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PART five: diin

Chapter 39: The Tent City

“I can’t believe it, brother! The line barely moved today as well,” CREFY’s father said, as the group entered the overcrowded tent they had been living in for the last two weeks.

“I don’t understand it either, brother. There are a lot of OSZA here, but it should not be taking this long. Perhaps the rumors are true. Maybe those officials are knowingly taking much longer than necessary to do their jobs. Perhaps they are delaying things on purpose, to keep us stuck here until we relent and go back,” DIIN’s father answered, as he fed her.

DIIN looked at them intently, trying her best to grasp the context of what they were talking about. Who was taking longer? Who wanted them stuck? Various OSZA in the tent had screamed at them for various reasons, none of which she understood. But everything had been settled in the end. And those OSZA stood with them in those really long lines every day, the ones that resembled the punishment her parents often gave her when she had been bad. They made her stand in one place for a long time as well, but never as long as this.

“You think the rumors were true?” CREFY’s father asked. “Maybe this is their way of telling us they don’t want us here?”

“I don’t think so, brother. We saw those OSZA who were put in those vehicles and sent back because their applications were denied, remember? If they didn’t want us here, they could simply deny our applications for asylum, couldn’t they?” DIIN’s father asked.

“That is true. But what do we do? Nobody is telling us what is going on. And we cannot remain here indefinitely. This place is getting more dangerous by the day. There have been multiple rapes, and even more robberies. OSZA are getting beaten up all the time, for the smallest of reasons, often for no reason at all. Everybody is frustrated. This heat isn’t making it any easier. It’s driving those it does not make sick insane. Our wives, our children, they cannot stay here much longer, brother. This place… it is becoming more of a death trap with each passing day,” CREFY’s father whispered.

“There is only one thing I can think of, brother, but we have already talked about it multiple times,” DIIN’s father said.

“Maybe it’s time to seriously consider it, brother. Our families cannot take much more of this.”

“It is a risk. One we perhaps should not take.”

“I was convinced of that a week ago. But now… I’m no longer that sure.”

“Me neither. Do you really think it will work?”

“As per that OSZA, the one with the funny name, it would. What was it? KAYOTI?”

“Yes. That is what he called himself. I don’t know, brother. Crossing the border unofficially… That would make us criminals. And a large part of the reason we took this journey was to run away from such OSZA.”

“But we are not criminals, are we, brother? We’re not stealing anything. We may be sneaking into these lands, but we are not going to disappear into them. We’re going to do exactly what we will be doing here. We will present ourselves to whatever authorities there are, and ask for asylum, just like we plan on doing right now. The only difference is which side of the border we will be doing it from. What we will be doing is a crime, but it is not a malicious one. All we’re doing is creating an opportunity to ask, no, plead, for a better future for our families. We’re not hurting anybody. The little ones will not survive another week of all this. The heat is already getting to them. They both look weaker. As do our wives.”

DIIN’s father didn’t respond. He just sat there silently, giving DIIN one of those smiles again, the ones that took a lot of effort to maintain, as he continued to feed her. “You’re right, brother. These are desperate circumstances. And desperate measures are needed. Our wives have sacrificed a lot to get us this far. They will never be the same again. And staying here would mean that what happened to… what we allowed to happen to them… could happen to them all over again. And I’ll be damned if I don’t take action while I can. A lot can happen in a week in a place like this. We have been lucky so far. We should not wait till it runs out. Let’s talk to KAYOTI when he returns,” he replied, a few minutes later.

“It’s the right decision, brother,” CREFY’s father said, as he put a hand on his brother’s shoulder.

“Under these circumstances it is…” DIIN’s father muttered, as he gently patted the hand CREFY’s father had laid on his shoulder.

CREFY’s father bent over and looked at DIIN. “We’re going to utopia, little one!” he said excitedly, as he pulled her cheek and gave her one of those smiles that seemed to take a lot of effort to muster.

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