“Nigerian Vigil”

copyright Erin Leary

(copyright Erin Leary)

As the sun burns through the veil of mist rising from the Gongola River, the tall woman from the village turns back to her hut.

She comes every evening at dusk and stands until dawn, unmoving, like the petrified trunk of a dead palm tree. She looks to the hills where her kidnapped sons were marched, at gunpoint, to be conscripted into terrorist ranks that congregate there.

Ibrahim is ten years old, Abdul Masih is nine. She fears they’ll be given guns, taught to torture and kill.

More importantly, she prays they’ll escape before the rebels discover they are Christian.

(Written for Friday Fictioneers, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. January 17, 2014.)

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29 Responses to “Nigerian Vigil”

  1. elmowrites says:

    Wow, what a challenging piece. Hard to imagine being in this position and having so many layers of fear. You capture it with startling simplicity, the “petrified trunk” line is beautiful.

    • vbholmes says:

      Thank you. I imagined the tall woman as being extraordinarily tall–and straight; someone capable of enormous patience and resolve; a mother capable of willing her sons home.

  2. billgncs says:

    VB — you have written with your usual eloquence on a topic that touches my heart.

  3. Sandra says:

    Very nicely done.

  4. atrm61 says:

    Terrifying o so many levels-a mother’s love for her kids-her prayers for them to be spared-their young age and the terrible fate that awaits them-the fear of being found out-terrific writing here Vb:-)

  5. You caught the intense and fear a parent in this circumstance would have.

  6. vbholmes says:

    Thanks, Kim. It would be terrifying to have your children carried off by hit-and-run rebels.

  7. I feel her loneliness and emptiness as she keeps vigil. No one with her to share her grief. This The sun burning through the veil of mist is a beautiful description.

  8. I like her being tall and praying her sons escape before they are found out to be Christians. Same earth, same sky, same sun and Christians are still being persecuted. Very good story and you can fell the desperation of the mother. Excellent piece! Nan

  9. Mary says:

    A very frightening situation! VERY strong last line, VB.

  10. brian miller says:

    oh snap…reality….that last bit too…how hard…made me think of the boy soldiers in africa

  11. Jan Brown says:

    Very effective piece, evoking the mood and emotions of, unfortunately, all-too-real lives.

  12. Nine and ten year old boys. This horror breaks my heart as I know it is all too real.

  13. Dear VB,

    Exquisite is the word that comes to mind. Your last line pierced my heart.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

  14. So much strength, so much courage, so much fear. Beautifully done, VB.

  15. unspywriter says:

    You’ve combined fiction and reality in quite the heart-wrenching way. A scene all too frequently repeated, I fear. Good job.

    Here’s mine: http://unexpectedpaths.com/friday-fictioneers/grasping-for-straws/

  16. Great piece of prose. But too close to what’s happening out there. Well done.

  17. hugmamma says:

    Very sad truth for so many mothers in war torn areas.

  18. Hi v.b.,
    I think the setting really makes this one interesting, and you can feel the woman’s anguish over what’s happening to her sons in the turmoil of her country. Ron

  19. That was a beautifully told tale. Poetic, poignant and realistic. Earthy even – and I am sure more true than we would wish. Well done.

  20. erinleary says:

    Powerful story, a mother’s hopes and fears so real. Beautiful!

  21. liz young says:

    There must he hundreds of mothers just like her.

  22. rgayer55 says:

    This was really good. I almost felt like it was a clip from a documentary.

  23. Eric Alagan says:

    Wow! That’s chilling – Christians in the midst – not circumcised, a definite giveaway when the boys are sodomised (which they will be sooner or later)

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