What does it mean to stand up for what you believe? Not a question I’d ever considered, let alone answered, until it was too late. What was I prepared to do? If I’d asked first, I might never have found myself here, watching the hillside darken as though swarmed by thousands of ants. Dark, uniformed ants. I wondered if they’d managed to get all the children to the safety of the ridge but pushed the thought away, banishing my mental picture of Sol trembling in his sister’s arms as I pushed them into the square and left for the barracks to be armed. There was nothing to be done now; they were either safe or it was too late.
I felt fear then, tearing at my throat. Felt my heart beat like hailstones. They had armed me with one of the biggest guns left because I was one of the only women who’d shot before, and the gun was too big for any of the boys. Boys, that’s all we were, women and boys. The men had made their stand at the pass before the end of summer, and the amassing army was all the news from the front we needed. Not even a single burro had been left alive. My eyes burned but no wetness came. I had cried for weeks when they left, feeling I could flood the fields, the whole town. But the time for that was past now too.
Just then, a noise from the west and I looked up the line. Saw Anna beside me, an RPG hoisted on her shoulder, just where the strap from her market basket would lie. The Seguara boys, beside her, had layered themselves behind a rock for cover, and three gleaming rifle barrels shone along the top. The Castello sisters leaded against one another, pistols already braced to fire. Cristina clasped a tommy gun. I saw her jaw ripple with determination and found myself grinning as the old adage popped into my mind, unbidden: hell hath no fury like a women scorned. Let them come. The governments' armies had been trying for centuries to disperse us, send us away, and each time, returned to the capital in rag-tag shreds, with stomach-turning tales of savagery. This was our home, and I knew then I would gladly die to defend it like so many had before me. Let them come.
: woman with rifle