The sun had completely disappeared over the horizon. But the moon had risen and was now reigning over the skies, casting weaker shadows on the terrain. My own slightly disfigured shadow walked in unison with me and my companions, their own shadows connected to us.
My feet seemed to be near falling off. We had been walking the entire day, nearly all night. And if we didn’t find a safe place to last the night, we would be walking well into the next day too.
Antonio and Francisco seemed to share my thoughts. The younger looked ready to ask his brother for a piggy back ride. Francisco had flat out rejected the idea, and quite rudely as well. But I suppose that that was the way of siblings. It seemed like I was looking at myself, dealing with my younger sisters.
They were staying back with our father and step-mother. Our dad had married her after my mom had died when we were young and my sisters were toddlers. And now I seem to spend more time walking from town to town than at home. One of the best moments of the journey was when I finally returned to my home, to both of them.
I was snapped out of my thoughts when Antonio started whining to his brother. Francisco gave me an apologetic look, his brother still clinging onto his shoulders.
“I’m sorry, but my brother isn’t used to walking for a long time,” he muttered. “This is his first trip.”
“I understand.” I responded, maneuvering the reins of the donkey holding all the good in the satchels.
I was thankful that this was the only livestock that we had. We had not walked for as long as needed to find a place to trade for more farm animals. Usually by the time that I was heading back home, our group had arrived with more group members than when we had left.
I glanced into the distance for some open place for us to rest for the night. Usually the lights of different pueblos would be shining from far away. When we needed to stay for a night, we would find an inn or a house that was willing to let a couple of teenagers stay for the night. Usually the people from these little towns would be used to groups of arrieros passing by their homes.
“Do you think we will find a place to stay soon?”
“I am not sure,” I responded to Francisco once again. “There doesn’t seem to be a pueblo around here, but we can set up camp.”
If you could even call it a camp. A couple of old blankets set on the hard ground and some water and hard tortillas before falling asleep.
“Maybe that would be for the best, but I don’t know if Antonio would be up for that…”
We both turned to look at his younger brother. Antonio seemed ready to sleep on the next pile of rocks that he found. He slid his bag from his shoulders and let it fall to the ground in a heap.
“Yeah, we might need to find a place soon.”