Written by Myron J. Clifton
Thousands of miles away on the other side of the world Nilsa stopped walking and looked to the late afternoon sky. The sun was just descending from its apex and a breeze was soon to cool the caravan that was in front of her and behind her. She wasn’t exactly in middle. With another day of travel she would be closer to the front of the now two-hundred thousand walkers who were heading north for shelter, farming land, and away from floods and drought that made their homeland increasingly unlivable over the past fifty years due to climate change disasters.
The crowds had swelled as the caravan moved north and word spread that a young girl was leading the migrants. Migrants from adjoining states, some with stable governments, others during popular uprisings, and still others that were in full-fledged civil wars. The caravan welcomed them all and after a few weeks of travel and sharing clothes, food, and excitement about Nilsa, the migrants blended in and just became a mass of humans without country or country identification.
The governments along the routes responded by sending military consultants, spies, and mercenaries to track and match the pace of the caravans. Every country’s leader also instructed their own military to ensure none of the caravan settled inside their own borders.
Nilsa sat down on the road and everyone behind her began sitting down in coordinated unison like falling dominoes emanating from where she stood, starting with those who trailed closest to her. And a few moments later those who remained in front of Nilsa saw that she had stopped, and they too stopped, letting those yet in front of themselves, that Nilsa, “pequeno sendero” had stopped for the night.
The military also stopped and let their commanders know that based on what their spies were hearing – that the girl was expected to address the caravan the next day.
Soon drones with cameras and some with laser-guided bombs were flying overhead relaying coordinates and other information back to military command representing almost all South and Central American countries which meant that northern American countries were also being notified and monitoring the concerning situation.
The travelers made camp as quickly as they could so they could be ready for what Nilsa had told them would be her first and only message and the end of her and their journey.
By this time the crowd trusted her and no longer asked who parents were, where she had lived in Guatemala, or how she seemed to not eat or sleep or tire even after two-hundred miles of nothing but heat, dried fruit, captured small animals, and river water that no longer made anyone sick. In fact, since Nilsa arrived after the first hundred miles no one had died, not even the elderly who made the trip knowing they would die but preferred death versus dying alone in an abandoned village or city.
The bandits no longer terrorized the travelers but now guarded Nilsa and the travelers from the military contractors who shadowed their movements.
The military commanders were under strict orders to kill the girl if her message was in any way anti-government or anti-business, anti-military, or anti-capitalism.
“Commander, can you extract the child and bring her to a black site?” The States are asking. They are headed to an emergency meeting in France – many or all world leaders will be there apparently – and they want… information.” The President looked to his own general for a response.
The general, a weathered man who looked all his seventy years, exhaled.
“I can. There will be bloodshed. Lots of bloodshed. Are you prepared for that?”
The president stared at his general. The general was a holdover from the president’s father’s regime and the President, Antonio Garza, didn’t like, admire, or respect him. But he needed him in order to stay in power because the military was only loyal to the general.
“What about the States? Are they prepared to send aid after we kill ten or twenty thousand which will lead to a massive humanitarian issue across all – the general waved his arms at the other generals and officials – of our nations?”
“We have no choice, General. The States have told us all aid will be canceled if we do not act. We are damned either way and I just hope this child… this bitch girl... just fucking dies on her own.”
“Wishing is not a plan. Your father learned that lesson. It is about time you do, too.”
The two men stood side by side neither looking toward the other. The other generals and military officials stood to the side and waited for a response.
After a few moments the president finally turned to the general.
“General you estimate there are two-hundred thousand people around her?”
“It is now estimated at over three-hundred thousand. And growing by the minute as she’s adding every village and every indigenous group she passes. Because we didn’t stop her when we first found out.”
“That doesn’t matter. Kill her at first light. And if those rats start biting, kill them, too. I’m not going to make the mistakes my father made and lose the country to protesters and anti-capitalist vagrants. Turn off all drone cameras and kill them all if you must. And fuck the States’ request. I’m not capturing her and sending her to them. Just say she was killed in the crossfire as we tried to rescue her.”
“Good plan, sir.”
“Men, follow me. Let’s get things going.” The general addressed the other military leaders in the viewing room and motioned for them to follow him as he exited through a side door on his way to the military command center.
