In the beginning, your days were contentment and ease. You were surrounded by your mother and her mother and her cousins and your cousins, and, with them, you chattered and played and ate and worked and learned and lived.
The pattern of your days was only disrupted when The Tours, carrying Subgroup As, came through the Subgroup B plains. These were the only times you ever saw As in person. Though your mother kept you inside, far away from their trucks and jeeps, peering out the doorway, you could see them descend from their vehicles to take pictures. They seemed tiny and fragile, much smaller in girth and height than anyone you knew. They never kept your interest for long. Their lives seemed inane and remote.
Your life was the immediacy of family and a circle of neat open-air homes, each of which you treated as it if was your own.
This life ended.
Early evening in the middle of the week, strangers arrived in white trucks. You watched them from your front yard where you had been making a nest for a little lame rabbit you found. The rabbit’s ears pricked up, and it wanted to flee, its one good foot digging uselessly into the pile of leaves. The strangers climbed down from their trucks. They appeared both dangerous and delicate, their faces obscured in the low light. You didn’t notice that they had weapons until they were ten feet from you. You looked up at them and blinked, a collection of leaves clinched in your hand. You could not move.
Your mother did not suffer this same affliction. She pounded down the front steps and screamed in a tone you had never heard from her before. This same scene, featuring your cousins and aunts, repeated itself across and up the street. You watched your aunt reach out to pull your cousin to safety, only to have three of the strangers throw her to the ground. One of them stomped on her head. You thought his boot came away with red smeared on its glossy surface. You knew that your aunt was no longer moving.
In the cacophony and confusion, you stood, shaking, and instinctively turned to the presence of your mother.
The strangers grabbed you, throwing you down to the ground and pinning you there, binding your arms behind your back, tying your legs at the ankle and knee. You struggled and howled until you were hoarse. Your mother howled back. The strangers ignored this distress. Your mother lunged for you, pulling at the arms of the strangers, kicking and slapping and biting whatever parts of them she could reach. They pushed your mother away, and you heard her body hit the ground near you. You tried to twist your face to see her, but one of the strangers kept his hand firmly against your neck and head before lifting you off the ground. You heard your mother crying, but you did not see her again.
The remaining members of your family ran after you and your cousins until the strangers deposited each of you in separate trucks and locked you in. You could still hear the cries of your family muffled by the thick walls of the metal container. They began to fade once you started moving. You still strained to hear them. Eventually, you knew you were only hearing a phantom echo of their voices.
Inside, the truck was dark. There were no windows, and no matter how much you blinked you could not get used to losing your sight. You reached out your fingers to touch the cool metal. You discovered that even with your hands bound, you could still make a fist. This, you believed, was luck. If you made yourself as difficult as possible, maybe you would be returned. You began banging your hands against the metal. You banged until you could no longer feel your hands, and then, though deprived of feeling, you kept on, hollering in time with the beating of your fists.
The truck stopped. You were hopeful. The back of the truck opened. In the sudden light, you were blind again. You heard one of the strangers approach. You kept hollering, calling for your mother. The stranger responded in a tongue you did not understand. He knelt down beside you, stroked your head, and stuck a needle in your arm.
You were too surprised to respond either vocally or physically.
You remember no more of this day.