Peek In The Purse

This scribbled out scene is the prologue for Three Dates. Sometimes the words won’t wait until there’s a computer nearby.

“Be brave, Camila. When you make it through this hell, you will find paradise.”

Dark eyes held the promise I had no choice but to believe. My brother shifted from foot to foot as I ran my fingers along the wall of corrugated steel and traced the hole cut into the metal. Just large enough for fresh air. He glanced back once, then again, reaching behind him and patting his lower back.

Silently, he gripped my shoulder, urging me toward the back corner where a large space had been carved out among the boxes. A bag bigger than the one I carried sat swollen on the floor.

I had food, water, tissue, and hope that had to last until I made it to safety. Nothing could be worse than staying put. Nothing.

My brother kept his hand on his back. Sweat beaded his brow as he did a sweep of the space. He cut his gaze toward the door and then back to me. He was sending me to my salvation or my death, but either alternative was better than what I was leaving behind.

I threw my arms around his waist, hugging him hard. He briefly returned my embrace, and I felt the gun tucked into his waistband. I sat when he applied pressure and stowed my bag under my bent knees so I could feel it within reach. He touched my head, a myriad of emotions in his eyes, the most evident of which was his resolve to see this through. We both realized this was likely the last time we’d ever see one another. I couldn’t cry; emotion was a luxury I could no longer afford. Numbness was the key to survival.

I nodded once—a goodbye and an acceptance of my fate. Worry settled in his eyes, along with regret. I touched his hand in reassurance. He wasn’t to blame.

After a long moment, he turned to go, rushing down the wall of boxes to the light. With a loud creak, the light disappeared. A shifting of metal as the lock was secured told me there was no escape.

Pressing my eye to my small window to the world, I saw the sea and the setting sun, and I prayed God would never make me return to this place, even if it killed me.