This week’s prompt word from Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction was: Perseverance.
We wait, the six of us, scarcely daring to breathe until the moment the moon passes behind scudding clouds, and then, as one, we run quickly and silently; soon we will be safe.
Reaching our destination, we shift boxes and cartons, replacing them carefully in an orderly stack as soon as we are secreted behind them, and our diligence is rewarded as the doors are slammed shut and we feel the motion of the vehicle.
Tension increases once the lorry stops inside the port, and we can hear the heavy ring of steel-capped boots on concrete, muffled voices as the guards go about their work; we know that now they are using heartbeat monitors, CO2 emission probes, and that our chances are slim.
The sound of barking dogs comes closer, then the boxes around us are roughly cast aside, flashlights dazzle us, and Sanja’s baby begins to cry loudly as we are exposed to the exasperated gaze of the security guards … who recognise us from before, and who know this will not be the last time.
Tomorrow, or maybe the night after that, when the police release us, as they undoubtedly will, we shall settle down in our makeshift shelter on the windswept Calais beach, our eyes focusing hungrily across the greasy, grey water that separates us from the promised land – and we will make more plans.
(Sangatte refugee camp, on the outskirts of Calais closed in 2002. There are other ‘Sangattes’ close to the port of Calais.)