Shadows of People

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: November 05, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 05, 2017



A fleck of sunlight shone through the clouds onto the pavement of the dark empty street. A siren sliced through the silence, echoing off the walls of houses. It was an abnormal time to be awake. Lights flickered on, voices picked up volume and engines were started.


Lying awake, as I watched the scene unfold outside, my sister lay asleep beside me, a yawn escaping her lips. Her hair draped around her heart-shaped face and her face kept no emotion. Not wanting to disturb her moment of peace, I scooped her into my arms as I grabbed our family picture and headed towards the door. Looking at the picture, I rejoiced at the thought of happy memories my family had shared. Would this all come to an end?


My parents, already strapped in, drove us towards the nearest shelter. The house shrunk into the distance. Sounds of cars overpowered my head as we headed onto the highway. I glanced towards the signs, thankful that the shelter was only slightly further ahead.


Just then, a landmine exploded. The car came to an abrupt halt. Half of the highway crumbled into the sea below. Ringing noises filled my ears as I barely made it out of the car. My parents were yelling about something but the explosion had blocked all the sound from my ears. Leaning over, I grabbed my sister, her eyebrows furrowed in confusion, and ran towards the building my parents pointed at, hoping they were following closely behind.


Sobs and cries filled the air while people mourned for the loss of their loved ones. I looked around, my parents nowhere to be found and the military forces surrounded the area. The air was thick with the smoke of the bombs, people coughing and spluttering as they ran blindly.


My sister clung onto my arm like a baby and her wails filled the air. I had held her many times before but in this moment, she seemed to be dragging me down. After a while, I no longer heard her cries, the surrounding noise increased and my thoughts became louder. My brain was overloaded with things to do; keep my sister safe, find my parents and find safety.


A woman called and pointed towards a tunnel and I ran for my life dragging my sister who stumbled to keep up with my pace. I only wished that I had given more attention to her.


Hearing that ghastly howl next to me stopped my heart for a second. My sister collapsed behind me, a bullet lodged in her chest. I sunk to my knees and cradled her in my arms as she lay lifeless. I was engulfed with a feeling of guilt, wondering if I had done enough to protect her. She seemed as lifeless as the picture in my hand. The faces in the picture began to fade.


Praying for safety, not know that this was only the beginning.


Gunshots were getting louder. If I wanted to make it out alive, I had to leave. Slipping the picture back into my pocket, I approached the end of the tunnel, looking back at my sister’s body. I didn’t know parting would be this hard. Tears threatened to spill as I gulped. Today I left my family to their end.


The tunnel opened to a forest clearing under the bright sun. People huddled around in groups with supplies. I felt alone and unwelcomed in the presence of strangers.


A group glanced in my direction as I made my way under a tree. Soon I was ambushed by new faces, three boys and two girls surrounding me, there voices and bags suffocating the space I had to myself.


They asked if I wanted to join them in the morning to travel towards the ferry station. The cost would be the last change that jingled in my pocket. At the last hope of safety, I blindly agreed, giving them all my money. They left me alone that night, to pack the rest of my things, not knowing that the only thing I carried now was the guilt that I left my family behind. I fell asleep looking at the stars, dreaming of another day with my family, tears unknowingly leaking out of my eyes again.


The sun rose the next morning, birds chirped while I straightened my dusty clothes and my short trimmed hair from the night before. I proceeded towards the group’s tent, hopeful for the journey’s success, only to find the tent empty and the campfire gone cold. Despair filled my thoughts. I looked around, hoping that they were still here and they had just moved to a different spot. All I saw last night was the shadows of people whose true intentions lay deeper within.


There was nothing left for me to try. I was all alone once again.


I sat in the middle of the clearing, only silence surrounded me. Closing my eyes, feeling the wind caress my hair, the grass tickle my arms. Emptiness is all I felt.


The familiar sound of grass crunching under shoes returned. Looking up, I glanced around. A man stood behind me in a military uniform. My first thought was to hide; the people who attacked had found the refugee camp. His expression changed my mind. He looked in control of the situation, unarmed. It seemed as if he wanted me to salute to him, a complete stranger.


There was an absence of sound between the stranger and I. We both took time to take in each other’s physiques. I noticed his uniform identified him as a colonel.


I was just about to break the silence when he beat me to it. He said the rebel forces were looking for new recruits. Many had been lost yesterday in the gruesome battle. He thought I would be a suitable candidate for the forces. I looked around at the scarce amount of people around us, just like the scarce amount of options I had left. Making the decision was effortless. At least I would have a chance to mingle with others again, make a new family.


My old family would never be forgotten. I had full intentions of joining the forces to fight against the people that separated my family. Strength flowed through my body as I went through every stitch of my memory with my family.


This time, I won’t travel to the end. This time, the end will have to find it’s way to me.


© Copyright 2018 AnnikaSinha. All rights reserved.

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