23 May 2024

10 – Risks

I try to calm the frantic beating of my heart as I walk down the prison’s dark hallway. I’m so excited by adrenaline that my hands were shaking as I handed wads of cash to the guards. It wasn’t hard to convince them to let me in. “Real Yarans”, my ass ! It’s rare that a human being doesn’t bend when faced with a bunch of money. My personal experience has proven to me time and time again that people are all whores. Everything is negotiable : silence, betrayal, love.

The big steel key slides into my sweaty hands as I approach the cell from the night before. My heartbeat quickens again as soon as I see his huddled figure in the corner of the cell. The young man leaps to his feet and throws himself against the bars.

— Coño, you’re back !

His sincere smile freezes me in place. I don’t know what to say. For a moment, my brain stops working.

— What’s up ? Will you let me out ?

I come to my senses as quickly as possible and clumsily fiddle with the lock until the door finally unlocks.

Released, Dani rushes out of his prison and tries to catch my hand between his. In excitement, he slips and grips my forearm, raising the sleeve of my shirt until the elbow. I am tetanized. I read the disgust in his eyes, fixed on my scarred skin.

I withdraw my arm as quickly as possible and hastily fold my sleeve back. Too late, he saw what I’m trying to hide.

— Amigo, what happened to you ?

When he sees how uncomfortable my silence is, he gives up asking questions and changes subject.

— We mustn’t stay here. Soon it will be daylight, and a new set of guards will show up.

The idea of being caught by Castillo’s men doesn’t thrill me and completely shakes me out of my torpor. In a burst of lucidity, I ask :

— Do you have a place to hide ?

He seems surprised by my question and it takes him a few seconds to answer.

— Yeah, but not around here. I’ll have to lay low for a few days until I join my clan.

— I got a hotel room, if you want you can stay there until things calm down.

We are both as surprised as each other by my audacity. What the hell is wrong with me ? I’m so shocked by what I’m saying that I can hardly hear him reply :

— Let’s do this.

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