The sun vanished into the clouds of smoke. The twilight , overshadowed by the flaming shacks, submerged into the orange sky. They started to run. The screams began later. First, they started to run. The guns thudding against their backs as they ran. They carried sticks and flaming torches in their hands. The air smelt red.
She had waited all afternoon. He came in when she was watching the birds fly home at twilight. From her balcony, she could see the sun vanishing into the grey clouds of rain. Below she could hear the noises of the city . He came in and called out to her. She went in, leaving the twilight to the birds. He was waiting for her.
The cars and vans began to arrive. Sirens split the air. They were waiting. They were ready. The policemen descended on the waiting farmers. The screams began then. Like a sea of white, uniformed men with guns, sticks and swords, roared into battle. Like the barren brown earth, disheveled villagers with scythes, sticks and pistols, began the fight.
The grass caught fire from the flaming torches. The shouts interrupted the gunfire. A bullet found its mark. Blood pumped out into the lack pond. The evening stood witness to the spilt blood as it coloured the water red. It failed to clot.
The dark red colour of the wine reminded her of the dying roses. He handed her the glass. He looked at her while she spoke of inconsequent things. He banged down his glass on the table to achieve silence. The glass broke spilling the wine on to the carpet. The stain resembled blood clotting. She started to clean it up but he didn’t let her. His hand, like a claw, grasped her arm. His fingers cutting into her flesh. He refused to give her the comfort of domesticity. They stood face to face. His chlorominted breath hitting her face. Her bewildered eyes looking into his. He asked, “ Scared?”.
He stood face to face now. Yards away from a uniformed man. Their guns pointing at each other. He thought of killing his enemy. But his hands shook. They failed to pull the trigger. He was just twenty.
Thoughts did not hold back the other. His hands didn’t shake. Duty pulled the trigger. The bullet froze time as his body rose in air, defying gravity, for moments. He heard silence before he died. The moment unfroze as the limp , lifeless body fell to the parched earth.
Duty moves swiftly. He heard no silence. His ears were almost deaf from the blood curdling screams of the living and the dying.
It started to rain. The sky heaving with sorrow and grief. She was sitting on the couch, shaking. He kneeled at her feet. His tears scared her. They were full of anger. They held no grief. He asked her about him. He coaxed, cajoled and cried. She was as still as a stone statue. She sat concentrating on the rain. She watched the drops falling on the window sill. The tears suddenly dried up. He shook her. He slapped her infuriating face. His hot anger made him shout. He screamed as he threw the lamp she had once bought. The flickering bulb spelt an end. The shards of a broken lamp finally made her cry.
It was almost empty now. The screams muffled to a whisper. Bodies with bullet holes littered the burnt grass. Ponds full of dead blood. The uniforms climbed back into their cars and vans. The sirens retreated in victory. They left behind loss. The stench of death and fear coloured the air. The flaming torches blown out. The night was darkly black broken only by the orange flames at a distance. Was it the funeral pyre for communism?
They carried blood on their boots as they strode back to their vans and cars.
Her silence denied nothing. Her silence admitted nothing. She hardly moved. He couldn’t bear it. He had to know.
The cold metal of the gun felt comfortable against his burning skin. He aimed it at her. At her belly swollen with life. Her cold eyes matched the cold steel of his gun. “ Do it”, her voice calmly ordered. He did. The first shot killed the child.
Her mouth opened in surprise and pain. The words escaped her mouth but her voice remained behind. Her silent scream hung in mid-air. The second bullet found her heart.
The warm blood dripped on the carpet, beside the wine stains. She almost laughed as she died.
He watched it in slow motion. He suddenly heard the rain. He wiped the gun and put it back into her purse. He picked up the wine bottle, closed the door with a click.
The rain washed away the blood on his boots.