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The Price of Infrastructure

"I beg for mercy, but it will not arrive."

Published onDec 03, 2023
The Price of Infrastructure

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel:

Every kind of car whizzes past me. The roar of the tires on asphalt is deafening. A trackhoe’s track grinds somewhere in the blurry distance. I edge closer to the concrete rail seeking shelter as if that will glue back together my broken ligaments. I don’t think the shock has worn off yet. But, God! I hope it doesn’t until the end. Because I know I am hurling toward my fate.

Disorientation swims in my vision and pulls at my senses. I had only left the herd a month before with a gentle promise of spring, and now here I was, already at the end of my life before the end of winter, playing tug of war with the shadows. I don’t quite know how long I’ve been laying here, but it feels like an eternity since the blue truck sent me flying with a thud.

The weight of my antlers drags me down. I beg for mercy, but it will not arrive. The promise of food and water had enticed me to the edge of the road like sirens draw sailors to a chasm. I dove deep down into the black waters that digested and spat me out, pinning me to this concrete barrier. As the sun begins to set, the only warmth I will ever feel will be from this squared rock. Just as well. I curl my head into my bloody torso and wait…



Wait! I lift my head in time to see a truck stop near me. The construction yellows and oranges blink against the sunset hues as the cold blanket of winter begins to descend.

“You must be freezing,” she whispers, her arm outstretched. I pull back as fast as my tattered body will let me. Despair morphs into anger at her, everyone and everything. 

“I am sorry,” she offers. For seconds it is just me, her, and the concrete. “Do you mind if I sit with you?”

I lower my head, and she takes it as a cue to sit as close as I allow her. I try to move and turn away from her, but the brokenness of my body impedes me.

The cars continue to pass by as if there weren’t two souls sitting inches away. Darkness descends over me in more ways than one.

“I’ll remember you were here long after we have finished building this bridge,” she says.

The shock begins to wear off as the heaviness of sleep pulls at my eyelids. 

“Don’t be afraid to sleep. I’ll watch over you.”

Emilce Ferreira is a Mexican-born but San Antonio-raised aspiring author. With a Construction Science and Management degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio, she is now pursuing her Master’s Degree in Creative Writing and Literature from Harvard University’s Division of Continuing Education. When not writing, Emilce spends her time with her children and farm animals.

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