By Saamia Khan
The radio hissed with static. The boy tried to focus on the speaker, but he sounded like…
Surely he’s alive. Father has to be alive. The letter was a mistake.
Tears bubbled in his eyes. He forced them, alongside a wish to scream, back with a dry gulp. He looked down, to what he sat on, the charred remains of the kitchen wall. He couldn’t look at the rest of the house, in case he saw it. What remained of mother.
He curled up and clenched his knees. Putting his face on his leg, above a burning wound, he cried into the rough fabric of his threadbare trousers. It was wrong- very wrong– strong boys shouldn’t cry, he knew, but he couldn’t be strong anymore. The sirens and chaos silenced as he wailed. Nobody could hear him, hidden away in shelters. Gulping for air, he punched the concrete walls until the skin on his fingers scraped off. Still crying, he stopped yelping. He opened his eyes, and peered at what remained of the street.
A skeletal cat, sniffing the smoke beside the ruins opposite, meowed, pierced the silence. The sirens had stopped, but the people hadn’t risen yet. It would be a couple more minutes, people feared the increasingly common false alarms.
But two figures, darning flowing trench cloaks, strolled across the street. The click of heeled boots echoed in broken windows and hissed in ajar doors. The boy tensed again. What if his neighbours saw him crying?
Neighbours? None of my neighbours wear heels.
Dark thoughts raced in his mind.
They’re both gone. Father. Now mother. I‘m just another orphan now, nothing that happens to me matters.
“Hey, kid.” a cold, feminine voice said.
Trying to hide his tears, he looked up, beneath his hair, which whipped in the air, flashing across his face like bullets. The two from before, a dark skinned woman with beige attire, aside from her blood-red heels (matching her lipstick) and a spindly, pale man with round glasses that shone in the midday light, hiding much of his face. He clasped something within his pockets, and she, a clipboard and pen. “Where are your parents?” The woman again.
“I…” he closed his eyes, savouring his few memories from before the war, “dead.”
“What I thought,” the man whispered to the woman, “Is he a good candidate?”
“Come with us.”
“Why? Who are you?” The boy stammered.
“We’re with the government.” The man bought out the item he held, a small card with a silver chimaera on it. Everyone knew it- it signalled a spy. he held out her palm, revealing many scars and stitches.
Pausing, the boy accepted his fate, and clasped her hand.
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Josephine WaldmanFeb 2, 2023
That’s such a cool story!! Is there going to be a chapter 2?
🌸 Nay 🌸Mar 3, 2023
Glad you enjoyed. Maybe, but it won’t be like a novel if that makes sense, more like a collection of short stories and notes.
Josephine WaldmanMar 3, 2023
Sounds cool! Yep, totally makes sense 🙂 I mean, we speak the writers language don’t we? lol