Maria Ramirez, owner and operator of Journeyman Travel Agency LLC, had helped people move all her professional life. Since she started the business in her garage just out of high school to the present day, she’d booked trips to Acapulco and Antarctica, to Zambia and Zanzibar, and all points in between.

But Maria never traveled herself. In all her years, she had left her state only once, for a wedding, and crossed a border only once, for that selfsame wedding. Most of her clients went further afield in their first trip than she had in her entire life.

Maria had a lot of excuses thought up to laugh the issue up when it was raised. She’d seen how ugly the industry could be, from jacked-up prices to stranded travelers, and that ugliness had turned her off ever leaving LA herself. She was prone to motion sickness and was afraid that any flight might make her violently ill, and the trains just didn’t run as far or as fast as they used to. She was waiting until retirement to unleash all her skills in a paroxysm of travel the likes of which few had ever witnessed.

She never told people about the dream, about the flames, about the cries hanging in the frigid air as bodies in motion tumbled, earthbound, end over end.

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