Noonday sun turns tin hovels into ovens and bakes the earth into a choking dust that clouds behind the Jeeps. He glances at the unfriendly eyes watching him with from dark, impassive faces. No matter. He’s come for what is his.
His driver halts before a shack, and he can hear the rhythmic chant of women’s voices inside. He motions his men to wait. No need for a scene yet. He strides through the doorway where the women dressed in shades of red are gathered around a low pallet on the floor.
He says, “Where is she?”
The keening continues.
He grabs the bony shoulder of an old woman in a dress faded almost to pink. “Where is she?”
The woman shrugs and moves aside to reveal her still form. A woman in soft crimson, with a scar puckering her right cheek, bathes her.
“What the hell is this? What did you do to her?” he shouts.
The scarred woman looks up. Expressionless. “What did you do to her?”
He pulls out his pistol. He hates her knowing eyes.
She says, “You can kill me, but in the end, you’ll lose. This is our country.”
He pulls the trigger.