Crossfire

The sun was growling, intimidating the pale blue sky to a fierce yellow. A thin plastic sheet, held up by flimsy sticks, was all that stood between her and the angry sun. Her little boy sat near by, playing with bits of gravel. His sores, staring openly at the dehydrated day, were buzzing with flies. Out of habit she tried to swat them away. But they were war veterans, unafraid of little waves, they continued their feast. She wondered how long he would last in these conditions, how long before he too left her, slaughtered like the rest, to fuel this war.


She wondered if her husband was still alive. Maybe he was still out there, fighting death by delivering fresh bodies to his doorstep everyday, driving helpless people like her into camps like this. She had got here just yesterday, ahead of the wave of refugees filing in. Each time a new coalition was formed or a new peace deal was brokered, a new camp like this would spring up somewhere. Soon they would run out of plastic sheets, water and medicine. And then things would get even worse. But they were safer here, at the mercy of foreigners, while their own hacked them up into tiny pieces on the other side. When the war had started, she used to be full of bitterness, and ready to fly into a fit of rage. But today all emotion had been shed away, along with the blood flowing on the streets. Now, there was just a long wait in the sun. For peace. For death. For the numbness to end.

They saw her in the papers the next day. There she was, a beautiful young black woman. Blood was pouring out form somewhere behind her head, a little boy was sitting next to her dead body, crying. It was a chilling picture, it didn’t go down too well with the morning cuppa. People squirmed as her lifeless eyes started at them from the newspapers. And the little boy’s wails were screaming out, past the words and onto the breakfast table. They flipped the page hurriedly and wondered what the world was coming to, burying her as another headline, one more story that got lost in the morning of the civilized world.

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