Diary, Page One

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Evil men are chasing us.

I don’t know why. I don’t know when or how it started. All I know is that as long as I can remember we’ve been running, Mama and Daddy and me, sometimes joining up with others and running with them until we have a difference of opinion about which way to go, or they give up and stop running, or…or get shot down.

I think I must’ve been born in a safehouse, because I’m pretty sure I recall playing with other children, and being plucked from my crib one night by my scared-looking father. There were bursts of red everywhere—explosions, I realize now—and screams. I didn’t like it, and I buried my face in Daddy’s shoulder, but I don’t think I cried. Somehow I knew, even then, that it was not a time for crying.

Since then we haven’t stayed in a safehouse for more than three days, and none in two years. I am twelve years old now, twelve years of fear. Nearly twelve years of running from Them.

Don’t ask me who They are; like I said, I don’t know. Whenever I ask Mama or Daddy about it, all they say is that they’re evil men and I have to keep my strength up, so shouldn’t I eat my vegetables, or go to sleep? My mind says how can I when I don’t know who wants to kill us? But my mouth shuts, or opens rather, and in goes the spinach or out comes the snore.

Despite our situation, Mama and Daddy taught me to read and write. The safehouse I was born in gave them books they could use to educate me, and Mama did, whenever we had a spare moment. At each safehouse we came to we would leave the books that I had mastered and take others. Poor Mama carried those around until I was nine and old enough to carry them by myself. Not that my parents wanted me to—at our last safehouse they told me to leave the books and if I had to practice, to read the street signs. But I kept as many as I could, as well as this book that is for writing instead of reading. They have become my best friends, Dickens, Tolkien, Lewis. They are my escape, my comfort. This book is my most prized possession—I store it in a valuable present, a small waterproof bag—and my confidant. Or will be, when I get time to write in it, because I have to go now. That sounded like an explosion, and Mama is tugging on my sleeve and telling me we have to leave.





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