Some men came to my village a couple days ago. I’d like to tell you with certainty exactly how many days it was, but I don’t remember, things have been too muddled in my mind since they took us away.
They rounded us kids up, and hid us away in an abandoned building. We obeyed because they said it was for our safety, because they wore uniforms, and because they had guns. It was dark in there and we huddled together as we waited. Some of us cried when the gunfire started.
When the men came back and pulled us out into the sun and heat of the dusty streets, they apologized for not being able to do enough to save our parents, and then told us we should go with them and they would feed us and take us to schools and do the best they could to provide for us in the absence of our parents. Most of the kids were too shocked to argue. Some cried again. I told them I didn’t believe them.
One of the men snarled and raised the butt of his gun to me, it happened so quickly, and things went dark.
When I woke, I was on the back of a truck on the outskirts of my village. I heard the sounds of shovels and men working. I saw them digging graves. The leader of the men pointed into the graves and told me to go and join my parents if I wished or, he pressed a gun into my hands and said I could stand strong and avenge them.
I started to cry then and I dropped the gun in the dirt. The man screamed that I should never do that and then things went dark again. I guess he hit me, but I didn’t see him do it.
When I woke again I was back with the kids. One of the men in uniform was showing us how to hold a rifle so it wouldn’t hurt to fire it. The man called me out and put it in my hands. I didn’t drop it as I had before. I had learned that lesson. But, I still didn’t know what to do with the gun.
He showed me.
It was freeing in a way to use this thing that had held so much power over my village, to shed myself of my fear of it. I realized if I could master it, then perhaps I would no longer be treated like a child. Perhaps I would be respected and feared as the men were. Perhaps I would no longer go to bed each night too afraid to sleep.
The thought that I could be holding the very gun that had killed my parents briefly surfaced before I pushed it away. I didn’t have time or energy for such thoughts. I had training to do.
I’m not sure where this came from. My mind went through some dark places this morning as I was getting ready to head to work. I was struggling to come up with an idea for the current Alliance of the Damned Challenge (which will be posted this coming Monday), and thinking about that sent my mind hopping through a series of twisted stories. I wish I could remember how I got here so I could talk about the connections between them all, but it was early (pre-coffeh), and the ideas strung together and apart so rapidly I couldn’t hold on to them. So, if you ask, I’m sorry to say that I have no good answer on how I came up with this one.
But, if I have time, I will try to write something happier later today.
As always, all comments, thoughts, and questions are welcome…