He said, “You know, for a Horse Thief, you’re sure not a capable rider. Can’t you move any faster?”
Janice rode ungracefully beside him.
“Leave me alone. I’m getting real sore, okay?… And, you know what? For a Four-Eyes, you’re sure not observant because if you’d look right in front of you, you’d see that we’re already here.”
Steve paused. Looking up at the sprawling view ahead, he felt his heart drop to his stomach. A series of white, octagonal poles stood erect at precisely distanced intervals. They were each approximately ten feet high and followed the Red River as it bordered Texas and Oklahoma. They ran in this manner for miles in either direction, until they disappeared long into the distance.
As the sunlight intensified around them, the children listened to the crackle of electricity. Laser-induced plasma channels created a webbed barricade between each pole. Steve guessed the main Gates, that allowed rare access across the Border, would be few and far between. On the most traveled highways and near the cities, law enforcement would be able to stop any infraction at the Border. Here, so far out in the wilderness, the police would not have enough time to find the children once they’d gotten across. It gave the boy some comfort just to know that.
Still, though the barricade in front of them had to be over fifty years old, it crackled with alarming power. Surely it was not kept in the best repair, compared to other points nearer the Gates. But it was yet a most formidable and dangerous thing to cross.
Steve looked over at the girl beside him.
“Well, okay, we’re here now. What do you suggest we do?”
“Don’t be so sarcastic. You didn’t have to come, you know.”
“I couldn’t just let you go off by yourself.”
“I made it to your house on my own. I can go a little farther without you and do just fine.”
Steve wasn’t so sure. He crossed his arms and sighed.
“Well, then, General Kamikaze? What’s the next move?”
Janice didn’t respond. She would hate to admit to him that she didn’t know. Instead, she ignored him.
“Why did you come along anyway?” she said. “You realize you’re only putting yourself in danger? You’ll be a Border-Crossing terrorist now, too.”
Steve watched the dizzying plasma channels flicker in front of them before he answered.
“Look, I know you probably have everything figured out, and maybe you don’t need anybody taggin’ along and getting in the way, leastwise me. Contrary to what you may think, I have better things to do than help you pull a silly stunt like this. And I don’t know what possessed me to leave my life and my parents behind to follow you across this stupid Border.
“But,” and he turned to look into her fervent almond-brown eyes, “you’re in just as much danger as I am now – more, actually. Nobody should have to face something like this alone.”
Janice allowed her tone to soften a bit.
“Just don’t go feeling sorry for me, Four-Eyes.”
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