Jazz sees a chance to escape and goes for it. Written for the Cramp 3/31/15
PROMPT: Use the sentence: The helicopter buzzed overhead. Anywhere in your story. 24 hours to write, must be less than 1,000 words.
The helicopter buzzed overhead. Jazz whimpered and clung to the bottom of the almond tree, squeezing her slender limbs around it. She closed her eyes and prayed fervently. Please God, I swear if you help me get out of this I will never turn another trick, I will never do drugs again and I will go back home and get my GED. Please, oh please, if you are real, help me find my way home. If she was lucky, the sparse limbs would hide her from the eyes of the pilot. If not, she was prepared to die.
The deafening drum of the blades lessened and she dared to open her eyes. The helicopter was moving slowly away. It swooped down like a gull chasing a fish, and then lifted slightly as it followed the road north toward Nogales. She had been walking on the same road a few minutes ago. When she heard the unmistakable beating of the copter’s rotors she knew they were looking for her and she ran to the questionable safety of the almond grove.
Jazz pulled her water bottle from her backpack, took a long swig, and considered her options. She could keep going north and hope to get to the border crossing by nightfall or she return the way she had come. There were four men in a hacienda south of here, along with two dead bodies. She had killed two of the guards when she escaped this morning. They must have contacted their friends in the Mexican Police and sent a helicopter after her. Perhaps they had not come themselves because they were expecting a large shipment of cocaine today. She knew they would come eventually though, if the helicopter didn’t locate her first.
Her situation seemed hopeless, but Jazz had hope. She had survived growing up on the streets of Tijuana and she had endured three years as a virtual prisoner of Eduardo Rodriquez, the infamous Mexican drug lord. She was not going to roll over and die when she was closer than she had ever been to escaping.
Last night the guards had drunk their tequila, as usual, only she had laced their drinks with rat poison. When they slumped to the tiled floor, unconscious and foaming from the mouth, she had retrieved her backpack and slipped silently from the villa. She had walked all night and guessed that she was within twenty miles of Nogales, when the helicopter appeared.
Jazz was exhausted and shaking from the close encounter. Her head ached and her heels were blistered from wearing boots she had stolen from the smaller of the two dead guards. She really had no choice. She had to continue onward. She wore a camouflage shirt and tan jeans. Her blonde hair was tied in a dull brown scarf. Her plan had been to stay off the road and melt into the desert when she heard a car coming.
There had been no problem last night, but this morning two vehicles had passed and she had hidden in the brush as they passed. There would be more traffic as the day went on and she decided to take a chance and approach the next vehicle. The helicopter would circle back when it didn’t find her on the road ahead and she was not confident she could elude her captors again. The problem with Mexico was that there were few roads, and therefore, few options when it came to travel. Unless she was willing to trek through the desert she would be an easy target.
She had been walking for fifteen minutes when she heard the distinctive sound of a diesel engine behind her. She turned to look and saw a large semi pulling a load of chickens. It rumbled toward her in a cloud of dust. Jazz raised her arm and waved.
The truck driver was a gnarled old Mexican named Juan, who smelled of grease and tobacco. He agreed to take her to Nogales for 200 pesos. They lumbered along Route 15 and she leaned her head back and breathed a sigh of relief when she saw the copter flit past them a few minutes later. It had been close.
Despite the dust and the screams of the smelly, frightened chickens behind her, she fell asleep. She was awakened by the old truck’s brakes as they approached the outskirts of the city. She gratefully paid the old man and thanked him as he let her off at an intersection near downtown. He smiled and one of his gold teeth glinted as he wished her good luck in Spanish, “Que tengas buena suerta, Senorita”.
Jazz had no cell phone, no passport and no friends. She had been gone for three years and her mother probably believed she was dead, after not hearing from her for so many years. She remembered the silent prayer she had said as the helicopter hovered overhead. She had called out to God, and He had answered. She had to believe there was a reason she had survived.
Raising her eyes, she looked down the street and was struck by the presence of a huge white, square building topped with a cross. Her heart lifted, and she stepped off the curb with renewed energy. She would go to the church. Perhaps a priest was what she needed. Her backpack suddenly seemed much lighter.
Across the street, Eduardo Rodriguez raised the pistol and aimed carefully before taking the shot. Jazz’s chest bloomed red as she collapsed onto the busy street, slim arms extended in supplication. A yellow Fiat swerved to avoid her and a group of women dressed in blue uniforms ran out of a restaurant on the corner. “Stupid bitch,” he said, “She thinks she can leave ME?” He told his driver to hurry up and move as the tinted window of the Hummer slid upward.
A priest helped the women pull her battered young body from the street. He looked at the girl’s blank eyes and said a prayer for her soul. Jazz had gone home.
Winner of the cramp 3/31/15