Audrey I, Year 6
I wake up to chaos. Something is jutting into my arm, pain shooting through it as I return to consciousness. A black cloud of dust hangs in the air, peeking out from the splintered wood. I groan, and try to get up, but my body doesn’t listen to me, and whatever is making my arm feel like it’s on fire is stopping me from moving.
I blink in and out of consciousness, each time the world is worse. I hear screams, and running and desperate pleas. I can’t move. No matter how much I want to.
I can’t even scream.
The next time I wake, my throat is a desert, and my stomach growls. I’m gripped by the fear that I’ll be trapped here forever. I wonder whether my family survived. I’m so selfish! Not to think of them sooner!
Before the darkness overwhelms me I notice the dust-cloud is gone.
Whispers. Shouting. Hands grab me, lifting me up. Pain shoots through my arm again, but whatever was in it is gone.
I don’t know these people.
I don’t know these people carrying me past wrecked buildings, past bloody bodies, past the streets that I no longer recognise for it now barely stands, down to a shelter that is full of injured people.
Wails echo around.
They whisper reassuring things in my ear as they put me down onto a bed, shouting orders at people and wrapping a bandage around my arm. Tears come out like a waterfall, down to become a river.
Nobody bothers to comfort me.
Instead they make me slowly sip some water. The water feels cool, as it trickles down my throat, a desert no more.
“How long?” I ask hoarsely, to the nurse sitting at the end if my bed. Her clothes are stained with blood and dirt, her eyes empty.
“A day,” she whispers.
It’s only been a day since bombs fell from the sky, with no warning. It’s only been a day since the sky was a lit with fire, since the war zone obliterated. It’s only been a day since the steady bang bang of the guns fell silent, as the soldiers disappeared. Only a day since I ventured out, unsure why the fighting stopped. Only a day since hope started to return to my city, only to be crushed, the city gone.
“What’s your name?” the nurse asks, trying to retain professionalism, despite the tears slowly drawing lines through the muck on her face.
“Maya Daer,” I answer.
“I’m sorry.” The nurse says, her voice wobbling.
What has happened? Did-
“Your house was hit directly. Your parents died almost instantly,”
I gasp, tears splashing as my wail joins the choir down here.
“Daphne?” One last hope.
“We haven’t seen her.”
There still hope for her! My sister might have survived!
But my parents didn’t. My parents are gone. I’m never going to see them again.
I cry till I can’t cry anymore.
I vow to find Daphne.
When I wake, I can sit up. The nurse is nowhere in sight, so I try to stand. I wobble, and fall back onto the bed.
“What are you doing?” The nurse is back.
“I can’t stay here forever.”
“Well you’re going to have to for a little longer.” She gently pushes me back onto the bed.
“Daph-“ I try again, but the nurse shushes me.
“We are searching everywhere for survivors. You can help when you’re well.”
The chaos is so strong that nobody notices me as I limp out of the door, up the stairs.
I go up to the streets, and start crying at the destruction. The makeshift hospital is right near the rubble that used to be my school.
I still feel a connection to the school, despite the fact that I stopped going last year, after enemy troops took the city under siege. Since then the fighting had been on our doorstep, and we were no longer safe. We were a target for the enemy as my mum commanded the troops that defied them.
If only the Ayujanas didn’t take control of the Silvanian islands, which were ours! If only we hadn’t taken the Ayjanas capital under siege! If only we weren’t at war! Then I would be at home, with everybody I know living!
I stare at the school, no longer mine, no longer a school. I go up to the pile, and kick it, screaming.
I went to Ayujana once, it was beautiful. It was a country of temples, and trees. I hope they all get destroyed when we fight back-because we will. I hate them, the way they’ve taken away everything I love!
But not everything. Because I’m going to find Daphne. And together we are going to avenge the deaths that they caused!
Despite the pain in my arm, I keep on going.
I think about what the nurse said, about how my house was directly hit. If. I hadn’t gone to investigate the sudden retreat; I would’ve died too.
I decide not to look at my house.
Instead I walk around, like a ghost. Each place where a building should be, I look for Daphne.
But she is nowhere to be seen.
My entire body hurts, but I keep on moving, afraid at what might happen if I stop.
I stop at a house that I know to be Daphne’s friend’s house. The top floor has caved in. I crawl through the smashed window, and fall onto something soft. I pull my hand away, revealing blood.
I start to breath heavily as I see what it is.
I scream, tearing at my hair, as I look at Daphne’s blank eyes. Half of Daphne’s face is a bloody mess, and her arm is bent at an unnatural angle. She still smells like lavender, but now the scent of blood is mixed with it. How I hate the Ayujanas! And what they’ve done!
I declare vengeance against them.
And I have an idea for it…