Tall and thin, with cascading golden hair. It amazed me just how much she resembled my daughter … well, except for the fact that this one had the city stamped all over her. She was wearing a loose black top that had been cropped to bare her midriff. The light caught a glint of a bright blue butterfly-shaped bellybutton piercing above the waistband of her tiny denim shorts. Beaded slippers adorned her delicate feet, and I noticed a small heart tattooed on the inside of her right ankle. Each nail on her left hand was painted a different neon colour, and the ends of her hair were dyed a bright shade of purple. I decided to call her Angela, for obvious reasons (yes, even with the clear rebellious streak). Despite the blood, the half-melted face, and the missing right arm, I could tell that Angela had been a beautiful young girl.
I must have stood there observing her for a few seconds (although it felt like an hour at least) before my own beautiful blonde girl burst through the door, screaming. As I turned to face Anya, she caught sight of Angela and screamed, if possible, louder than before. Eyes wide with terror, her gaze shifted to the person-shaped hole in our kitchen ceiling. This was when I noticed that Anya was covered in blood. I could only assume that there were more people that had somehow been blown up in the sky.
Suddenly, time seemed to double its speed as the shock wore off and panic kicked in. I felt an overwhelming urge to run, although I had no idea what I would be running from. I only knew that corpses were falling from the heavens and we had to get away. I grabbed a howling Anya by the wrist and stepped outside our cottage, only to slip in what must have been Angela’s blood, because her other arm, with its neon-coloured nails, cushioned my fall. Apart from this arm that I had ended up sitting on, my yard was now home to two unmatched dismembered legs and what looked like a severed head, all in a large pool of gore. I felt my vision grow bleary as tears— of fear and horror more than anything else— flooded down my face too. It had quite literally rained blood on us that morning. And we couldn’t fathom why.
Nobody survived it. How could they, when it was not a crash landing but a deliberate act of mindless violence? A commercial airplane had been shot down by militants. Who would ever have thought? There was to be an investigation, of course, and rightly so. But until then, our fields were to be fertilized by the decaying flesh of those unfortunate passengers on that doomed flight. I could tell that none of us was going to partake of this year’s harvest.
I want to look beyond the horror we faced; to see that all around the globe, hundreds of people’s lives have been devastated by the loss of the persons whose mangled remains now lie scattered in our fields. Yet I want to explain to the world somehow that although we did not lose family or friends in this catastrophe, we are no less shattered than them. I want to be able to step out of the house without collapsing into tears at the doorstep. I want my Anya to stop having hourly flashbacks of bloody rain. I want to stop waking up, drenched in sweat, from nightmares of a maimed Angela lying dead on my kitchen floor. Most of all, I want to pack my things and move— far enough from this place that the faint smell of burnt flesh no longer lingers in the air, but not far enough to have to board an airplane.
Not everyone can afford the luxury of running away, so we must steel ourselves and resume our daily routines in the midst of the carnage. And of course, get the hole in our roof fixed … but the hole in our souls? That’s another thing altogether.