Student of film at Capilano University. Passion: Share stories.

Image of Long Story Short Award - Fall 2020
Image of Short Fiction
After twelve hours of no sleep and no food, tightly handcuffed to a chair and sitting in the middle of the US-Mexico border control office, an old woman of seventy-five years called Magdalena impatiently waits for an answer from the immigration officers. Her burnt feet rhythmically hammering at the cold concrete, a fresh pause from the relentless desert heat. Her wrist slowly but painfully get tighter and tighter as more and more blood clots around the cramped cuffs.
A tall, white officer with a particularly disgusted expression and a sunburned face arrives and sits in front of her, expectantly leaning back on his opposing chair.
“Señor, did you find my Tomasito?” asked Magdalena, practically losing her heart fevered mind.
“You fucking beaner. Why is it so hard to stay in your own fucking country?”
“I don't understand, did you find him?” she continued, defiantly.
“Just shut up.” The officer is visibly annoyed, he spits right next to where Magdalena’s bare feet attempt to shake the building to the ground.
“I said shut up! You have no right to talk.”
“Lo siento, I’m sorry. I’m just worried for m-”
The officer quickly raises his hand ready to hit Magdalena. She flinches and instantly stops talking.
“And no, we didn't find anyone from your group.”
“I said no, are you deaf?” he replies angrily “We are taking you back to Mexico.”
Magdalena slowly raises her hands, covers her face, and tries to hold her crying as best as she can.

With her face covered against the hot sunlit sand, in the middle of the desert, Magdalena is unconscious. The same white officer shakes her shoulder, waking her up. He looks at his partner's black glasses.
“Well well, look what we have here.”
Magdalena wakes up in shock.
“Que pasa? What is going on?”
“Lo que pasa, is that you are under arrest. For trying to cross the border amigo.”
The white officer tightly cuffs Magdalena.
“Wait, Tomasito, where is he?”
“Don’t worry, we will find your group. They can’t be far” said the partner, amused.

As Magdalena walks across the desert, the sole of her foot burns. Her sweaty hand is holding seven-year-old Tomasito's hand. All ten people from the group are moving their feet forward under the sun of the hot desert and the heat reflection of the ground. Magdalena is from the last people on the line just in front of Jorge, one of the coyotes who guides them.
“I'm really thirsty grandma.” Said Tomas.
Magdalena stares at Jorge, “Can we stop for a second? My feet burn.”
“If we stop now, we won’t make it to our destination for the night. Just keep walking.” Replied Jorge.
Magdalena takes out a half-full water bottle and hands it to Tomas, “here, take this”
“You don't want some?”
“Don't worry, I'm fine.”
Magdalena licks her lips and swallows scratchy saliva from her extensive thirst.

Magdalena is walking. After a couple of steps, she faints out and falls to the ground.
“Grandma, Grandma!” screams Tomas.
Jorge quickly grabs Tomas by the head, tightly pressures his head with both arms, and puts a cloth over his mouth to stop him from making any noise. Jorge then grabs Tomas by and forces him to keep walking. The others notice, but keep silent and looking forward: everyone fears Jorge.

Magdalena sits on a table, takes out two big stacks of money from her purse, and hands them to Jorge. He starts counting the money.
Furious Jorge puts down the money, “It's not complete.”
“I know I don't have all the money, but I’m begging you, we need this.”
“This isn’t enough, if you want to take the kid you need to give us the rest. We are not a charity.” Jorge stands up.
“I’m begging you, Tomasito’s father is on the other side, he will pay once we get there.”
“Are you completely sure?”
“Yes, I promise you.”
“If you don't pay up by the time we are there, we'll keep the boy.”

While spinning and spinning the clay maintains itself moldable. Magdalena puts her wrinkled hands around the clay and slowly applies pressure to it, molding a new jug to sell later in the afternoon. Arriving from school, Tomasito drops his heavy school bag and approaches his grandmother.
“Can I try grandma?”
Magadelan stands up, “yeah just go easy one the clay.”
Tomasito puts his hands around the clay and starts molding it, “Like this grandma?”
From the pressure of the hand, the clay breaks and deforms while spinning, “It's okay, happens to everyone.”
Magdalena reshapes the clay and puts her hands behind Tomas’s hand, “Slowly Tomas don't think too, much just feel it.” What was once deformed clay is now attaining the form of a small teacup.
Ecstatic Tomasito turns around and hugs his grandmother. “I did it, grandma, I did it!”
Magdalena profoundly smiles “You really did my boy, I'm so proud.”

Nervously, Magdalena shakes her leg while waiting in the hospital.
A doctor approaches her.
“Magdalena, right?”
“Yes doctor, that's me. How is my daughter?”
”I’m very sorry, but we couldn't save her.”
Magdalena cries, “No! Not my girl! Doctor please now.”
Magdalena continues crying in her chair while covering her face.
“After the baby came out, there was more bleeding than anyone anticipated and we couldn’t stop it on time. I’m here to inform you that the baby survived and he is healthy.”
Magdalena slowly puts her hands down, “What should I do? I’m old and I don't think I can take care of him.”
"Is there anyone else you know, who could take care of Tomas?"
” That's the name your daughter gave him.”
“Just like his dad. When the time comes -I, I will take Tomas to his father. I know everything will work out fine. I have hope on that”
The End.