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PART two: omli

Chapter 12: The Protest

One day, OMLI was made to work a much longer shift than usual, and despite his best efforts, he passed out and slept soundly without being as vigilant as usual. He awoke to screams, gunfire and mass confusion. He ran out of the sleeping room to find himself caught in a full blown battle. The angry OSZA who yelled outside the mine had exchanged their boards for weapons, and had broken into the mine, and were now exchanging blows and gunfire with the mine guards and the armed OSZA, the ones who had recently arrived.

OMLI froze. He didn’t know what to do or where to go. He wanted to run behind the other kids, but they were too far away, and a few of them had fallen to the ground as they ran. His favorite guard, who was one of the few who had no desire to participate in the violence that was unfolding, who could not bring himself to harm or kill the very OSZA he lived in the slums with, screamed when he saw the child standing in the open, as it cried loudly with eyes that conveyed as much fear as they did horror, as bullets flew past its frail frame in every direction.

The guard got rid of his uniform, rubbed soil all over his face and body, drenched himself in it, and dashed for OMLI. He grabbed the child when he was close enough, and slowly crawled to the nearest exit with him. He put a hand over OMLI’s mouth, and held it there tightly, suppressing the child’s screams as best as he could, while they hid in the thickest bushes they could find once the exit was a stone’s throw away. The guard picked OMLI up and ran out of the mine the first chance he got. His legs didn’t stop until his mind was convinced that they were at a safe distance from both the mine and the slums.

The guard held a silent, frozen OMLI close to his chest while they rested under a large tree. They sat there, motionless, for almost an hour, until OMLI jumped out of the guard’s arms, and began to scream as he looked around frantically. The guard grabbed OMLI, gently, and tried to calm him down. OMLI used all his strength to wriggle out of the guard’s arms, and he ran the second he did. The guard chased after him, but he soon realized that there was no need to do so.

OMLI stopped a few seconds later, confused about which direction he needed to go in. He had no idea where the mine or the slum were. He fell on his knees, and began to cry. The guard walked over to him, and knelt beside him, and then held him. The guard thought that OMLI’s tears were a result of the trauma he had just been through. Little did he know that the child was mourning the loss of its best friend, that the child was grief stricken over the realization that it would never ever see its SKIMMA again.

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