It’s been three months since the invasion. The new regime is settled beyond possible opposition and reigns with terror over the people of our fair city.
During the day, life pretty much takes its course like before, but we’re always aware that they are constantly looking over our shoulder. Soldiers patrol the streets at all hours, in their hoods and masks, showing off their big guns at the slightest like the sick, trigger-happy lunatics that they are. No one dares stand up to them. Now and then, there’d be an outbreak, a riot, something impulsive from the spur of the moment. There’d be yelling, some windows would get smashed, a few cars lit up. Every sensible person just gets off the street, closes the shutters of their houses and huddles up inside, pressing their ears shut, waiting for it to be over. A round of gunfire, a few screams, that’s it. After that, everything goes quiet, like the grave. The most deafening silence anyone has ever heard.
There is far less traffic than before. No one gets in or out of the city now without a travel pass and luggage inspection. There is a curfew, no one is allowed out in the streets after dark. At sunset, the streets are deserted, like a ghost town. No lights, no cars, no noise. Troops parade around the city at night, their big army boots thudding across the floor so violently, it makes the walls around quiver. “The curfew has set in”, a voice yells from the speakers on the unlit lanterns, “please remain inside, all violators will be shot at sight.” As soon as the sun goes down, we are all reminded, acutely, that the city is under occupation, in case we ever could forget.
Hurrying home late from work to get to safety before dark, you could hear the sound of their brazen parties in the barracks they commandeered for themselves. Those who refused to give up their housing ‘for the benefit of the new state’, were easily disposed of, their possessions confiscated irrevocably. Off-tune, upbeat music, laughter, shrieks, drunken yells, clapping and singing rung in the hallow alleys. They turned chapels and schools into their very own private whorehouses, hosting perverse masses and orgies.
On hearing it, every sane person would throw on their hood and pick up the pace, not able to turn the corner fast enough for fear of being spotted and dragged in. They had the eyes of a hawk and the appetite of a wolf for everything, especially the cruellest kinds of torture that they would call ‘games’. There was nothing worse than coming across a band of bloodthirsty invaders that were bored. And they were always bored.
It feels as though a shadow has been cast over all of us, and we have no choice but to clench our teeth and bear it, waiting for the sun to return to us.