I awoke from a fitful sleep to hear people yelling at each other. The rest of my family was awake and my mom was calling for me.
“Nyla why are you sleeping? Help calm down your sister,” my mom told me.
I helped calm down my sister, Mece while she comforted my baby brother, Fishy. Our dad went outside to see who was arguing and why.
“Nyla, help get Mece ready for school,” my mom told me.
“Yes Mom,” I answered.
I got into my school uniform, an ugly dress with gold and brown stripes. Across the back blared the words Time Traveling University. Then I helped Mece get into hers. Mom passed us our lunch sacks and told us to have a good day at school.
“In 2015 the apple people invented the iphone 6’s and the people enjoyed them,” the teacher droned on.
I wasn't listening though I was thinking about the books in the forbidden part of the library and why they were such good books and why the kids couldn't read them. But then the teacher called for me and I didn't hear.
“Nyla what made the iphone 6’s so popular?” The teacher asked, “Nyla?”
My feet touched the ground and my head came back to reality so quickly it was probably like how you felt when you time traveled in one of those time traveling things they have now.
I quickly responded, “After you take a picture, you would move around afterwards, and when you went back to the camera roll and held down on the picture, it would move just like how you recorded it before,” I stated.
Then I didn't ever doze off in class again or else I knew I would be in huge trouble with my parents. So the rest of the day was the normal boring classes and everybody just sat there like nothing was going on in the world. The next thing I knew it was time to go home from school.
I got home, turned on the radio, and listened.
“The government is going to go through all of the houses looking for things that people aren't supposed to have,” the TV reporter said. “They will take all of the christians and put them in a ghost town to fend for themselves with only one pack of water and only two cans in each house.They will have to live like that for weeks and months and maybe even years. Also the children will be put out to survive on their own,” the man brutally added.
My mouth dropped open “Mom! Quick! Hide all the rosaries the government is coming to check the houses! The Christians will have to be put in a ghost town! We will have to live alone in the wild!” I yelled
My mom came running down the stairs “Hold on honey, repeat that! I only got a few words out of your fast talking run on sentences.”
As I repeated my words slower, and my mom’s eyes became wider with every word and her mouth hung open. Then she quickly went and hid the rosaries and I turned the radio back on to see what town and state they were at, and the houses.
“The People are approaching the west side of Volgaria and are at house 322,” the man said
That was 13 houses away from ours. I told my mom and we quickly told everybody else to go on with normal business and act like nothing ever happened.
Knocking on our door told me they were here. I called for my mom to come downstairs and she told me to go do my homework in my room. They knocked again and my mom yelled “Coming!” I dashed upstairs just as the door creaked open. I faintly heard the usual routine about what religion you were assigned to and what your religion was before the government gave us that religion.
My mom responded glumly, “We were assigned Buddhism, and before that we were Catholic.”
“Yes ma'am,” the man responded, “Did you listen to the radio and hear what they will do to discovered Christians.”
My mom said that she knew and the man and his friend started searching the house for other religious items besides the statue of buddha. They clanked around and I heard them picking things up and dropping them.
Time passed and it was silent besides the sound of things falling off shelves and things being picked out heavily and being put down heavily too. At one point some glass shattered and the guy mumbled, “Oops”. My mom rushed up the stairs and sighed very loudly. That was a meaning that it wasn't very important. She came to my room and told me that it was just a statue of buddha. I sighed too it wasn't my mom's favorite glass angel that she bought at the market just before our religion became buddhism.
They finally left fifteen minutes later. My mom said that they broke some other things that didn't matter and that they left her room in shambles, but that was it. Then, we turned back on the radio.
“We have found 3 families that are Christians and they don’t even know it.” The reporter said, “We are going to do the same thing to all of them. The only kids we have found will be put away, and so far we have three children. They will go to the last ghost town we have. There are two sisters and one brother.”
My mouth dropped open. Could they be talking about us? I called for my mom and told her about the kids and how they were brother and sisters and that the kids could be us. She told me to calm down and that it couldn't be us, because she hid the rosaries in the secret compartment that our dad built when we first moved in.
“But. . . but what if they. . . they found out we would be put out there in the wild to fend for ourselves, and well, die -an-an-and I don’t want to be separated from you and Dad,” I said.
Mom was talking but I wasn't listening. What if it was me, Mece, and Fishy? What if this happens, we hurt ourselves, and we wouldn't have any materials to help us? We would die.
It was hard. It ended up being one of my friends in class who was a good kid and a good Christian along with also being buddhism, too, like our family. I imagined her and her sister and her brother in a ghost town with nothing to survive on. I never was her friend. She always was part of the popular group and had a boyfriend. But now I wish that I was her friend, because she was a really nice kid.
The school day dreaded on without her, and all of her friends were crying and her boyfriend was sad. He didn't even play with any of his friends, and he didn't play football. I also tried to comfort her friends but they didn't want the comfort, and neither did her boyfriend.
I told my mom that it was the girl from school.
“Oh honey, I’m so sorry,” My mom said.
“I hope her friends are ok, and also her flute,” Mom joked, just as the priest looked at me.
