Logan Chase


Logan Chase is proud to be born and raised in Fresno, CA. However, he is currently studying Animal Science at University of California, Davis, and hopes to be a Veterinarian. This is his first published work anywhere, but hopefully it is the first of many.

The First Try

Maria believed she was finally ready. She had gathered as much non-perishable food as she could. Raquel was strong and mature, especially for her age. No fence could stop her, and Maria wasn’t too old yet. They would end up in Arizona, and make their way North from there. She had saved a long time to be able to afford the stores of food and water she would need, she just hoped it would be enough. Guadalupe down the street told her between puffs on a cigarette that she had more than enough. She also said that her husband was faithful and her brother wasn’t an alcoholic, so Maria took her words with a grain of salt. Maria went to go wake her daughter from her nap. She had told her some hours ago to get some sleep before their journey began.


“Raquel? Wake up, mija.” Raquel groaned, then bolted up out of her sleeping bag, as though she had just remembered what today was.

“Good morning.”

“Buenos Tarde, Mama.” She said with a sarcastic emphasis to show that it was afternoon, not morning.

“Oh, if we had time to stick around, I’d skin your smart hide.” She said, chuckling.

“Is everything ready?”

“Si. Que dia es? En Inglés.”

Raquel’s face stretched with strain. “Uh, es, “ She began, then corrected herself, “no, it’s February 13th. 2018.”

“Bien. Grab your bag. We’ll practice more on the way.”


Maria was lucky that farmwork had made her strong, because despite how few possessions she had, the bags were pretty heavy, and the fence was fairly tall. She carried them out to her bike, with a makeshift cart attached to the back spoke. Raquel only had her backpack, so she could mount her bike unhindered. Maria got onto hers, and just like that, they were off. She was almost surprised how easy it was to start something so significant. It was almost as though she expected a dragon or something to appear in front of them. The map she had spent so long looking at appeared in her head, and guided her path.


“Cuantos años tienes?”

Raquel grew a devilish smile and chuckled a bit. “I’m warning you Mama, every question you ask you’ll have to answer too.”

Maria laughed. “No, I don’t!” She scoffed.

“Yeah you do!”

“I’m your mother, I make the rules! You need to know English to survive.”

“But, it would help me learn if you said it too!”

Maria bit her lower lip, considering. “Fine.”

“I am 9 years old.”

“Very good. I am 33.” Maria narrowed her eyes when Raquel said something under her breath and giggled.

“That one’s easy, give me a harder one.”

“Alright, Quien es el Presidente?”

“Enrique Nieto.” Raquel rolled her eyes, not impressed by this new level of difficulty.

“Ah! Got you, mija. No, our soon-to-be NEW President.”

“Oh, it’s that brainless-”

“Hush, Raquel!”


Both bikes stopped abruptly. Voices were nearby, people walking. Maria quickly scanned the terrain as her mind spun. They were in between towns, riding off road. No one should be out there, meaning whoever was out there were other runners or…



Maria and Raquel whipped around to see a family walking towards them, a big, burly man carrying a small boy, 2 or 3, on his shoulders and a woman walking just behind them.

“Are you crossing, too?”


“¿Habla inglés?”


Maria’s mind raced as he approached. She didn’t know whether or not to run away from these strangers. They seemed nice enough, and probably weren’t lying about going the same way, but you never quite could tell the liars from the honest. When the man was close enough, he extended a hand. She shook it, her hand feeling small inside his calloused grasp. He had certainly worked for whatever life he lived.


“I am Roberto. This is Gloria. And this-” He lifted the boy off his shoulders, “- is Austin.” The boy smiled happily which both women returned.

“Austin? Like Tejas?”

“Si. That’s where we’re going. ¿Y usted?”

“No. Arizona.”

“Ah. Well, bueno fortuna. Maybe we’ll see you on the other side, enh?” He chuckled and gently nudged his wife. They smiled at each other, then at their child, who had no idea what his parents could be getting him into, but still smiled brightly.

“Bueno fortuna.” Maria and Raquel began cycling again, and the family began walking. Slowly, they split apart, like a horseshoe.


“Thank you for staying quiet, Raquel. If anything else like that happens, silencio. We don’t want to tell the wrong people too much.”

“No problema. I really wanted to talk to Austin though. He was so cute!”

