TITLE: Unbearable Losses
GENRE: Murder Mystery
December 25, 1993
The killer was close as Liliana bolted into the darkness. It was snowing, making her footing unstable, and she was carrying her daughter, who was small but still a burden. She could hear the man shouting, and once a gunshot rang out. “Help us be safe,” she murmured as she ran. “God help us be safe.”
She was alone now, without the protection of the others. Those people lay on the desert floor, looking sightlessly up at the snow which fell onto their faces. Except for some extraordinary luck, she and her daughter might also have been one of the dead. But luck could swing back to pin them sharply against a wall, with the killer’s gun at their heads. She pushed forward, slipping, falling, hitting her foot on a rock and piercing her hand. She pushed herself up and kept running.
She needed rest, but where? The desert was full of cacti and Mesquite bush, but nothing provided shelter. Finally, she crouched behind a bush. Her daughter whimpered.
Lilliana hugged the child close, trying to use her own body heat to warm her. “We cannot stop,” she said, reaching for a square of chocolate saved from their noon meal. The snow drifted down making the desert plants rise out of the darkness like ghosts. Still she waited. When she could hear no more sounds, she stood cautiously and moved. I won’t be defeated, she thought. She had not come all this way to die.