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Cause Of Death
A little girl, too young to understand the trouble her father brings upon her. Will this be the end? Will he be the cause of her death?
Her hair was swaying in the wind that was rushing past her petite body, the wheat tickling her sides. She ran at the speed of light, making all the pain disappear in the thickness of wheat behind her. Her laughter echoing over the wheat fields, the sound of a child enjoying what might turn out to be the last day of her life.
Earlier that day:
Ziva cleaned her face carefully with the piece of clothing in her hands. Washing away all the dirt from her dream. While she was combing her dark curls, she looked at the tiny piece of a mirror placed above the water bowl.
Her chocolate colored eyes were a perfect match to her naturally tanned body. Ziva let the curls hanging around her face.
She left the supposedly bathroom, entering the dining room. Her father had told her before he had left her for work that she was lucky; not everyone could afford such a nice house to live in. She had her own little room with a mattress; there was a little bathroom with a bowl for water and a hole for toilet. The dining room was the best part. There they had an oven, which not many could afford, and a table with four chairs where they could sit and enjoy breakfast and dinner.
In front of her, sitting on the chair closest to the bathroom, was her father. “Aba!” she squealed happily. “Ah, Ziva!” he placed her on his lap while she hugged him tightly.
“You are home! For how long?” she leaned to his chest, feeling it rise for every breath he took.
“For as long as I can,” he kissed the top of her head, causing her to smile, knowing little that his actions might be the cause of her murder.
“Where is doda?” Ziva asked as they walked out of the little wooden house. She looked out on the wheat-fields growing around their property. Usually Ziva could hear her aunt’s voice in the distance, singing some old tune she had heard at the radio by the store. Today it was silent. Ziva could even hear the summing from the insects living in there.
“She will be back,” her father simply answered, setting his speed up.
They walked around the little town, up into the low mountains and back to the house, just talking. She hadn’t seen her father for nearly two months, as he had been off to work in the United States of America. He had been working with a case as a liaison-officer from Mossad, with the FBI.
In his line of duty, he was forced to travel a lot. He many times told his little girl that it was all for his country, his people. And one day he might not come back, therefore he cherished the time they spent together.
Her brother, Ari, had joined the army while his father had been gone, knowing he would be more than just proud of his only son. Ziva, by order from her father, was living with her aunt in Nigeria. She wished she could move back to their old apartment by the beach of Tel Aviv, but her father told her she had no one waiting for her, like she hoped.
Ziva accepted it. She never went against her father, she knew better. If he told her to live in this abandoned place, she knew there was nothing to be done. She should be happy for what she had. That she even had a place to live. Many children down by the town lived along the waterfall and had to take care of their siblings. The oldest had to work for food so that they wouldn’t die of hunger; her aunt had told her many times, as they were out on walks up in the mountains. She loved being up in the sand covered mountains. It was warm, and she loved the feeling of power as she stood on the highest point looking down on the people walking around the fields.
She was pulled out of her thoughts as her father demanded her into the house, and to lock the door behind her. She tried asking him why, but he just pushed her towards the door.
“What do you want, gentlemen?” Ziva heard her father’s calm voice outside. It was the voice she knew he used when it evolved work. “We are here to ruin you, like you ruined us,” the voice was strong, showing no fear or uncertainties. “We did some digging, knowing that every ‘super-hero’ has a weakness. And we found yours.”
She ran into her room, packing a little backpack with what her father had told her was the most import when being forced to run. She took a bottle of water, and the bread still lying on the table from earlier. Ziva walked back to the door that was separating her from her father.
Ziva felt the adrenalin pump through her body as her father yelled “Run!” from the other side. She held the backpack in place while she ran towards the backdoor in the dining room. Ziva ran out, hearing the sound of men coming behind her. She ran with all the power her skinny legs could produce. Gunshots were being fired behind her, as she noticed that someone was following her. “Don’t you dare kill her!” He father’s voice sounded strange.
Ziva ran out to the little road that was leading from the house, the sand making it slippery beneath her sandals. The man behind her ran fast. Before she knew it, he had almost reached her. Tears were filling her eyes as she pushed herself to continue. “Little girl, I will not hurt you,” The fake promise came from the man chasing her. He sounded short breathed, but she knew he was closing in on her. Before she could react to her own actions, her mind decided to believe him. She started slowing down, and she quickly felt his hand gripping her.