“Mom, it’s not funny. What about her sister and her brother? What would her family think? They’re probably so frightened that she was gone with no materials to help her.”
The rest of the days went by quickly and nobody else got caught. And then Sunday rolled along and it was time to go to church. Buddhist church and Christian church. Christian church started secretly at 12:00 at night, ending at 1:00 am.
“We are related to catholics because we both believe three things. They have a trinity, The father, The son, and the holy spirit. We have the Three Refuges.” the priest said.
I dozed off and my sister woke me up.
“Nyla, what are you doing? If the priest caught you, he would call you out in front of the whole church,” Mece said.
I woke up all the way and the priest was still blabbing off harmlessly. I snapped to attention as the priest looked at me. Then he continued on blabbing away. Then before I knew it it was time to go home from the temple and get ready to go to church.
We headed of to church in secret and we saw nobody else. We left Fishy at home or else he would be to loud and attract too much attention. Fifteen minutes later, we arrived at the church. We walked in and everyone turned to look. That was a rule. You have to turn and look if a new person came into the church. If it was a guard, you would be able to hear them, but they still might be silent somehow.
The church started and we all sat quietly as the priest talked about how if we got caught, we should be calm and pray for God and Jesus to help us through the hardest times.
Then we all heard clomping, and the priest jumped up and quietly whispered to us about the shed in the back, and he told us to go there and stay quiet. He also said to pray. To pray for the guards, the government, and the rest of the people who might hurt Christians.
“Go. I’ll be okay, so don’t you dare make any noise. I don’t want them to find you,” he said, “Now GO GO GO!”
We all ran and hid but when the priest was talking, we had lost precious time. The guards started talking.
“I think there must be people in here,” the first one said.
“What if there is nobody? We’ll be in trouble and boss will get mad,” said the next.
“There might be some.”
We were all quiet as they talked. The first let out a line of cuss words I wouldn't dare to repeat. Same with the second. Then they started fighting that the first had stolen the second word, and so forth. We all thought that we should go and leave but someone decided it would be too risky. We also wondered about the priest. What would he do? What if he gets caught? It’ll be all our fault.
Ten minutes passed and nothing was to be heard, so my dad and the other dads went out to see what had happened. They walked away swiftly, like a cat stalking its prey.
“Let's go,” my dad murmured under his breath. Then they all escaped cleanly. All of the women and children started a swift conversation about the guards.
“Well what if they get hurt, they might die along with us,” uttered Mrs. Lany.
Mrs.Lany is a old women who came from Europe. She came here 23 years ago.
Then, an argument started. Everyone said that they would be fine but Mrs. Lany disagreed. All of us kids (5 of us) went further away from the women and played Toot Toot Toot, a game where you chose a person, and one person couldn't hear the name. Then you would all say “toot toot toot” and the person with the chosen name doesn't say it. And the person who is it (person who wasn’t supposed to hear the name) will have to guess who it was, and you get the point.
So we played that until all of the dads came back. They came back an hour later.
“Dad! Dad! Dad!” I cried, happy to know that he was alright and we were too.
“Everybody calm down. Yes, we are ok, and the guards have left,” announced Mr. Lany.
We all listened as they told the story of how they smacked the guards upside the head and that they should be out for another day or two. They said that we better go quickly before they find out.
So we went. Nobody said a word as we came back home. When my family got to the house, we went to bed right away, even though Fishy was wide awake.
We woke up the next morning, and we were all exhausted. My mom and dad told us we could stay home from school, and my sister and I were relieved. So we spent the entire day relaxing in our house while everyone else got to go to school. So unfair!
So we spent the day relaxing, reading, and just relaxing some more. Most of the kids at school probably wonder where we are, while we were wondering why they even went to school.
The rest of the day went by fast, and our mom went to our school to pick up our homework while we stayed home with Fishy. But then something happened.
Mece tripped and fell, landing on my leg. I cried out in pain. Why did this have to happen to me? I quickly called Mom and told her what happened.
She quickly replied, “Ok, but be on the lookout for government people. There looking around for us and the rest of the church.”
So that's what we did. I sat there while Mece looked out the window for the people. My leg hurt so bad, I was crying out every 5 minutes.
Soon my mom came home and she tended to my leg and took me to the hospital. I passed out from dizziness
“Will she be ok?” my mom said.
“Yes keep keep her at home for a week or two and don’t let her outside,” The doctor said.
Then I dozed off again from the pain in my leg.
I awoke and saw a light. No, I'm just kidding. I saw Mom peering down at me. And to a searing pain in my leg, and I cried out in pain.
“Honey It's ok. Try not to move,” Mom said
I fainted from pain again. As my mom said something else, I couldn't figure out what she said.
The rest of the days went by fast and I hardly remember them, it hurt so much. All I can remember is how much pain was in my leg, and how Mom told me I had one of the worst breaks that the doctor had ever seen.
Finally, it was time for me to go back to school, so we went. Everyone puzzled where I had been, so I told them that I broke my leg and how the doctor told me to stay home for a few weeks. Everyone wanted to be my friend so suddenly. I hardly had any friends. I mostly only kept to myself. But so suddenly I had like, six friends.
