Black…or white? It was difficult to see, drowned out by the jet black darkness of midnight and dazzled by the blinding white of the floodlights. Marta felt both like a coyote in the headlights, stuck in the middle of the Autopista and like a chameleon darting in and out of the desert, chased by a…coyote.

She looked around and everything was still frozen, like a stage waiting for her to come and perform, or like a hideout with police waiting in the bushes to catch a fugitive on the run.

If her family were here now, what would they do? Slip into the shadows and weave their way around the barbed wire? Or, slowly retreat?

50,000 pesos she spent to get this far, with the promise of getting 50,000 dollars a year if she got to the other side. Like a game of snakes and ladders, she didn’t know if she was the snake gliding through to a better life or being snaked by the smugglers.

Snakes, reminder her of the snakehead in the bottle of tequila she had drunk on her 21st birthday. Ladders, like the ladder her father had fallen from trying to fix the corrugated roof to prevent the draught from making her family ill.

And then she ran…Bang! Suddenly black turned to blind white and flashes of blue. “Stop!” Had they seen her? She kept running…and running…and running. Black turned to blue and then red and then pink and then molten orange. Finally, she collapsed and turned around. She had made it…But for how long?



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Head of Policy Design, Scrutiny & Partnerships @newhamlondon #localgov Co-founder of #systemschange & #servicedesign progs. inspired by @cescaalbanese