minute 55


The sound of the engine is all I can hear. My head is pounding, my breath goes fast. I´m wrapped in several layers of camouflage, my backpack’s laced to my chest , the parachute’s on my back. I go through the check-list one last time :Gun, bullets, water, first-aid, a box of matches, …We are six men in our plane. 500 soldiers in total. 500 men who are going to jump in an unknown future. It´s a cloudy, moist, and warm day . My uniform adheres to my body. We are almost in position. The commander makes signals with his hands…one minute is left. What am I doing here ? I´m fighting for my country. But who am I fighting? Rebels? The enemy’s government? Or innocent people? I have to think about Jack and little Rosie…Am I ever going to see them again ? The minute is over. 5,4,3,2,1..I jump. Free fall. Then I pull the trigger of my parachute, a force flings me a few foot towards the sky again. I have to catch my breath. I´m starting to sink slowly. The sounds of the bombs that were coming from the capitol a couple of miles away suddenly stop. I can only hear the whistling of the wind now. A peaceful silence. But this peace is going to stop as soon as our feet touch the ground. I can see cultivated fields, wheat, corn…A stream separates the fields from a little village with farm houses. Are there still people living there ? I hope they are gone. Our order is to locate and terminate but I´m not ready to kill someone. I´ve trained for this, know how to shoot a gun. Don´t hesitate! A second of hesitation can cost your life! I have a bad feeling … 5, 4, 3, 2,1..my feet touch the ground…

I clambered up a chair and sat down on the windowsill of our kitchen. Wooden panels were hammered on the window frames from the outside and the pane was painted with black paint. The sounds of the bombs that were coming from over the hills had stopped and I was dying to see what happened out there. With the nail of my thumb I scratched a hole in the paint until it had the size of a walnut and I could look through it. Mina came to join me in the windowsill and huddled up to me. The sudden silence gave us goosebumps. I peeked through the hole in the paint and first I saw nothing. Then I noticed something in the sky. They looked like huge birds. Planes. Lots of small military planes. Probably a hundred or more. This was the moment we´ve been so afraid of. There was no one left in the capitol to fight with or nothing left to fight for. So now they were coming for us! What was our role in this war? I didn’t even know exactly why they were fighting. Then it started to rain. Big dark raindrops started to rain of the sky. At first they fell fast, then they started to float.They looked like feathers which peacefully hovered down to earth. Hundreds of feathers. But they weren’t. They were black raindrops of death the soil was about to absorb and get poisoned with. The enemy had arrived. Hundreds of them. What were they going to do? Were they looking for rebels? Did they plan to make prisoners? Or to kill everybody? 5,4,3,2,1 … I could feel a tremor when they almost simultaneously met the ground. This seemed to raise my mum out of her daydream who was sitting there on her chair, motionless. Gazing into space. She stood up , took me and my sister by our hand and dragged us with her. “Come on, hurry!!” , she said. We stopped in front of the little booth under the stairs which led to the attic. She took a knife and rammed it between two wooden beams on the wall and after she levered a little bit we could hear a squeaky noise and a scuttle opened up. The scuttle wasn´t bigger than 2 square meters, and very dark and dusty. “Get in there”, my mum said to us. I hesitated but I clambered in and she handed me my sister. It was tight .She left to get us a blanket, a bottle of water and some mushy apples. I could hear voices from outside our house. They were already on our porch. My mum slowly looked at my sister , than at me “be quiet and stay in here!!” , she said . Then she closed the scuttle and all I could see was darkness.

Anna Sophie Perez Sanchez