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The Swamp

By Fernando Paez


Hendricks rose slowly from the water, mud covering every inch of his body. He used the last remaining strength in his aching muscles to pull himself out of the swamp and up onto the slippery clay banks.

He lay on his back, panting for air, eyes shining, face camouflaged by the flat brown streaks of his mud-plastered hair. He was in a mangrove field and the bull rushes swept in among the elephant grass. He could see and hear the mosquitoes droning in the air above him, their larger-than-life bodies practically swimming through the humidity. Luckily, the insects could not sense his body heat due to the layer of mud that was pasted uniformly on him.

If I stay out here too much longer I’ll probably turn into the fucking mud, he thought.

He had read accounts of early explorers succumbing to rare diseases from prolonged exposure to these black waters:  boils that refused to heal, skin that darkened and then bloomed in multicolored inflammations which eventually burst and were fatal . . . There were worms that crawled around just under the skin, planted there by their parents, the stinging tropical flies.

He knew that the swamp was a miasma and had been feared since the first days that primitive man came to live and hunt and wander in these bayous. The swamp could kill in thousands of different ways. Leeches, mosquitoes large as bats, bats big as eagles. Panthers, crocodiles, wild cats, boars, snakes, poisonous frogs. Even the God damned monkeys were aggressive and could completely fuck a guy up.

But the worst of all were the millions of parasites and microorganisms that could infiltrate your body and make you violently ill in such a drastic way that you would spend the next four weeks alternating between shitting your intestines inside-out and lapsing in and out of consciousness.

Hallucinations were common, especially at night when the chill crept in. It could be hot as a clay tandoori oven during the day and colder than a can of Moosehead straight from the freezer at night.

So how tough did you really have to be to survive alone in the jungles of Panama? Hendricks was finding out the hard way, and there really is no way other than the hard way, he laughed bitterly to himself.

Hendricks had escaped a prison several days earlier. He had decided he was being held in the Campamento Central, but he really had no way of knowing where he was. He had decided he was in the Campamento Central because it was the jungle prison where they kept the worst offenders as well as the poor assholes like himself who were never given a trial, just sent away – far away – to a place where no one would ever follow, even if they knew it existed. The place he’d been held was a prison surrounded by terrain so impassable that there were no fences to keep the prisoners in. The guards didn’t even bother to shoot runners. Nobody got away because no one could survive for long in the hostile environment outside the compound.

Shit, thought Hendricks, they might have been able to find his sorry ass by tracking him through an “Eye in the Sky” spy satellite – if they had one – like that fucking movie he saw with that weakling, Leonardo DiCaprio. What the fuck was that movie called? He wracked his brains, mumbling to himself like a lunatic as the mosquitoes finally found him and invaded relentlessly. He was too dead tired out to even mount a counterattack on the blood suckers.

He knew rather than felt that there were leeches clinging to his soaked skin, greedily sucking what was left of his tainted blood under his tattered clothing. He would have to pinch them off later, which, you would know if you have seen any Vietnam movies at all, is precisely the wrong way to remove them. The right way was burning them off with a cigarette.

A cigarette, ah, fuck. What he would not give right now, this very instant, for a dry fucking cigarette.

No matter. No matter. No matter. He kept repeating to himself, fighting off the growing nausea, fatigue, muscle pain, itching and, of course, the fear. He knew that he was not supposed to acknowledge it, but as the jungle darkness closed in around him, the fear returned with a vengeance.


“Body of Lies”, he remembered. That was the name of the movie. He saw bits of it when he was cleaning the warden’s big office, the only room in the Campamento that had a TV, and a huge one at that. At least a fifty inch, flat screen, HDTV – a Sony Bhravia, with SKY TV package that only worked on the days when the torrential rains weren’t slamming into the jungle.

The satellite in that movie had a camera that could actually zoom in on people on the ground and get close enough to see their features. He laughed, swatting a huge insect that was crawling up his leg. No way anyone was tracking his sorry ass. As far as the world was concerned, he did not exist.

Shit, there wasn’t even a search party looking for him. Why should there be? Anybody crazy enough to try and escape would be faced with hundreds of miles of dense jungle, body sucking swamps, wild animals, starvation, disease . . .

No one had ever made it out and in reality, not that many had even tried over the years.

