Next Stop: Paradise

Refugee camp

It was an icy-cold winter night. Silence reigned. Only the wind could be heard.

She turned her eyes to the sky. Clouds had rolled up and hidden the moon, which certainly didn’t bode well.

Suddenly, her heart started racing. He was back. She could tell it was him, despite the darkness, because of his nauseating smell.

He threw a bucket of cold water over one of the girls knowing her screaming would wake up the rest. He then went to grab one of the younger girls, but she scooted away from him, running to hide behind her mother. She, in turn, started pleading with him to have mercy on his own daughter, but that only seemed to enrage him. Without even bothering to try and verbalize his anger, he swung his rifle and smashed first the mother’s and then the daughter’s head with its butt. The rest of the women started bellowing hysterically when they saw the blood gushing out of their friends’ heads, but he didn’t even flinch. Instead, he grabbed another one of the girls by the arm and left the room with her.

It wasn’t until he was out of sight that Life could breathe again. She then started looking for her sister, but couldn’t find her anywhere. That’s when she realized it was her he had taken.

Her sister returned to the room about an hour later. Her nightgown was torn and blood-stained. She had her head down and was quivering badly. Every step she took seemed to hurt her. She looked as if she were about to faint. Life helped her sit down on her mattress and checked her temperature. She was burning hot and reeked of him, of evil incarnate. Seeing her sister so weak and morally crushed made Life wonder whether she would ever be able to recover. And to think that those monsters were supposedly striving to make the world a better place, ruled by a fairer and more principled system…

The next night, she stayed awake, and when he returned, she made herself available to him. They went together to his tent and, the second he turned his gaze away from her, she took his gun, aimed it at him and pulled the trigger, all without a moment’s hesitation. She knew that the shot, with which she had tried to get some justice for the women who had been suffering the unspeakable day in and day out, couldn’t have gone unnoticed, and since she couldn’t risk being caught alive by his friends, she turned the weapon on herself, pressed its muzzle firmly against her chest, smiled—for revenge tasted sweet and she was positive she would wake up in Paradise the next morning, where she sure as hell had earned her place—and fired.


Written by Heba Arafa Mohamed Ali.