In all the chaos I forgot my book. It was something that made me a different person, in any scenario. When I was scared, I clutched my book. When I was happy, I buried my face in the book. When I was lost, I would turn to the page with answers. It was my sanity in writing and it was the book I wrote with my heart and soul.
I did not write this book for anyone else, because it would not hold the same value in anyone else's hand. It would be my safety in a book. A remarkable piece of self-help. However, it was under my pillow back home and we were three days ride from home.
“I worry about my parents,” my mother told my father driving the car. “My mother said they left, but-”
“I know your mother,” my father groaned. “She may say things and not do them, but she isn’t stupid. Your parents our out of danger, but us-”
“Not in front of the kids,” my mother stopped him.
My father inhaled deeply to regain his patience and soon they fell silent once more. The countryside passed us by, I counted the houses that seemed so empty; one-hundred-and-seventy-nine. I counted the cars that were left behind; thirty-nine. The pets left watching us over the fence; eighty-five.
My sister; four years, six months and eight days; was sleeping so calmly in the seat beside me. I envied that bliss, that wonderful ignorance, that freedom of stupidity. She was truly the best of us in that moment, but I believe it was for that reason she was so valuable to us.
I was a decade older than her and already I felt my parents care about be decrease. It would be emotionally destroying if they worried about us both constantly, especially for my mother. It’s why I did so well in growing myself. In enforcing the idea that I could take care of myself. It is why I wrote that book.
Now, with foreign soldiers marching onto our land, soaring through our skies and rolling their massive machines down our school streets; I felt terrified. To think we had to leave it all behind though that made me angry. Funnily enough, I didn’t have a page in my book for dealing with anger, so I didn’t feel so bad without it. I just needed to stay angry.
“Honey, please, sit back down,” my mother told me.
I was staring out of the back of the window. I wanted to see if anything was following us. I didn’t see anything, but I wanted there to be.
“We should be arriving at our next stop soon,” I heard my father murmur.
Sure enough, the car came to a stop and my gaze lingered on the road behind us only a moment longer before I climbed out with my family. I waited near the car, watching my sister, as my parents approached a group of other people who were fueling up their cars as well.
I didn’t pay them any attention and I didn’t need to, as I soon discovered. My sister woke up and eyed be lazily from her seat. My eyes flicked to the road behind us and it was still empty. The problem was we were downhill, so if I did see something crest over the edge we wouldn’t have much time to get moving.
A second later, that didn’t matter. If I didn’t turn to look back up the road I’m sure the back of my head would have been blown off. Instead, I felt my heart stop for a moment and burning sensation on the side of my head. Next, I felt a faint tickle of a trickle of blood before a splash of red.
The pain came next and I raised my hand to my ear, covering the wound and yelling out. I wasn’t the only one screaming as I heard a commotion behind me. Turning, I saw several bodies laying the ground and the rest wounded. Mother and father were laying with the rest of them while a man ran over to us with a wounded shoulder.
“Get in the car, kid!” he yelled as he climbed inside.
The other people were fleeing to there vehicles only to be cut down in a spray of red. It was horrific, the helplessness one feels in such a situation. Bullets hitting people with deadly accuracy, cut down the majority while only the lucky fools who moved in the right instant lived. That’s exactly what the stranger, my sister and I were. Lucky fools that were hurtling down the road at great speeds. I felt the terror, I felt Death’s cold whisper as bullets hit the car.
My sister was confused while I held her, the stranger driving fast. Glancing back I couldn’t make out any cars or pursuers, but something was chasing us. Bullets still hit the car and I found it impossible for anyone shoot such distances. Truly, there was never a war so unnatural than this one.
Soon, the inevitable happened. A bullet pierced glass and flew past me, killing the driver. The car slowed and the wheel turned and soon we were off road. Still, we were fortunate to go to the right and not to the left. To the left there was a long drop we would not survive, but to the right we simply hit a tree in a slowing car.
My sister began to cry softly, bordering on wailing. The world to me was a dizzy mess, a grisly accident and grim fear clouding everything I saw in cold colour. Even the blood seemed more purple than red.
I opened the door and pulled my sister into my arms and began to walk up the road. A bullet hit the road beside me and I stopped. There was nowhere to go and I could not escape the people who chased me. I apologised to my sister and placed her on the ground, too tired to hold her any longer. I waited there with her, holding her hand.
Instead of another bullet, I heard footsteps. Footsteps belonging to dark figures, dressed in leaves and other forms of disguise to make them invisible in the right surroundings. The soldiers walked past me and my sister, showing no interest.
I felt the cold welcome of war as the soldiers passed me. My sister and I both did.