- The Narrow Escapeby Mistydawn
This work has reached the exceptional level
Anna and Armando race towards freedom.
Where Are All The Children
: The Narrow Escape by Mistydawn

A whirlwind of emotions surges through me as Armando and I bump along the rugged dirt path on our way to freedom. It's a mix of excitement, fear, sorrow, and regret. I have no idea what the future holds, but I know it has to be better than the life I've had.

I gaze across the horizon and then at the cloudless blue sky. I wish you could've taken this journey with me, Alejandro, that you could've lived out your dreams too. I glance back at the makeshift hospital, the baby he sacrificed his life to save, and then towards the heavens again. I'll never forget you, my love, never. I cry, wiping the tears from my swollen eyes.

I glance down at the infant sleeping peacefully in my arms. I promise to protect you even if it means sacrificing my life to keep you safe. Sniffling, I wipe my face again.

The countless hours Alejandro and I spent dreaming about our freedom suddenly comes to mind. The way he and I sketched out every little detail down to our fancy decor, the marble floors, and the three-tiered red-velvet drapes.

I then recall how we decided that our family should consist of eight kids, four boys, four girls, two dogs, and a Persian cat. We even agreed on a few names. I remember how excited Alejandro would get as he sketched out his elaborate plans. The way he'd explain each of his ideas as he drew.

"We'll have a white, two-story home on the lake. It'll have a big backyard with lots of trees so the kids will have plenty of room to run and play. The front yard will be large and shady too. And we'll have a line of trees on either side of the gravel road leading to the house." He pushes his paper aside, turns towards me, takes his hand in mine, and says, "First, I want to take you on an elaborate honeymoon. One you'll never forget."

I gaze up at him. With a gleam in my eye, I smile and ask, "Where will we go?"

"Wherever your heart desires. We'll stay in the fanciest motels. Eat only the best foods, dress in the finest clothes."

"It sounds wonderful, Alejandro, absolutely marvelous."

Kissing the top of my head, Alejandro smiles and says, "I'll make it happen for us someday. I will. Just you wait and see."

Pulling the baby in tight, I glance up at the clear blue sky. We're free now, Alejandro. Thanks to you, Alex and I are finally free.

Armando looks over to find me sobbing. "Are you alright?"

"I'm just thinking about how your brother sacrificed his life for us."

"He loves you, Anna. You and the baby. He'd do anything in the world for you two."

I dry my face, turn towards him and say, "I love him too."

He rubs my arm, smiles, and says, "I know you do."

I look behind us again. "I miss him so much, Armando. I miss every little thing about him. His smile, his laugh, his voice, his gentle touch." I sob.

Armando wipes a tear from his cheek, sniffles, and says, "I miss him too."

I see the pain, the agony in his eyes. I then remember the sacrifices he had to make. "How selfish of me walling in my grief when you've given up so much trying to keep us safe."

"You're hurting. I get that. I am too. I just show it differently than you." He gulps back his tears and then continues. "What you and Aljendro had was special, something you don't find every day."

"We had this connection, a real strong bond like we're two old friends reuniting again. And our love-making, It was so magical; like nothing, I'd ever experienced before."

Armando clears his throat, shifts in his seat, and says, "I'd rather not hear about my baby brother's sex life if you don't mind."

I feel my face turn red. "Sorry." I look towards the floor and add, "I got carried away."

There's a long pause, then he says, "All he ever talked about was you. Anna did this. Anna said that. I don't know how many times I told him enough about this chick already. The guy would drive us nuts the way he'd go on and on about you." He smiles and says. "Now I've gotten to know you; I can understand why he feels the way he does. You're special, one of a kind that's for sure."

Eyeing the man beside me I realize I didn't know much about him other than Alejandro did his best to keep us apart. He must've had his reasons for doing what he did. Some of the horrid men from my past suddenly come to mind. Giving him a suspicious look, I scoot closer to the door. "Thanks, I think."

Seeing my reaction, Armando laughs. "I didn't mean for that to sound like a come on. You're cute, have a great personality but your not my type."

Still feeling uneasy, I pull the blanket around me. "That's good to know."

I glance up to find two goons standing on either side of the gate, machine guns pointing our way. "What are we going to do, Armando?"

"Only one thing we can do, keep going and hope they'll move out of the way."

I anxiously turn towards him. "What if they don't?"

He laughs and says, "We'll have fewer thugs to worry about now, won't we?" He pushes the pedal down more. The rickety truck picks up speed.

I grab Armando's arm, "We could be seriously injured or killed."

He glances at me and then the road again. "I want you and the baby to get down on the floorboard and cover up with this." He tosses me a blanket.

"But I...."

"Just do what I say." He snaps.

Holding Alex against me, I ease to the floor.

Gripping the steering wheel with both hands, Armando pushes the pedal down more.

I hear men barking out orders. I then hear splitting wood. I peek out from under the blanket to find boards and other debris flying through the air. "Is it over?"

"Not quite."

A spray of bullets pings off the side of the truck. "They're shooting at us?"

"Just be glad they can't aim." His jaw drops, his tan face turns pasty white. "Oh, no, not that."

"What is it, Armando?"

He glances down at me, a look of horror on his face. "You better pray we make it out of here alive."


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