Barbed wire


Barbed, by Valimar

A little boy stares through barbed wire, wondering which direction his home is. He reaches out to rest his fingers between the rusted knots of wire but his watchful mother calls out to him to be careful. At the same time, a soldier patrolling nearby walks briskly up to him and pushes him back. “Listen to your mother” the soldier tells him not unkindly in shaky Tamil. The boy looks up along yards of camouflage material and searches the soldier’s face. “I want to go home” he says miserably. “I don’t like it here”

The soldier’s expression softens. He looks around awkwardly to see if anyone is watching and then quickly bends towards the boy. “I want to go home too” he says softly and pats the boy’s cheek. He straightens and clears his throat. “Go and play” he orders gruffly and strides away, the dark skin of his neck and hands glinting like his gun against the afternoon sunlight.

* Continue reading Barbed wire


Worried little eyes peer out from behind thin fabric, reflecting fire.

A little child has her mother’s skirt pulled over her face, covering a mouth open with fascinated fear. The faded cloth smells of her mother and, though she doesn’t know it, ash. She wrinkles her nose at the unfamiliar odor but cannot tear her eyes away from the sight of her house being burnt down to the ground.

Fire. She knows what it is but has only seen it in the form of candle flames and, when those weren’t available, small bonfires. The first time she’d seen it she’d reached out curiously to touch the live orange. She’d only just barely reached it when her mother snatched her hand away. But that little touch stung and she had bawled lustily as her mother gently sucked on her fingertip, soothing the pain.

She had never gone near the cunning flames again. Continue reading Fire.