The men wearing green were gone.
I’d ask my father where they went but he would only shrug and say,
“God knows, but nothing good will come of this.”
“But I thought they were bad men,” I would counter, to which he would sigh and stare out of our window. That had been our routine for the past three days.
No going to the beach, no evening walks to the market. Nothing.
I couldn’t hear other children in the street anymore; all my friends were sealed up in their homes under the watchful gaze of their parents, unable to call me down to the streets to play.
At least they lived nearby, which allowed us to shout to each other from our balconies.
Not that there was anything interesting to report, given the circumstances.
Nobody deserved to be locked up in their homes on summer days, let alone forced to do so by a group of strangers with funny accents and attitude problems.
And guns. Lots of guns.
There was a fast and sudden gust of wind outside whose source was anything but natural. My father’s face fell and his breathing quickened as it passed. He picked up his set of beads and said a prayer on each on one. Would God hear my father’s prayers, or those of our neighbors? Was he even listening, or there at all? Was he being held at gunpoint to answer the strangers’ prayers instead of ours?
Another rush of wind sounded overhead, followed by yet another. I ran out to the balcony and looked up at the sky. Three large triangular birds circled overhead, patiently waiting to swoop in and claim their prey.
“Baba, what’re those birds doing?” I asked him. He looked up from his beads and threw them to the ground as he rushed over to the balcony.
“What are you doing? You’re not supposed to be there right now!” He barked, but my gaze remained fixed on the birds.
“Get back inside right now!” He ordered, but again I ignored him. This time my attention was focused on the sound of a bellowing giant: he cried as if he were falling from a high place, his voice rapidly growing deeper and nearer as he neared the ground.
“Baba, why is that giant crying?” I asked my father again. He grabbed my shoulder to pull me back into the house just as the giant’s voice grew close.
Suddenly, the screaming stopped.
In its place came a thunderous crash that hurled fire, smoke and debris violently into the air, and caused the earth to rattle and shake with tremendous force.
My father and I were knocked off of our feet and crashed to the balcony’s floor. Seconds later I felt a pair of hands rapidly patting me to make sure I was alright. When they’d finished, the same hands pulled me close to their host body as it gasped and cursed and prayed simultaneously.
I started trembling with the gusts, bellowing and crash still fresh in my mind, accompanied by the screams and shouts of the people below as they rushed to the scene to see what had happened, forming a macabre symphony of chaos.
My father and I sat speechless on the balcony for what seemed an eternity before we crept back inside the apartment.
“What was that?” I finally asked, still trembling.
“That, my son, was a bomb,” he replied. I’d heard all about bombs, that they were horrible and made people sad. Now I knew why.
“Was that the only one? Will there be more?” Silence, and then,
With one worried and tired word I felt even more afraid than I did when the bomb hit the ground. Down below I could hear sirens wailing and people shouting and wailing with the approaching ambulances.
From across the street I could hear one of my friends and his parents calling to their neighbors to make sure they were safe.
When our turn came my father walked over to the balcony and simply waved before returning to comfort me.
Nobody deserved to live this way.