Readers' Submissions

Crime Suppression Unit Part 7




Okay, what did the kid say? Rick spoke gently as if not to disturb Sonia's thoughts.

Oh Rick. It's so terrible. The boys were playing outside when the soldiers came. They ran inside and told their mother. She squeezed them under the bed to hide. It was low, only a foot off the ground, the mattress stuffed with dried grass. She made them promise to be silent until the soldiers left no matter what happened. They could see through the slats in the bed and held their breath as the soldiers came in and ripped off their mother's clothes. They threw her on the bed and took turns raping her. The pounding was so fierce it pushed down on the boys with each lunge, pressing air from their lungs. They held their hands to their ears but they could not stop the sound of their mother screaming and the grunts of the men. The father was forced to kneel by the side of the bed, held by two men, forced to watch. He struggled and shouted until they bashed in his head with a rifle butt. He fell to the floor and his blood seeped under the bed, warm and sticky, clinging to the boy's bodies. They heard their mother coughing and choking on her own blood as her throat was cut.

She was gasping for air, drowning in her own blood, struggling to stay alive.

Later they heard shots outside. They stayed under the bed long after the soldiers leave. The church people heard about the massacre and came to bury the dead. They found the boys under the bed half alive and one woman with her breasts cut off. She die on the way into town; the boys not speak for weeks and take months before they tell what happened.

Rick was visibly unsettled by the story. The military has been practicing a deliberate and systematic extermination of the hill tribes. There are anti-government forces in the jungles and if the villagers are suspected of helping them, the people are killed. Many of the villagers have been relocated to deny the Karen guerrillas food or support. The men are pressed into unpaid labor building roads and working for military supply convoys.

Sonia was sobbing. The boys study at missionary school three years now. They are to become teachers or ministers.

Do you think they will?

No chance. They sneak out of school and earn money and save every penny. They will go to Thailand, buy weapons and come back. Join Karen army in the mountains. One day they will kill many soldiers. Its all they live for now.

They're too small to carry guns. They're just kids.

No. They are already grown up. They just need to get a bit bigger.

Rick opened the mini bar, took out two small bottles of Johnny Walker Black, poured them into two glasses with ice and handed one to Sonia. She sipped hers pensively. Rick knocked his back, walked to the bathroom and splashed some water on his face.

Come on, let's get out of here, take a walk someplace. He held his hand out to Sonia.

It's not fair Rick.

Nothings fair. Rick held her hand. They stepped silently down the stairs and out the front door. Soopies seemed strangely fragile. The tough veneer was gone and melancholy was wrapped around her like a heavy cloak. She was not herself now. She was far away. They strolled a block or two. It was dark and quiet, not many people out and few stores were open. There were a couple of stands on the sidewalk with tiny tables only a foot high and stools to match. The was an open fire with a lady slapping wet dough on an oil drum top. The dough immediately bubbled up and she flipped the rounds over with her fingers. A table nearby held a half dozen aluminum pots with covers.

Inside were curries, rice, vegetables and greens. Rick pointed to everything and then they kind of sat/squatted on the tiny stools.

Two girls about ten years old brought tin plates heaped with food. The lady came over with four rounds of crisp hot bread.

Coca-Cola please, Rick said. It was an English word that everyone knew. The girls pulled two cokes from a tub of ice, opened them and put a straw into each bottle. He was the only white person in sight. Even Sonia did not fit in. Her skin was not dark enough and her nose a bit too pointed. Sonia ate slowly and silently, not looking up from her meal.

Rick stopped eating and put his plate down. He spoke to Sonia softly. Do you want to tell me the rest of the story?

What story?

I don't know exactly what story. How about the one that's swirling around inside that head of yours now? Were your parents killed also?

Sonia shook her head. They are still alive I think. I haven't seen them or thought about them in years until today.

Do you feel like talking about it?

I don't know. Maybe when I think you really love me, I'll tell you.

Rick bent over and kissed her lightly on the forehead. I do love you Sonia but don't tell me now. Let it go for later.

They finished eating dinner and Rick held out a handful of bills for the old lady.

That night Sonia made love to him needfully and silently and fell asleep wrapped in his arms.

Stickman's thoughts:

Sorry Frank, hard to comment on each part of the story, suffice to say, it's always a good read!