Flies, by the score. That was what stopped him; a dark midden hanging in the air, staining his view.
Officer Barnes switched off the engine. He waited until the last bit of chilled air lost its battle with the sun before heaving himself onto the dirt. Under the smudgy sky, three ridges shimmered; at this distance they were just ruts in the the mud, easy to mistake them as the residue of the recent construction – easy, but for the flies.
Black pockets formed on his shirt as he reached the bodies. Another family. Two children and their mother, he supposed.
The woman’s hands revealed her recent manual labours; scoured by the futile climb, ripped by the glassy welcome on top. Each child bore the scars of desperation as they were lifted to a new future, born by the love of a reluctant but choiceless mule.
They could have died of the drop or the dehydration, yet the small single perforations in each forehead told of a promise broken; the woman’s indignity laid bare as her deceiver removed her cargo before leaving to await the next informal import from the South.
Barnes had joined the police to fight crime; such a simple moral notion. Yet as he radioed in the next statistics, he pondered the crime he was fighting. The three illegals? The smugglers who set up the crossing? The murderous reception committee? Or the wall that created the environment for the other crimes to exist?
He wiped his forehead before doing as he’d done before and would, no doubt do again: he dragged the bodies and propped them against the pitted concrete, giving them a small measure of shaded dignity. It was the least the wall could do.
This is the story written in response to the latest Microcosms prompt, here using
Policeman, Texas, crime