My name was Armagan. But that was some time ago. That was the time before the soldiers came, before my world was shattered into thousands of shards, much like a glass mirror, much like a heart.
It was the year 2010 that it all began for me. My brother, Atash, and I were playing in the street like we always did near noon. We didn't go to school on this day. Mother called us to the doorway as a deep, throaty rumbling sound grew nearer. We ran into her arms as a giant, looming monster rounded the corner.
The military tanker spat black smoke from its rear and kicked up dust as it rumbled past. Everyone moved out of the way, and all was silent but the growling engine and the terrorists in the back. One of the terrorists, dressed in the uniform camoflauge, was sitting with his legs hanging out, watching my family and neighbors. I could see the blue handles of the pair of scissors he kept in his chest pocket. I shuddered to think of what he used them for.
Atash and I stayed hidden among Mother's skirts until the monsters were gone again. Everyone seemed to suddenly relax a little, as if they had been tense for the entire minute or less of the sight of the killers. I don't blame them. I was stiff enough myself.
At first my brother and I were cautious going back out into the street to play, listening intently for the rumble once more. But then, as nothing came nor went, we soon forgot all about the incident and went back to playing happily with our little blue ball.
The sun set below the horizon, and Mother called us inside for somelong-awaited dinner. Although, it seemed to me that there was even less than there was yesterday. I didn't say anything even as Mother sent us to bed, still hungry. Since the soldiers came, there hasn't been much food for my family.
The next morning, we woke with a start. The rumbling was back. But it was much, much louder.
Atash and I were shaken back to reality by Mother. She seemed frantic, somehow. She whispered quickly, "Come! Come, children! We must get under the covers, quickly!"
We followed Mother back to her bed and she ushered us under her quilt. "Squeeze yourselves together, Atash, Armagan," Mother said. There was a hint of fear in her voice. The rumbling had turned to an ominous drone above us. Above? "Quickly, now. You must be completely silent, and stay hidden, no matter what happens."
"What's going," Atash started.
"Hush," Mother silenced him.
It was hot and stuffy under the covers. Atash was between us, and he fidgeted uncomfortably, making me too more uncomfortable. I could hear Mother and Atash's breathing, as I was sure they could hear mine. It was deadly silent now, but Mother did not say we could move. I was about to open my mouth to complain about Atash's movements when I heard the gunshot.
Atash was suddenly still.
My ear stung painfully from the blast of sound, muffled though it was by the thick quilt. Something warm and wet touched the tip of my nose in the blanket, and my first thought was that Atash was drooling. But it spread much too quickly, was much too warm.
The heavy footfall of a boot.
I was paralyzed in fear. I could smell the blood, feel it spreading under my head, soaking into my hair. Why was Atash so still now?
Another gunshot. I felt something in my ear pop; it was so painful. Yet I couldn't even flinch. I barely made out a small cry in my other ear buried in the scratchy cloth of the pillow: Mother's short, woeful cry, ended by that bang.
And I was still frozen, locked in time while everyone else moved about me.
The quilt was swept off of us. Two men. Two guns. Camoflauge uniforms. Pale skin. Americans.
And they laughed. Said things I couldn't understand. I was scared.
Mother. Mother! I'm scared, help me! I wanted to scream.
Then they were gone. Another drone passed by. A rumble, and a chorus of whooping voices faded away as the monsters drove away.
I slowly sat up and beheld the sight before me. Red. Mother and Atash were both red.
After this, I couldn't think. I only knew a deep aching in my chest, and something led me away, tugging at my mind. I suppose now, in retrospect, that it could have been my instinct to survive, to escape. But there was no escape from these terrorists that invaded our land.
I walked down the street. I had left my shawl behind, along with my shoes. But I didn't care.
I must have been quite a sight for my neighbors. Even though they themselves had been ransacked (there belongings lay scattered across the road), once they caught sight of me, they cried out in horror and all ran back to their homes.
I walked past them all. I don't know how long I walked, or in which direction, but when I was able to think again, I was far away from my village. I didn't know where I was, and being only nine, of course I had no sense of self-help. All I knew was that a military tanker was coming up fast before me.
It stopped. My heart jumped in my throat as three men emerged, camoflauge uniforms. They had guns strapped to their backs. A terrifying sight.
One stalked right up to me, a sick grin on his face, blue handles protruding from his chest pocket. He said something.
I stared up at him with wide eyes.
Then he spoke in my language. One short, simple word: "Run."
And so I did. I turned and ran back the way I came as he told me to. I assumed he told me to out of goodwill -- assumed he would spare my life.
I would find my way back to my village and beg to be taken in. I would tell them that there was one American soldier, one who decided to spare my li--BANG!
Any likeness of any character to some one real is unintentional. Armagan, Atash, Mother, and the involved soldiers are entirely fictional, though not the situation. The US and NATO soldiers played "War Games" such as this countless times, and killed children, children, and more children. Unfortunately, yes, the situation is true, and if you would like to help raise awareness, great!
Here is the link: http://thewe.cc/weplanet/asia/afghanistan/afghanistan.html
Thanks for reading Armagan's story, short though her painful life was.
© Copyright 2017 Yoshie Akira. All rights reserved.
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