After climbing a mountain, the abandoned walkers spot a lone Migra truck patrolling the desert. They scramble toward it, but there is no way to get to it. They have walked only ten miles in twelve hours. They come upon some brush, and decide to start a wildfire to signal for help. Nobody comes, though, and the men again find themselves waiting in vain, some praying for death.
Missing what many saw as their last chance of hope, the walkers began “praying for death” and for an end to the pain, desolation, and dehumanization from which they could no longer imagine an escape.
Dawn of Tuesday, May 22nd brings with it temperatures in the triple digits. The men walk on, and the first members of the group begin to die. Disoriented, few men even realize that their large group has splintered into several smaller ones. Urrea writes that there is evidence of the fact that, because so many men were fainting and falling, it was impossible for them to realize which of their group had died. The men begin to hallucinate, and some call for their mothers. Many continue to eat cacti in order to attempt to fend off dehydration.
The fourth day of the journey begins, and so do the group’s first casualties. The men become disorganized, but hardly notice their disorganization—many are delirious, though some cling to sense and survival instinct.
Reymundo Jr. dies in his father’s arms. One man attempts to bury himself in the sand and is “barbecued” in the dirt. Julian Malaga tears up his money, and Reymundo Sr., too, throws his money into the air, crying and wailing. One man removes all his clothes, folds them neatly, lies on his back, crosses his ankles, and dies.
As the men go mad and die, some of them cling to life while others seemingly calmly—even gladly—embrace death as the last form of salvation available to them.