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Bad Spirits



Something didn't feel right.

Dark.

Dirt floor.

My left side ached, and I could barely swallow. I sat with my eyes closed and tried to recall what happened. The events from the previous night came crashing back into the present, and the fear of discovery threatened to overwhelm me again.

I peeked around the corner of the corrugated steel building. A lone goat munched on some dried grass near a split-rail fence. A few yards away a rooster pecked at the hard, dry earth. An older woman with salt and pepper colored hair and skin like a walnut scattered seed in front of him. She clutched a brown and white serape around her against the early morning chill.

Everything appeared calm, bucolic, even. I leaned back against the metal wall and took stock of my position.

Salazar ruled this little section of Sonora with an iron hand. The woman outside would not help me, for fear of payback. In fact, no one who knew him would be fool enough to assist Salazar's crazy American woman.

Especially when she took something that belonged to him. Something he valued above all else. And it wasn't only his pride, although that would be enough to get me killed.

I opened the canvas backpack next to me to make sure the contents were still safe, that I hadn't somehow lost it all in my mad rush to escape.

The cash was all there. I breathed a sigh of relief. It meant my survival. Without it, I would have nothing with which to bargain for my life, if it came to that. As it was, the stash wouldn't get me the immediate help I so desperately needed. It wasn't like I could call a cab in this part of Mexico, even if I had a phone.

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