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Tuesday, July 6, 2010


She stares at the fire as it flickers and burns. Shadows play on her immobile features. The flames swallow the wood, crackling and hissing but she is oblivious to the noises. She possesses eyes that have seen and witnessed. Her gaze is fixed but she perceives nothing.

She hears it again like she always does…shrieks and wailing coupled with shouts and sadistic laughter. Gunshots fill the air along with sounds of glasses shattering, the trampling of hurried footsteps and the flurry of confused voices…

“Mother!” The wail again, the sound that she hears again and again, the agonized cry that haunts her endlessly in her sleep, in her dreams and in her waking hours. The last word she heard and the last word she remembers.

The cold night wind bangs the window shutter against the wall. She jerks awake from her stupor and gets up slowly. Age and suffering have made movement laborious. Limping slightly, she reaches for the window and latches it shut.

Closing her eyes, she tries to forget that she once had a family, a place, a hope, a sense of belonging.

Even after so many years the images are fresh, persistent- a terrible nightmare.

“Why did they do it?” She wants to cry, vent out her grief but her eyes are dry. She feels she cannot weep anymore.

“Will I ever forget?” The pain, the anguish. It seems as if a knife has sliced through her heart.

“Mother!” An explosion, a searing outburst of heat and a dark cloud of fuming smoke. The house was blown into pieces.

She remembers running wildly, pushing against the crazed mob of terror-stricken men, crying women and lost children, making her way to save her child.

Too late.

After that everything passed like a dream. A silent motion picture….of ruin, disaster…There was no sound, no weeping and mourning for the deceased…complete dead silence.

The streets were littered with charred and bloody corpses without names. A pungent smell of burning flesh and sulphur.

Days, months and years have passed. Today is the day that marks twenty five years of her child’s death. She never counted but she always knew. It was something that came to her automatically, like eating, drinking and sleeping.

Twenty five years of pent up grief, guilt and questioning.

“Why?” She asks, “WHY? WHY?”

She doubles up, reduced to a heap on the floor. The flood gates open. The heart rending wail emerging from her lips reaches a crescendo. She cries for her child, she cries for human suffering, she cries against the hatred and cruelty that exists in the world. She cries for the loss of love, goodness and innocence…the impending doom of the human race.
“My child, my child…” an involuntary whimper escapes her lips.

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