It has been some time but here is another installment of my flash fiction serial The Crossing
Arina had a fondness for visiting historic buildings. Once or twice I had been with her and wandered round unused rooms arranged in a set period from the past. It intrigued me listening to Arina explain the details of the people who had lived there in the distant past. This time was different.
When I got in that Friday afternoon she had tea waiting for me, and cake. I knew she wanted to talk so just sat down with her and asked. ‘What’s wrong, mum?’
‘Oh, nothing Kip! I need a favour that’s all.’
She didn’t need to give me cake, although I have to say it was a delicious sweet chocolate concoction, to get a favour. She knew that! I looked at her quizzically, as she shuffled round the kitchen as if avoiding the moment. What on earth was this favour she that made her so edgy.
‘Sit down,’ I said, surprising myself at the depth of authority in my voice, and judging by Arina’s face it surprised her too but she sat down and looked at me. ‘So what’s the favour, mum?’
‘Are you busy tomorrow?’
‘I got nothing planned.’
‘Would you mind coming with me to Adasi?’
‘It was on the border and where we said good-bye to Dal before he…’
Her voice tailed off but she didn’t need to say more. Dal had gone from Adasi to fight the war against the System that had taken over half the country. ‘Of course, I will mum, you know I will.’
Whenever I thought of Malo and Dal I hated the System more than I did when I lived with it dictating my life, no existence, it hadn’t been a life. I wanted to go with her, pay my respects to my brother as it were. If the young men of this part of the country hadn’t been prepared to fight – it didn’t bare thinking about.
The next day we arrived at what had been Adasi. Once a small town bustling with life it was now barren and nothing but ruins of what used to be. Tattered fragments of fabric fluttered against the shells and ruins of buildings as a testament to the lives lost. The System had been merciless death machine and wiped out every last soul – man, woman and child.
We walked round in silence, I didn’t need explanations, and I knew the barbarism of the System only too well. I could hear the screams and pleading voices as they were put to death, I had seen it happen so many times.
Arina and I laid flowers in what was the town barrack house where she has said good-bye to Dal. He had been my age when he had gone to war and to his death. I felt the anger and rage of the injustice that had been inflicted here, and was still being inflicted in across the border. I looked at Arina and felt relief she had been spared some of that and was here to be my mother. I still felt a niggle of maybe I should go back, fight for freedom.
‘Oh no, no you don’t’ said Arina sharply, I had been thing aloud. ‘They have taken two of my boys and they have hurt you enough.’
‘What they are doing is wrong, mum.’
‘Yes it is wrong, Kip. Get yourself an education and you will fight them with far more power, you see if you don’t.’
Maybe she was right, combat was futile against the system, maybe there was another way.
© JG Farmer 2014