I learned that I had missed 10 history quizzes and 2 tests. I sighed. This was gonna be a long week.
History was my favorite subject. If I didn't get an A in it, I would be busted.
So I started with the quizzes. They were all simple, like World War II, and stuff like that. I was the only kid who knew a lot about World War II. So I started with that and continued on with random stuff that had happened from 2369-2934.
By the way, us 6th graders are Class of 4023. Ugh, so complicated. So I continued and thought about World War 3. I did my research a month ago on why the government changed the numbers to always be present instead of roman numerals.
I finished the first 8 quizzes and one and a half tests, when I decided to take a break.
“Mom, I’m taking a break,” I called
“Ok,” she responded.
Soon, I had finished all of my quizzes and tests. Eventually, it was time for church.
“Nyla are you ready?” my dad called to me.
“Yes, sir,” I responded the way I would be responding at the temple and church.
“We are not here to celebrate,” the priest grimaced, “Christmas.”
In my brain, I thought about how we would be in church in 30 minutes, talking about real stuff.
We headed off to real church while the snow tumbled down all around us. We walked into a dusty church. Nobody had gone, because of the events that happened weeks ago.
Soon people started trickling in. We were all nervous. What if the guards come? What about this what about that? We all worried.
Then we started.
“We all are frightened about what happened 6 weeks ago,” the priest laid his hands on the podium, “We need to fight for what's right. We should all be free, and we should all be able to be Christians. We won’t be in hiding anymore. So, the parish and I decided we will create a army. An army of us and everyone else who thinks it is wrong to have our religion chosen. You are probably thinking, ‘How are we going to convey the word about this army?’ Well, I will handle that,” The priest raised his hands and said, “Now go and announce the gospel of the Lord, go in peace.”
We all escaped quickly. As we walked home, we all thought about how we would fight. Would we fight like Martin Luther King Jr.? Or like the Revolutionary War?
Once we got home, we went to sleep and I dreamt about how the war would be, and what it would be like.
I woke up and went down stairs to eat breakfast, which was, as usual, cereal. I hogged it down and headed upstairs to get dressed.
Mece followed me upstairs, “Nyla, will you help me with my homework? It’s due tomorrow.”
My sister, Mece, was working on a two page essay that has to do with World War II and the leaders. So I said yes. I was the best person in my grade that knew the most about the world wars. We headed to school in our itchy dresses, and dress shoes.
“ Who knows who started World War I,” The teacher asked. I nervously raised my hand, and nobody else raised there's. “Nyla,” The teacher asked.
“Nobody knows,” I said nervously. “There are many theories.”
“Good job Nyla,” The teacher exclaimed. “Nobody knows, but still many people think they are right.”
The rest of the school day droned on to science, math, gym, music. I got praised in math for knowing a simple math problem: g=(43 x 28) - 584. Simple. 26.
When I got home I started my history homework. At my school, we only have homework for one subject every year. This year, it was history.
When I finished it, I helped Mece with hers. It was easy. Just the usual stuff that other people can’t understand. Afterwards, I headed to my room to attack my homework.
“Nyla, have you finished your homework?” Mom asked.
“Yes,” I called back
“Ok there is going to be a special meeting tonight about how to start the army,” Mom yelled.
“Why tonight? I was going to-,” I tried to find an excuse. “Read.”
“You can read any time, it's only one night a week now-.”
“So the meetings will be during church?” I cut her off.
“No. We will have church on Sunday, and the meeting will be on Thursday nights. Would you like to have a war planning meeting in your house when you're supposed to be having a dinner party?”
I sighed. Now I had one less day a week to do my own stuff with my own time.
“We are all here to decide which way we will attack. Will we attack in secret? Or in a calm peaceful way? Well, we will vote on which will win. Lets vote,” the priest proclaimed.
So we voted and I voted for the peaceful way. It took him almost months (that's what it felt like) to figure out the difference between the votes.
“So I’ve tallied the votes,” the priest started “and I came up with peaceful.” Several people booed and awwed, while most people cheered.
The meeting went on and he talked about the ways we would approach them first. With letters with no return addresses.
Then, the two hours were over and everyone headed home in the cold.
“Well, we must do what the priest said if we want to be,” Dad lowered his voice, “Christians.”
Mom lowered her voice, “John, be quiet. If the cameras pick up your voice . . . we’re goners.”
“I know, I just don’t want any violence in the world. I mean we don’t want another World War. We’ve had four already,” Dad said.
We went to bed while my parents talked about the war letters, as each family was to write one.
The days passed. Soon it was Saturday. Soon it was the day to send the letter to the church. So we did and we got a reply back about the note and how good it was.
Time passed and they announced it on the radio. Whoever did it would be busted, and how we would go to jail and be beheaded.
We hardly realized that we had put ourselves into too much trouble and that we could be caught and we would be in big trouble. But we still did it, still we should be more - much more careful.
We didn't know a war would soon start. And us and our church would lead it all...