The Story of Roo

The cool night breeze was gently blowing against the tent, a small amount worked its way under the tent sides to sway the hanging crate that was being used as a baby cradle. The baby in the makeshift cradle started to cry.

“Momma, the baby’s crying,” a sleepy sounding young boy said.

“I hear her Roo. Please hold her while I make her a milk,” said Lynn.

“Okay momma.”

Lynn heard her six year old son doing his best to work the zipper of the sleeping bag. The thumping of the cot’s legs told her that he was getting out without any help. Lynn was softly patting the top of the upturned crate they used as a nightstand for the matches to light a candel. She found the matches as she heard Roo softly speaking to his baby sister.

“It’s okay sis, mommy and I are here. I promised daddy I won’t let anything bad happen to you and I won’t. I love you,”

With the candle lit Lynn could see Roo holding his sister tightly to his chest as he sat on his cot.

“Mommy, she smells funny,” Roo said as he crinkled his nose.

“I’m sure she does. It was been at least 2 hours since she last ate and had a diaper change. Can you set your sister down and get mommy a diaper and the wipes?” she asked.

“Okay.”

Lynn finished making the milk and gave it to the baby. With sure and deft movements Lynn undid her little girl’s nightie and waited until her son opened the new diaper and the wipes before she continued.

“Here mommy,” said Roo as he put the open diaper on the cot and opened the box of wipes.

Lynn quickly cleaned Caroline and changed her diaper. Once she was finished she kissed the baby’s feet. Roo quickly jumped up to do the same before his mother could snap up the nightie. “She is the cutest baby sister in the world mommy,” said Roo proudly as he got back in his sleeping bag.

“I do have to agree with you on the point,” Lynn said softly as she scooped up the baby to make room for Roo. She leaned over and kissed her son on the fore head before placing the baby in the makeshift cradle. She wrapped the dirty diaper in a plastic bag and reached through the tent flap to dispose of it in the trash can.

Without bumping into anything in the cramped quarters of the tent she got back to the makeshift cradle her husband make the day they arrived at the camp to pick up the baby. She lay on her side on the cot as the baby fed. Slowly the tears started to fall from her face as she once again thought how she was going to make it with two kids and no husband.

“Mommy, why are you crying?” asked Roo.

“Because I miss your father, honey,” she said softly before kissing the baby’s forehead.

“I miss daddy too. Where did he go? When will he come back? I hope its tomorrow. That would be great!” said a yawning Roo.

“Yes it would be great Roo, now get back to sleep.”

Eight months ago armed men burst in to the house she and her husband shared with their two children just as dinner was finishing. The house was ransacked, the children scared and crying. Robert her husband cuffed and left bloody on the floor at her feet as she was tossed to the couch. She had been force to watch as her husband was beaten and questioned about any rebel forces he might know about. These people wanted names but Robert said he did not know any names.

The men left after an hour of destroying as much as they could. The next morning more men showed up with a large military style truck. She and Robert were told they had fifteen minutes to pack as much clothes and personal items as they could before they were to be taken away.

The questions Lynn and Robert asked were not answered. When Lynn said that they have no right to make them leave their house one of the men handed her some paperwork saying it was all legal as they were now considered undesirables.

They packed as fast as they could, Robert took care of his and her items as Lynn took care of the children’s. With their world falling apart they were shoved into the back of the crowded truck. Their packed bags were thrown into another. After a few hours ride and a few more stops they were finally allowed to get out of the truck.

The sun was setting, and the dust from the dirt road they had been traveling on was swirling about. Men were yelling at all the passengers to hurry up. They all had different accents Lynn noticed. She also noticed the huge sign hanging on the 12 foot tall fence topped with razor-wire.

Welcome to camp 187.

Enjoy your stay.

 

Commanding Officer Gen. Arsalan Ghasem. U.N peacekeeper

 

The men were armed and brutish, they roughly pushed everyone into lines. Anyone who resisted got a rifle butt to the guts. A small wheeled platform with a podium was pushed into place by another group of armed men. They were all dressed in the same UN blue uniforms. Another man dressed as the others stepped onto the platform and took the mic off the podium.