If you did manage to make it out and nobody ever found out, you had a free pass if you played your cards right. If anybody did find out, they wouldn’t believe it. If you managed to persuade them it was true, the result would be a kind of hero worship. It would be a badge of honor or some such manly-man bullshit.

The prison – the Campamento Central – was a secret facility. Other than the staff and inmates, no one outside of a few high-ranking members of the government even knew of its existence. The whole point of the place was that the prisoners were not supposed to know exactly where they were. All they knew was that they were in the middle of the jungle with about three hundred other lifetime losers. At Campamento Central there was no probation, no time off for good behavior. Once you were brought here, you never left.

Life inside the facility was brutal. Prisoners slept on the floor and were only allowed one thin, disgustingly-filthy blanket each. They were allowed to take a quick one minute shower once every other month or so. Their three meals a day provided the barest of subsistence. A few beans, some rice, maybe some old meat without too many maggots. Maybe.

Beatings were regularly dished out by the guards, but even those sadistic pricks could not muster the energy to inflict too much damage in the hundred degree, ninety-nine percent humidity. The place sapped every ounce of your will, so that most of the time all you could do was sit there and stew in your own sweat.

Most prisoners died in a few short years anyway, from disease, starvation, madness (yes, madness can actually kill you), beatings, or suicide.

Suicide was an art form inside the camp and guys found very creative ways to off themselves. Hendricks remembered one guy who actually tried to eat a live eyelash viper that had crawled under his blanket. The reptile had promptly attached itself to his tongue. His face fell off in black chunks. Fortunately for him he died pretty quick from suffocation once his tongue swelled up like a giant mango.

Hendricks had arrived at Campamento Central five months earlier. From the moment they took the black sack off his head, he knew that he had to escape, or die trying. Hendricks knew that he could only survive here for a short while so he spent every minute alone thinking, withdrawing into himself and concentrating on his inner rage, stoking it, feeding it, making friends with it.

The man who had destroyed his life must pay. The man who had taken his family away, who had framed him for murder, who had paid God -knows-who to put him in this hell hole. He had to be a very powerful man in Panama. Someone high up enough to somehow cover up the disappearance of an American ex-pat like Hendrick. The rage he felt was a living, breathing, conscious being. He loved his anger. It was the only thing that kept him going.

Escape itself was easy since the prison had no walls, no fences. He walked right past the morning sentry (Rodriguez, that fat shithead) who only laughed as Hendricks stepped past him into the swamp. Rodriguez actually called a couple of the other guards over and Hendricks could hear them hooting and calling to him in Spanish as he swam through the thick algae and stumbled over the muddy islands, putting more and more distance between himself and his former captors, until all he could hear were the shrieks and calls of the wild birds and monkeys overhead.

The sun was merciless and although he had brought a gourd of water, he knew that it would not last more than a day or two at the most. Already he was exhausted, famished, and so thirsty his tongue felt like a giant piece of peach skin, all fuzzy and swollen. Hendricks knew it would only get worse. He also knew he could not stop, not even for a minute.

If he stopped he would never get out of here. He knew he must get out of the swamp, out of the jungle, and back to Panama City. He also knew with dead certainty that he only had one or two days at the most to do this before the swamp and the jungle claimed him.

Yes, he knew very well that he could not stop even for one minute. To stop meant to die, and no way was he going to die before he killed the man who had destroyed his life.


Hendricks slept soundly even here in the jungle with only wet leaves for cover. He was used to the pelting rain, the insufferable heat and the voracious insects that he had been forced to endure all those months at the prison. He felt stronger mentally, his will was honed and hardened, his weaknesses were pushed to the back of his mind.

He focused on the pain. Fed off it. Rage was not a festering thing to him not something to be extracted, cured or exorcised. It was nurturing. He welcomed the pain because the pain gave him something concrete to hang onto, something that would distract him from his emotions, which he had learned to keep in check since he was a kid.

Hendricks had a first name – Nathanial – but he never used it. Na-tha-ni-al. Sounded funny to him now. He couldn’t quite wrap it around his tongue. He had not heard that name spoken out loud since childhood, growing up dirt poor on an Oklahoma reservation that had all the creature comforts of a crowded refugee camp. And his father – an alcoholic, drug-addicted, brutally abusive full blood Chocktaw – had taught him to be quiet at an early age.

