Haze Across the Border ~ Short Story

Upon a request, here’s one of my short stories.

All of the events in this story are solely based on the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Haze Across the Border 

“The reason I called this meeting is because we’ve heard some news about the police arresting ‘Mackerel’. We need to be extra careful when we smuggle the children out of foster care, as this is becoming more and more dangerous. We could be put in prison without any warning for doing this. We need to make sure all the kids we have are over the border in at most, 3 days. Once they get across the border, they’ll be free. But if not, the best case scenario would be that they’d be put back in foster care, and we’d have to start over,” Daniel Forester, “Tuna” spoke.

Andrew McHenry, “Piranha” looked over at their secret agent, Bruce, “Salmon”, sitting across from him at the table. “Salmon, can you take more than one child at a time over the fence?”

“Perhaps, though I may have to take a few trips. It might be risky if they start to cry, as before, but I’ll do my best.”

“Tuna, do you really think we’ll be put in prison? We’ve done things like this before,” asked Daniel’s wife, Elizabeth, “Minnow”.

“That was different. What we did before was try to find their parents. There was a new law passed that not just anyone trying to smuggle them, but anyone trying to help them in any way, shape, or form, would be put in prison. So yes, if they find out, we will.”

“Isn’t there anything we can do? The kids shouldn’t be kept under the eye of the government, should they? ” broke in Audrey, “Halibut”, the Forester’s red-haired daughter.

“No, they shouldn’t. We’ll still take the risk. And it’s more than just that – there must be some sort of government conspiracy, and that’s why we have to help them.”

“But how will getting them across the border help?” asked Audrey, “Halibut”.

Bruce, “Salmon”, answered her question. “Halibut, if we can get the children over the fence, the next state is still free. They don’t have that law. All we have to do is smuggle the kids out of foster care and get them over the fence.”

“Piranha, walk with me for a minute?” asked Daniel.

“Yes sir.”

They stepped outside, and began meandering towards the forest.

“Piranha, since Mackerel was arrested, I’ll need you to take the kids to Salmon’s.”

“Okay, that’s it? What do I say to him?”

“That will be provided for in due time.”

“Alright… unless you still need me, I’ll head back now. I have some things I really need to finish up soon.”

“No, you’re free to go. Thanks.”

Daniel walked back into his house. “This meeting is dismissed.”

Bruce stood up. Turning to go, he said, “327.”

Daniel nodded.

3 days later…

 

“Audrey! Quickly, take Katelyn to Piranha’s cabin. Be careful! I know you’re 15, but this is risky. Here,” said Audrey’s mother, handing her a letter. “Give this to him as well. Katelyn,” she said, turning to a shy-looking blonde 14 year old, “do everything Audrey tells you to. Go!” As she spoke, loud banging was heard on the front door. Audrey took the letter from her mother, and grabbed Katelyn’s hand. The two girls dashed out the back door and into the woods towards Andrew McHenry, “Piranha’s” house. What if They saw us? Audrey wondered, letting go of Katelyn’s hand. Focus! She thought.

Breathlessly, she ran through the bushes, dodging the trees and fallen logs. She tightly gripped the letter in her numb hands. Although she was tired, she knew there wasn’t a moment to lose, and she ran as fast as possible, making zig zags in case They saw her. Gasping for air, Audrey finally found the log cabin she was looking for, and pounding mercilessly on the door, she stood, waiting for an answer. Every second was precious. The door flung open, and Andrew took the letter from Audrey.

“You’re in danger. She’s the last one,” Audrey managed between gulps of air.

“What ‘she’?” Andrew asked.

“Oh, no! I left Muskellunge behind!” panicked Audrey. As she turned, she saw Katelyn running up. “Her,” said Audrey. “Mother told me to stay with you; our house is under arrest.”

“You nearly made me pass out from all that running,” snapped Katelyn.

Andrew glanced over at Audrey who shrugged. “Come on, let’s take you to our secret agent, Salmon.”

“Who?” asked Katelyn.

“Salmon,” Andrew answered.

“What kind of a name is that?”

“No time for questions.” Andrew and Katelyn left.

They walked for a few miles, then stopped in the middle of the woods. “Here it is,” announced Andrew.

Katelyn looked around.

“What?” she asked.

“His house.”

“Is it invisible?”

“No, it’s underground. I’ll show you.” He walked behind a tree, reached on the ground, and pulled up a hatch. “Down there,” he told her. “Salmon. We have Muskellunge,” he called down. “327.”

Ah, only one kid. “Wonderful! Send Muskellunge in. Be careful going back.”

“Musk – what? Such an insult! You –“

“Shhhhhh…..just go in, okay?”

Rolling her eyes, Katelyn climbed down the rope ladder leading in Salmon’s underground room. Katelyn surveyed her surroundings – a small fire was going in the fireplace, there was a small bed, a table, two chairs, and a mini kitchen. And of course, there was Salmon – a tall, sturdy, muscular, dark-haired, kind-looking 32 year old, though he seemed younger than his age.

