Quick Note on Background: I wrote this short story for my grade 11 English exam. The theme that year was social justice, and child soldiers were the easiest to write about. So, I created Musannafa.
I hope this helps with understanding where the story came from.
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Some people just do not get the concept of war, Musannafa thought as he walked through the suburban area he called home. At thirteen, Musannafa saw what most would only have nightmares about.
He'd been away from Somolia for two years now, and his English was better, thanks to the tutors his adopted mom got him. He liked watching the kids in his neighbourhood play. It reminded Musannafa of happier times.
It reminded him of before he joined the rebels.
Musannafa was only five when insurgents took him from his mother and older brother. At five years old, Musannafa had a wild imagination. He thought the soldiers were taking him on an adventure like the ones Isaiah - his older brother - read about.
Some adventure! Musannafa was shoved into barracks with boys his age. He could fire an automatic weapon by the time he turned six, and was capable of committing murder with no remorse at age ten. It was then Musannafa was ordered to kill Isaiah and his mother.
At age eleven, Musannafa lost his left leg to a landmine. The commander in charge of him had him beaten to within an inch of his life. Musannafa was left to die in the middle of a field when an aid worker found him.
Through a translator, she talked to Musannafa. It was the first time he talked to a stranger, let alone a white woman. She grew attached to him as she helped him learn about his amputation. She adopted Musannafa as her own. Within six months, he was whisked away to a strange land with cold white fluff that melted every spring. Canada, Musannafa learned, was his new home.
He sat down on a park bench and thought about his life in Canada. He was happy: Musannafa could read like Isaiah. He even made a friend - Sam White.
A little girl poked Musannafa's arm. She looked to be five years old and was as innocent as he once was.
"I was wondering if you'd like to play with us," the girl said.
Musannafa smiled. She was adorable, like any other five year old. "I cannot," he answered simply.
Musannafa stood and showed her his artificial leg. "Trust me; some games are too dangerous to play," Musannafa said.