One afternoon, when Bruno came home from school, he was surprised to see Father smartly dressed in his uniform and heading to the door.
“Papa, why are you leaving again?” Bruno asked, a little cross, for Father had only returned last night after a three-day duty, and he was looking forward to tell him about his adventures at school. “Are you going to stop the bad guys again? I don’t like it.”
“Son, society has been in chaos recently,” Father said. “People are turning violent. I need to go and help my colleagues.”
Bruno was baffled. According to Shannon, the people were arguing about an “Extra Law” and were fighting for their freedom. “Why is everyone fighting about this Extra Law? I don’t like it,” he said for the second time.
Father grimaced, his eyes hardening. “Some people are foolish. They believe that protests and violence can be exchanged for their foolish demands.” For some unknown reason, he glanced at Shannon’s room and sighed, puzzling Bruno a great deal. “Anyway, I have to go now. Stay safe.” He ruffled Bruno’s hair fondly and left.
Bruno looked sullenly at the closed door. He did not understand a single thing Father just said. He didn’t care about the Extra Law, he only wanted Father to be there with him every day. I guess Father must be doing the right thing, he thought. His heart swelled with pride as he thought of him in the handsome police uniform.
Suddenly, the door was opened abruptly and Shannon ran inside. Bruno gasped as he saw his sister. She had a swollen eye, a cut on her right cheek, armed with helmets, umbrellas and drenched in blue water. Bruno was speechless. In his thoughts, he questioned, what is wrong with the world? Everything is going crazy!
“What happened?” he asked, barely hiding his curiosity. “You’re hurt! We have to tell Father–”
“Never tell Father!” Shannon spat, with such viciousness Bruno jumped. “No one needs to know. He was the reason I got hurt,” she muttered under her breath. This only confused Bruno more.
“What? Why would he hurt you? Father said he loves us and he’s only going to help stop the bad guys!” Bruno continued. “Don’t worry. He promised they will be stopped soon.”
However, this seemed to make Bruno’s sister even more agitated. She opened and closed her mouth several times, and with no warning, burst into a flood of tears.
Bruno was horrified. What had he done? He had never seen his sister cry in such a ridiculous fashion. He grabbed a wet cloth and handed it to his sister. “Don’t worry,” he whispered. “Soon everyone will be happy about this Extra Law.”
They washed Shannon’s wounds and treated her eye. But the blue water didn’t go no matter how hard they scrubbed and how long they washed it. Bruno did not understand how his sister got it. “Why did you shower in blue dye?” Bruno said in disbelief. “It’s not going off!”
“Bruno, don’t try,” his sister said. “It’ll take days to fade.”
She took Bruno’s hand and led him out onto the balcony. He watched her figure, completely dressed in black, with the city night lights. He joined her, and they looked down at the magnificent city below.
“Bruno, look,” Shannon said. “Do you see the war below?”
Bruno was admiring the scenery when he heard it. Shouts broke the silence of the night, followed by shots and screams. Straining his eyes, Bruno saw a mob of people dressed in black in the distance, who he assumed were the bad guys, chanting words he didn’t understand. On the other side, he could see the police, and his heart soared as he remembered Father was one of them.
Bruno glanced at Shannon. His heart sank as he realized his sister dressed just like the “bad guys”. The sudden realization left him dazzled and dismayed. Shannon and Father were against each other. They were on different sides. In a blink of an eye, everything made sense. Bruno had noticed a tension between them, and they never talked nowadays.
Below him, shots rang out once again. People screamed and fell. Bruno felt tears welling up in his eyes. Why were people hurting one another for this Extra Law? What happened to our family? He thought helplessly.
Drops of tears began sliding down Bruno’s face. As he buried his sobs in his sister’s hug, all he could think of was his home in pieces, torn apart by the Extra Law. Silently, sister and brother stood hand in hand, and Bruno started praying. He wished for the fighting of the Extra Law to end soon, for Father and Shannon to start talking again, and for peace to return to his beloved city – Hong Kong.
Beautifully written story and very deep. Thank you for sharing this with us.