Searchlights pierced the sky, ripping through the night like razors on a black cloth. In the distance you could hear the chants of the protestors; angry, desperate, moving closer and increasing in volume.
Soldiers marched down the street, the orange glow of the flames which protruded from the looted store fronts creating an orange-outlined silhouette of the marching columns. The only way to describe their appearance was hellish. They looked like demons, marching down the street, the flickering orange flames reflected in their eyes, unaffected by the screams of agony that followed every burst of gunfire.
How ironic, I remember thinking to myself, that the army of the people was now being sent to oppress the people.
It was 12a.m., two hours past curfew. Anyone caught outside, even standing on their front porches or balconies were shot instantly, no hesitation, no warning, just a single bullet to the head. Be it children or elderly, no one was safe.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw a red ball roll out of someone’s front door and onto their front porch. I turned in time to see a small boy no older than six, completely ignorant of what was going on, as he stepped out onto the porch to retrieve his toy. I watched on in horror as a soldier, alerted by the noise of a door opening, whirled around and pointed a rifle at the boy. I closed my eyes, unable to bear the sight, and heard a single gunshot, pierce the night. I finally forced my eyes open and saw the boy laying there, dead on the porch, a single shot to the back of the head.
Unable to control myself I let out a shrill scream, attracting the attention of the soldier, who quickly whirled around to see me leaning out my window. I quickly jerked my head back inside and hurried to the living room, not wanting to end up like the poor boy I had just seen ruthlessly murdered.
Of all the horrors I saw during those few, nightmarish days, one image stood out above all others. In that brief second the soldier looked at me, before I pulled my head back in, our eyes had met, and what I saw in them will haunt me for as long as I live. In that mans eyes I saw no remorse, no guilt, no sadness… nothing. His eyes were as empty as the head they rested in. In his mind he hadn’t brutally murdered an innocent child; he had completed his orders and neutralized a “threat”. Apparently, in the leaders mind, anyone that broke the law, now matter how insignificant the law, was a threat to his perfect society. Whether the perpetrator be eight or eighty was of no importance, the punishment was still the same… death.
The sound of the approaching protestors jarred me back to reality…