“Yes. God help them. God help us all.” But she had no time for prayers. It was getting dark and they had some distance to go.


Maria and Raquel happily ate pre-made tortillas, waiting for the rice to heat up on their old camp stove. They were lucky in that the only cooktop they had ever owned was portable. About 300 feet away, they could see the fence, even in the dark. They could tell it from the landscape only by the moonlight, and you could only tell the two nations apart by the fence. America’s side did not look better, nor worse, but in their minds it was the difference between Heaven and Earth. To think, a silly invisible barrier between countries, augmented by links of iron could stop the hopes and dreams of thousands, hopes and dreams of prosperity. A barrier they would cross, before the sun was up, around 5 in the morning. From the moon, it seemed to be around 2, but they didn’t dare sleep. Even this food wasn’t as much for nourishment as it was for passing the time. The mere hours until their lives would change.




“Happy Birthday and Happy Valentine’s Day.” Maria pulled a small heart-shaped box out of one of her bags.

Raquel smiled from ear-to-ear and took it.

“Mom, how did you-”

“I saved a little. Open it, there’s more than you think.”

Confusion, then excitement, gripped her face. She opened the box, and her hands went to her mouth. Several chocolates were arranged around a beautiful necklace that rested in the center.

“It was my mother’s before she passed. I was never much for jewelry, but I think it will look good on you.” The necklace was a silver circle, but inside it was a smaller, irregular, golden shape, like an S that melted to surround a single light blue diamond in the very center. It was like the gold made tendrils to wrap around and protect the gem inside, with the silver protecting the gold; an impenetrable fortress of beauty.


Raquel was speechless, staring at the jewel, worth more than all of her possessions combined.

“Well go on, put it on! I want to see.”

Raquel blushed and raised it over her head. It cascaded down, a little too long, reaching down to her solar plexus.

“Ah, I knew it, it brings out your eyes!” She smiled and gently wiped a tear from her daughter’s eyes. “Don’t worry about the length we’ll fix that lat-”

She was suddenly tackled, lying on the ground with slender arms wrapped around her body. She smiled and put her chin on top of Raquel’s head, currently buried against her chest, sobbing lightly. They stayed there for what seemed like eternity, and when they came apart, there were no words to be said, so they sat and watched the moon.


Maria snapped awake. The sun was above them, though not too high. It was early morning and Raquel had nodded off on her shoulder. Maria hurried her awake, and Raquel, bright that she was, immediately recognized the situation.


“Do we wait until tomorrow?”

“No, we can’t risk staying, we need to go now. Every minute we spend here is a minute they can see us. It’s not ideal, but let’s try.”

“Are you sure?”

“Think of it like this: If we fail, we just try again later. No one said this would be easy.” They both smiled, grabbed their things and ran to the fence, guiding their bikes.


They craned their necks upwards. Construction of the wall began across Baja many months ago, so a lot of people tried to get across near Texas. Maria reasoned that that meant many guards would be moved to Texas, leaving areas close to California less guarded. After all, why guard a location so close to the wall? Maria’s plan was bold, but it just might work. Just in front of them was a fence that rose up to about 30 feet. Large poles supported the fence, and if it wasn’t for the iron links, they could walk right through. Luckily, there was no barbed wire on top of the fence. Maria grabbed a bag, and hurled it as high as she could. It landed with a thud on the other side. She threw every bag except her daughter’s and a small dufflebag. It contained fragile things they needed, like the camp stove. Her plan was to have Raquel go first, then throw it to her. Raquel began to climb, slow and steady. Within 5 minutes, she was at the top, then she began to go down. She failed to catch the bag, and for a moment, Maria looked disapprovingly at her daughter, a young girl shrugging her shoulders while smiling in a new nation. Her first step on their new life wasn’t encouraging, but she would have time to make it up. Maria was slower than her daughter, and almost fell twice, but she made it. She looked behind her and through the fences, focusing on their bikes. These were the last remnants of the world she had always known, the one she was leaving. She couldn’t be happier. They began to walk.


“Hey, stop right there!”

“Run, Raquel!”


