She is young, no more than four with an oval face. Wild, curly hair, somewhere between blonde and brown, the color they call mouse. As pretty as a picture, a poppet with rosebud lips and large almond eyes. The spring sun has raised a sprinkling of freckles across her exquisite little nose. She clutches her dolly close. A raggedy doll worn threadbare by love.
A brisk Balkan breeze sweeps the hair from her face, she stares directly at the sun.
Her pinafore dress looks homemade. It is patched and dirty with no pockets, she has nothing except the doll.
Somebody has stolen her shoes.
She lays with her family on the riverbank. Shot in the base of the neck, downwards into the chest cavity with a handgun. Large calibre and from close range. Very close according to the powder burns.
Nobody speaks, nobody can, we have lost the will. I'm on my knees and I don't know how I got there.
The medics tag her ‘Infant Female. Name Unknown', add the map coordinates to the label and place her stiff form into a black nylon bag bound for the Kosovo morgue with the others.
The fastener is broken and I stoop to tuck her mousey hair back in and make sure she has her doll.
The sound of gunfire makes me flinch, it's not that it's near, there's no danger here. They are killing more refugees further up the road.
The wrong race, the wrong religion - just like Mouse.
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