Orphans by Felicity Edwards

Life was hard since their father had fled. At least they had Goolam, he helped his mother find food but that source of consolation had also dried up. “ Mother, those men are back in the area. It’s best for all of you if I disappear.”

Dry eyed, his mother clung to him. “Go with god's blessings. You are a good son.” One morning neither he nor his gun were in the house, like a thief in the night he had gone.

There was a thunderous knocking on the door. Not a good sign, knocking meant trouble, thunderous meant only one thing, very bad trouble.

Her heart racing she looked at the children. She whispered. “Go and hide, don’t move until Ibrahim tells you it’s safe.”

They melted out of sight faster than an ice cube in the sun. Ibrahim, as the now eldest son, opened the door. Three men glared at him. 

“Where is your big brother?”

Round eyed he shook his head. “Don’t know. We haven’t seen him for months.”

“And your mother?”

“In the kitchen.”

“We want to speak to her.”

He ran and stood at the kitchen door to speak to his mother. She said, “Who do they want?”

He swallowed, tears threatening to flow, “It’s not me, it’s you.”

She nodded. “I expected that, look after your two sisters and the younger boys. . I love all of you.”

She stepped through the door. Rough hands grabbed her and bundled her into a van.

That was the last they ever saw of her alive. The following morning her bullet riddled body lay at the end of the road. Five orphan children faced a bleak future.

Published in Issue #26

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