Bits of trash, riding the wind, crisscrossed the METRO station platform, heedless of the human swell that awaited the approaching train.  Mariano pulled his hoodie low over his face, as much to avoid eye contact as to preserve what little warmth it provided.

Every day was a challenge for Mariano, running the gauntlet, worried he might be stopped by the DC police for no reason.  His employer had given the fake ID but a cursory glance.  It would never pass closer inspection.

From the corner of his eye Mariano saw the man in the dark suit trip and fall in what seemed a slow-motion pirouette. What happened next was but a blur. Mariano never heard the train’s horn or the passengers screaming.  He never felt the arms reach out to grasp him as he lifted the man from the track.

The train squealed to a stop and the crowd cheered as Mariano rolled over and caught his breath.  He gazed down into the face of the person lying beside him.  In an instant he knew he’d seen the ICE officer somewhere before.  The look of recognition staring back at him told him the experience was mutual.


The hot, dry day had become a cold, dry night.  Buffy clutched the mylar blanket around her.  She cursed Uncle for sending her here and her companions for leaving her in such a bad neighborhood.  It mattered not that they thought she was dead.  She was very much alive and determined to stay that way.

From out beyond the dunes she heard a low whistle.  They were coming.  She jacked another magazine into her M-16 and waited.  “Killing is our business,” she reminded herself, “and business is good.”