Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Toronto, ON
In before the lock
I lay quietly, listening to the overwhelming silence. I lie in wait and try to pass the time, reminding myself why I am here. As I start to recall the memories the pain joins them in my mind.
It was 1984. I was only 15 years old. My family and I had managed to escape from our village as one group of the invaders raided it. We barely escaped with our lives as we watched our village, our home, our belongings, and our friends burn to ash. We ran and ran and ran until we came to another village. Most of the village didn't want us to stay there, but there was one family who welcomed us with open arms. It turned out that they had also escaped from the same group who had attacked our village. My family stayed with that family for 6 months. We helped around the village, cleaning what needed to be cleaned, working in the fields, doing whatever needed to be done.
Then it happened.
They came again.
That time we couldn't escape.
My mother told me and my two brothers to go and hide in the basement and she told my brothers “Protect your sister before anything else”. And they did. We ran to the basement and hid in the cellar, but my younger brother didn’t make it. I watched as the bullets riddled his body and as the light left his eyes. I cried out and my older brother shoved me into the cellar and slammed the heavy wooden door behind us. He locked it as quickly as he could while I ran to the back wall of the cellar. As my brother came towards me I heard them trying to break down the door. I heard screams of pain above me and smelled wood burning. I thought for sure this was the end. I hugged my brother as he told me “everything will be OK”. Suddenly there was gun fire. I heard the crack of the bullets as they ripped through the cellar door. My brother’s chest exploded in red as he collapsed onto me. He was still breathing, but I knew he was going to die if he didn't get help very soon. Our attackers kicked down the now broken door and started to walk towards us. A pair of brutish looking men stood over us and were talking about what they were going to do with us. They finally decided that we should be taken to their leader and he would decide what our fates would be.
They dragged us upstairs and into the middle of our village along with a handful of others that we knew. A white man with graying hair walked over. The soldiers asked him “What should we do with them?” He responded “Separate the boys from the girls.” Many of the boys were injured. Some had been shot, some stabbed, some burnt, but all dying. As the soldiers put us in two groups we watched the leader walk over to the group of boys. “Will you join us?” he asked each boy one at a time. One after another the boys agreed to join and were treated for their wounds. Finally he reached my brother. I was relieved. He was going to live. All he had to do is agree to join them and he would be healed. The leader looked him square in the eyes and said “Will you join us?” As my brother pondered his options I had to use every ounce of self control to not yell out “DO IT!”
Then...he starts smiling. “What is he so happy about?” I thought to myself. Suddenly, without warning, he looked at me, winked, turned to the boy next to him and said “Tell this moron he must be dreaming.” The leader suddenly lashed out, throwing out his hand clenched in a fist, knocking my brother to the ground. He called one of the soldiers over. “Ask him again if he wants to join us, if he refuses...kill him.” So the soldier did what he was told. When he was asked my brother told him “Screw you.” And as the soldier had done before, he did again. He followed his orders and within seconds of my brothers response there was a bullet in his skull.
I watched in complete shock as this all happened. I wanted to scream, cry out, run over and save him, but I couldn't. I couldn't move. It was like I was frozen in time, watching a horrible movie. When he got to the last of the boys the leader started to walk towards the group of girls, I was still reeling from what just happened, but I forced myself to start thinking clearly. I started looking for a way out. Then, the leader was almost in front of the group of girls. We were all terrified. Some showed it, others didn't, but we all knew it.
When I finally saw his face I thought I recognized him from somewhere. But that wasn't what struck me as odd. He wore a military uniform, a camouflage pattern, but I couldn't see a rank. The man behind him, who appeared to be his second in command, was wearing the same uniform but that man had a rank pinned onto his uniform. Four silver stars in a horizontal line. Later I learned that he was a general. He began to ask the girls the same question he did to the boys. He asked us one by one “Will you join us?” And one by one we fell to our fear. We all saw what happened to those who didn't so we knew better than to refuse their offer.
They loaded us all into the back of a truck and took us back to their base. All of the soldiers there were yelling at us, throwing out rude comments. We were all unloaded from the truck and herded into a large hanger. There were armed guards everywhere, escape was virtually inconceivable. Days past by us, we sat in that hanger, and each day a soldier came into the hanger and took one of us outside. We would try to listen to what was going on outside the hanger but we couldn't hear anything coherent. Then, at the end of every day, we would hear a scream and then a gunshot and then nothing. I knew that eventually it would be my turn, and when my turn came I would escape. That would be my chance to get out. I knew I would need to find a weapon. I would need something. So, while everyone else was trying to hear what was happening outside of the hanger, I readied myself. I sat at the back of the hanger, every day, bashing rocks off of one another, trying to get a sharp one. When I managed to get one sharpened I wrapped part of it with some strings I tore off my pant leg. I wrapped it tightly so that I could grip the pseudo knife without cutting my own hand. I hid it in my sock, also covered by my pant leg, and no one except me knew about it.
Two days after I finished my knife they came for me. They pointed at me and I was led away I walked out into the blinding sunlight and was suddenly surrounded by soldiers. They were everywhere. On top of the buildings, in front of every entrance, every exit, but as soon as they saw me they all started cheering and rushed to one point. They all rushed right to the middle of the compound. I saw another one of the captives standing at the ring that had formed around him. The soldier that brought me from the hanger led me into the middle of the circle. “Good luck” he said to me.
The other boy started to bounce from heel to heel. He circled me, and then he lunged. He leaped at me, knocking me to the ground. I finally realized what is going on. The soldiers were making us fight each other for survival. The loser was shot. I knew then that I had to get out. If I didn't get out right then I would surely die there. So I got up and lunged back at the boy. I must have taken him by surprise because I knocked him off his feet with my attack. The boy didn't move. The crowd parted and their leader, the same one that gave the order for my brother’s execution, walked into the ring. He looked at the boy lying on the ground, looked at me, looked into the crowd and nodded. A pair of soldiers picked up the boy and carried him away. He then pointed at me and shouted “Winner!” They led me away, towards a small building. The circle started to dissipate. I saw my chance. There were no guards at any of the entrances, I had to go now.
I grabbed my knife out of my sock and swung at the guard. The first time I missed, but the second time my weapon found its mark. I saw the stone knife disappear into the guard’s chest and I watched as the red exploded across his shirt. That red was like a jolt of adrenaline. I took off like a bullet out of a gun. The entire compound was in full alert in minutes. Soldiers were running back to their posts, but I blew by all of them. Gun fire surrounded me and bullets flew around me, but they all missed me. I was almost at the gate when there was a sudden explosion of pain in my left arm. I looked down and saw the blood running down my arm, but I didn't stop. The pain in my arm was nothing compared to the taste of freedom. I ran and ran and ran, right out of the compound and into the surrounding forest. When I finally stopped running I vowed to get revenge on the man who caused all of this...
All of a sudden, there was movement. I watched as my target moved through my field of vision. I look down upon the man who hurt me so much, 20 years before. He couldn't be allowed to cause any more pain to anyone. I look through my rifle’s scope, and pull the trigger.
The next day, I wake up and go about my regular routine, breakfast and a shower, and then I go and see my landlord to pay my monthly rent. When he sees me he hands me a newspaper. “George Bush Assassinated in Home” the headline reads. “Did you have anything to do with this?” He asks me.
“Even if I did, I wouldn't tell you. As soon as you tell anyone what you know they won’t need you anymore. Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you’ll start missing everybody.”