"It's certainly ominous," someone in the group let out. Sure we were all thinking it as we crowded down the path, but the act of speaking the thought aloud gave it a certain power - our collective mood soured noticeably.
'I wonder if this is how livestock feel as they're led to the slaughter.' Flickers of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle came unbidden to my mind. I looked ahead at the collection of rags and unwashed heads in front of me - looking down wouldn't have netted much different - feet instead of heads, I suppose. It was concrete elsewise.
I'd done my best to keep my rags clean over the past few weeks. They'd not started as rags, of course, but the crossing took its toll. Salt water, sleeping in boats, sleeping in the woods, endless treks, all of it and more. Even the most stubborn of us had dropped their bags and extras a week or more ago.