I gaze, thoughtfully, at the bright blue sky and then the barren earth. There is only so much time left for me. I am only fourteen years old. I am in hiding, but it won’t be long before I am found. The few of us left in this desolate place are quickly taken into slavery or worse—gunned down on sight. The rebel army from the mountains will find me too. I try not to be scared, but the wondering and the waiting are perhaps worse than what might actually happen to me. If they don’t find me, I will probably starve to death and I don’t wish for either ending.
My mind wanders now, lack of water to drink is leading to dehydration, and then I pray for rain, but thus far, prayer as not changed my situation. I am reduced to licking up dew on the rocks. Rain would be so wonderful, but in the now almost barren piece of landscape, I am also afraid of the wild dogs; once family pets. They are now as wild and hungry as I am.
I was lucky to find this hiding place on a rocky mound. It gives me a safe place to hide and to sleep, but the moon is so bright that it is hard to sleep and night time gives me little safety. The wild dogs hunt day and night. I am safe for now, because then can’t reach me in my hiding place. My memories of home and family just make me sad, so I try not to think of them or wonder what happened to them. I fear that they must be enslaved or dead by now.
I climb up to my rocky crevice—it is warm and comforting. I watch the moon’s light dance across the land that I can still see from my safe place. I must have fallen asleep because I am awoken by voices and I don’t move a muscle or hardly breathe. The voices, could it be or am I dreaming? I must be dreaming.
“Clara, if you are here please call out to us, we miss you and we can only stay a few minutes before we must leave this god foretaken place forever.”
“Mom? Mom? Is that you? I thought you were gone or dead?”
“My sweet girl, we came to find you and please hurry, we must go now.”
“I am coming.” I quickly climb now and I find my mother, father, and little brother all looking up at me with big smiles.
We gather around each other and then my dad picks me up and carries me. I must be as light as a feather. My dad leads the way and I see a Jeep waiting not far away. We move quickly, almost at a run. My young brother and I are placed in the back seat and they climb into the front. “Seat belts please,” I hear my dad say. Dad starts the Jeep just as mom closes the Jeep’s right side door.
“Where are we going?” I whisper, to afraid to say anything above a whisper.
My mom answers back, “To a beautiful place across the sea where we will all be safe from all the guns and all the senseless killings and destruction. We will be taking a ship to a faraway place where there are no guns, no destruction.”
I smile and take a deep breathe and exhale slowly. I am home at last with my family. I watch as the barren landscape appears to disappear as clouds of dust billow behind us. An exciting adventure awaits are family, I muse, as well as a safe place to live and to grow up! I sit back, sigh, and wonder, is there really no other choice but to run away from the country we once loved? And, what happens to all the others who wish for peace and a good life, but have no means of escape? My moment of glee dissolves into sadness and regret.