A satire of dysfunctional politics and economic disparity.
Chapter VI: Day/Page 60 CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY. . . . Sofia hears two loud whistles. (What the…) Packs of children scatter, fleeing into nearby hovels. The females snatch what items they can off the clotheslines and vanish. A few curious males linger long enough to peer inquisitively down the dirt road, before they too abandon the street for the cover of their mud-brick huts. Only Sofia is visible now, standing alone and exposed on the open filthy ground.
(This doesn’t look good. What the hell have I gotten myself into?)
She hears an engine’s mechanical rumble; sees movement and the flash of sunlight on glass; smells diesel fumes and burning dust. The engine growl grows louder. (Oh, shit—there’s something coming.)
“Ven! Ven!” shouts someone to her right.
Standing in a hovel’s doorway, a woman frantically gestures for Sofia to come. “Ven!” the woman shouts again, holding back the flimsy plastic curtain over the doorway and signaling her to enter.
Sofia dashes over and ducks into the hovel as a military truck lurches into view from around the corner. The woman snaps the plastic curtain shut and puts a dirty finger to her lips, warning Sofia to be silent.
The growling engine is loud now, the acrid diesel smoke oily and rank, cutting sharply into her nostrils. Peering through a tear in the curtain she sees an armored truck rumbling past with fat knobby tires in front and clattering tank-tracks grinding against metal wheels in the rear. Poking half-way out a turret in back stands a canine male in dark military-fatigues manning a mounted gun. He points ahead down the road, shouts to the driver, and the armored truck lurches forward over the bumpy clay path gaining speed. The soldier aims his weapon and pulls the trigger, shattering the air with the sharp, deafening crackle of machine-gun fire. Puffs of red dust and thick chips of clay spatter off the walls of mud huts further down.
The woman next to her jolts; a child wails and whimpers. Looking down, Sofia sees a little girl tightly clutching the hem of the woman’s filthy frock. The child is wasted, bone thin. Her belly slightly distended, her limbs spindly, like brittle, barkless sticks; thin tears spill from her big brown eyes making red muddy rivulets through the caked dirt on her face. (Oh my god, it looks like she’s weeping blood.)
The growl of the engine and clattering steel-tracks grows fainter. The mother hushes and soothes her child. Then all is pacifically silent.
“Nossa!” exclaims the woman with a heavy sigh.
(Hey, I recognize that word. But what does it mean?).
The young woman is bone-thin, too, like the child, with a fine delicate muzzle, similar big brown eyes, and dirty dark hair. She smiles gently at Sofia with a pained look of fear and relief, then begins rapidly speaking.
Sofia recalls hearing that most researchers. . . TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW. . . .
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 by Gregory James All rights reserved