The answer is always the same “Yes, but should I pack my bazooka?” I guess you could say its code for “I’m all right, stop worrying.” Ri-Sol Ju is being tried as a war criminal along with some of the officers who made my life a living hell at Camp Fourteen, plus some other high ranking North Korean officials who are being charged with 20,500 each counts of murder, theft, accessory to murder and other fun things. They will probably be executed. Personally, I hope it’s by firing squad. Hans moved to Germany and is madly in love with a nice German girl he met on his first day there. She finally agreed to marry him after Hans’s many pleas. The wedding is in about four months and I couldn’t be happier for them. Kim-Jong Un’s body is in storage at the FBI forensics lab in Washington D.C. The Army put it there after someone tried to steal it from the Army base it was being kept at. Why anyone would want his dead body is beyond my level of comprehension, but at least it’s locked away somewhere. Amy pointed out that it’s poetic justice that his body is being locked up in a U.S. government lab when he lived his whole life hating the U.S. government. I’m just glad he’s dead. As for the nation he once ruled, North Korea is now in control of his nephew, Kim Han-Sol. Kim Han-Sol’s father was once was going to inherit North Korea but fell out of favor after a failed attempt to leave the country. He’s no older than I am, but stepped up to rebuild North Korea anyways. He has always been a supporter of Korean reunification and under his guidance that may finally happen. It wasn’t until after I gave birth to the baby, now named Isabelle, that I heard from him. The day after I got home from the hospital that I received a phone call from Han-Sol, saying he wanted to see Isabelle, Opal, Amy, and me whenever we were available. I told him to get on a plane whenever he could because my schedule was less insane than his. To my surprise, he came over three days later for a two-week visit. I guess he really wanted to see his little cousins. As he walked in the door, Opal ran up to him, gave him a big hug and said,
“I’ve heard all about you. You’re my Uncle’s kid.”
He smiled and patted her on the head. Bending over to look her in the eyes he said,
“I heard you have a cat. Can you go get him?”
Opal ran off to the other room to get the cat she had insisted on keeping after she found him in the front yard. He was a large brown tabby named Diadem. Opal picked the name out herself. In the meantime, Han-Sol sat down on the couch with Amy on one side and me on the other side.
“I don’t know where to start.” I sighed.
“Well, how did you find Opal?” Han-Sol replied.
“I used the immigration records your uncle had in his office. I’m sorry about killing him by the way.” Han-Sol let out a slight laugh
“You did what you had to do. Besides, I hardly knew the guy since I never met him. It’s fine. I’m just sorry that anyone had die to reunify Korea.” I breathed a sigh of relief. He forgave me after all.
“Tell me about Isabella.”
I spent the next ten minuets telling him all about Isabella from the time I knew I was pregnant to the day she born. I told him about how she was conceived, leaving out certain details of course, but I also told him how happy I was that I had her and how blessed I felt to have her as my own. Amy told Han-Sol about Opal and since she knew the most about her I figured that the story of finding Opal was not mine to tell. Han-Sol listened intently and was finally able to hold his newborn cousin for the first time. Opal talked his ear off, but I don’t think it bothered him at all. They played with Diadem until he got bored and left the two of them. He helped with Isabella and Opal so much that Amy remarked that he would be a great father when he had kids of his own. He smiled and told her that his future wife will be a very happy woman since he’ll help out so much. After his time was up he left to go back to North Korea to work out the details with the South Korea’s president Park Geun-hye and help restore the war and hunger stricken north. He promised to return as soon as he could and told us that he’d be happy to have Opal and Isabella visit Korea, once it was fixed and “ready for us” as he said. Opal was very sad that her new favorite person was leaving but understood that he had to leave.
We spent the next year living in Florida and listening to news about the so-called “Korean Nuremburg Trials.” My prediction about the North Korean officials was right by the way. All were executed by firing squad except for one that committed suicide in his cell. Ri-Sol Ju was able to escape the squad when the judge asked her how she would like to die and she chose to die through lethal injection, avoiding going in front of a squad of American soldiers. Han-Sol called about a week after that asking us if we wanted to come to Korea for the ribbon cutting ceremony to erase the border and officially reunify the two halves of Korea to make it whole again. I told that of course we would come and I promptly packed everyone up, got on a plane and arrived in Seoul hours later. Han-Sol was so happy to see us that I could swear he was crying. Opal and the now 13-month-old Isabella were happy to visit Korea and see Han-Sol, the cousin that sends them presents in the mail from time to time. We spent the night in Seoul and drove up to the border the next morning to complete the reunification ceremony. Right before the show Han-Sol came into the room where Amy and I were sitting with the kids and asked us to accompany him to the stage where the ceremony would be taking place. We agreed to do so and minuets later we were walking onto the stage where this historic event was taking place while a loud announcer told the audience to “Please welcome the man behind this event, Kim Han-Sol!” The audience mostly consisted of citizens who were here to witness what is a lifelong dream to many of them; some of their relatives were on the other side of a fence that had divided Korea for decades. They got up on their feet to welcome him as soon as they saw him; more people than just Opal, Isabelle, Amy, and myself love Han-Sol. He got up onto the podium and thanked the audience profusely, then went on to begin his speech.
“Today we have come here to celebrate something that I never thought was possible in my lifetime. We come here today to erase something that has long been a scar on the face of Korea: the Demilitarized Zone. This scar is also known as the 38th parallel or the border. As many of you know, this border was placed here many years ago to keep the North and South away from each other. Tensions built up over many years of separation and spilled over into war on April 17, 2014. The war raged on over the next three and a half years, bringing death and destruction along with it. The fighting finally ended on October 14, 2017, when a brave American soldier who happens to be on stage with me assassinated Kim-Jong Un. Please step forward Sierra Shapratski.”
I did as I was told. I stepped toward the deathly quiet audience and faced the sea of Koreans who were all here to see the border erased and instead got to see me. To my surprise, they all cheered and screamed love and praise at me as soon as I was separate from the pack of people on stage. They were clearly happy to see the person who helped end the long and brutal war between the two Koreas. I had to pinch the skin of my palm to keep myself from crying on stage. Han-Sol continued when the crowd died down
“This brave young women is responsible for the peace and prosperity that will reign over a reunified Korea in the years to come. She lived in the captivity of Kim-Jong Un’s home for six months until she was able to complete her mission and end his life on that fateful day of October 14, 2017. It has been about 18 months since that fateful day and I am sorry that she had to take someone else’s life to save Korea but happy that she did so to save our country from further separation. Thank you Sierra, Korea will forever be indebted to you for your services.” I stared at him in shock; I never thought that what I did was so important. He continued on,
“Now what all of you have waiting for. It is with great pleasure that I cut this ribbon and finalize the reunification of Korea.” Han-Sol picked up a pair of scissors and as he cut the ribbon I looked up at the sky, a clear sky with fluffy white clouds scattered among the endless sea of blue. It was a beautiful day in early May with the wind teasing my hair and the sun warming the backs of my hands as they sat in my lap. It was at this moment that I was finally able to answer the question that Kim-Jong Un asked me so long ago. I am Sierra Shapratski, a loving mother, brave soldier, and a loyal friend to this thing called freedom. So let that liberty bell ring in joy for the Koreans who now can find their long lost relatives. Let it ring in memorial for those who died in my arms on the battlefield, we will never forget you. Let it ring for those who worked tirelessly to bring this dream of reunification into a reality. But most importantly, let it ring in a new era of peace and prosperity for all people on Earth.