The science hangs like a gathering fog in a valley, a fog which begins nowhere and goes nowhere, an incidental, unmeaning inconvenience to passers-by., originally uploaded by Rabujee.
It started on the 25th of September that year, when the trees were starting to look bare and each morning there laid a misty fog over the valley. Perhaps, the fog wasn’t a reality, rather a figment of my imagination as everything happening around me had a sense of obscurity to it. For a few weeks now, it had become like a routine… each evening repetitively boring itself into our lives; waking us from our denial that this really had started.
At first it had been difficult to make our way to the neighborhood shelter; each step seemed to echo loudly calling the enemies, disclosing our scurried attempt to save ourselves and make it another day. But make it for what? Only to live on borrowed time and breathe borrowed breaths? To lose our identities, our worth? Just to wait in fear each hour, in the darkness of our abodes, those homes which once rang with laughter, now turned into asylums for the grief stricken, boarded up to give the appearance of abandonment. So many had already been lost, each night there were less of our neighbors present among us. In the beginning people whispered about the missing ones and tried to give reason to where they could have gone, how could we bring them back? Now, it seemed all hearts had become sullen to the point of numbness at the horrors around us; for we no longer cared what happened to anyone else, to each his own survival.
COME QUICKLY! My father would whisper to us, as he stepped outside our home into the dusk. My mother, sister and then I would follow, clothed in dark shawls; we wore no shoes any longer for shoes were to be worn when one had purpose in his path and an important destination to reach, with important work to be done. We did not have purpose, we had been robbed of all our life’s substance; it was an unknown force that impelled us to make this short journey each night. I kept watch ahead of me, at my father, as he turned the corner of the alley and stopped. We all crouched, my sister next to me, her bated breath like a siren ringing through the night. Why couldn’t she breathe quieter, I managed, why couldn’t she? Did she not know how important it was, to be discreet in form, figure, and sound? Father was looking for clearance to step into the street where the only street light that still shone down was our most dangerous point each night. Anyone could see us and if that happens…I always stopped at that thought.
All I knew now was when I dreamt I did not see soldiers and guns like most victims of war ravaged lands. Soldiers were just puppets strung up and powerless, I could not hate them, they were acting on someone else’s wishes, just as suppressed as we were. It was those countless faces, faces of the so called “leaders” that haunted me. Those eyes which had stared back to us, rather blankly, and declared that they loved their land as much as we did. Had stood in front of us and taken oath that they would protect us, shelter us. Had given promise after promise of restoring security, working with others to build bridges and empower us. To remove injustice from the land and bring about equality. Empty. Empty words, they were because always behind the curtains, there was something else stirring, shuffling of money, shaking of hands, deals made. Deals which betrayed us and threw us into the darkness. Deals which would seal our future and sign us away into nothingness, creatures of no value. Even animals weren’t as baseless as they...
My father scurried to the street as my mother bit her lip to hold back a moan; fearful that we may lose him as he moved fast through the lit region and stood silent motioning to us to follow suit. That trek across the debris riddled road, would have been short in normal times; in fact I had crossed that very path many times as a child. Now it seemed like it took hours for us to reach that adjacent corner where we would find the door to the underground shelter. The entrance to the shelter was a wooden door, with peeling paint, camouflaged with thick vines covering the side of the building from the top to the bottom. Then there was a climb down a steep flight of cemented and mildewed stairs and through a small tunnel before finally reaching that titanium encased haven. Above the shelter was an ordinary shop, one where the owner had once sold newspaper, candy, and tea among other things. Where men of old age gathered for a daily talk, now it was all abandoned just like the rest of the town. My father had quickly disappeared into the vines, followed by my mother and sister. I crept in behind them and as I was closing the door, there around the bend I saw and heard the heaviness of the soldiers’ boots as they came for their nightly rounds. Just in time I thought, once again saved by a fraction of a second. How much longer can this last?