It’s raining softly through the night. The rain falls swiftly. Shot, like silver needles from the sky. Striking prostrate figures on the ground. Splattering off rigid surfaces in the dark. Spilling over and across the sloping roofs. Rain falling with frenzied insistence. Water running alongside the eaves. Tumbling into drainpipes. Rushing downwards. Spurting to the ground. Swirling around stones. Eddying through the metal bars of grates. Flowing quietly in the eroded sluits. Soundlessly deepening a myriad tiny lines etched into the ground. Throughout the night. All night. A steady drizzle hovering opaquely in space.

All night crouching beneath the car. Easing her body fearfully into changing positions on the muddy ground. The machine-gun patter of the rain. The choking gurgle of the water. All night. Muffling the warning stamp of men’s boots. That dare her to come out.

With hunger cramping her abdomen. Cold stiffening her limbs. Hair, matted and wet, filtering out the running mud. Her school blouse like sponge, soaking up the running water, that washes away the stains, of blood, that is not hers. Would others dare come out? To cloak her female terror of these men?

Who were these men? Who are these others? Whose is the agonized scream she hears each time she closes her eyes?

Losing hold of her surroundings then coming back to the sound of rain falling softly on the wet ground. Strange music. Filtering through her conscious nightmare. The playful swirl of water. The pretty eddying-circles. The wanton tumbling to another level. Fading in and out of her slackening consciousness. Fainting and waking throughout the night. All night. Trying to grasp hold of who she is. What had brought her to this fearful place? Who are they who would dare to come to her?

Abruptly the rain stops. As if a voice dictated, ‘Cut!’ and the frenzied, mindless activity froze into censored silence. In the betraying stillness listening confusedly to the large drops falling without inhibition to the wet ground. Each time with an amplified ‘Plop!’. Each time reacting as if a gun had sounded. Bruising her body in the confined space.

Then surfacing from a succession of timeless absences to find water that had escaped along the gutter to the stormdrain down the street, gathering in trembling puddles around her feet; hiding in the lifeless hollow she had shaped for her head; laying trapped by the angular curves of her young body. Was she fainting? Or dying? No-one would find her.