Ke'ana's Childhood

Kat Johnson

"Hide, Ke'ana!" The tone of her mother's voice, rather than her words, scared little Ke'ana. Only six years old, she didn't understand that terrorists had seized the peaceful village, and were systematically wiping out the inhabitants.

She wriggled under the couch, pulling her tail out of sight, just as the door was broken down. Frightened, she peeked out, seeing mostly feet, her mother's elegant shoes, her brother's trainers, her father's slippers... and six pairs of combat boots.

She heard her mother plead for their lives, heard the terrorists laughing, heard the gunshots and heavy thumps of bodies hitting the floor. She heard cupboards being opened, drawers pulled out, crockery being smashed.

It seemed an eternity until the terrorists left the house, and it was longer still until Ke'ana left her spot under the couch. She crept out, approaching first her mother. "Mummy... you can wake up now..." She shook her mother's arm, but there was no response. Looking over her mother, she saw the gunshot wound. She scurried over to the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, finding a box of bandaids, and bringing them to her mother's side.

Carefully, she unwrapped one of the bandaids, sticking it firmly over the wound, frustrated that it didn't cover the wound properly. She shook her mother again. "Mummy..." she whispered, "Wake up... I've made you better... why wont you wake up?" She whimpered, not understanding. Bandaids always made things better. She crawled over to her father, clutching the bandaids.

She stuck one on the gunshot wound on his head. "Daddy," she hissed urgently. "Mummy won't wake up... Daddy?" She shook him again, distressed. She looked over at her brother. "Flen? Flen?" She shook him, crying now.

With a groan, Flen opened his eyes. Ke'ana hugged him hard. "Flen... Mummy and Daddy won't wake up... they're hurted..."

"They're dead," Flen said, his voice barely a whisper. Blood trickled from his mouth. "No..." Ke'ana said. "They're just asleep, but they won't wake up." Dead was what happened to her pet goldfish, Andrew, when she found him floating in his tank.

"Ke'ana," Flen moved his paw feebly in an attempt to catch hers. "You have to go... away... from here..."

"No!" Ke'ana said. "I wanna stay with you, and Mummy and Daddy."

Flen took a deep ragged breath. "Go... run... far away..." he gasped, his every word an effort. "Don't... look back... go..." He went limp and stopped breathing. Ke'ana shook him. "Flen...!" she sobbed, squeezing his paw. She stood up, looking around the house. All her family was asleep, and not waking up. She had to find someone who could wake them up.

Sniffling, she picked up her teddybear, Bob, from beside the couch, and left the house to find help.