The Voice Issue 30: July/August 2017 - Page 44

summer of stories: writing

It started last summer, when the men came. At first we were proud, excited, happy. They came with large packs slung over their shoulders filled with food, water, and large machines.

"This is it!" We would sing to our saviors. "This is the time! You have brought salvation!"

They brought food, water, guns, and death.

They would ask our brothers, our uncles, and cousins if they wanted to try.

"Do not be afraid!" Plastic smiles. Voidful eyes. "Here! Hold it just like this, there you go. On the count of three, pull this!" They wrapped his fingers around the trigger. Excited and eager, the boys would pull with all their strength on the levers and were shot back as a bullet ricocheted into the forest.

Deafening gunshots would echo through the village, a haunting cry of our savior song. "This is the time, you have brought salvation!"

They brought guns.

And water. And food. And more guns.

The seasons changed and so did our men. Our brothers, and uncles, and cousin were clothed like the saviors, in bright green and red uniforms that covered their backs from the afternoon sun. They marched in straight lines and stopped coming home. They slept in a hut made of metal and grease with neat beds that held men larger than bushes and trees. They ate meat from the forest and all kinds of food. But we were left home. No brothers. No uncles. No cousins.

Only sisters, and aunts, and mothers.

The winter came and we learned to bring wood for the fire on our own. No more men.

"Our saviors! Our saviors," sang the masculine voices.

And soon came the spring and the women were gardening and hanging up clothes. No more men.

And then came this summer where the women brought water from the creek and sat on stumps thinking. No more men. All the men who slept in the metal hut came back one day. It was summer and the trees were bright green.

"Our saviors! Our saviors!" we cried. But they held our sisters, and our aunts, and our mothers to the guns. No more brothers, no more uncles, no more cousins.

No more men.

Only warriors.

Only saviors who brought

food,

water,

and guns.

You Cannot Stop Me

-Bradie31, Bellows Falls, VT