Hendricks grew up angry and could not wait to get off the res. When he finally left the Marine Corp after two extended tours in Afghanistan, he moved to Costa Rica for a few years and then on to neighboring Panama, where he worked as a tour guide at Bocas del Toro, a resort community surrounded by beautiful beaches and jungles.

That’s where he met Celia. Celia was beautiful, young, and exotically dark skinned She was sassy and fun and they immediately fell in love, marrying after going steady for only a few short months. A few years later they had two kids and one more on the way. That was when the trouble started.

Celia was working for one of the developers on the island, a rich Panamanian named Federico Blandon, who promptly fell for her in a hard way. He was a man who was used to getting everything he wanted, and he decided that he wanted her, even though he knew she was happily married.

In reality this only heightened the thrill of the hunt for the twisted developer.

After warding off several after-hours unwanted advances by Blandon, a confused Celia had become depressed and morose. Hendricks noticed the change in her demeanor and demanded that she tell him what was going on.

At first she stubbornly refused, but after a while she blurted it all out, sobbing hysterically. Hendricks comforted his weeping wife and was relieved that she had acted honorably, but he was crazy-mad at Blandon for terrorizing his poor, sweet, innocent wife in such a despicable way.

His mind raced with the ways he would batter the cretin. The guy would never even know what hit him. After being in Special Forces for a few years, Hendricks knew a little about inflicting pain and even more about doing it in a stealthy manner.

Celia knew her husband and knew the calculations that were forming in his mind. She cried and yelled and beat him on the chest, and begged him not to confront the man.

This was her boss, the Patron, and she wanted desperately not to lose her job. In a country with unemployment rates over 50%, she knew she was lucky to have any job, much less such a high-paying job as this one. She was in charge of maintenance for the entire development and she took her job very seriously. Besides the money, she loved her co-workers and the condo owners themselves, who were mostly American and Canadian, all of whom praised her to no end. She was very well liked and very popular.

Hendricks lied to her, telling her what she wanted to hear, that he was not going to do anything, not even talk to the man. She passed out on the couch after taking a valium for her nerves. Hendricks quietly picked her up and gently tucked her into bed. Then opened the top drawer of his bureau cabinet.

The weight of the black carbon blade Becker Bowie knife was familiar and comforting in his hand. He grasped the handle tightly and headed out the door. He knew what he had to do. He also knew that the man had it coming to him.

A snake slithered into the water just feet from where he was sitting, snapping Hendricks out of his reverie. He had to push all of those memories out of his mind. He needed to focus all of his waning strength on the task at hand – getting out of this swamp alive.

And that would be no easy task. For all of his bravado and skill and focused intentions, there was still only a slim possibility that he would survive for more than five or six days at most. The first thing he needed was some fresh water and the second thing was food.

Water would prove to be the hardest to get. It was not rainy season and there was little chance of rainfall, which would have made it relatively easy for him to fashion some sort of water scoop out of the large plantain leaves. Although he was surrounded by water from the swamps, there was no way he was going to let any of that gunk pass his lips. To do so would be tantamount to suicide, and not a quick one either. He had heard stories in prison of escapees that had been found days later, their bodies contorted in pain from having sampled the brackish pools.

Food was a different story. It would not be too difficult to kill a lizard or two, maybe some large beetles or a scorpion. If he was lucky, maybe even a snake, though that would not be as easy without a knife. He would have to eat whatever he caught raw since there was only green wood that would not burn easily out here.

Hendricks knew, deep down, that his only real chance at survival was to get out of the swamp and get out quickly. This was already his second day in the wild and he had a splitting headache from thirst. One or two more days like this and he would not be able to move.

He got up and trudged his way through the jungle, heading, he hoped, due north, and God willing, to the Costa Rican border.


Hendricks felt like he had been going for twenty hours straight now. It was difficult at times to tell where the sun was in the sky because of the denseness of the jungle canopy. He knew that he needed to keep heading north, but without a horizon, he was just guessing most of the time.

Tripping constantly over exposed roots and deadfalls, pushing aside stray vines and whipping branches, swatting incessantly at the buzzing flies, gnats, bees, mosquitos, and God knows what the fuck else flying through the air . . . these fuckers really sting too, damn them, he thought after one especially big cocksucker flew straight in at him and injected its probiscus straight into his fucking throat. Twenty minutes later his throat, with steadily mounting, throbbing pain, had swollen to the point where it began to constrict his airway. He dropped to the jungle floor, grabbing at his throat, wheezing, and, fighting for breath, he passed out.

