Red Midnight

Red Midnight by Ben Mikaelsen Read Free Book Online

Book: Red Midnight by Ben Mikaelsen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ben Mikaelsen
water with you. If it does not rain, water will be harder to find than food. You will always have fish from the ocean if you can catch them.”
    â€œHow can we help to get ready?”
    â€œIt is good if you sleep more. After you leave here there will never be good sleep again until you reach the United States of America.”
    I nod. I know this man and woman are very poor because of the way they dress. Helping Angelina and me will take food from their mouths for the next month, and so I say, “Thank you. Thank you very much. Someday I will try to pay you back.” I hear my voice, and my words seem very small.
    â€œYou will pay us back by sailing to the United States of America,” Silvia says. “If you can make it, you will keep alive our dreams and the dreams of all indígenos.”

8
MY LITTLE SQUIRREL
    I TRY TO SLEEP , but now my mind holds too many thoughts. From my pocket I take the compass that Uncle Ramos gave to me. This is the first time that I have looked closely at it. It is small but heavy. I lift the brass cover and touch the scratched and worn glass. When Uncle Ramos taught me how to use this compass, I did not know that it might save my life.
    As I stare at the compass in my hand, I wonder if I am being very brave or very foolish. I do not know. I know only that I have much hope, but hope does not always tell the truth. Angelina is asleep on the bed, and I stare at her. I must not let her be hurt. She is young and innocent and does not understand that we are going on a very long and dangerous trip.
    But Angelina is part of the reason that I must make this trip. She is a young indígena girl. Here in Guatemala,girls are not treated so well, and the indígena girls are treated even worse. This trip is something I must do for both of us if we are to ever know hope.
    I close the compass and put it in my pocket again, then I look around the small room for anything that I can use. I am sure Uncle Ramos would want me to take what I need now. The only food I find is a small bag of rice and another bag of dried beans. I think these can be soaked in water to eat. I set these on the table. I find other things I can use: three empty water bottles, a fish line and a hook wrapped around a piece of wood. I find also the small and wrinkled map Uncle Ramos showed me the day we sailed his cayuco. I wrap the map carefully in a plastic bag. The map and the compass will be very important.
    I put everything I have found into a plastic pail that is used to carry water. Now it is dark outside. I am glad there is only a small moon. This is a night I do not want to be seen. I wait for Enrique and Silvia. Maybe they have decided not to help us. Then footsteps come to the door again, and I hear a quiet “Hello.” A big breath leaves my chest.
    â€œAre you ready?” Enrique whispers, opening the door. Behind him Silvia waits patiently.
    â€œYes,” I whisper. I go to the bed and lift Angelina into my arms. She still sleeps, so I carry her with one arm and pick up the plastic pail with the other. “These are things I can use,” I whisper. “The water bottles need to be filled.”
    Quickly Silvia disappears into the dark with the water bottles. They are filled when she returns. “We have given you all the food we have,” she says. “I am sorry there is not more. There is some fruit and dried fish, and I have made tortillas for you.”
    â€œI have gathered many coconuts for you,” Enrique adds. “They will make food and drink, and the weight will be good in big waves. I have also nailed boards over much of the cayuco to keep out water. Now I think everything is ready.” Enrique holds up a petate. “Maybe you can use this. Also I put some sugar cane under the deck. Chewing the cane will help you forget when you are hungry.”
    With no more speaking, we follow Enrique along the fence and down the same trail that I used the night I pretended to

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