Aisha lay on her back on the old brown boards of her living room floor. She stared at the ceiling and sighed. She twirled her dusty, mopish hair. She tugged at her red checkered dress. Her mum told her it was another inside day. They were the worst. There was nothing to do in here. ‘Play with the cat,’ her mother suggested as she walked out back to clean some clothes.
The lazy tabby purred as Aisha rubbed his belly. He writhed, trying to evenly distribute the scratches. Then he was on his feet, bounding toward a mouse who peaked his head over the sill. The mouse zipped back outside as the cat lepat up and squeezed itself through the barely open window. “No Moina!” She tried to pull him back though by his haunches. “It’s not safe out there for you!” But he slipped through her fingers.
She opened the door and ran down the street after him. Moina turned down an alley still chasing the mouse. Aisha followed him, leaping over rocks and bricks. She almost had him as the mouse was cornered in a pile of broken concrete but the mouse ran out the other side and the cat was off again.
The mouse sped down the road, cat nipping at its tail, and stuffed itself under the door of a grey house. Moina stuck her nose under the door and growled low. Aisha picked him up and he whined in protest but didn’t resist. Then the building exploded. There was a very loud noise and the wall in front of her collapsed into the house. Aisha was pushed over by the force and she thumped her head on the ground. She coughed as she breathed in the thick dust cloud.
Aisha was scooped up and held against her mother’s chest. “What are you doing?! I told you it is not safe out here!”
“I know!” said Aisha. “That’s what I told Moina.”
Her mother picked up the cat as well and ran through the oncoming surge of people who would search the house for survivors.