When he woke up the swelling had gone down a bit. He was able to take some large, deep breaths and eventually, he struggled into a leaning position against a tree trunk. He rubbed his throat, which still hurt like crazy.

He looked down at the crusty blood in his hand. That’s when he felt them. He looked down and a muted, hoarse scream tried to get out of his mouth as he realized that he was now literally covered with ants. Hormigas de Fuego. Tropical fire ants. He swatted at them, trying to brush them off a he struggled to get up, slipping on a root and cracking his knee against the tree trunk.

Hendricks cried out, or tried to through his swollen throat. He kept trying to bat the ants off but he knew with a sense of growing desperation that it was a hopeless task. The layer of ants on his arms and legs, and oh my god, between his legs and inside his pants, looked like a blood red carpet.

Hendricks ran a few yards, grunting in pain. He saw a glimmer of water between fallen logs and he dove for it.

The pool was covered with algae and greenish, but it was surprisingly deep. It engulfed the tall man, who never hit bottom. The relief on his skin was immediate. He could literally see the fire ants floating to the surface as they drowned.

Hendricks looked around in the dirty water, trying to adjust his eyes. He saw a flash of light coming up at him from below. It looked like a beam of sunlight going the wrong way. He floated to the surface, took a deep breath, and dove again, swimming strongly to the light source.

He found a rock wall with his hands and crawled down along it, getting closer to the light. At last he felt a large jagged hole, the entrance to an underground tunnel of some sort, and the source of the light. He went in, guiding himself with his arms against the horizontal tunnel. Yes, he could see that it was indeed a tunnel. He could see the end, too, just up ahead, dazzling with refracted light. Ten feet later he exited the tunnel and, lungs bursting, swam up to the brightness until he emerged, sputtering and coughing. He paddled his way to the near bank and pulled himself up, exhausted at the effort.

He turned over, sucking in air, eyes closed.

Hendricks opened his eyes. He looked up and was surprised to see that he was in some sort of natural cave, or cavern. The ceiling was over a hundred feet above him, and he knew it was perforated because natural light, lots of it, came down in rays. But Hendricks could now see that the sides of the cave were glistening. He approached the cave wall and ran his hand over the surface. It felt like glass. Glass embedded in rock.

Hendricks suddenly stepped away, his eyes wide.

He came back and ran his hand over the surface. No mistake. Had to be. Diamonds.

He noticed other flashes from the wall. He ran over and touched them. More diamonds. Some as huge as small boulders, but none smaller than ten karats at least. Calculations ran through his head.

He stood back and ran his eyes up and down. The entire wall was covered in what looked like twinkling lights.

Hendricks fell to his knees and laughed and laughed and laughed. Even to himself he sounded like a madman. But he couldn’t stop thinking how funny it was, because it occurred to him that it had to be late December and damn if those lights didn’t look just like Christmas.

Finally Hendricks pulled himself together. He realized that now he had absolutely no choice but to survive at all costs.

He had to get out of the jungle. He had to escape.

So he could hurry up and come back as soon as possible.


Hendricks spent the next few hours lying on his back and staring up at the constellation of what he was now convinced could only be diamonds. He could be wrong, he thought, but deep inside he knew he was not. It seemed too good to be true – way too good to be true – but these could be nothing other than real, rough diamonds imbedded into the rock, just waiting there for someone, no, that wasn’t quite right, just waiting there for him to find.

He did not believe in accidents or happenstance. He believed all of this had been predetermined.

How many people had traveled over these same jungles over the years? How many people had gotten themselves lost here? How many of them would have fallen into that particular pool and how many would have seen a shaft of light from below, piercing the darkness? And how many of those were like him, injured, starved, thirsty, and desperate? Would they too have been curious enough to dive back down and explore those murky depths?

No. This, he knew without having to analyze it further, was a miracle. He had been drawn down here by a greater force, an overriding intent that some would call Fate, others God.

Did diamond mines even exist in Panama? He had to be honest to himself and admit that he did not know the answer. He pushed back the notion that If there had been diamond exploration in Panama he would have heard of it somehow, especially since he prided himself on having knowledge regarding Panamanian history and general knowledge.

But none of that mattered. What he previously did or did not know was immaterial here. Because here in front of his very eyes was proof. A gigantic underground cavern literally encrusted with what he would swear were diamonds.

