“Gorilla Guerrilla”, from Chapter 1

The sound of a voice wakes me.

I am still tired, it is black outside, it must be the middle of the night.

I am not with my mother and father, no, but with my friend, Oleé. His mother has gone to the town for a few days, she is sick, has the disease, the one that you get from being bad even though she is good. She needs to get medicine to make her better, and I said I would stay with him while she is away. He is a year younger than me, he is nine, and does not like to be on his own, not because of his age but because he is scared, like all of us are, scared of them.

Oleé kneels over me, shaking me and speaking. He says, “Come on, we must go, they are here.”

“How do you know?” I mumble.

“I can hear them. Listen.”

Sitting up, I concentrate on my ears, hear nothing, then see him lift the curtain to the banda and step outside. “Come on,” he says again.

I follow him, but as I reach the curtain and make to leave as well I am pushed back in by two pairs of hands, which seem to come from nowhere, out of the darkness. I fall hard on my bottom, then on my back, the straw mats not cushioning my fall, and the back of my head goes thud as it thumps against the hard ground…

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