You and me

I wake to gentle little grunts and turn over to see you restless and stirring, your eyes still closed, as if in a bad dream.

Outside, the sky has barely begun to turn blue. Is it always the crack of dawn with you?

I get some warm water and drag you out of bed. It’s not as bad as I imagine, but why does it have to smell so much?

You start to thrash around and your finger goes to your mouth. Just hold on, I say, hold on. You’re into full throttle now and I can’t believe the noise that can come from such tiny lungs.

The hum of the microwave calms you down and I wait with powder in hand while the horizon turns pink across the rooftops.

Familiar questions enter my head, urgent and painful. Still no answers. Just you and me.

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Today, the sky is ours

Their chanting beat against the morning stillness as Ahmed rolled the tyre along with a steady brush of his hand.

The youngsters grinned like it was a new game, but the older ones knew better. This was their duty.

Tarek looked back at the pillars of black smoke rising above the buildings. He was used to seeing the street burn when the government­­ jets came, but this was different. Today, they were the ones making the fires.

At a crossroads, Ahmed lay the tyre on the ground. The other children stood back while Tarek tipped the bottle of kerosene over it. When it was lit, another plume erupted, turning the air a dirty brown.

The children looked at each other, their stained faces fierce and proud while men and women cheered them on. Victory is ours, they cried. You’ve won back the sky.

This was inspired by a recent news story about children in Aleppo setting fire to tyres in order to try and stop bomber jets from attacking the city: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-war-aleppo-no-fly-zone-children-burn-tyres-a7167991.html