Snatched from the Editor’s desk – Prologue

I screamed, my voice ringing out like a shrew even to my own ears. “Grandma, Phuong, hurry, hurry, please come out!”

Grandma and Phuong came running out of the house.

My gaze returned to the water lapping along the shoreline. I trembled, pointing at the people floating in the ocean. “Look at all those bodies in the water!”

Grandma chastised me for shouting. “Loan, don’t yell. How many times have I told you to speak softly like a lady?”

I was frantic for her to understand my panic. “Look Grandma, there are hundreds of people out there. Something’s wrong. C’mon Phuong let’s go!” I grabbed my eldest sister Phuong’s hand and we dashed to the bay. “Oh, my God Sis, they are all dead.” I sank down on my knees and started to cry.

Phuong’s face reflected the horror on my face. “Look at the holes in their bodies,” she cried.

My tears continued to fall. “They’re bullet holes, Sis. Someone must have shot them.”

Moments later we were surrounded by thousands of strangers wanting to catch a glimpse of the dead, while we all watched in disbelief. Most of the grotesque, bloated corpses were women and children of all ages.

Grandma finally caught up with us. “What happened to these poor people, does anyone know? Loan do you know anything? What happened to them?” Tears streamed down Grandma’s face. She looked around the unfamiliar faces desperately searching for answers but everyone shook their heads in silence.

“Grandma please don’t cry. I’ll try to find out for you,” I said, but Grandma couldn’t stop the flow of her tears. She crouched down as she watched the bodies hitting against the shore.

For many weeks a constant stream of bodies arrived on our shore. Bay Gia bay had become a floating graveyard with the smell of the terrible stench of rotting flesh. We were afraid to swim among the bodies and every night my dear Grandma stayed up late praying to God to stop the massacre. But God did not hear her.

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