After crossing the border Manuel was more careful to stay out of the sight of everyone. The land was dry and barren with few shade trees but there was a lot of scrub brush giving him plenty of places to hide. The trip from Magdalena was easy since he was able to ride most of the way, but now he was just walking north, needing to survive on almost nothing until he reached some type of large town or city.
He carried a bag with some clothing, a few pieces of bread and two bottles of water. There were a number of streams shown on maps of this area, but most of those were simply dry creek beds now. Manuel was thirsty but decided not to drink just yet, so he worked his way up a ridge and carefully stood up and looked out at what he could see. As it got dark, the light in the sky would help him find the more populated areas, but it was still several hours before it got dark.
Right now he was searching the distance for any kind of movement. He'd spotted some roads that he would parallel in his northward quest. He would avoid the roads whenever he could because where there were roads there were Migra or Border Patrol. The roads could also mean a free ride like he got of Magdalena, but too many people warned him of the tricks that were being played along the border these days. He had decided to simply stay out of sight until he reached a big town, even then he needed to be careful.
Manuel was making good progress, the terrain here in southern Arizona was barren and rocky at times, but there were no mountains or bad slopes to move around. As long as he kept fairly close to the dirt roads he knew they eventually would lead to asphalt roads and not long after he'd hopefully see a town. He hoped his water lasted long enough for him to get that far, if not his walk quickly would become a life or death matter.
"Hello, I need help. Can you help me?"
He heard the voice shout to him from the northeast. Since his had been very careful to keep well hidden it surprised him someone could see him. Immediately falling to the ground he remained motionless for several minutes.
Taking a chance, he stood up from behind a large bush and looked toward the direction of the voice. In the distance he could see someone moving towards him. Hiding was no use to him now, he had to either make a run for it or face down the person approaching him.
"Please I need help, my mother is hurt. She crashed our car, please help me."
Watching the person continue to approach him Manuel realized just how small the person was approaching him. It was a boy, a small boy maybe ten or eleven years old. When the boy waved to him Manuel started moving toward him.
"It's my mother she's still in the car, I think she's hurt bad."
"Where is the car at?" Manuel asked.
"It's over there, just off of the road by that big gulley. The car ran off the road and she's hurt."
Manuel followed the boy and sure enough as they got near the road he saw a van on its side. It was a long way up from where the van was at to the road, Manuel was surprised the boy was not hurt. Following the boy he quickly rushed up to the van and saw the boy's mother pinned inside the car. She wasn't awake but Manuel could see she was still breathing, but not easily.
He grabbed her arms and tried to pull her out, but she was pinned in to tightly. "Come help me," he said to the boy but both of them couldn't get her loose either. Manuel crawled down and tried to free her legs, but the wreckage was too bad. He looked at the boy and said, "We can't get her out."
"What can we do?"
"We can only wait here until morning and maybe help will come," Manuel said, trying to comfort the boy. "We need to build a fire, look around for some branches and sticks," he said, looking around the area. He scraped away the rough brush in a small area not too far from the car and then went to help the boy gather wood.
He stacked up some small twigs and some dry brush and pulled a matchbox out of his pocket. After a few bad starts, he finally got the fire going and after adding some of the bigger branches they had collected, the fire looked good. Manuel then sat down with the boy, trying to comfort him while they waited.
Pretty sure the mother would not live much longer, Manuel tried to keep the boys attention diverted away from the car and his mother. As it got a bit colder out he took off his jacket and convincing the boy to get some rest, he covered him with it. The boy fell asleep and a few hours later Manuel also drifted off.
It was very early in the morning, the sun was just peeking over the nearby hills when Manuel heard someone nearby. Spotting the men he was about to shout out to them, but the guns they carried worried him, so he woke the boy down to talk to the men to see if they could get help. One of the men had a phone and called for help.
The men came over to the car and immediately went to check on the boy's mother. Initially they were trying to figure out how to pull her out, but then they looked closer and told Manuel she had died.
The three men and one boy sat down at the fire and waited for help to arrive. The first vehicle to arrive was what Manuel had feared most, the Migra. He knew running would do no good so he remained, telling the Agents what he had tried to do, how he stayed with the boy through the night.
As the rest of the help arrived Manuel was asked to sit in the Border Patrol car as the rescue teams recovered the mother's body and then took the boy with them. The hunters completed their statements and the Sherriff came and talked to Manuel as he sat in the car. When the Sherriff was finished he nodded to the Border Patrol Agent, who closed the door and took Manuel back to his headquarters.