Day 21 – Tuesday

Escape from Tucson: Day 21 – Tuesday

I am seeing a real falling apart of society. Well, more accurately I think society has fallen completely apart and people are reverting back to something primal…probably tribalism. And it isn’t good. I am part of that falling apart as well…I murdered a man today.

Last night we woke up sometime early evening. Beans was back. She gave no explanation of where she had been or what she had been doing.I fixed some food while the girl said she had to take care of some female business. Beans went with her. While they were gone I fixed the vegetarian omelet MRE. That has to be the single worst MRE meal that there is. I mean it really sucks! The only thing that saved it was the two tiny bottles of hot sauce. Even Ashley liked it with the hot sauce. Oh yeah, Ashley Tanner is her name, she finally told me. She said she wanted me to call her by her proper name, said it made her feel better.

We ate, watered-up, and head down the road. While we were walking and talking she told me that the people that took her were bad people, very bad people. One of the men liked her and kept smiling at her, she said he was “creepy”. One of the women told him to leave “the little girl alone” but he hit the woman in the face and she never said anything again.

Ashley made me promise that I wouldn’t let the “bad people” take her away again. She said I should kill them if I had too. Whoa! Where did that come from? How does a little girl like that, sweet as a button, tell me to kill someone? But, that little girl was dead serious…you should have seen the look on her face. I believed her. I have a hard time thinking this kid is 6-years old, seems way older. I heard the saying “old soul” a long time ago. I think that might apply with this kid.

We got to the tracks/interstate and had a snack. I told her we were going to walk along the tracks while it was dark. She asked me if I was going to take her home in the morning. I just told her I didn’t know how long it would take to get to her home but we would get there. Yeah, I lied. I don’t have a plan and I have no idea where her home is. Well, my non-plan is to keep walking until I can come up with a plan. I better figure out some kind of real idea pretty soon, eh?

As we walked along the tracks the interstate separated apart from the tracks by about a half mile. I feel better having some separation, safer I thought. I was wrong. We got to this place called Gary. Gary is about mile maker fifteen in New Mexico, just west of Lordsburg. It is evidently a place where the work trains are stored on a siding to keep them off the main tracks. There were several work trains there and I figured I would rummage through them to see what I could find. It worked out well the last time I did. Maybe we could get lucky!

The first work train only had a few cars to it, mostly flat cars with rail ties on it. There were two more trains that were just a few hundred yards further down the tracks so I thought we might still find some useful stuff, especially food. As we approached the second train I happened to notice that Beans was nowhere to be found, she was gone on some adventure…again. No big deal, she’s done that before. We had just finished going through the first car of the second work train when this guy comes walking around the corner. He looked as startled as I felt. We just stood there about twenty feet apart looking at each other. It was hard to be to even believe that I was looking at another human being this close.

Ashley was literally hugging me, holding on to my legs, half-hiding behind me. She was just holding on for dear life. So there we stood looking at each other. He had a pistol in a belt holster and what looked like an AR-15 hanging on his shoulder. I had moved my hand towards my rear pocket where the Shield was. To be honest, I was scared out of my mind. But, at the same time I was thinking so clearly, everything slowed down and I could hear every sound, smell every aroma, and I could see every little movement of everything around me.

Then all of a sudden Ashley let go of me and hollers out, “That’s my Daddies rifle!” This guy makes a move like he is unshouldering the AR to use it on me. Next thing I knew I had driven three rounds into his chest in an area about the size of a cup saucer. He dropped straight down. I think he was dead before his knees ever hit the ground.

Here’s the weird part…Ashley never screamed. Nope, she sure didn’t. She just walked up to the guy and kicked him at least three times in the ribs. As I am walking up to stop her, she starts pulling at the AR to get it out from under him. Danger! I told her to stop. I rolled the guy over and freed-up the AR, and started ransacking his body looking for whatever he had that I wanted, that we needed.

Ended up with an ESEE-3 knife, another Gerber multi-tool, and three full Magpul 30-round magazines. All of that went into my pack, the Chapstick he had in his pocket I left with him, yuck. I got us out of there quickly, I didn’t want to wait around and see if he had some buddies hanging around nearby.

Beans shows up about five or ten minutes after the shooting and just as we started walking away from the train at a pretty good clip.

Fifteen minutes later we pulled up in a small arroyo. We drank some water and I asked her about the man and the gun. She said he was one of the men that had taken her; he was the “ugly and mean” one. She said the rifle was her Dad’s. She said there was a spider on the gun near the thing you pulled with your finger. She was right, it was on the outside the trigger guard right where she pointed to. Spikes makes some of the best AR parts on the market, one of which is an oversized trigger guard to make it easier to get a gloved trigger finger into the guard to reach the trigger. Spikes has a logo that easily recognized…a spider.

I decided I better take a few minutes and at least wipe down the AR and check it out. While I was doing that I was talking to Ashley. One of the questions I asked her is why she kicked him. She got all quiet and sheepish, then told me it was because he had touched her. I got an ugly feeling inside that made me sick to my stomach and I felt good that the guy was dead. And, I am glad she had kicked him. I didn’t ask her any more questions, she didn’t offer any more conversation.

As we were getting ready to start walking again I had the thought…where are the others that were with him? Nothing I could do about it right then. We both talked a little bit about where Beans might be. She was more worried than I was. All I cared about now was keeping that little girl safe.

I was nervous about Lordsburg, the tracks go right though the town. And town is a populated area (albeit thinly populated) for a little over four miles. I really didn’t feel good about that, so I started looking at the atlas for alternatives. I found a road that runs parallel to the interstate but about half a mile to the south of the town. It by-passes the town itself and connects back up with the tracks about five miles east of Lordsburg. Now I had a plan…at least for the next few hours.

But, we didn’t make it back to the tracks last night. We made it about couple miles shy of there, roughly a quarter mile south of the Lordsburg airport. The Continental Divide Trail runs right through that area. There isn’t much around Lordsburg but desert, cactus, rock, and more cactus and more rocks. But I found a place called Brown’s Windmill on the map. That dang Delorme Topo Atlas is saving my bacon! So we headed towards Brown’s Windmill, and I am glad we did. The water runs over the side of the tank in one spot and there are two really pretty decent sized trees there. Plenty of shade, plenty of water, and I swear I heard some quail as we were getting settled in.

As we were getting ready to go so sleep Ashley tells me she wants to say her prayers. She wants to “thank Heavenly Father for her parents and to please take care of them in heaven.” OK, that’s weird for a little kid to be that specific about her prayers. When I was that age all I knew was the Lord’s Prayer and I never said that outside of church. But pray she did. She sounded like Jim Hansen. Then a thought struck me.

I asked her if she went to church, she nodded her head yes. I asked her which one. She says, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” I knew it…this twerp kid is a Mormon just like Jim! But then I started thinking a little bit and I got weirded out all over again.

I run into three old guys, Ashley runs into three old guys. I fall over and sleep after encountering my three old guys. Ashley had the same thing happen. I had the words in my head, “For this purpose you are here.” Her old guy says a man and a dog is coming, I show up dressed just like she was told the man would be. She instantly has a bond with me, let alone not being afraid of me…someone she has never seen before.

I think I might be insane.

Beans is still not anywhere to be found.


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