Dusk, the start of the night shift that no one wants to do. Bálint watches the sun dip down across the river, it’s reflection glinting off the water. A week of this to come before he returns to the lazy day shift, relaxing in the warmth of the summer days.
In most places, the darkness brings stillness and peace, but not here. Here, dusk marks the beginning of rush hour.
He picks up the night vision binoculars and scans the horizon. Nothing so far. They will wait until the light has gone completely. Clouds in the sky overhead will block out the moonlight. They will certainly try tonight.
He shouldn’t complain. He is lucky to still have a job to come to. The fence along the land border has removed the need for the Border Guards. Only here, where the middle of the river marks the border, is there still a need for a permanent watch.
Does he have sympathy for those that come? It is not his job to think about such things. He is paid to stop people entering the country, his country, illegally. Some may be innocent, some may be persecuted, some may be victims. He didn’t believe, like his government told them, that most of them were criminals, but there may be terrorists, or rapists, or thieves among them. From those he would protect his people as he was paid to do. He was diligent and proud of his service.
He raises the binoculars again. There they are. The shadows on the far bank, crouched by the edge of the water. How many tonight? Maybe twenty, thirty, it’s hard to make them out. Until they step into the river they have committed no crime, so he waits and watches.
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