It Only Happens in Comics

Submitted into Contest #80 in response to: Write about a child witnessing a major historical event.... view prompt


African American Drama Indigenous

Β Today, I was meant to go out to the local pond and fish with Brother Zeke. I had begged mum and pulled at her blue, floral bloomers just to ensure that my plans were secure.Β 

I had sat on the edge of the pond, rubbing my stubby fingers through the algae, Mama told me it was magic leaves who'd argued and got stuck together. I had always believed in that story, I believed in so many things.

Then came the day I found out that the magic leaves were just fungi, that the pond was just a polluted cesspool.

I grew up that day because the world was moving, and I was almost left behind. It was like in all those off-brand Netflix movies.

They called themselves "The Fabian". Like a brotherhood, or something straight out of one of Zeke's James Patterson books.

Only, this time... I couldn't flip over to the part where it ends.


It's 2019, and I'm in my room. I'm on the floor looking up at the ceiling because that is all I can do without fear. Bathing, eating, breathing, blinking, thinking. Anything other than plain emotion posed a threat to my life.

This was the worst time to be a female, to have breasts and pert lips. The worst time to be BLACK.

The Fabian turned out to be some sort of group who'd overthrown the government. I don't know much about them, no one does. Mostly out of fear and not a mere loss of information.

87 000 blacks had been kept in concentration camps, gassed to death, raped, maimed, mentally tortured, degraded. I only read about this kind of thing in storybooks. Where's the UN? Where's everyone who's meant to fight for us?

I looked at my black ashy knuckles, felt through my kinky hair. And I wondered, "What's wrong with this? Is it my lips? The fact that my nose is a little wider than most? That people clutch their purses when I pass by? What's wrong with me, with us?"


The tears trickled down, without my permission, as they normally did. I felt so scared, so sad, so trapped. This can't be real.

Then I remember Zeke, my Zeke.

Before he traveled, we laughed and played and endured the stares. We pushed and jumped and cried and coughed. We ate and shoved and slept and leaned on cars. We did so much because he was my brother and I was his sister. Because he held my fists back when people would belittle me. He would hug me when I hated my hair, would kiss me when I hated my nose, would hit me when I hated myself.

Before he traveled, he died, he got shot, he got tortured, he wasn't remembered, because we're shut in these huge houses that make it look and feel like we're ok. Because he insisted on smelling the crisp air again, he insisted on being black when being black was a sin. He took his sin outside, and like a plague, got cleared out.


I looked outside my window, even though I couldn't see anything. I saw clouds and cars and felt like ripping off my skin. My thoughts are everywhere, like a trash site. Broken lamps and old car engines.

The Fabian: Biggest Modern Extremist Group!

The Black Holocaust

Those were the only headlines I saw on the news nowadays. Every headline more gruesome and more of a reminder. Every continent had shut us out, we were in this alone. Almost like we did not exist anymore, we had no president or ally.

Everyone feared these bastards. I fear them too... because I am the roach beneath their raised feet.


The end felt more pleasurable than whatever was meant to end this horror. This changed everything, this WAS everything. Sometimes, I'd feel a rush, feel a push. An electric strum in my stomach, searing pain in my cerebrum. A push off a cliff, a rush, the turn of your heart at your weakness.

This push, that fear, that tire, it led to the biggest gathering of minorities in one place. Armed with WellCo tote bags and a heart that was too weak to make sensible decisions. They ran, they charged, and they didn't win.

Because even after killing The Fabian, Zeke won't come back, all the missing pieces of heart won't be buried. Because the unearthed freedom is worthless with the baggage of trauma, the 5 day old vomit on carpets, the migraines. The tears, the fastings, the vigils, the no breathing, no sleeping, no peace. EVERYTHING.

For the first time in 3 years, and again, since the centuries past. Blacks would rebuild this country, and hold it on our backs forever, the stamp of pain and officiality in strength. The pain and tears and doubt and permed hair, the bleached noses, and the poisoned food. The gas and the falling down and the apocalyptic running. The determination to live and the willingness to die.

I was 12 when this started, and I was 15 at the end. Those numbers, the difference between them. The blood and seared melanin between them. The hatred and the anger between them. I would be in history books, but merely as one out of millions of scarred survivors, my Zeke would be there too, with aunt Rae and unc' Lenny. With the 200 000, with the 5 000 000.


There were more than 500 000 people interconnected with The Fabian. There were some in the government, at my school, in my grocery store. I still think about them, and whether they're satisfied. People are writing about it, people are making memoirs, people are recording dates and numbers and deaths and lives. I'm just here, looking at that pond, feeling through the algae, so that some form of magic might run through me.

And make me forget. So I can breathe and eat and dance all over again, I brush my hand through so much that I pull on the algae. And it's brown and wilted and irritating. It's nothing like what I thought it was 20 years ago, it's nothing like the childish hope I had when I was still able to go outside and feel, real.

February 05, 2021 20:32

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Hey Ash! This was such a touching story it really touched my soul. And it had a deeper meaning too! It makes me sad that this was how it was in the past, and your story really represents alot of that. I like these lines especially - " "What's wrong with this? Is it my lips? The fact that my nose is a little wider than most? That people clutch their purses when I pass by? What's wrong with me, with us?"" "This was the worst time to be a female, to have breasts and pert lips. The worst time to be BLACK." They were sooo nice! I really enjoyed ...


thank you so so much


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thank you so so much


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thank you so so much


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