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(no subject) [Jan. 12th, 2008|07:13 pm]
"Are you okay?"

Even though Celso had managed to flee, it was clear that he was far from okay. His skin was pale as the other three men carefully extracted the arrow, and his breaths were weak and shallow. With each breath, the hollowed wound belched wetly. Kneeling beside Celso, Orlando removed his own belt and T-shirt, tying them together to make a sort of harness that he draped over his shoulders. The others lifted Celso into the strap-like seat that dangled from Orlando's back, and the 20-year-old carried the older man as if he were hoisting a very heavy backpack.

They began walking at about 4 p.m., and it was 8 p.m. when they finally reached the ranch where they had parked their truck. The Franciscos fetched a medical kit and a satellite telephone from the truck, while Orlando stayed with Celso, who was drifting in and out of consciousness.

"I love my wife," he said. "Will you tell her that for me? Will you tell my wife that I love her?"

Orlando hadn't really been worried until that moment. Celso was in full death-bed mode, laying it on thick.

"Don't die now," Orlando said. "I just carried you all that way!"

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