Had he not been so exhausted he would have laughed at the irony of his predicament. The diamonds in this cave would make him by far the richest man in Panama – maybe in the world – yet he might not ever be able to recover them.

Finding this cave again would be an almost impossible task since he had very little idea as to where exactly he was in Panama. If he was even in Panama. He could have been taken to Coiba, for instance, an island directly to the south, near the western end of the country. Coiba was notorious for its prisons, but as far as he knew, all of those facilities had been shut down many, many years earlier. But what if he had been taken to Coiba? If that were true, he would probably never be able to leave the island.

He got up and went to one section of the wall where the diamonds stuck out a little more prominently. Picking up a large rock, Hendricks banged all around the diamond, freeing it. Hendricks picked up the irregular shape and cleaned it off as best as he could. He was no expert but the diamond that he held in his hand had to be at least five inches across and had to weigh at least a half pound. Once cleaned, polished and faceted, the finished diamond would weigh at least fifty karats. He stuffed it into his pocket. He broke off a few smaller pieces, knowing that if he ever got out there he would need something to use as currency.

With his pants stuffed with diamonds, Hendricks approached the edge of the water. He looked down. The dark water mirrored his image back at him, unfathomable. He prepared himself, took a deep breath, then dove in and pushed down into the dark depths. He reached the wall where he thought the tunnel entrance should have been but he could see very little. He felt blindly along the wall, looking for the entrance. After a minute of this, he swam back to the surface and crawled out onto the bank again, tired and despondent.

He stayed there for a while, trying to regain some energy and find the will to continue. Again he stood up, breathed deeply, and dove. Once again he searched the walls, this time quicker, using up lots of energy.

Suddenly, he found it: a large, jagged hole in the wall. This had to be his tunnel and he swam into it, pushing forward blindly, feeling the slimy walls with his outstretched hands.

His lungs were bursting in his chest and it seemed that the tunnel went on much longer than it had when he had first swam through it. A wave of dizziness swept over him and he saw sparkles of light swimming in his vision like fluorescent, runaway sperm.

Hendricks realized with a sickening certainty that he was at the Point of No Return. He had neither the energy nor the air supply in his lungs to go back, and if he did not find the entrance on the other side, he would most likely die down here, his body never to be found.

He pushed on, refusing to give up, refusing to be beaten. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he came to the end of the tunnel and kicked for the surface. His lungs did not make it to the top and he swallowed some water before breaching the mossy surface of the pool into the darkness of the jungle, sputtering and coughing.

He managed to crawl and climb his way up the steep, muddy, slippery banks and rolled onto his back, gulping in great mouthfuls of dank air.

Once again, he heard the mosquitoes droning overhead, crisscrossing the air. Some landed on his face and arms but this time he did not swat them. This time he silently thanked God that he could hear them, that he had somehow managed to escape yet again, this time from a watery death.

He felt his pockets and knew that his treasure was safe. Hendricks got up slowly. It was dawn he realized. He could see the orange glow of the sunrise coming from what had to be the eastern horizon. Now he knew his direction and where he must go.

Carefully, he walked around the area and noted as many landmarks as he could. Using a sharp rock, he carved symbols into the sides of trees. He would carve these personal markings as he made his way through the jungle. He would use these to lead him back here someday, if he ever got out of this jungle alive.

But somehow, he knew that he would survive, that he was destined to come back here one day. That this place was his and no one else’s. He felt it in his marrow. This was no cosmic accident. It was Karma, of this he was dead certain. He held no fantasy that the remaining days and nights in the jungle were going to be anything but frought with danger and torturously difficult, but he knew that this was just part of the price that destiny would demand of him for showing him the way to this incredible treasure.

No matter, he thought. No matter. He would make it. And he would come back.


Hendricks spent the next two days and nights in the jungle. Even though he was constantly on the verge of passing out from hunger and exhaustion, at least the problem of thirst had been solved early on. A few hours after he left the cavern pool the sky opened up (even though it was the dry season) with the ferocity and absolute power that only tropical storms seem to have.

He laughed and danced as he drank and drank some more. He had not realized how parched he had actually been. Unfortunately he had not been able to store any water for later, but what he was capable of drinking worked magic on his morale.

