“No! Màmá! Màmá!”
My pleas go unanswered as she swings from the rope, unseeing though her eyes were open. Flies are already landing in them and buzzing around the unmoving whiteness. An otherworldly sound escapes my lips as I try and fail to reach for her body.
“Quick girl! Pull her back!”
“She’s too strong! Help me.”
Hands are touching me. At first, it’s just two small ones on my stomach that reached from my back and around my waist to settle above my belly button. These hands try to pull me in vain as I’m desperate. I have to get to her.
Then, another pair of hands grab my shoulders and pull me as well. Something snaps inside my mind. A surge of energy and strength rolls through my body like a wave. I know before they do that I can break their hold and surge forward, so I take the opportunity to do so. Strangled cries almost make me turn around…almost. Instead, I force my way through the crowd and break the line of frozen, horrified prisoners.
“Màmá! Màmá!” My mind is going in circles. I can get to her now. I can take her down. I can save her. She’s not gone yet. She can’t be.
“Issa! No!” I hear Faraji, but I don’t see him. It doesn’t matter, I think. He can’t stop me. That’s when I feel the wall hit me. At least, it felt like a wall. It’s a few moments later that I realize that I am on the ground struggling against a great weight. Faraji’s voice is in my ear.
“Issa! Please! They’ll kill you. They want you to react. They want you to run to her. Please, Issa!”
“No!” I try to strike him in the groin with my knee, but he has my legs and arms pinned. Smart. He knows that normally if the groin strike doesn’t work, I grab or strike ears next with my hands and fists. So instead, I try to headbutt him or bite his face. He keeps his face just out of my reach, however, while still pinning down my arms and legs. I am feverish now, scraping my mostly exposed back against the hard, rocky ground as I fight to get to my mother. My breath comes in shallow gasps and incoherent sounds are still coming from me.
“Issa…” his tone is begging me. “Please, Issa! She’s…she’s gone. Yèyé is gone.”