My name this time…ah, how about Bruce, he thought. He walked over to Katelyn and smiled.

“You can call me Bruce, and I understand that you’re Katelyn Monroe? How are you? Probably tired after all –”

“I’m fine. But I thought your name is Salmon.”

“Ah, that,” he laughed, “you can still call me Bruce, though. It’s a more reasonable name anyway.”

“Then why did that guy call you Salmon?”

“Oh, he just likes to. Sort of a nickname, you know. Hungry?”

Katelyn shrugged, and nodded.

“Perfect. I just finished making turkey sandwiches.” He walked over to the table and put them on a large paper plate.

“You can tell me about yourself while we eat, okay?”

Katelyn plopped in the chair, and reluctantly started. “Well, once the Foresters took me away from foster care, I lived with them for a few days.”

“Are you glad they saved you?”

“I guess.”

“Did you want to stay in foster care?” asked Bruce, surprised at her ungratefulness.

“No, but I don’t understand why they cared about it. It’s not their problem.”

“Were the people at the foster home kind?”

“Not at all!”

“That’s why they rescued you.”

Katelyn was silent for a moment, staring at her sandwich.

“Is there anything else you can tell me about yourself?” smiled Bruce.

“Why do you care? Why would you, a stranger, care if I had something to say? No one else cared! Why did I even agree to this whole stupid thing anyway?!” Katelyn dashed up the rope ladder and outside in the rain.

“Katelyn!” In an instant Bruce had thrown down the sandwich he was eating, and jumped up, banging his knee on the table in his rush. Pausing for only a moment to push aside the chair Katelyn had shoved in his way, he jumped up the ladder. Once outside, Katelyn was nowhere to be seen. It was night, and Bruce strained his eyes through the heavy rain. He knew she couldn’t be far, but he was unsure of which way Katelyn had run. He ran in what he thought would be the most likely way, searching desperately.

“What a fool I was, agreeing to come with the Foresters! I can take care of myself. I don’t need some ‘secret agent’ dude to help me,” she told herself, running in the opposite direction.

Two hours later, after he was soaked to the skin, Bruce heard a muffled scream. Running in the direction of the scream, he found Katelyn, her leg caught in the teeth of a wolf. He hit the wolf hard on the head with a large stick and pried his jaws apart. The wolf walked away, defeated.

“Katelyn!” He said in a relieved voice. Gently, he picked her up and carried her back to his house underground. Bruce laid her on his bed, and immediately addressed the wound. Having properly cleaned and bandaged her leg, he tucked a blanket around her for warmth, and sat on the bed next to her. “You okay? Warm enough?” he asked.

In reply, Katelyn began to cry uncontrollably . “It’s all my fault!” she cried, shaking.

“Everything’s fine. You’ll heal up soon, and –”

“No! It’s all my fault!”

“Calm down, Katelyn,” Bruce comforted, “and how about you tell me what’s wrong.”

Katelyn eventually stopped crying, but Bruce could tell something was different about her.

“Bruce I – I saw the guards at the border!”

“It’s good they didn’t see you.”

“But they did!”

Bruce raised one eyebrow. “What happened?”

“They grabbed me and asked me all sorts of questions – where I’d come from, where I was going, all that. So I – I” Katelyn paused.

“You…?”

“You won’t yell at me?”

“What did you do?”

Katelyn swallowed hard.“I said that I was staying with you! They said if I told them where you lived, they wouldn’t hurt me, but if I told you that they knew where they were, they’d kill me!”

“You told them?”

“I didn’t know what else to do!” Katelyn cried, shrinking further away from Bruce and closing her eyes at the outburst of anger she was waiting for.

Bruce took a deep breath. A few minutes of silence passed, and Katelyn looked at him.

“Aren’t you going get mad – send me away?”

“No Katelyn, I’m not.”

“Why not? I’ve ruined your life and you’re not even screaming at me.”

“Katelyn, you’re mine for me to take care of right now and I can’t just leave you, no matter what you did. Besides, it wouldn’t be loving.” Especially for a girl who needs some. 

“That doesn’t make sense! No one else wanted to keep me around.”

“Katelyn, there’s someone who loves you more than you could imagine. So much, that he died for you. He-“

“I know, I know. I’ve heard that before.”

“We are all sinners, Katelyn, and we all deserve hell. But God, in His mercy, has made a way for us – if we only believe on Him and ask for His forgiveness, we’ll live with him forever.”

“I get that he would die for you – you’re, like, perfect!”

“Jesus was the only perfect person. That’s how he could die and rise up again on the third day for you, me, and even the border guards. How about you think about it.” Bruce stood up.

“Bruce?”

“Yes?”

“I overheard them saying they’d probably get you in the morning…or maybe tonight. They said you must work at night and sleep during the day.”

“Oh, I see…are you tired?”

“Not anymore. I don’t want you to be taken away because of me!”

“If you can stay awake, I can get you across the border tonight.”

“I can…but they have guns, and you don’t!”

“I’ll just have make sure they don’t see me then.”

