Tiny beads of sweat grew larger by the second and rolled down his forehead after every few moments as a malnourished boy of age approximately 14 lay before him in agonizing pain. The needle trembled as he sutured a cavernous tear in his emaciated abdomen.

His ears alerted like a wolf; an armored motor vehicle approaches – he can tell by the rattle and clanking of the mounted large bore machine gun and its arsenal with bullets the size of a thermometer. The beads of sweat behind his ears begin to roll down with more ferocity. Fear takes over him, he can feel it clicking up his spinal cord and turning into a tingling sensation at the back of his neck. Fear, that his lonely, isolated and broken dispensary could be the next target in the scope of someone’s machine gun; lonely and isolated despite its location being central town square. The automobile passes by.

The afternoon Somalia Sun, lies overhead and watches in silence even as thousands die; not of war injuries but of hunger.

Dr. Rasoul Farrah Mohammedi could not take sides. The thud like distant explosions and gunfire echoing twenty four hours give him the calling of an end, but it refuses to cease. The hurt keep pouring in, some are dead on arrival some wail in hopes of dying of unbearable pain; and they do die.

He forces himself to not lose hope. Deep inside him, was planted a seed of disconnect. But his emotional wounds could wait to be healed or maybe could not wait to be healed, either ways there is nothing he could do. He has to go on. It is his only purpose, the only reason he is alive; still.

His eyes narrow as he concentrates on saving the life at hand, his eyebrows twitch ever so little as he momentarily shifts his attention to something else and drops the needle. His heart racing and tearing its way out of his chest he bends down to pick up the fallen needle, and even as he does so; turns around in a fraction of a second and fires seven .38 caliber bullets in succession. The magnum still trembling in his outstretched arm as he stands up; he lowers his arm and stares at a man contorted on the floor; dead, with a CV Defender 47 at his side; locked and loaded; his body, in a thinning out pool of blood on the floor.

His other hand still holding the needle he turns around to complete the suture, places the magnum on the side and pushes the needle through a portion of the boy’s dislocated skin and realizes; he is not moving anymore. His frail malnourished skin and bones were quiet and paler. Everything was still.

The air now contained the putrid smell of smoke, ash, blood and spirit in his dispensary. Swallowed by guilt of taking two lives in saving himself; he walked over to the next bed, his hands stained by innocent blood, both ways.

He asked himself, innocent or guilty? There was no answer. In a war there are no victors, none defeated, no one is innocent and none guilty. There are only victims.

He has a purpose, a duty, a calling and that is all that matters.

Siddharth Pathak

Rewritten – 24th December, 2010

Original/ First draft – 28th November, 2004


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