They had been walking for a couple hours, trying to get as far away as possible. Unfortunately, they were too caught up in more of their back and forth English practice. A Border Patrol car that was nearby had stopped so one of it’s officers could take a piss. Now, that officer was yelling after them as he fumbled with his belt buckle, and the car’s engine roared to life. They both ran, but Raquel was not prepared for it, and when she tried to run failed to see her surroundings. She tripped on her own feet, landing hard, with her leg slamming on a rock. A loud crack was heard and Maria knew she wasn’t running anywhere. Raquel began to scream and cry in pain as Maria lifted her up. Maria carried most of the bags, and carrying her daughter as well slowed her to a crawl. Grief overcame her. They were doing so well, but she couldn’t escape them with all her cargo and their car. She stopped and all of the officers arrived and exited the SUV. A man stepped forward.


“Do you speak English?” Maria’s brain raced. The SUV’s engine was off, all the guys were away from it, and still several feet away from her. They slowly approached. Maria’s heart ignited within her. They were not going to take her back, not if she could help it. She turned and ran, with a speed and strength she never knew she had. Evidently, the officers didn’t know she had it either, as they were caught unaware. In that moment’s pause, Maria made a significant lead, one that the officers had to close. They started to run after her. The ground was fairly even and Raquel was no longer crying, just looking up at her mother. Maria refused to look behind her, or even down. She kept her head up and kept running. She saw buildings ahead. If she could make it, she had a chance. Anything could happen in that town. It looked pretty big, enough to have medical aid, a ride, a dozen things that might save her. She made a silent prayer and pushed herself harder. Suddenly, something pierced her back and all her muscles screamed out in pain and confusion. But along with it, came a loud bang, and she stayed conscious only long enough to see a splash of crimson red on the dry desert ground.



I noticed many things at the funeral. She lay there, so precious and sweet. She didn’t fill up the whole coffin, the best one I could afford. I noticed many things, but chief among them was that the necklace was missing. It wasn’t on her when they sent her across, it wasn’t on me or any of my belongings, so I’ve concluded that it’s somewhere on the ground, the ground we strived to reach. The church was nice enough to allow people to stay for a reception on their grounds, God knows I couldn’t fit the people that liked her into my house. Raquel was well loved, she had many friends, some family, and even some extras. People I’d never seen before. People from the States, with cameras, recorders, note pads, each in fancy suits they were sweating through in the heat.


Her death became national news there, a symbol, for what I don’t know. I have a letter from one of their bureaucrats in Washington D.C, informing me that the officer is under investigation. I’ve been told that his story is that he violated protocol and drew his gun while the other officers had their tasers. He was nervous, his first catch, I suppose, and so when his friend’s taser went off, he twitched and pulled his own trigger. My daughter has become less than human; she’s become a debate. An example. She symbolizes a problem. But I don’t want her to be a martyr, I don’t want the officer’s head on a plate. I don’t even want to be on the other side of that fence. I want her broad smile, her lovely voice, her infectious happiness. I want her. I like to think that her spirit is with that necklace somewhere, that she made it to America, even if it is only after death. I picture her peacefully walking next to the border, wearing the necklace that made her even prettier than she already was. And when she gets bored, or has seen enough, she will go to everlasting peace and eternal rest, where she belongs.


I haven’t left the house in weeks, neighbors support me and keep me fed. I sit here and think. About her. About them. But most of all, I think about how cruel fate is. If it wasn’t for that border, that stupid barrier, my daughter would be alive. If I was born a couple hundred miles North, Raquel would have the life I always wanted for her. Instead of being those few hundred miles North, she is 6 feet under, here under the Mexican soil. Because I am a Mexican means that she will never become an American. Because we decided long ago that a nation is not for all people, but the right people, my Raquel was barred from success. But I will not have that. I will try again. I will succeed. And everything I accomplish there will be for here.


They think we are dangerous, immoral, addicted, filthy, illegals. But they are wrong. We are people. They are people. We are all people, on this Earth, but we have decided that a world united is not a world that we want, or one that is possible. So we build walls. We build fences. We breed hate and prejudice instead of planting love and acceptance. We would rather cast our eyes downward on others, than our hands. I am not a Mexican, I am not an American, I am not anything but Human. And if people just accepted other people for who they are, my daughter and millions of other sons and daughters might still be alive. The world has many borders, and many more border crossers, but if not for the borders, what could the crossers become? My answer? People. We could all be people. Not Mexicans, not illegals, not any label other than people. But for now, the wall stands, and I sit, waiting and hoping to see the day when all their barriers come crashing down and people worldwide welcome people the world over.

© The Acentos Review 2017