Something wasn’t right. A twitch in the eye of the largest official then two others, in military uniforms, stepped between me at the counter and Lena waiting with little Summer in her arms. When I craned, trying to keep an eye on them through the throng, the first official thumped his desk. I turned back.
‘We have a problem. The papers are not in order.’
Impossible. The visas had only been issued a week before.
Before I could plead my case I was whisked into another room—dirty, whitewashed walls, bare light globes, no air. I was pushed through a door that said Interview Room. Where Lena was now I couldn’t guess. My family rent apart. Coming here had been my idea. I’d been ready for petty corruption. Bureaucratic muddling. A little intimidation perhaps. But I was out of my depth now and alone.
The official returned. Threw a passport open on the table. ‘What is the meaning of this?’
I picked up the document. It wasn’t mine. A flimsy forgery. From beyond a high, barred window I heard a scream. And then a child’s whimpering.