The man stated to speak, “I am General Ghasem from Iran. You may call me either general or sir. All the guards are to be called sir when you speak to them. If you are given an order you will comply, if not the consequences will be grave. Your bags will be returned to you after they and you have been searched. Then one of my men will then take you to where you will live for as long as you are our guests here.”

Someone up front started to protest but one of the armed men cracked him in the side of the head with the butt of a rifle. Two others were tasked with carrying the man. No one else said a word.

Robert, Lynn and the kids were there for two months. Then they were moved to a new camp. New camp maybe, but with the same brutal rules and ruthless people running the show.

After a week here, Robert and all the other men or woman who had at any point served in the military of the USA were loaded up on trucks and taken way. That was six months ago and still the rumors were flying about as to the whereabouts or fates of the missing people.

 

Lynn softly carried the now sleeping baby Caroline over to the cradle and went back to her cot to softly cry herself to sleep again.

 

The small windup alarm clock started ringing as Lynn reached over to grab it and shut it off. Rolled over and woke up Roo. “Roo get up honey. We need to get to the showers and get breakfast before you go to school.”

“I don’t want to go to school, they say bad things about people like daddy and our country. They say we were bad people and we deserve what we are now getting. The teacher says were should have shared what we had with the rest of the world.”

“Roo this is very important, do what the teacher says but in your heart don’t believe it. Your daddy and people like him were good, your country is good. Say what they want you to, but they can’t take away your thoughts. Remember that. promise mommy that you will not say what is in your heart to these people.”

“I promise mommy.”

“Good, now get up and grab your clothes and lets go to the showers,” said Lynn.

“Why did you ask me to promise mommy?” asked Roo.

“Because if you tell them what is in your heart they could hurt you, me, or your sister.”

“Nobody is gonna hurt you or my sister, ever,” said a determined little boy of six years of age.

 

After the showers, a quick stop by the tent to drop of their towels and shower kits Lynn and the children had a breakfast of oatmeal and milk. Caroline was her usual self all smiles and playful, wanting to grab everything and chew on it. When the allotted fifteen minutes she and the kids were given to eat one of the guards ushered them out of the mess hall.

Lynn and kids headed back to their tent to hang up their towel to dry and to spend a few minutes playing around before Roo had to leave for the so-called school. Once they got back to the tent Caroline needed another change and another feeding. Roo used this time to run over to the tent across from theirs to see Mrs. Winters, an elderly lady from Pittsburg.

Mr. Winters was one of the missing men. Mrs. Winters became an adopted grandmother to all the kids. She was a retired teacher and the kids all loved her and she loved them right back.

Roo returned after a few minutes saying the bus was coming. He grabbed his books and gave a kiss to his mommy and sister. “I love you both,” screamed Roo as he ran to the end of the row of tents.

“Try your best not to get too dirty today,” Lynn called back to Roo. “Laundry day is not for two more days,” she finished to herself.

Mrs. Winters opened her tent flap and stepped down from the wooden base all the tents were on. “Do you need some laundry done deary?”  Mrs. Winters asked.

“With a growing boy and a baby girl when don’t I need to do laundry?”

“My laundry day is today, give me the laundry and I will toss it in with mine,” said Mrs. Winters.

“Well I need to go to the supply office, do you need anything I can pickup for you?” asked Lynn.

“I could use some pain killers for my arthritis, and some new shower shoes and a tooth brush,” replied Mrs. Winters.

“Thank you Mrs. Winters,” said Lynn.

“No, no it is I who should thank you.”

“Why are you thanking me?” asked Lynn.

“If it wasn’t for you and your kids I would ended my life months ago. So yes, thank you. I have no illusions as to what befell my Ricky. I miss him and your children help ease the pain. All the kids do. So thank you and them for saving my life.”

Lynn gave Mrs. Winters a hug before going to her tent to get the clothes that needed to be washed.

 

Lynn was standing in a long line waiting for the supply office to open. The office was to be open at 9:00 am. Lynn got in line at 8:00 and when she got her ticket number it read 53. She hoped it would not take all day. She looked down at the small thin watch Robert gave to her for her last birthday. The watch was a family heirloom from Robert’s family, it had at one time been his great great grandmother’s. Etched on the back in small fine script were the names of all the woman whom had worn it. Small diamonds where in the face instead of numbers and there were different birthstones set into the watchband for each woman.

