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I close my eyes and let my head sink into my pillow. I begin to feel cold and the phone rings. Goosebumps rise and travel all throughout my body.
My mom looks at me and informs me to pack a few things and to not ask any questions. I am confounded, yet I do what she says without question. As I reach my room, I wonder where I might be going. I finish putting my last article of clothing away and zip up my backpack. My mom told me to pack light, still failing to reveal anything. I was frustrated, but before I could even begin to comprehend what was about to happen, a lady knocked on our door. My mom opened it and told the lady that we’d be just a moment to say our goodbyes.
I felt my stomach nervously watching me from the ground; I felt my heart pumping its fear all throughout my body, and before I knew it I was in an unknown car, with a complete stranger driving away. The weather began to take a cold and wet turn as I watched my house fade into nothing.
A few minutes of silence went by. Finally, the lady next to me says something. She told me to prepare to get out of the car soon. I asked the lady her name, but there was no response.
As I stepped out of the car, I stopped right in front of the middle of nowhere. I felt alone. The lady quickly grabbed my arm and walked me over to a bus with a group of people of all different ages and cultures. They looked just as confused as I felt. Then, moments later, I was dragged in with the rush of people cramming their way through the bus door. At this point, I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be there, but when I got to my seat and looked out the window, the lady that brought me here got in her car and started driving away.
My anxiety began to grow as I was drowning myself in the fear of what might happen. After the first hour of being on the bus, I began to cry. The tears kept flowing out me like I had been saving them for years as if this moment was all I needed to start the waterfall. Finally, as the third hour was about to begin, an older Hispanic women came over and wrapped her arm around me. The encounter was strange at first, but I began to feel safe. I can't explain this feeling of knowing you are protected in such a place that brings no contentment. She held me close and started humming a lullaby, a melody I felt like I'd heard before, but couldn't recall when or where. Her voice felt like home as it echoed through my ear.
I opened my eyes to find myself still laying on this lady’s lap. She was still holding me tight. I slowly turned my head towards her to get a better look at who she was. Her face was carved with wrinkles and freckles. She had a slight smile as she slept which revealed her one dimple. Her skin was a golden brown. She lay there so peaceful, with a single braid woven from her gorgeous dark brown locks. She was old and had surely lived.
I must have woken her, cause her eyes began to slowly rise. She smiled warmly at me. We then began a conversation instantly, and by the end of it, I knew everything there was to know about her. I told her about myself, and what had happened to me that morning. Then, the bus jerked forward. My seatbelt grabbed my chest and held it sternly. I take a deep breath and look out the window. The site was alarming as ten police officers stood in a line. One walks out from behind and moves toward the bus door. He then orders everyone to get off immediately. I'm not sure why we all acted so obedient in such an unearthly situation. It seemed unfair for no explanation.
The man then commands a line in order to call the roll. After hearing many foreign names called, I hear my name, but it wasn't my name that I hear every day. It was the name I had been given at birth. It was puzzling to me why that name still existed.
The men tell us to go through security to check to make sure we didn't bring anything of value, although this made no sense to me. They took all of our money and held our phones from us. Then, without warning, all but three of the men left us. Just standing there, in the middle of nowhere, all 45 people, lost and confused. It was sick. Finally, a lady walked over from a tent in the distance and told us that she would be dividing this group up.
I ended up staying there with a smaller group of people that night. Fortunately, the lady I had met on the bus was still with me. The night was bitter. All I had eaten was a cold bowl of broth. I was woken up in the middle of the night by the wind pressing against my tent. I had to use the restroom and spotted an outhouse across the campsite. It wasn’t too far, but it was dark and I was the only one up. I ran to it, shivering through the wind. As I opened the door and began to find an open stall, I stopped in my footsteps. I heard a door creak, but it wasn't to the outhouse. I quickly turn my head behind to see if I was being followed. No one was there. I hurried to a stall and shut the door and began to lock it, and then that’s when I heard it. A gunshot. Loud and clear. I could hear my breath struggling to keep silent as my heartbeat began to race. I was all alone and had nowhere to run. I was truly hopeless.