The man had dark, messy hair that was sticking to his forehead. He was tall and muscular, tattoos covering his arms. He pulled her back the road she had ran, not caring that he was hurting her. Tears were running silently down her flushed cheeks. Back by the house, she was pushed forcefully into a vehicle that had been hidden on the other side of the house, making it go unnoticed by her father not long before.
The man that had been running after her entered the car on the other side. He pulled out a knife from his belt. Ziva heard her father in the distance, cursing in Hebrew, that they would not lay a hand on her. The man took the knife, sliding the unsharpened edge along her arm. The metal was cold against the thin skin, and goose bumps rose. He carefully twisted the blade so that the cutting-side hit her skin. A bump formed in her throat. Ziva felt her heart beat loudly, as he put a bit force one the knife, making it penetrate. A tiny drop of blood pimpled out from the tiny cut. She felt her face go pale as the man once again pressed it down next to the last place.
“Tell me, how old are you?” His soft voice forces her to turn and look at him in horror, not able to form words. “Answer me!” the soft voice disappeared when she didn’t answer, and he pulled the knife a little further down in the same cut. She flinched, trying to get her brain to work. “I am 10,” she gasped as he performed the same procedure again, this time with more power. Blood was starting to drip into her lap, as he pressed the knife down a fifth time. Ziva licked her lips, tasting the salty taste of tears.
“Do you go to school?” he asked as if they were having a normal conversation.
“I did when I lived in Israel,” she answered him in the same plain voice that he used, forcing her emotions back. “You’re brave for a ten year old,” he stated.
Ziva just stared at her sore arm.
“What’s your name?”
“Ziva, “she forced back the flow of tears that threatened to fall when he pulled the knife along her little arm.
“Zivah, Zivah, Zivah,” he played with the sound of her name with a hint of amusement in his voice. “You look much alike the other woman who lived here, it was your aunt, yes?” she simply nodded. He dropped her arm, and a tense silence settled.
“What are you doing to my father?” She asked, staring out through the fogged window into the wheat field.
“Payback for what he did to my family,” he played with the blood that dripped from the knife.
She looked at him, “What did he do?”
“He killed my youngest brother and my father,” Hate flashed in his eyes.
“And therefore, you are going to kill me, since I’m his weakness,” Ziva said simply, biting her tongue as he placed the tip of the knife on her thigh.
“I knew you were smart enough to figure it out sooner or later,” he smiled satisfied as he used the knife to make a flare in her knee-long shorts.
“The one that will cause him pain till the end of his life,” He laughed while pressing the knife into her leg. She screamed out in pain, feeling blood run from her thigh. “I’ll make him regret his entire existence!” he pushed the knife back into the wound, making her scream even more. Tears were rushing down her face as Ziva screamed one last time before he pulled the knife back out again.
“Damn it,” The man said as his phone started ringing. He placed the knife down on the seat between them as he answered the phone. Before he could manage to react, Ziva reached for the knife, and pushed it with all her power into the man’s side, causing him to scream out in pain. Quickly she forced the car-door open and jumped out. She hit the ground with a light “thud”. Ziva got up as fast as she could, forced herself to ignore the stinging in her thigh, and ran into the fields.
She didn’t hear anyone behind her, and as she got into the thickness of the wheat, she dared to look behind her confirming that she was alone. The corn tickled at her sides and arms. Running of all the power she had, feeling like lightning, all her past thoughts, the living nightmare, was all forgotten. Left behind her, in the thickness of the field. She couldn’t help the laughter that escaped her throat. It echoed in the wind, causing her to laugh even more. For a second she even forgot everything that just happened. Ziva continued running until she reached the end of the fields. She sat down on a rock when she felt reassured that no one was in fact following her. Maybe they left her for dead? Or at least they thought so. That the animals of the night would get her. That her young age wouldn’t be able to fight them.
The man had told her they were not after killing her father, but causing him the same pain they were suffering. It had given her a weird inner peace, knowing she didn’t have to worry about him living through it.
Ziva lay down on the ground, feeling a sudden rush of sleepiness wash over her. Before she could react, her eyes slipped closed and she fell into the deepest sleep of them all as her spirit left her body.
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