Because this story is quite ambiguous in relation to the setting and also the main character's gender, I have been wondering whether this is frustrating for the reader or whether it provides a good effect for the story.
It’s been twenty-eight years since it began. Their government is hell-bent on destruction, willed on by – them. Those men who walk around in their suits, full of self-importance. On their fourteen thousand pound a year, have decided we must conform to their standards. We must speak their language. Adhere to their customs. They invaded my people’s land just over one-hundred years ago. Tried to destroy my race and overtook the country. Today my people will send a message to ‘them’.
I live in a community where they are few and far between. They aren’t as brutal as the ones in the bigger cities, probably due to the fact that we outnumber them at a rate of almost one-hundred to one. Although it has been over one hundred years since they stole my people’s land, they have only just taken the last step towards overtaking my peoples country. A bloody twenty-eight year battle has been fought. That is why today, my people are protesting the introduction of their language at my school.
I was five hundred metres away when I rounded the corner and caught my first glimpse of the crowd that had amassed for the rally. At first it looked like there was about ten thousand people, later I realised this was far from correct. Not one of them was around. All I could see was black. It was inspirational seeing all of my people here, slowly rolling towards me, rumbling just like a summer storm. As I got to within two hundred metres of them I heard it. A sound so terrifying, I break down every time I hear it, the POP! of a semi-automatic weapon. The crowd rushed in every direction, avoiding the bullets being hurled at them. Police suddenly swarmed, almost as if they had been teleported in. They must’ve brought them in from the city. ‘POP! POP! POP!’ Within five seconds police, were everywhere. I was now within one-hundred metres. The only safe-haven on the right side of the street, an old white, crumbling mud-brick shanty, roof tiles scattered across the road, was now almost pitch, covered with trembling. I ran quickly to the left side of the road where I found a tree and climbed it. Branches gouged my face cutting it open in several places. I couldn’t feel anything due to the fear of being shot.
I sat watching from my vantage point in the tree. Three students were thrown, lifeless, into a pile. Two of them were standing next to the small mound. ‘POP! POP! POP!’. Due to the shock at the situation unfolding, my vision slowly blurred. After about fifteen minutes the shock had dissipated and the scene started to become clear again. Guns trained on them, the dead students’ mothers and siblings screamed in what sounded like a mix of anger and grief.
After seven hours, the fighting died down. I decided to make a break. It was the longest minute of my life. With the searchlights trained on me I weaved my way down the road, bullets whizzing past my torso. I was ten metres away from the refuge of a building. My leg gave way. I’d been shot. When I hit the ground I heard footsteps, heavy ones. The next thing I knew I was sitting up against a house, covered by the all-consuming darkness. The voice of a young man pierced the cold night air. It sounded, different, foreign almost. It was then I realised that this man was one of them. ‘Bloody bastards!’ he exclaimed. ‘Why are you helping me?’ I asked, bamboozled. Was this a dream? ‘I’m one of you.’ ‘You can’t be, you’re not like us, you neither speak nor look like us.’
The man stood, silent. Then, displaying knowledge well beyond his years explained, ‘I may not look or speak like you, but I believe in your cause’. He continued ‘that makes me one of you.’ ‘POP! POP! POP!’ That dreadful sound continued to wreak havoc in the hearts and minds of my people. The ‘POP!’ had been followed by the ‘THWUMP!’ of flesh hitting the ground. I took a peek, the pile had grown. It was now about five-feet high.
As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I could see the young man holding something that resembled a soft-drink can and a gun. I soon realised it wasn’t soft drink, it was a silencer. Placing the silencer on the gun he instructed me to stay where I was. The young man’s heroics lasted but thirty seconds. He, who had risked his life to save me, in an act of defiance against his people, was gunned down. With rage rising like the sun, I did it, I ran out into the open, snatched the gun off the ground and peppered them with six bullets. I hit three. ‘SHIT!’ No bullets left. With only one of them left standing, I ran for it. Using cars as shields, I sprinted down the road. As I got to the last car, ten metres away from the sole survivor, I heard it. It was the most beautiful sound in the world. About one hundred of my people, of all ages, all screaming. They ducked out from behind the crumbling, mud-brick shanty. The last police officer, with only three bullets left and one-hundred people surging towards him, fired his gun in desperation. All three shots drifted away into the night. He was gone in under three minutes.
That was the day our country united.