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We wait, the six of us, scarcely daring to breathe until the moment the moon passes behind scudding clouds, and then, as one, we run quickly and silently; soon we will be safe.

Once on board, we shift boxes and cartons, replacing them carefully in an orderly stack until we are concealed behind them. Our diligence is rewarded as, after a brief pause for cursory inspection, the doors are slammed shut and we feel the motion of the vehicle.

Tension increases once the lorry stops inside the port, and we can hear the heavy ring of steel-capped boots on concrete, muffled voices as the guards go about their work; we know that now they are using heartbeat monitors, CO2 emission probes, and that our chances are slim.

The sound of barking dogs comes closer, the lorry shakes, then the boxes around us are roughly cast aside, and flashlights dazzle us. Sanja's baby begins to cry loudly as we are exposed to the exasperated gaze of the security guards - who recognise us from before, and who know this will not be the last time.

Tomorrow or maybe the night after that, when the police release us as they undoubtedly will, we shall settle down in our makeshift shelter on the windswept Calais beach, our eyes focusing hungrily across the greasy, grey water that separates us from the promised land - and we will make more plans.

Story by:

Sandra Crook

4 January 2013

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