The watch read 9:25 and a small cheer went up as the doors were finally opened and the first five people were allowed in.

 

Lynn and several other people made their way into the building and the counter where they filled out the paperwork to get the items they needed. The man who took her paperwork smiled at her and asked her how she was doing.

“I am doing fine, thank you for asking sir,” she said cheerfully. But she was wondering what this man was after.

Several minutes later the same man came back to her carrying a box. She looked in the box and saw several items she had not asked for but was not going to say anything.

“The supply officer wants to talk to you about some of the items you have asked for. Please come with me,” the man said.

The man was large like a small mountain. Not too tall but solidly built. His voice was deep and had the sound that was used to giving commands and having them followed without questions. His hair was close cropped and dark brown and his skin was deeply tanned. The man did not walk but marched. The way the man moved reminded her of the marines her husband used to work with at the pentagon. She was sure that this man was the most dangerous man she ever met.

When she came to the end of the counter the man easily lifted the heavy wood section of the counter that was made to flip up. She followed the man she noticed that the man broad back rippled with muscles as he moved. She also noticed that the man was walking slower so she could keep up with him. She finally realized what this man reminded her of, a tiger, a very large tiger about to make its kill.

“In here ma’am,” the man’s deep voice rumbled out of his chest.

She looked in the room and it was indeed an office. The office was occupied by a rather short, fat, sweating white man. The man was sweating so bad the pits of his shirt were already soaked and the man’s forehead and thin lanky hair was dripping. The smell of stale beer and cigarettes came wafting out of the room. The man was leaning against the desk in the office, “Please come in, he said to Lynn. You get back to work you lazy mongrel,” he yelled at the man who walked her back here.

The man got off the desk with a effort and closed the door and resumed his seat on the desk. “I see you asked for a few items that we have in limited supply.”

“Such as?” asked Lynn.

“Baby formula, diapers and wipes. It appears that you have gone through the allotment of formula and diapers set for you for the month.” the man said. His breath reeked of garlic and fish. The man’s voice was small and had a Northern European accent.

“What am I to do, she is growing and eating more. The diapers can’t be reused. So again what am I to do?” Lynn asked.

“As I see it you have two options, the first is you could stop her from growing, the second is to become my whore and get all the supplies you could ever want.”

Just them the door open and the large man stepped in with a very large pistol in a very large hand, “There is a third option. I kill you and free these people and we take back our country.”

The sweating man started to sputter put he never got to say another word as there was a soft poof sound followed by the fat man falling to the floor. A pool of deep red blood was spreading out from the man’s prone body.

“Hello, my name is Diesel. I want you to go back to your tent and wait. Do not talk about what has happened here. We need surprise on our side if we are to pull this off.  My men will be taking control of this camp soon. Do you understand ma’am?” Diesel asked as softly as he could.

“Yes, yes I do, and thank you.”

Lynn watched as the man calling himself Diesel reached down to the dead man and removed the keys. They got out of the office and he locked the door behind them. He then walked her to the counter and gave her the box and told her to have a nice day.

 

 

Lynn, Mrs. Winter and several of the other mothers were sitting around one of the few tables around the playground the kids were playing in. They were talking about when, if ever they would get out. Lynn just smiled before she spoke to the group, “I have a feeling that it will be happening sooner than we could hope,”

All eyes at the table turned to her as rockets flew straight and true to detonate within the guard towers. She and the other mothers jumped from the tables to cover their children with their bodies. Lynn looked up as the sound of rifle fire drew her attention. She saw the man from the supply office leading a group of men.

The group of men was running through the tent city with their weapons up. To Lynn it appeared that with every footfall they would fire their weapon. More explosions ripped the air, the men never wavered as they ran through the flames. When the group made it to play ground the man leading called out loudly, “Greywolf, Tag, protect the women and children.” Then he was gone with the rest as two powerfully built men stopped to guard them. The tables were tossed into a rough square by one as the other looked for more guards to engage.

Lynn and the others were moved to the middle of the square formed by the tables and told to lie down as both men were calling in targets for others engage as the tent city was now in total chaos.

Lynn lost track of time as she lie on the ground holding her children to her chest. Roo was doing his best to look what was happening as he little girl was crying loudly. When it was over she still shook for what to her seemed like hours.

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