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Refugee

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The sound of stamping persuaded us, and I really thought they were after us till the sound started fading. I slowed down, gradually coming to a halt. I stopped Mum and Dad, and motioned for them to listen. Yes, I was right. The sound slowly evaporated. We slumped into the undergrowth, panting and puffing.

We huddled close together, trying to ward off as much cold as we could. We had been on the run from the soldiers for days now - I had lost count how many. This is the way we were meant to live. Dad believed you could not change nature. We were the refugees, and refugees we would be. Until some kind of miracle happened.

We could hear weak protests far off, followed by sharp, stone-cold orders. I thought I could picture the face of the refugees caught. Dad, who had a sharp sense of sound, was listening intently. His chin pushed forward, his hands still in the same position as when we sat down, his brow twitched occasionally. Mom and I waited for his judgment. After a while, he turned his eyes towards us. He had the look of doom as he said softly, solemnly - “It’s a few of our group. They’re done for.” The leaves rustled, and a chilling, icy wind blew. It was as if he had pronounced a death sentence.

And sure enough, a moment later, a gunshot rang past our ears, then another, followed by a prolonged echo. And then….out of the blue, I heard Sarah, my friend’s, voice. “Let me go!!” it said. My heart was torn apart. My chest suddenly felt it would blow up, and my eyes shut, hoping against hope, wishing and longing that the next gunshot wouldn’t come - but in vain. The last gunshot the longest and the most painful, and it rang through the woods. Birds, terrified of the noise, soared into the sky screeching and wailing.

I clenched my fist, my eyelids hurting from being so tight. I remembered what dad had told me - “it is a cruel world, dear. Might as well get use to it. You can’t change nature”. But I had never believed him. I believed change WAS nature. I believed it was the part of nature WE could influence. What was happening was bad enough. I did not want to lose hope - it was all I had. It was all that kept me from committing suicide. And though dad denied it, I knew he had it too. I had faith that one fine day; we would all sit round the table, worry-free. I had even pictured how dad would look when he smiled. I knew things were going to change. Even if I had to do it. I was just waiting for a chance. If only I got the opportunity…




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Maryam This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 25, 2013 at 12:29 am:
great story
 
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