A girl's life destroyed by a war. A boy's life destroyed by an earthquake. They travel on a road towards the unknown.


2. ONE//Amira

Syria 10:07 A.M

I heard the first bomb blast when I was in school. The teacher immediately ushered us into a closet and stood guard in front of it. Some of the kids started crying and whimpering for their parents but I just stood still in the corner, my eyes squeezed shut and my hands on my ears, trying to block out noise and the shouts from outside the shattered window. My knuckles were starting to go white from clutching my head too hard but I did not loosen my grip.

My eyes flew open when I heard the piercing scream of the teacher and a loud and dull thud. The kids just pressed into the wall more as if that could save them from the unforgiving bombs and guns outside. I was hidden behind the group of kids when I heard the closet door open and a saw a man appear. His face was covered in a black scarf and only his eyes showed in the darkness. I had never seen such cold and cruel eyes before, in my life. They were glinting with murder, even in the darkness of the closet.

He pushed the door all the way open and started dragging kids out and throwing them on the floor. When it was my turn he grabbed the scarf on my head, my hair with it, and threw me on the floor with the rest of the kids. That is when I felt tears spring out of my eyes and drip onto the floor.

When the man had made sure that there were no more kids in the closet, he slammed the door closed and turned to face us. His face twisted with disgust as he looked over us. One by one, he yanked off the scarves off the girls and grabbed them by their hair. I tried to crawl back into the shadows but I they stopped me and grabbed my hands before forcing me to stand. The man brought out a whip and I stared in shock as he looked over me, considering which body part to whip first. When his eyes landed on the torso, he smiled and raised his whip. I squeezed my eye shut and anticipated the pain that would follow after the crack of the whip on my skin. When the pain came I tried to stop from crying. I didn’t want to show them that I was weak. I wanted to show them that I was strong and could take their pain and their torture.

When he was done with me he and his group of people left the building and continued to the other schools and houses. After I knew they were a considerable distance I took a small breath and looked down at the wound on my torso. Blood was seeping out of a long scar that trailed down my chest.

That is when I noticed the teacher on the floor in front of the closet, where the men knocked her out. I rushed to her and ignored my wound and checked for a pulse. When I found none I knew they had killed her. The men had killed me teacher. I let out a piercing scream out of fear and started hallucinating. I saw my loved ones, all dead in front of me, lying in pools of their own blood.

The hallucinations stopped when I calmed myself down. I blinked my eyes a few times before they came into focus and saw that the room was empty. All the kids had run out and left me behind. I muttered إِنَّا للهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ before jumping up and running out of school building.

Outside, the building in sight were on fire. Smoke was billowing out of windows and people were trying to scramble to save their children before the fire consumed them.

I frantically looked around, trying to find my own family among the sea of others. I only saw my little sister, Amina, with another group of kids. I ran to her and pulled her away from the teacher before giving her a tight hug. She started sobbing and yelled her Mama and I tried to tell her everything will be ok. I tried to comfort her but I knew Mama was the only one that could quit her down.

That’s when the second bomb hit the street and we were flung off the street. I landed with a thud against the cold and hard pavement and saw Amina roll away from me, motionless. Despite the constant ringing in my ears, I yelled as I rushed to Amina and rolled her over. Her face was embedded with bits and shards of glass and blood was pouring out of a deep gash on her face. I desperately tried to stop the constant flow of blood and checked for a pulse on both her neck and wrist. Nothing. I dropped her hands and dissolved into a puddle of sobs. I threw my hand on Amira and screamed at her to get up but I knew she wouldn’t. I shook her and slapped her face but no response. Her eyes were blank and her hands were cold. I screamed as I grabbed her shoulders and waited for her to wake up and sit in front of me as if nothing happened, but I knew there was no hope. She was dead. She would not wake up and she would stay lying here with her blank expressions and glassy eyes.

I stopped shaking her and tried to leave her body because there was nothing I could so for her.

I turned around and started running without looking back until I reached our house in the middle of the street. I should not have come. The whole street had been burned and the houses black with soot.

I ran inside my house and heard nothing. No shouts, no yells, no crying, nothing. Just absolute silence. I headed farther in and saw my family on the ground in the living room, covered in blood. Mama’s scarf was next to her, ripped up, and Abu was next to her. I just covered my mouth to keep myself from screaming and silently cried for my parents. My sister, mother, and father had died in the same day. How could this happen. How? I just left my parents in the house. I couldn’t bear to stay much longer and look at their poor bodies. So I left.

Outside, the sun was peeking from behind a pool of clouds. I wiped my face and tried to stop sobbing. Then, I walked back to town to see what was happening. I still heard yells and shouts. The bombs had stopped and there no more sounds of gun shots. Everyone was trying to comfort each other but I had no one to comfort me. Everyone I loved was now dead and I could do nothing about it.

That’s when the third bomb hit a nearby street and I knew that this was just the start of a war.



إِنَّا للهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ -- We surely belong to Allah (God) and to Him we shall return. 



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