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The Devil with the Horse
The sky was a faint light orange mixed with a faded purple. The sand blew around from the wind. There was a serenity feeling right now. Other than some birds’ chirping and the sound of the wind it was silent. The few cows we had ate their fodder eagerly. My sister Talia and my brother Patrick played pretend. They pretended they were birds riding the wind. I smiled as I watched them. Despite the fact they could be annoying I loved them.
“Look Anita! I’m an eagle like the mascot of America,” Patrick said, his voice almost like a squeak. He mimicked flapping with his arms and he was like a little eagle. His smile was as white as pearls and despite the fact he was only five he was taller than most seven year olds. He had a nice bit of black hair. His favorite color was green and he’d always wear it.
Talia moved towards me, “Anita, Anita, Anita! Come play with us!” Talia was much shorter than Patrick and she was only three. She had long black hair which my mother braided beautifully. She wore her favorite color purple all the time. I got up from the bench and picked Talia up and she pretended to fly in my arms. She imagined she was a phoenix. From the corner of my eye I saw men on horses riding towards my village. The horses I would have guessed were stallions.
They were blurry to me because they were too far away. They came closer and closer to my line of vision. They moved to the entry of my village. I put down Talia and grabbed the scarf around my head. I froze in place. Could they be.....? Could they be the Janjaweed? They had rifles and turbans. No they couldn’t be...
They can’t be in my village. They should be on the other side of Darfur. I took a deep breath and tried to focus on playing with my siblings. I didn’t want to believe that this was happening to my village. They entered into the village and I could hear the horses’ hooves. I heard footsteps of frightened villagers try to run from the unwelcomed guests, the Janjaweed. I could hear sounds of rifles firing. I heard gasps and screams. I heard cracklings of newly lit fire and the sound of rope getting tied to something.
“Talia... Patrick, let’s go inside.” I grabbed both of their hands but they protested.
Patrick whined, “But we are having so much fun! Please let us stay out a little later. Please it won’t be dark for another ten minutes.” Patrick pouted.
“Fine but come in no sooner than ten minutes,” I said. I went inside of the house. For a poor farm family we had a pretty nice home. There were three rooms and it was made of brick! Not even the richest farmers could get that. I went to the bedroom I shared with Talia. Patrick shared a room with my father. I hid under the bed and prayed. I used her pink princess blanket my mother knitted for her to cover myself more.
I could hear Patrick talking to someone, “Sir, why are you here? Do you want some of our delicious milk from our cows?”
“No I want you to come with me same with your sister. There is this adorable animal I want to show you,” The voice sounded like a man. I stay froze under the bed as I heard them walking away. Maybe the man was a nice villager who wanted to save them from the Janjaweed or as I like to call them the devils on horseback.
I heard some men on horses come closer to the house. I closed my eyes tightly and I covered my ears. I heard footsteps come into the house. I think some were searching for valuables. They were all talking loudly in Arabic. I couldn’t understand what they were saying. I heard them come into my room. I covered my mouth before the gasp escaped my lips. They turned over the room everything except for the bed. I sighed quietly in relief. When I let my guard down they pulled me out from under the bed. I closed my eyes tightly again. I didn’t want to see whatever they were going to do.
The next thing I knew I was in a refugee camp in Chad alone. My family was murdered in the village massacre. It had been four years since then and I’m twenty now. To this day I still wonder why I survived, each day I ask why me? Talia should have lived. Patrick should have... To this day I also wonder why the UN or the US didn’t try to save us and stop this madness. I can’t look at an eagle or a phoenix anymore without thinking of them.