…it was all black. Everything was black. I couldn’t see anyone or anything but I could feel the pain. Then I hear a familiar voice “Ravvit! Ravvit!! Can you hear me?” It’s my mother! Oh great, it was her. She was the hand that pulled me up. I tried to speak but the words wouldn’t come out. I had them formed in my head but they wouldn’t come out. Then I hear her voice again “It’s ok Ravvit, we are safe now, everything will be alright.” “Look your brother is here, hey Xahri, come say hello to your sister.” I felt happy, I was safe again and everything will be fine.

“Get up!, everybody get up now!” I have heard that voice before. I know who it is but before I could get up, I’m drenched in cold water. They kept throwing it at us even though we were up. I look around for my mother and she’s not there, I look for Xahri and he’s not around. I begin to panic and I yelled his name twice and there he was. I hugged him and asked “where is mommy?” I asked him again and again but he just kept staring at me. I didn’t know what to do but then I heard the voice again “stern face” he was talking to everyone. He said he wanted to help us and I didn’t understand. How can he want to help me when he made my brother and sisters drop to the ground, he made my mom scared that she ran away and left me, he beat me till I couldn’t see anything and most of all, he ruined grandma’s party. He can’t help me because he hurt me. “Where is my mother?” Maybe she went to the bathroom because she was here last night, she saved me when I fell yesterday after the beating. Stern face wanted all the children separate from the adults. Children were screaming, mothers were crying. Some didn’t move rather they couldn’t move. It was terrible. “I have to get out.” “I have to find my mom and get out.” I hold on to Xahri’s hand very tight and follow the rest of the children. They take us to a big compound. It was really big and there was a tree on the side of the wall and they make us sit underneath it. There were kids of different ages both boys and girls. Some of them started to play around. I thought maybe I should play with them too but everything hurt. My foot with the nail was throbbing, my eyes were swollen and my back and arms hurt from the whips yesterday. I wanted to sleep but I was scared Xahri would go missing again. I have to hold on to him. I have to keep him so my mother wouldn’t be upset that I let him run away. I have to be a big sister and take care of him.

“Hey Ravvit” I run to meet her it’s my mother. I jump and hug her so tight and I started to cry. She asks for Xahri and he runs to meet her too. She looks really good. She even smells better. She had a bag with her and she asks us to set down. “Ravvit, you have done a good job being a big sister”, I smile and she says “I have something for you because you have been a good girl”. She opens her bag and brings out a box of biscuits and juice pack. She tells me to share it with Xahri. We sit there eating in silence and I try to show her my foot with all the blood but there’s nothing there. I also try to show her my arms and back but it doesn’t hurt anymore. I also want to tell her about stern face but she’s just smiling. I don’t think she can hear me and I’m not sure why. Then she stands up and tells me that she has to go. She says “Ravvit, keep your brother safe, be safe and…” I interrupt her, “you can’t leave me again, I don’t like it here, I will be good, I won’t be stubborn anymore, mommy please don’t go.” But by the time I’m done with my plea, she’s half way out of the compound. For some reason Xahri and I are stuck, we can’t run after her or move and we are both crying and begging and then I hear the same thing grandma said “Fight Ravvit, fight but I can’t hear what she says next, I just hear “yourself” and she’s gone. And just as immediately, I hear Xahri calling my name but it sounds like it’s coming from a distance. That’s not possible, he was just right here. I’m supposed to take care of him, mother said to keep him safe. I feel someone shaking me and I open my eyes to see who it is – Xahri. It’s Xahri.

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