MOTHER SAID 媽媽說
⨝ The night of the “mass segregation”.
THE LIGHT from the moon cast down on the rows of houses that stood together in a cluster, forming one of the most populated neighborhoods in Seoul, usually a bright, hearty city with kind people and street shops and stores everyone grew to love.
Dim streetlamps lit the alleyways of the neighborhood’s streets, casting a yellow glare on the material of people’s doors. It was a warm night, crickets chirping in nearby plants and fireflies sparking up the dark sky.
Ahmya laid comfortable in her bed, covers snug under her arms, her favorite doll, a simple birthday present, wrapped tightly in her hands. Her long hair splayed on her pillow as she dreamt the dreams of a child.
Her mother and father, brother and sister lay asleep in their beds as well, until a loud horn shook their neighborhood’s homes. Ahmya’s eyes shot open, brows narrowed as she listened closely.
She heard her mother’s frantic stirring down the stairs and her father’s constant hushes to keep her brother and sister from shouting.
Sitting up in bed, Ahmya looked out her window to see a fleet of patrol soldiers on their broad-shouldered horses stomp through the neighborhood, holding flickering torches.
Eyes widening, she watched one of the soldiers read out a Chinese name before grabbing whoever opened their door, it was Ahmya’s friend’s father, Mr. Yu. The man she grew to know well fell to his knees, pleading for mercy.
Ahmya’s innocent eyes watched without blinking. The well-dressed commander shouted an order, leading another soldier to grab their rifle and point it at the Chinese man. “No!” She jumped up from her bed, racing to her window.
A bright flare from the nose of the rifle exploded, creating an explosive sound that had Ahmya clutching her ears and closing her eyes. Reopening them, she choked on her gasp as she saw Mr. Yu’s limp body, red liquid oozing from the hole that was shot into his skull.
Before the little girl could react, she heard her mother let out a blood-curdling scream, yelling out her name, along with her siblings. Racing out of her bedroom, she witnessed more soldiers grabbing her mother and father, her sister hiding under the dining table, and the brother crouching on the staircase.
“No! Let go of them!” Ahmya screamed desperately, bolting to the tall man holding her mother, who shook her head profusely, warning her to back away.
“Onesan!” (The equivalent to “noona”.) Her brother calls out for her when he sees her, attracting the attention of one of the soldiers. Ahmya’s mother screamed in protest when one of the men hurried to catch the youngest child.
Ahmya raced after the soldier, following him to her little brother’s room, who was shaking the handle, trying to get in. “Leave him alone!” She screamed before whacking the man as hard as she could.
“Get off me!” He shouted before shoving her violently backwards. Hitting her head, Ahmya’s eyes fluttered before they shut, despite herself telling her to get back up and fight.
The world around her darkening, Ahmya was pulled into unconsciousness, not being able to see her family being dragged away, and a flaming torch getting thrown into their house where she lay.