He came across the container early in the morning as he was walking further south along the beach. He could hear the crying and the banging before he reached the top of the sea-side hill that lead down to the ocean front where the container filled with people had come to rest. He looked to his left, and further inland for a way around, but at a large rocky out-cropping that raced down the steep embankment towards the sea and continued several miles inland, was all he could see. It was either down along the beach or a half a days walk in order to get around.
Before he could make his decision, he heard a commotion on the shore from the people in the container.
“Up there, on the hill. Hey you, help us, let us out of here.”
After the first voice started all the other joined in until the choir of screaming voice became louder then the crashing of the waves on the sea. Looking around to make sure nobody else was coming to see what all the commotion was all about, the stranger quickly ran down the small hill towards the crate.
“Keep your voices down. Do you want everybody within a mile to come rushing over here.” He said when he reached a safe distance from the crate.
“We need your help, mister.”
The stranger just shook his head. “Looks like you are beyond my help.”
“You don’t understand, you need to get us out of here,” the man in the crate yelled back, rattling the wooden bars of the crate. “There going to kill us if you don’t let us out.”
“Well, I’m sure that you are in there for a reason.” He said as he walked by, scanning the hill tops to make sure nobody was coming. “I’m just trying to make my way through this land, under the radar, if you know what I mean?”
“Then you better let us out of here,” the man spat back, “or, when they do come to get us I’ll be sure to let them know in which direction you went.”
The stranger stopped dead in his foot steps. “If I let you out, they’ll come looking for me anyway. I think my chances are better if I leave you there.”
“Then you better run, stranger, because I’ll tell them in the exact direction you are headed.”
Again, the stranger stopped. He had never killed anybody in cold blood, but in the few moments that he stood there motionless, thinking about what to do next, an image flashed into his head of him dragging the crate into the sea and tipping it over from the bottom that had been boarded to allow it to float, onto it’s make shift side that was haphazardly boarded up, leaving several gaps which could allow water in.
“Mister, we just don’t want to die. We don’t want any trouble for you and especially none for us.” The man grinned from behind his wooden cage, showing yellowed teeth. “Let us out and they’ll have a dozen people to hunt down and not just one. That improves all of our odds.”
The stranger looked back over his shoulder towards the crate. “We all go our separate ways.”
“Yes, our separate ways,” he said, grinning, pleased that he was getting through to the stranger.
“I’m going that way,” he pointed inland and slightly south-ward, not wanting to give them his exact director in case one of them was caught. “You go that way,” he pointed north.
The men inside the wooden crate nodded in agreement, as did the man with the yellow teeth as he clasped his hands together and raised them towards the sky in some kind of pagan prayer.