Nilsa stood so that more people could see her. “Come closer. Closer still. I would like as many as possible to surround me on all sides so that when the sun goes down, we may be with each other throughout the night. For when morning rises, I will share with you for the last time.” Nilsa waved her thin arms to the crowds and smiled as she spun round and round asking the crowds to move closer.
Nilsa stood five-foot four inches, and her long black hair was in a long single braid down her back, and she had thin bangs that lounged down her forehead ending right at the middle of her eyes. Her face was brown, her nose wide, and her frame showed a lanky teenage girl whose movements, while smooth, were still those of a teenager growing into her aging body, muscles, and mass.
“Please do not stand guard; everyone here is my friend and I am safe. I thank you. Sit, please.” Nilsa said to the lead guard, former military woman who had taken up a defensive position while instructing her team to guard the perimeter.
“I am sorry, sir. I desire to protect you.” The guard, Ana, spoke while staying in position.
“Thank you. I know your training is important and I honor it and you. Sit next to me and instruct your team to sit aside you. You will be closest to me. Thank you.” Nilsa was final in her request and the officer who was trained to follow orders from her superiors, did what she was trained to do and asked her team to do the same. They all obliged.
Murmurs of “Nilsa” and “Pequeno sendero” rippled outward from where the guards sat, and the travelers felt joy at their newfound safety that the attributed to Pequeno sendero.
Wonderful smells wafted up and down the caravan and there was music and singing throughout the night that was a mix of traditional and modern songs. The dancing reflected different cultures within the communities, and some were accompanied by musical instruments brought along despite admonitions against bringing “useless” belongings.
Nilsa was nowhere to be seen but each grouping of revelers believed she was with a different group of revelers as the night passed and everyone was excited and expectant of the coming dawn.
Finally, the sun broke through the mist and the crowds, most who had not slept, dusted off, cleaned their teeth and straightened clothes for themselves and the thousands of little kids as everyone prepared to hear the girl who was leading them.
The excitement powered the crowd for miles. The colorful road and hillside were damp, and the spotted clouds magnified a beautiful sunrise that also helped the overhead drones align and target their prey.
“Mr. President we have visual contact. We are prepared to execute the girl on your orders.”
“I want to hear some of what she says. We will need to know what people heard so we can use against her and to justify our actions. And digitally change her words if needed. Wait for my order. And general, make certain we are streaming to those fuckers in France.”
“Yes sir. We are sir.” The general glanced at his lieutenant who nodded in agreement.
Then all the men locked their attention on one of the many large monitors that hung on the wall and which each showed Nilsa but from different distances and angles.
“Good morning.” Nilsa was there now at the head of the travelers. She had stopped on a slope in the road, so she had the effect of being elevated allowing thousands to see her standing with her arms spread. And the surrounding rock amplified Nilsa’s young and confident voice.
“Subuhi njema, familia. Good morning, family.” Nilsa began in Spanish and English. The assembled crowd and those listening on various media heard her in their own language, including indigenous languages that were only spoken by a few hundred people.
The drones streamed video to the presidents, generals, and central command who then shared with the northern states and countries all over the world who were concurrently monitoring four similar situations in different parts of the world. They were certain there was no active coordination or no communication, but they could not rule out that someone from a rogue terrorist group or rouge state even had put these girls up to whatever it was that was happening.
Nilsa waited for the crowds to settle, then she looked to the bright sky for a full minute.
“I am grateful you have all been so kind, patient, and welcoming to me. Now I will reward your patience, your faithfulness, and your historical perseverance. You call me many names and I love them all. And I love you. I come to you with your history in my blood and today you are talking to someone you have long expected but had lost hope of ever seeing in person.
I am honored by the names and titles you have given me.
Let me tell you who I really am and why life has changed for you, and everyone, as of right now.”
There was silence in the camp and among the mass of people that now stretched beyond sight. The security guards and embedded spy’s communication equipment worked again so Nilsa’s message was reaching across the northern borders to the highest levels of governments.
There was silence in the various northern government’s war and intelligence rooms and among the mass of people who fed off Nilsa’s every word.
© 2019 by Myron J. Clifton and Dear Dean Publishing. All Rights Reserved.