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Sacrifices

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We are falling, through thin air, towards the clouds. I am surrounded by the sound of screams. They fill the plane as we fall. I can’t hear myself but I am sure that I am not screaming, at least not on the outside. I am thinking of everything I have loved and hated, I am remembering my life, knowing that I should try to remember before everything is over.

A hand places itself in mine and I look to see who the hand belongs to. I see my brother, sitting next to me, his face full of fear. Tears rush down his small chubby cheeks. I squeeze his hand, and then reach over to hug him. I try to stay as calm as I can amidst all of the noise and feelings that fill the air. I know that I must keep holding my brother’s hand until the end. When we are found, at least our grandparents will know that we stuck together.
I lean over my brother and look out the window. The ground is getting closer each second, as we plummet towards earth. I watch until it seems that the ground is only a foot away. There is a huge sound and vibration as the plane hits the ground. Suddenly everything goes black.

I open my eyes and peer into the darkness. Blinking a few times so as to get used to my black surroundings, I sit up slowly. My head is spinning and there is a trickle of blood running from somewhere behind my ear. I assess my situation. There is a big bump on my head and my left leg is limp but, besides that and many cuts and bruises, I am okay. I lie down and rest for a little before my first attempt at rising.

My eyes open again and I have to close them immediately because of the bright light of day. I get up slowly, realizing that I slept the night through. When I stand up on my right leg, the world starts spinning so I am forced to sit back down again. After a few attempts at rising I get up without the dizziness. I look around and realize that somehow I am outside. One of the people in the plane who had stayed conscious probably started to drag me to safety and then realized that I was going to be a pain to take care of and I might not even live. Or maybe someone thought I was their relative and wanted to save me but then realized, after dragging me a little ways, that I wasn’t who they thought I was.
On one side of me there are plains stretching as far as I can see; on the other side, about five hundred feet away, a forest lines the plains. The small aircraft lies in pieces about ten feet away. There are a few people scattered around, all of them dead. Some people are still in their seats with their eyes rolled up into the back of their heads and their clothes covered in blood, vomit or both. I see one couple holding hands and then I am reminded of my brother. Tears rise to my eyes and my throat starts to get clogged as I think about him. The six year old boy who was flying to see our grandparents, whose care had been entrusted to me, was probably lying somewhere on this vast plain, dead. I start to hobble and hop around the ruins, pain exploding through my leg every time I tried to use it.
After circumnavigating the plane, or what was left of it, I sit down on a piece of metal to take a rest. All that walking has taken a toll on my right leg. I survey the plain and spot a bundle of clothes that someone wanted to take but, just like me, got left behind. Maybe I can take those and use them for myself and as a pillow. I slowly and painfully make my way over through the tall golden grass until I reach the bundle. As I reach down to pick up the bundle it jerks. I gasp and recoil my arm. I slowly reach down again and place my hand on the cloth. I pull, only to find that it is stuck. There is something hard under the cloth so I pull that instead. The pile falls apart and reveals to me a body, which had been curled up with their knees at their chest. When I pulled the arm away the knees fell and the body had sprawled out on the grass. It is covered in blood and I can barely recognize the face. A sob catches in my throat and tears rise to my eyes. I fall to the one knee that was still intact and grab the cheeks of my baby brother in my hands. He’s not actually a baby but he is my baby. I was the one who took care of him when my dad was at the bar or drunk. I was the one who took care of him after mom died and our dad tried to beat him. I was the one who finally decided that we should fly to my grandparents to get away from my abusive father. I was the one who got him on this plane that crashed and killed so many people. I was the one who he trusted with his life, and now look what I’ve done. I start to sob, first very quietly but then I explode into tears.
I don’t know how long I cry for but I stop when I hear a noise coming from my brother. He starts to whimper and I grab his hand and look into his bloody face. He has scratches everywhere and his eyes are closed there is blood trickling from the side of his mouth. One of his eyes is black. He looks like my father does after he gets in a fight at the bar. I take off my sweatshirt and wipe the blood off of his face. It doesn’t do much but at least now I can recognize him a bit better. I don’t know what to do. My brother is in so much pain and I don’t think he’ll ever get better. I can’t just leave him here to die, but I also can’t help him and I need to find food and shelter for myself. I sit for a while, holding my brothers bloody hand and thinking about what to do.
I decide to go back to the plane and see if I can find my suitcase because I had put some food in there before we left. Slowly I stand up and hobble over to the plane. The plane is small and I had watched as they put all of our luggage into the luggage compartment so I know exactly where to look. When I find my suitcase I am surprised that it is still intact. I rummage through it and at the bottom I find an envelope, the one we found next to my mother’s body when she died. I pick it up and open it. I have read this many times but, when I read it I know my mother is with me and it brings back old memories, ones that would be so nice to have in a time like this.
My wonderful, beautiful children,
I am so sorry that I had to leave you. You will never know how much pain I went through deciding what to do .But I am sure now; dying will certainly cause me less pain than living. I know that the two of you will be able to manage; maybe your father won’t beat you as much if I’m not around. Again, I am so sorry and I love you both dearly.
Mom
I smile a little; my mom has been dead long enough so that now I can talk about her without crying. I take my suitcase down from the plane and drag it across the ground slowly, using it as my second leg. When I arrive at the ruined body covered in blood, the one that is my brother, I hear a sound, almost as if he is talking. I drop to the ground and put my ear next to his mouth to listen.

“Mommy,” he murmurs.
I grab his hand, “it’s me, Saffy.”
“Mommy,” he murmurs again. His little hand finds mine and his fingers close around my thumb. I squeeze his hand.
“Mommy’s gone,” I say. She left us to our abusive father; she left and didn’t take us with her. She was a selfish woman, the most selfish woman I have ever met. Why couldn’t she have taken us with her? I would so much rather be dead then here in this situation where everything is my fault. Dying will certainly cause me less pain than living she had written. But she was selfish and just thought about herself. Now I am not thinking about myself at all, or how much pain this will cause me. Right now I am being selfless. I wish there were some other solution but there isn’t. This is my only choice.
I let go of my brother’s hand and open my suitcase. When my mother died, she used a knife from our kitchen to kill herself. It was left on the floor and I had picked it up and kept it hidden in my drawer because I wanted to remember my mother and this was special in a disturbing way. I had not looked at the knife until I had decided that my brother and I should fly to our grandparents. Even when packing I had tried to keep it hidden. I had never thought I would use it but now was the perfect time. I find the pocket in which it was hidden and slowly, not wanting to bring back terrible memories, I take it out.
There is nothing special about this knife, it is just a normal, everyday kitchen knife, but for me, it holds so much meaning. I wish that it was just a normal kitchen knife but it could never be. I will never use the knife to cut my food because of what it has done to my mother. I unsheathe the knife. It shines very brightly as the sun reflects off of it. My hand finds its way to my brother’s and I hold on tight. I lean toward him and whisper in his ear, “I’m doing this for you because I love you.” Then I sit up and crying softly, I gently place the knife on my brother’s throat.



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