“Are you willing to bring me?” Katelyn hesitantly asked.

“Of course! You’re the whole reason I’m doing this. But I’ll need you to cooperate with me. It shouldn’t be too hard. I’ve been over the fence before. Come here.” Bruce lifted Katelyn off the bed, up the ladder, and outside. It had stopped raining, and a light fog covered the ground. He walked for a few minutes in silence.

“Bruce?” Katelyn said, rather meekly.

“Yes?”

“I’m sorry I ran away,” she faltered, “and for telling them where you were. I’m sorry I got mad – I…”

“Katelyn, I forgave you the moment you told me what you’d done. And I’m really glad you did tell me, so that you could get away,” he smiled.

“I never told you this, though…the Forester’s house was being invaded by the police as Audrey and I left. I was the last one.”

“Ah, I see. I am sorry for that. They were good, Christian people trying to help. Such a shame.”

They continued towards the border, and finally made it to the high barbed-wire fence.

“How can we get across? The guards are over there,” Katelyn pointed in the distance.

“You’ll have to climb on my back,” instructed Bruce, “and I’ll climb up that tree.”

“Then what?”

“I’ll climb out on that limb and jump off, over the fence.”

“Yikes! I don’t know Bruce…this sounds scary!”

Bruce smiled. “I’ve done it before, and as long as you hang on to me, we’ll both be fine. Okay, now climb on my back.”

Katelyn nervously climbed on Bruce’s back, and he scaled up the tree, crawling out on the branch he’d chosen.

“Ready?”

“I guess.” Katelyn closed her eyes and hung on to Bruce tighter than ever.

“Hang on!” With amazing ease, Bruce flew from the branch, over the fence, and landed safely on the other side. Katelyn tumbled off on the soft grass.

“You all right?”

“Yes, I’m okay,” Katelyn shivered.

“Let’s move deeper in the woods before taking a rest. How’s your leg?”

“Ummm…”

“Still hurts?”

Katelyn nodded.

“I’m glad you’ve been brave with the pain from your leg. It’s so much easier to work with someone who just ‘grins and bears it’ so to say. I’ll have to take you to the doctor soon, so he can take a professional look at it.”

Katelyn almost smiled and looked at the ground.“Are you going to leave after that?” she hesitated.

“Wasn’t planning it. Did you want me to?”

“No! Not what I meant. I was asking because I – I”

“What?”

“Because I don’t want you to leave me alone! You’ve been like a big brother to me – the brother I wanted, but never had – ever since you came to find me after I’d run away, I knew – you were special – different than anyone I’d ever met. The care you took with my leg, the look in your eyes, the trouble with getting me here – your compassion has been overwhelming to me. I tried to be ‘tough’ the whole time, but your kindness was too much. For as long as I can remember, no one cared – not one. I was just an orphan girl passed into foster care. How can I repay you?”

“No need. I was just trying to show you a fraction of God’s love.”

Katelyn smiled genuinely for the first time. “I’d like to learn more about Him.”

“Well, I’d be more than happy to tell you!”

“And, Bruce?”

“Yes?”

“Thank you for everything, from the bottom of my heart!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~Amara

All of the events in this story are solely based on the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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15 thoughts on “Haze Across the Border ~ Short Story

      • Oh 😛 Well I liked it so thanks!

        And you said it was one of your short stories… can you post some more? 😀

        Do you like writing poems or novels too? I have several books in progress (I highly doubt any of them will be published though.. :P) and I have a HUGE collection of poems… plus a few short stories. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad!

        I might…sometime. 😀

        Oh, I’ve lost count how many novels I have “in process”. xD I should probably finish some soon. Haha!

        I do like writing poems, but I don’t really like how they turn out most of the time. Making rhymes is pretty easy, and getting the rhythm is fairly easy too…but then it just seems to fall flat. Could you maybe share one of your poems with me? I’d love to read it! If you do, you can send me an email. But if not, that’s totally fine, and I understand! 🙂

        Like

      • Yes, Nathan has it. 🙂

        Hmmm…one of each? xP

        Probably a normal one, if I pick one kind…no, maybe a hymn one…no, maybe a silly one! Oh, I don’t know…

        Mabye you could pick one you think I’d like…?

        Like

      • I can do all three! 😀 No, I don’t have a blog (but hopefully I’ll have one soon!) It’s a friend’s poetry blog that she lets other people post their poems on.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That would be wonderful! Thank you! I’m looking forward to reading them. 🙂

        Okay…you should get a blog sometime! It’s a lot of fun. (I think.)

        Like

      • Did you get the email?

        Yeah… I’ve asked my mom a couple times. She doesn’t know… I’d really like to! But it’d probably be pretty boring to read… I’d only blog about all the weird stuff I think about which probably other people think is just dumb and boring (maybe because it is? :P)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yup, I got it! My afternoon got so busy I couldn’t reply very quickly.

        Well, mabye sometime you’ll get a blog! But I really appreciate you reading mine! I’m not sure I’d want to keep going without SOMEONE commenting on my posts. 🙂

        Like

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