Dawn was starting to break when Red and the Mexicans reached the town of Cairo. They decided to pull off on a farm road that appeared unused as soon as they could now. Driving during the day would be too dangerous. And Red was getting so sleepy behind the wheel. He thought about handing the wheel over to one of the Mexicans, but his trust level was at low ebb.
Red caught sight of a dirt road coming up and pulled in. He looked about seeing nothing. He told the Mexicans it was time for them all to sleep until nightfall.
Red awoke to noises he did not recognize and thought he was still asleep and dreaming. But, the more he heard, the more he realized he was wide awake. It was dark. The Mexicans were waking also to the sounds coming from perhaps close to a mile from where the van sat.
All of them stayed quiet listening intently so they could identify what they were hearing. Soon they realized what they heard were shouts, screaming and gun fire. Red felt his heart lurching again in his chest and the Mexicans felt spooked. What on earth was this wondered Red?
Red decided they would start hiking near the sounds and they could see bright lights in the distance.
Red and the Mexicans crept towards the bright lights all the while the sounds were becoming louder the closer they got to the place in question. Red could start to make out very bright lights all around the area and saw what looked like platforms guards in prisons stood on ready to shoot anyone trying to escape.
As they crept along, Red could feel the dismay in his chest and his thoughts were disturbing him to the point where he may have a panic attack. He tried to calm himself and tell himself that there was nothing here other than they had run up against a prison in this remote area.
The Mexicans were holding back behind him, not wanting to go creeping about this place. They were close enough now that Red could make out barb wired fencing in layers. He could see the guards on the platforms wore uniforms but could not make out what kind of uniform it was. Meanwhile, there was an odd smell that seeped through the air that was quite pungent and sickening.
While Red was so intent on watching the prison type place he was not watching where he was walking. He started to slip under what felt like slippery metal and into what he thought was a ditch. The smell that was so odd to him suddenly was all about him gagging him. The stench was overpowering. He used his flash light for the first time since they started their trek to this facility. He almost screamed at what he saw he was so shocked and horrified. Bodies piled up into what he saw was not a ditch but a mass grave. The Mexicans were yelling at him in a whispering voice to get the hell out of that hole.
Red slipped and scraped his way back out of the mass grave. He shook all over and fell to the ground as he told the Mexicans what he had seen, countless bodies piled up in all forms of deterioration.
He learned using his flash light that what he had slipped on bullet casings. They appeared to be 40 caliber shell casings in a substantial pile.
The Mexicans told him what the place was, a FEMA camp. Red wondered how on earth they knew what it was and he didn’t. The Mexicans told Red in their travels around the states while working many jobs they were once taken to a FEMA camp and kept there for several months until other work for them came through the government orders.
Red stared at them in horror. Why didn’t they tell Red if they knew what this place was? The Mexicans told Red they did not think he would believe them unless he saw it for himself. Red shuddered and gagged while the Mexicans told them about the FEMA camps.
The Mexicans told Red that people all over the states that were in a fight with the federal government had these FEMA camps. The federal government who were in a fight with the patriots, who they called terrorists slammed these people into FEMA camps, never to be seen again.
They were then divided into groups. These FEMA guards rounded up all the men up to the age of 50 and placed them into one area of the camp. The guards rounded up the women and children into two different groups. Then the guards proceeded to take the children away from the mothers. They herded the mothers into a separate area and locked the gate. They took the children into one of the large buildings on the compound.
Each area of the camp had its’ own guards who decided who to keep and who to kill. The guards took the children first to kill. The Mexicans told Red the screams from the mothers of the children were shattering. After the guards killed the children, the mothers grieved for days on end.
It took a somewhat longer time for the guards to make determinations on the women. They needed some women for cooking and other types of domestic chores. The guards kept most of the men to do the dirty work in the camps. The men dug the graves. After the guards killed people the men shoveled dirt over the bodies until they filled the open grave.
Red could not believe his ears but seeing it he knew it was true. But, at that point, the Mexicans caught sight of some guards pushing a large group of people towards the place where they were standing.
The Mexicans and Red all fell to the ground and started to crawl away from the mass grave area trying to be quiet enough not to be detected. But, the crying and the screaming of the people being marched to the mass grave were so loud any noise they made could not be heard.
After Red and the Mexicans crawled so far Red turned around like needing to watch a train wreck and laid there shuddering as the guards marched what Red could now see were children over to the mass grave. The guards lined up the children inside the grave and shot down every one of them. The children fell into their places inside the ready-made grave.
Red vomited while the Mexicans lay on the ground face down. They already had seen this and had no wish to ever see it again. All about them was a strange quiet. Red wondered if the mothers knew their children were dead.
One of the Mexicans lifted his head out of the brush for a few seconds and caught sight of one of the guards looking in their direction. The Mexican whispered to them to stay quiet and not to move. The Mexican hoped that Red’s vomiting was not heard. One of the other Mexicans closest to Red pushed his face into the ground so the guards would not hear him.
The Mexicans all looked at one another lying on the ground with a sense of knowing. They had the same reaction when they first saw this kind of horror. After spending several months in a FEMA camp they knew all too well the feelings these killings invoked. But, they had become immune to them after a time as there was no other way to cope but to cut their feelings off. Survival was vital. They knew they would leave the camp at some point to be sent out on another assignment. But, they also feared that the time may come where they were no longer needed.
One of the Mexicans poked his head a bit up through the brush to check on that one guard, when suddenly a bright light shined on where they were hidden. Their hearts pounded hoping the guards did not see them. But, after a few moments the light went out and they could hear the guards moving back to the camp.
After all was clear, Red and the Mexicans ran out of the area to the van. Red started the van up and drove wildly down the dirt road and to the back road they had been on.
The Mexicans worried about Red’s emotional state and begged him to let one of them drive. Red relented. He got into the very back of the van where Jeremy lay. He laid down next to his beloved shepherd. Jeremy licked all over his face. Feeling comfort from the animal’s love and loyalty to him, Red felt slightly better. But he knew he would never be the same after what he just saw.
To be continued…………