He packed by candlelight then dipped each finger into the wax, carefully removing the hardened, molded tips. Ordered in a line, he left them on the hotel nightstand, far better than dental records.
The hotel arranged for a driver to take him in the middle of the night to the other side of the lake in an inflatable equipped with an outboard motor. During the day the lake was patrolled by the military and crossing into Peru was prohibited. It was so dark he could not see even the outline of his body. As the water breached the sides, his toes, then legs, numbed. There were no life preservers, only a set of emergency paddles rattling against each other. His biggest fear was they might abrade the inflated plastic hull.
A seagull shat on his head but he didn’t dare wipe it, as this would have required letting go of the cord that ran along the side of the boat.
Straining for the shoreline to come into view, he hallucinated its appearance many times.
In the inky blackness there was no demarcation of water from sky. He felt he was watching himself spinning through a vortex propelled by wind and a battering current in a world comprised of water, a piece of plastic, a bit of metal, and a boy.
The trip took over three hours and in that time the moon never appeared from behind a thick covering of clouds.
The Zodiac driver pointed to a car waiting on the shore that would take him on the final stretch of his journey. He was so numb and the land so covered in fog he wasn’t sure any of it was real.
He saw ghosts rising from the funeral towers, each blanketed in a thick, gray mist. They appeared as women, their hair dripping with lake water that formed puddles around their ivory colored feet. Hands clasped, they made a long line that wound up the face of the mountain. If someone were on the top looking down it would have looked as if tiny birds were falling.