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This Land is Your Land

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The day had started with more hope. As you went down to empty the buckets, you politely asked to speak with your neighbour. To your delight, an audience was granted. You asked if there was any way out of this, to have your homes back and end the cramp, squalid and quite frankly disgusting attic in which you were currently living. To your dismay, the man cackled. You were asked to look around. His cousins had moved in, how could he ask them to leave now? You protested that the house belonged to you. He cut you off and gave you a backhand slap to your cheek. As you felt the hot sting, he once again reiterated how this was his land and you had no right to be here. In fact, he was being generous in his terms and was hurt by your demands. You were told you were lucky.

 

The man with the temper was not happy. He yelled in your face and explained in no uncertain terms that you were weak and you were a failure. A while ago, this may have intimidated you. Not any more. Inside you find this amusing and wonder if you're starting to lose your mind.

 

He's doing things his way now. There was a vote and he has been elected leader. He suggests a violent approach. You think and know this a bad idea. He proposes to attack the next person to open the hatch. The supplies are due later and the time is now. He looks around for a weapon and finds a large iron mallet. It belonged to your grandad. You remember him using it in the garden. Now it was to be used as a weapon. The man sits to the rear of where one of the suits pops up their head. Your gut wrenches and you hold your family tight.

 

You've never seen someone being attacked like that before. Up swung the hatch, down came the hammer and the suit almost folded in two before tumbling back down the ladders. The man held the hammer above his head and screamed something undecipherable down the hatch before slamming it shut. He leaped about manically, as much as you can while stooped over, and fixed his gaze to yours. You were told that that was how you dealt with them and that they would listen now. You looked into the man's eyes and realised that although he was functioning, there was nobody piloting him. He was gone. Part of you sympathised, another was angry at him, but mainly you were now simply paralysed with fear. You wondered what the response would be.

 

Another loft hatch opened, not the usual one, which took you all by surprise. Before anyone had a chance to scream, an envelope was tossed up and the door slammed shut. You were closest, so you read it out loud.

 

You were to be punished. They were taking some more of your living area. You were to live in only one loft space. All of you. The men in suits were coming to get the person who commited the attack. They couldn't live with the fear that someone might hit them with a hammer. They had a right to defend themselves. You wondered what their response would be. When it came you never in your wildest dreams thought such evil could exist in the world.

 

The hatch at your house flies open. Hot-head is at the other side, poised with the hammer over his hatch. He guessed wrong this time. Several suits seem to float into the loft. Everyone screams and runs over to the other side. The hammer is thrown at the suits. They dodge it. The one on the left picks it up and throws it back. It cracks one of the old men on the forehead with a sickening thud and he collapses. His wife moans and tries to hold him. He is lifeless as blood begins to trickle down his face. The suit in the middle glances down and spots a pile of crockery. He picks up a plate and sends it in your direction. You duck and it smashes on the wall behind you. Before you have a chance to glance back, another whistles inches past you. You instinctively huddle down to protect the kids. Something hard hits you on the shoulder. You cry out in pain. Now something sharp jabs you deep in your back. Are they throwing cutlery? You wonder what the hell is happening. And it keeps getting worse.

 

They are throwing and tossing and hurling anything they can get their hands on, anything than can be picked up is scooped and thrown with ferocity and amazing accuracy. And still it continues. They are coming at you, coming for you, using anything that isn't bolted down to harm you, to hurt you, to injure you, maim you. You try a glance back at them. They are like a machine with massive whirling arms, sweeping things up and firing them towards you. Big things, small things, hard things, even harder things, sharp things, blunt things. As you look, another dinner plate is sent spinning your way and smashes on top of your head. A huge, sharp pain registers inside your shaking brain and you feel the hot stickiness of blood pouring down the side of your head. You try to shield the kids as much as you can.

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