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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)

TITLE: Maria's trip to Freedom
By dub W


The truck came to a sudden halt. Maria peeked through the rear cab window and saw flashing blue lights and men running toward the truck. She slid the glass apart then shimmied into the cab and behind the seat. At the same time she heard the doors of the truck being opened and the shouts of men and women as they were herded out of the vehicle. “Protéjame Jesús.” Tears began to run down her cheeks. Her slight frame was wedged so tightly that she could barely move and the moisture of her tears mixed with perspiration and burned her eyes.

The two cab doors jerked open and the two men in the front seat screamed as they left the truck. She could only imagine that they were somehow hurt. She heard English words which she did not understand, but seconds later another man (she could tell by his sweaty smell), jumped onto the driver’s seat. The springs of the seat pushed into her head and she felt dizzy, but dared not move or call out.

Soon the truck was moving again. Maria closed her eyes. Oooh, Jesús, yo le necesito ahora. Her thoughts drifted away with the hum of the truck engine and she slept. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning she woke to the sound of the door slamming. She was alone.

She pushed away from the floor with her left hand and the springs forgave her action and moved a couple of inches. With her right hand she grasped the seat back and pulled herself to the top of the seat. She managed to crawl over the back cushion and crouched looking out the driver’s side door. She curled up on the bench, pulling her arms around her and her knees to her chest. The sky outside the truck was beginning to lighten. Morning would soon appear.

Voices suddenly chattered away somewhere behind the truck, then Maria heard the sound of footsteps approaching. She felt herself begin to panic. It was too late to crawl back behind the seat. She slid onto the passenger floor and curled up into a ball, pulling accumulated trash over herself.

The door opened and a young Anglo woman got into the driver’s side. Maria felt the woman’s eyes.

“Shhh.” The woman looked straight ahead. “Ningún ruido. Sea callado.”

Maria understood that she was to be quiet and make no noise. She ducked and pulled an old newspaper over her face.

The truck began moving again. And after several bumps the woman said. “Go ahead and get up, you are safe. Levántese. Está a salvo ahora.”

Maria pulled herself up onto the seat. When the truck stopped at a stop sign, the woman reached over and pulled the seatbelt around Maria.

“We wouldn’t want to get stopped for a seatbelt violation.”

Maria understood not a word. She looked around in amazement at the buildings while the truck passed through the streets. So many things were running through her head, she didn’t know where to start, who the woman was, or where she was going. A day before she was crawling along a sage brush line and under a wire. Now, she was lost in a new land.

The woman glanced at Maria. “How old are you, uh, ¿Cuántos años tiene?”

Maria gulped. “Tengo diecisiete años.”

“Seventeen. Hmmm. You’re awfully small.” The woman turned the truck down a street.

Maria looked out at the well-kept lawns and pretty houses. The truck finally stopped in front of a stucco house.

“I hope she’s home, come on. Vamos.”

Maria didn’t know whether to trust the woman, but at least she seemed friendly. Maria got out of the truck and followed. Jesús, yo le necesito.

The woman knocked on the door and a Hispanic woman appeared. “Carmen, I found this one alone at the impound. Can you help?”

Carmen peered behind the Anglo woman. “Bring her in quickly. If we can’t find her family I can keep her here for awhile.” Carmen reached over and took Maria’s hand. “Esto es una casa de Dios. Está bienvenido aquí.” Carmen hugged the Anglo woman then closed the door.

Maria felt a smile cross her face for the first time in several days. She raised a hand to praise God. “Gracias. Alabe a Dios.” She still didn’t know where she was or how she got here, but the warm feeling inside of her said that Jesus heard her prayers. “Gracias Jesús.”

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This article has been read 848 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Cartwright08/23/07
It's easy to stand on a certain side of the fence so long as our perspective remains objective. Perspective can change though when it becomes a heart matter. Thanks for bringing a problem of mammoth proportions up close and personal.
Joanne Sher 08/23/07
This is a very compelling read. Great descriptions.
Jacquelyn Horne08/23/07
This is an interesting account of God protecting. I would like to understand a little more of what actually happened here. How did the woman come into posession of the truck? etc. But it is right on target for the topic.
Lynda Schultz 08/23/07
A message needing to be heard. Sometimes we are too quick to condemn those who, suffering persecution or hunger, seek a better life. That doesn't condone breaking the law, but knowing how expensive it is to do these things legally, and all the paperwork involved, it's often impossible for the really needy to make a new life in another country. I suspect that we practice forms of discrimination in our immigration policies that should be condemned.

