General

On the seat in front sits a woman and child, the kid relaxes into her arms so fully it's like they are one organism, melted together. He has a look of contentment on his face, the kind I wish I could wear. He has everything he wants in life right there, bouncing up and down on this rickety bus with him. The view from the window disappears behind a swirl of dry mud, raised up in the vortexes revealed by the red-brown particles. The woman reaches up and pulls the skinny window closed. Now that her son is drifting into sleep her face has become grave. Without his timid gaze she has no reason to feign nonchalance.

General

In the half-light a woman approaches, young, perhaps still a teenager. I'd like to holster my weapon but I can't, protocol is pretty strict. Her hair is long like it's never been cut, hanging in dusty clusters. Her face is gaunt, her brown skin appears almost grey and her eyes lack the light that should come with her youth. Despite her legs being thin her middle is oddly lumpy. My eyes fall expecting a bomb but instead a head pops out and a hand no bigger than two-bite cookie comes out. She stops, hands raised. She's no threat, she's just a mother wanting formula for her infant now that her wasting body refuses to give anymore to the infant she nurtures. Back home she's be ushered into a hospital, showered in medical and social help, given whatever her child needs. But we aren't here to save her and my heart breaks a little more. We have billions for bombs and munitions but not enough to feed the hungry.

General

The mountains soared up like they wished to challenge the sky itself, they dominated the horizon in every which way we looked except back. But a retreat wasn't an option, our homeland was already colonized, our homes either burnt or taken. The land at our feet was becoming more rocky with every step, the incline getting more burdensome ever so slowly. Sometimes a child would stumble on the loose ground, but carrying them wasn't much of an option. Every adult was laden with the supplies we grabbed on the way out. Our scouts gave us a full half-days notice that the enemy approached, time enough for the gathering of provisions. Some stayed to fight, foolish. We were out numbered and outgunned, what point is there in getting slaughtered? This way we live another day, whatever that brings.

General

It is dawn as the bus trundles from the depot. Everyone awake. Everyone asleep. Their eyes are bleary, reactions slow, tiredness running in their veins just the same as their blood. It takes forever, it seems, to the passengers, for the old diesel engine to roar into life. When it does, a funny feeling comes, not excitement, though at first it appears that way. It's some relief, some fear, some grieving for the place they leave. Ahead is unknown, all they can do is pray for things to be better where they are heading for they cannot know what is on the other end, at the depot the bus stops at, engines cooling. Some cry, some look grim, and the children are held close and loved with all the strength they have left in their bodies. For what else is there the care about than their children? What else? And so though the bus is dirty and the road pitted and made bumpy with rocks, soon the tires will kiss the smooth tarmac of their destination. Will there be flowers and love? Will there be bread and a hard bed? With the bus in motion, an emotional no-man's land takes hold in its myriad of manifestations, every person unique, destination known and unknown all at once.

By Angela Abraham, @daisydescriptionari, November 17, 2015.