I shot from my sleep at the sound. My head snapped to Livia who was whimpering. I held her in my arms, my instincts had me scanning her body. She appeared completely unharmed.

“Livia?” I questioned. My voice hoarse from sleep. Her whimpers grew loud as she gripped me hard and tugged me closer.

“M-Mia…” she mumbled.

“Yes, darling it’s me, open your eyes.” I cooed. As if on command, her eyes emerged from under her lids. Livia flinched within my grasp, suddenly thrashing to be released.

“…let me go!” she screamed.

“Livia, it’s me, Mia.”

She stopped moving at the sound of my voice. Tears sprang from her eyes as she launched herself into my arms, her cries turning into sobs.

Is this what she goes through every night… alone? Guilt stabbed me in the gut. All those nights I told myself i was busy to visit her were excuses. I should’ve made time for my sister.

“Tell me what’s wrong, love.” I said softly. My hand stroking her back soothingly, her sobs getting smaller until they were mere sniffles.

“I-I…” Livia tried to speak within her sniffles.

“It’s okay, you can tell me what happened.”

“I-it was dark and…and he had a gun. Mom.. Dad…” her subtle figure again broke into a series of sobs and whimpers.

Seeing her like this shattered my heart. I cannot even imagine what kind of emotional stress she must’ve been suffering for her to break down like this. A sense of guilt crept inside me as I felt regretful. Regretful that she is the only one who remembers, only one who’s being tormented, tortured, while I escape from it because of the so called amnesia.

Sometimes I feel grateful that I don’t remember. Aren’t I a selfish human.

I only remember bits and pieces, the physiological torture taking a toll on me making me forget.

All I remember is the sound of gunshots, cries of agony, pain…so much pain that it physically hurts thinking about it, lifeless bodies filling up the basement, two of my own parents.

Livia told me after I woke up from an endless sleep of two weeks about what had happened which made me remember these small details. She told me our parents were murdered by a gang leader called Shinji because Dad apparently started a gang called Levough which became quite famous in the Underworld. Fame leads to enemies and Shinji became furious of the attention Levough was gaining. To stop weeds to grow, one has to cut down its roots, and that’s what Shinji did.  They ripped it apart piece by piece. They left me and Livia with nothing to hold on except fear.  After all, emotional suffering is more severe than physical. Wounds heal, but the memories which are the bearer of those wounds will forever haunt us.

Livia saw Mom and Dad. She saw when the Shinji put the bullet in our Dad’s heart. She saw them slitting our Mom’s throat, taking their sweet time, torturing her. She saw them being brutally murdered.

Imagining the heartbreak and emotional suffering that she must’ve been carrying with her all this time brought tears into my eyes and I held her even closer than before. We both shed silent tears of each other’s loss and of our own sufferings.

After a while when I felt her calm down a bit I said, “Livia my dear, we have to move on now, I know it will be difficult but dear we cannot lose hope. We now have to move forward, towards another chapter of our lives. I won’t say anything about forgetting the past, however, Livia dear, we all can try not to let our fears overcome us, not to let our traumas get in between our dreams and not to let it shatter our hopes and views on life.”

I felt her nod against my shoulder. We both laid down, me whispering sweet nothings into her ear – telling her that time will heal everything and everything’s going to be okay.

Eventually she fell asleep.


Sumiya Mohsin
Batch of 2018-19