue-green agave and brown dirt began to smear, as paint across a canvas, with the encroachinggreen of the valley. She smiled as they passed one final large cactus reachingup with erect spiny arms towards the clouds with such lifeless life. It was the bitter irony of her young years, caught between family obligation and a placeher heart desired---home. Eventually the mesquite plains gave way to mango groves with mangoes hanging heavy like golden orbs ripening in fuchsia red bursts from the stem and crowding out the green flesh with and evasive orange. Suddenly,Malena grew anxious, as if the distance she had put behind her wasn’t growing. At the bus’s first destination Malena used some of the pesos her aunt had given herto buy fresh fruit from a Purepecha girl. While she ate the sweet papaya covered in lime, salt and chili powder, she began to practice how she would convinceher mother to remain at home.By the time the bus pulled from the station at Tumbuscatio, prepared to make itsfinal descent through the pine forest and into Uruapan, which was nestled intothe valley’s bottom, Malena was certain she would be able to convince her mother.As the bus began to make the treacherous curves of the descent Malena heardsomeone sounding a horn behind the bus. This in and of itself would not be noticeable given that all vehicles wishing to pass the slow moving bus would make the driver aware of their presence by doing sounding their horn. The driver of this vehicle, however, was sounding his horn recklessly. He was pounding the wheel in a series of short successive beeps followed by a long blaring cry. The passengers, including Malena turned around to see what was going on. After theyrounded the next corner the driver pulled alongside the bus as if to pass but instead pulled alongside the driver and seemed to match his speed. Malena was seated on the opposite aisle of the bus and stood up in an attempt to see the commotion. As they neared another curve the driver nearly slammed on his breaks andfell back immediately behind the bus. Malnea caught a glimpse of the truck. Fate had tired of her games again. It was him, come to secure what was his. Again at the straightaway he pulled alongside the driver and she heard another passenger in the front whisper nervously, “He has a gun.” The driver focused on the road, seemingly oblivious to the crazy , young man shadowing him. At each curve they would repeat the dance. He would slam on his breaks and fall behind only topull alongside again. By this point all the passengers were becoming nervous,clutching their loved ones and making the sign of the cross. Malena felt as ifshe would vomit the sweet fruit clawing its way up her esophagus. Finally, thebuss made the final curve and picked up speed on the final stretch of road leading into the city. The truck again pulled alongside the bus but this time passedand accelerated quickly driving further and further ahead. About a kilometer ahead of the bus it stopped quickly and turned to block the entire road. The bu

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