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Heavy footsteps and voices were approaching. As the sounds grew louder, I was awaken by terrifying clamour of women. I quickly woke up frightened and still unsure of what was going on. My mother was in a panic; tears ran down her cheeks. I could see the look on her face, and I soon became fearful. She packed as much as she could; then she stopped, stood quietly and took a look at me. We heard someone screaming, “They’re coming! They’re coming!” My mother then told me to be silent. I stood there blank heart beating furiously and asked myself. “Who’s coming?” Suddenly my mother slapped me across my face, waking me back to my senses. She shouted, “Go wake up your brother right now!”
We heard shots being fired, my mother took my little brother in her hands and I took the bags. We went off. Now in that moment I was still doubtful of what was happening, but I was desperate to keep on running. We reached Mubobash which was 12 kilometres from our home. High-pitched screams began to send a faint echo of fathers, mothers and children crying. “Help! Help me!” I soon became anxious. Deafening sounds of bullets clashed in the air. With the fear of us being abducted by the soldiers, my mother had to return. She tried to keep me composed by telling me it was going to be alright; she then told me to throw away my bag. Although I kept the water containers with few foods.
We heard more shots coming closer to our direction. My mother instantly feared in that moment something horrific, would have occurred to us. She had told me “whatever happens don’t look back, just keep running with your brother” in my teary voice I replied “Mom what about you……..” as we gazed at each other and in those fractions of seconds she was there and then gone. Tears ran down my face, as I held the water and food tight. I ran nonstop with my little brother on my back. From the direction I ran from an echo from a far caught up, it was of a woman. Then I perceived my mother had gone back to distract the soldiers. My heart was beating fast I couldn’t breathe, it felt like someone was choking me. “No it’s not her, it can’t be her”. The absolute horror that made me irritated, outraged and worthless completely paralysed me. I didn’t remember being so scared in my life. And that was just the beginning. With that I decided I will survive. Not for myself but for Mother and my little brother. I ran as fast as I could. Apart from a frightening sound which occasionally rolled through the night, everything was silent. Dawn must have been approaching. I reached a tiny village where a small elderly widower took us.
I couldn’t remember it clearly but when we reached the tiny village, despite the unhappy mutterings, the small elderly widower nourished us. That same morning I woke up paralysed trembling, I was filled in fear. Thinking it was all a dream what relief I felt in that moment. It took time when the villagers took us in as their own. Although I forever will thank them till this day. Although from time to time I do still dream about my mother, I would find myself crying for her. But that was only because my brain always woke me up before such a horrific image of my mother covered my mind. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to anyway. But surely that was not my mother. Her terrifying screams, also echoes from time to time.
- Ekta Kumari
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