Now I'll get off my soapbox!

Other than some language (Spanish language) problems, nicely done.
Dee Yoder 08/23/07
I also suspect that some of the illegals being transported don't fully know the deep water they're jumping into when they take this kind of dangerous ride. The MC in your story, for example, seems very naive for her age. Maybe a combination of greed and politics on both sides of the border lead to scenarios like the one depicted in your story. Great descriptions of the MC and her fears!
Rita Garcia08/25/07
A really gripping story, the characterization and depictions paint a vivid picture.
Kathy Bruins08/25/07
Nicely written...love the model that Jesus hears and answers all prayers in any language.
Dave Wagner08/27/07
Technically, it's well done. Good word choices, economical, shows polish and attention to detail. I liked this line: "the springs forgave her action..." Topic-wise, I give you kudos for posting on such a controversial topic. Personally, it's hard for me to sympathize with her - illegal immigration is a burr under my saddle, and I'm of the opinion (at this point in my life) that regardless of how perilous the journey is, there is a right, legal way to enter the country, and a wrong, illegal way. If I were writing the sequel, I'd have her caught and sent home. That's a happy ending to me.
Kristen Hester08/28/07
I enjoyed reading this story from your MC's point of view.

I was confused at the beginning of your story. I just couldn't quite picture what was happening. I did have a few other questions along the way, but I'm sure your MC was confused as well. Riding hidden in a truck has got to be frightening and confusing.

Once I got past that,I really enjoyed it. Nice job. I hope it does well. (You may have to give up your reserved spot.)
Beth LaBuff 08/28/07
No matter what one's view on illegal immigration we can still feel compassion for the individual. Your descriptions and dialog of the event were very good. I liked your use of Spanish in the story. I, too, am thinking you may have to vacate 201st place. :)
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/28/07
I think you just wanted to make us think with this well written story on this controversial topic. Well, I've thought, and I'm still confused, dwelling between sympathy and questioning what is the right answer to the problem.
Julie Ruspoli08/29/07
A very real scenerio for some trying to enter our country. While others are handed everything Americans struggle daily to provide for our families. My political two cents worth. There are so many folks from Mexico in MS now, helping rebuild from Katrina, I can sense their relief and joy to be in America working to survive and able to send money to family still in Mexico. Seeing this gives me compassion for Maria, who would gladly work to stay in America, if given the chance.
Very well written Dub, as usual, your time spent proof reading is very evident. I could picture the whole story very well.
Brenda Welc08/29/07
Aside from the legalities (sp) of this story, it was VERY well said. Good flow. Good wording. Good everything. (I think you are your own puppy this week:))! Great job! Yeah your gonna have to give up your place!
Jan Ackerson 08/29/07
Thank you so much for giving us access to this dear girl's soul. It's not about the politics, but about this human being who is surely precious in God's' eyes. Beautiful.
Sara Harricharan 08/29/07
Go Maria! I was rooting for her all the way, so glad that she finally made it. A sad glimpse into real life.
Kathryn Wickward08/30/07
Brilliant choice of topic for the prompt, dub! Strange land, strange language, her confusion and helplessness came pouring out in your writing. Thank you, I'm glad you entered this and you write wonderfully.
Edy T Johnson 09/06/07
This is a gripping story. I came to thank you for leaving a comment on my "confused" entry and got to enjoy your writing, here. Thanks muchly!
Edy T Johnson 09/06/07
This is a gripping story. I came to thank you for leaving a comment on my "confused" entry and got to enjoy your writing, here. Thanks muchly!
Linda Watson Owen09/07/07
dub, this is just wonderful! What great characterization in such a few words! I'm so glad I sought yours out as I've gone back to catch up on some reading and commenting. I'd love to hear more of this story.