City of Winnipeg | Libraries

War Child

-by Susan

I inhale. Exhale. Inhale again. Clutch my little brother’s hand harder, but he doesn’t cry out.
Gunshots ring out around us. Something explodes, but it’s far enough away that I don’t see anything.
My brother whimpers.
We’ve been here too long. I jump up, dragging him behind me. I let go of his hand and he runs behind me. I look around desperately for somewhere else to hide, somewhere to stop for a few seconds to catch my breath.
“Look what I found!” I hear to my right. I turn to see my little brother reach towards something shiny, half buried in the dirt.
“No!” I scream, but my voice is lost in the thunder that explodes from that shiny can. My body is flying through the air, and then I hit the ground. I don’t feel anything.
I scramble up to my knees and stare at the place where my brother had stood only a few seconds ago. There’s nothing now.
I feel tears on my face.
I can’t move.
I have to.
I don’t know what to do as I stare at the hole in the ground where the explosion was. I don’t know where his body is, and I don’t want to. I stumble to my feet and run, tears blinding my vision. I can’t see anything, don’t know where I’m going. All I can think about is my brother. He was the only family I have left.
I trip on something and hit the dirt. I wipe the tears away and look at what it is that I’ve fallen over.
It is a body. I stiffle a scream. There’s a dark red stain on the side of its chest, and it’s face is turned away from me.
Then I hear the click of a gun being loaded. I look up, terrified, and I see that the gun is pointed at me.

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