Skull Shards

I should sleep now but I can't.

Just read a journalist's report on how someone dropped two pieces of skull bones into his palm:

When Kamil introduced me to a man whose two brothers had been executed by ISIS, I assumed that had to be the tour’s horrifying grand finale, but he wasn’t done yet. He brought me into another tent where he introduced me to a woman living there, explaining to her that I was his new writer friend. Without missing a beat, she handed me these:
Source credit: Wait But Why
Whatever I was holding, it was something bad, and I didn’t want to ask what it was. I asked. He pointed across the tent to a little boy and explained that I was holding part of his skull.

The boy was an eight-year-old named Mohammad. Their family’s house had been bombed in the middle of the night during the first days of the ISIS takeover and subsequent Iraqi government airstrikes. I never learned why or if they were specifically targeted. But the end result was that this healthy little eight-year-old—

Source credit: Wait But Why
—was now this brain-damaged, partially deaf, blind in one eye eight-year-old with digestive difficulties
Source credit: Wait But Why
Now, I imagine someone rattling two skull pieces and I cannot close my eyes.

Why would a mother keep these?

How can she bear to keep this? How can he bear to see it?

Where is the father? Why are fathers always absent?

People used to use bones to scry for the past or foretell the future. But nothing like these.

I imagine the holes in his head, pieces of whitish brain splattered, bone plates moving to patch up the hole. Does such a wound ever heal?

And I imagine other boys, suffering, clutching their own skull pieces.