The Honorable

 

 In the tradition of Sadat Hasan Manto:

 

A man by the name of X hopped from one shelter to another telling families that the enemy had crossed the line and to be prepared for the worst. When he entered our dark shelter in the underground and told everyone the news, the women wailed and children cried. In the dark my father struck a match and reached for a candle. He called my brother and together they walked to a corner. I followed. My father handed my brother a gun and said: No one should touch your mother or your sisters. You know what to do.

My brother whimpered, “I don’t want to do it. I can’t.”

I stepped closer, picked up the gun from my brother’s hand and said: I will do it.