Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Prompt 1.48.2. Write a ficlet on the subject of cruelty./Realm of the Muse

I lost track of how many hours we knelt there in the place where we had once saved so many lives. First in that small stifling hut, then later in the dirt, with the African sun beating down on us. The Mai Mai had bound our wrists with electrical wire and we were forced to hold them over our heads. Between the heat and the malaria I was sure I wouldn't last, but if I failed I knew that death would be my fate.

There was no water, no rest, only the screams of those before me who were drug across the compound only to find their death at the end of a bullet. I can't help but wonder if they weren't the lucky ones.

I can still hear Sakima after they forced her into the tent, and even without seeing what was happening I knew. Through it all her young daughter was left sitting outside, forced to listen to what they were doing to her mother. What kind of animals subject a child to that? Even with that thought I found myself praying that she wouldn't be next, because with all they had done to us, there was still worse they could do to that child.

When Patrique was killed while pleading for my life I was sure it was only a matter of time. I watched as each of those who were left was dragged away, kicking and screaming, begging for their lives as if that might somehow save them. It never did. Then I was alone, and it didn't seem to matter anymore if I did as they wanted.

I sat for the first time in hours, and from somewhere I would swear I heard music, or maybe it was the angels that I was sure I would soon be joining. I knew it was time that I made my peace with God, that I cleared my conscience, before they came for me. From somewhere I found the strength to drag myself back to my knees, from there the prayers returned as if it had been mere days instead of years since I'd said them.

The rest is a blur, but, I'm here, while so many others died, and I can't explain why in the middle of so much cruelty I was spared. I don't know that they knew why, other then they thought I was a priest. Why should I think that the prayers I spoke to clear my conscience for death should turn out to be the ones to save me? It never entered my mind, and it certainly makes no sense, but, nothing about that time does.

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