He walked faster now, taking great care to leave landmarks and to cut the trees thoroughly. Once he tried doubling back just to make sure that his path was clearly visible and he was relieved to be able to follow so easily.

At first he had thought to not make the way back too obvious, but then he thought, what the hell? Even if someone did stumble upon his path, it would only lead them to a dark jungle pool. No, his treasure was just as safe as it had been since prehistoric times, he guessed. That cavern had to be ancient. Hell, didn’t diamonds sometimes take millions of years to form? He thought he remembered something to that effect.

Hendricks knew he was cracking up  A few times he found that he had been talking out loud. He would got angry at those moments and hit himself on the side of the head and shouted obscenities. He knew he couldn’t last much longer. Once he blacked out for several hours and woke to find himself sitting on a log in the dark, not knowing where the daylight had gone.

The pain was overwhelming but worse than that, worse even than the hunger, was the fatigue. Y et he pushed on. He felt the lumps in his pants pocket and smiled a grim smile at the feel of them in his hands. This was what made him push well beyond his limits but finally – finally – he dropped in a faint on the jungle floor, unconscious.

Fate has different paths for all of us. It tempts us with different choices and different directions. Taking one path may mean riches and fame, the other, painful suffering and death. Fate does not ask us our opinion. We are as nothing to it. The whims of Fate need no permission. Fate routinely ignore our cries and pleas for clemency. And sometimes, on rare occasions, Fate welcomes certain persons with open arms and extends the full bounty of its magnanimity and generosity. That day, Fate opened its arms to Hendricks.

Luz Cardeñas, a raven-haired, eighteen year old beauty, had strayed from her chores without thinking about it. It was a beautiful day and she had been out picking berries when suddenly a gorgeous golden butterfly passed near her face.

Luz had always loved insects and animals – especially butterflies. She had photographed them for years until her old camera finally broke. Luz saved every dime she could scrounge, and one day she would buy a new camera, a digital one like she had seen on TV.

This butterfly was magnificent. She had to see it closer and so she followed its path into the jungle. Every time she came close it skittered away like a leaf of gold fluttering in the sun. She laughed and chased it, running and calling to it, Mariposita. Luz felt that the golden insect was taunting her, staying just inches from her reach as she ventured farther and farther into the jungle.

Though she and her family had lived here on the edge of the jungle all of her life, still she feared the ever present dangers of the jungle. The biggest killer by far was not any type of big cat or snake, but the jungle itself. If you got lost in there, chances are you might never get out. Only the most experienced of the village’s hunters ever ventured too deeply into it. So on this day after Luz followed the rare butterfly into the jungle it suddenly rose up higher into the canopy. She watched it disappear and waved goodbye. Luz had heard that if you climbed to the highest limb you would find yourself above the canopy and you would see hundreds of butterflies flapping their velvety wings in the sunshine. She sighed, wondering what it would be like to be up there, all alone with her camera, taking the most beautiful pictures in the world.

She turned around and realized that it had gotten much darker. She realized it was late in the day and she was in an area of the jungle that was unknown to her. She tried going back the way she had come but it was no use. She was lost. The realization brought instant panic and Luz began to hyperventilate, calling out for help and crying desperately for her mother and father. She trembled and fought her way through the thick vines.

Suddenly she tripped on an exposed root and fell flat on her face. She groaned and lifted herself up on her forearms, then looked to her right.

There, not inches away, was a bearded man with bloodied face and cracked


Luz screamed with all of her might.

Hendricks woke with a start and tried to get up, but he was too exhausted. He fell back down, panting and dizzy from the exertion.

Luz got up and tried to run away but Hendricks reached out and grabbed her by the ankle, causing her to scream once again.

Hendricks tried to comfort the girl without letting go. “Please, uh, por favor, no grites. Don’t scream please. Please. Necesito ayuda. I need help. Agua. Water.”

The effort was too much for him. He released her and almost passed out again.

Luz immediately scrambled backward and grabbed a nearby stick to protect herself. She stared at the fallen man. She realized that he was injured and that he would not be an immediate threat to her.

She stood up over him. “Quien eres? Como te llamas?” she asked him his name.

“Me llamo Hendricks.” he croaked in a whisper.

“Henrique? Que haces aqui?”  What are you doing here?

“Estoy perdido. I am lost,” he replied.

Luz collapsed, sobbing.

“Yo tambien. Yo tambien.” she admitted. Me too.


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