• Running, it seems to me that running is all I do these days. The ground shook with the force of gunshots. Earsplitting booms and screeches came from every direction. I say a silent pray to thank my Mom for giving me her ear plugs. I couldn’t hear anything. But I could feel. Each running step I took almost took me down. It felt like the Earth was splitting into tiny bits.
    My body needed no command to keep running. It was used to it. Slowly my feet slowed. I was now in neutral territory. The ground only trembled. Exhaustion swept through my body. I ignored it. I had to keep moving. I couldn’t let them catch me. I didn’t want to end up like Taniel. No I refuse to become a child soldier. It was too much to bear. My heart held too much love in it, to become a child soldier. Yet… if only I was in the clearing when they came to capture our village’s children, Taniel would be safe at home with Mom.
    A sob escaped my lips, from sorrow. Mom wasn’t safe at home. I saw them shot her till she went limp. They were mad that Mom had told me to run. They were mad that she had out smarted them.
    I could barely see where I was going. Night had approached without much notice. I should find shelter. The evil ones come out at night. There was nowhere to go. A barren land of no use surrounded me. It would do no good to hide here. I would be captured or eaten alive. Far off I heard a howl. A howl so horrible that my spine trembled with fear. Maybe this is why the evil ones get to you without having to chase you. My mind broke free of the frightening spell as it brought forward the last words I had heard from my mother.
    “Nakeisha, please do not let them get you. Take this and run. Don’t stop running until you get to where no ground shakes. And no country land is near you,” her voice was urgent, with fear and… love. I could barely hear her last words, “I love you Nakeisha, and… Taniel.”
    In the bushes not far off from the village, I had stopped to look briefly in the pack that mother had handed me. The first thing I had seen was the earplugs. As I put them in, I had seen my mother get shot. The men were shouting in a language I had never before heard. I didn’t hear much for I had put the earplugs in my ears and started running.
    I could barely lift my legs. Yet I knew I had to keep going. Tonight I had no shelter to return to in fright. I had no mother or sister to turn to, for help or love. The moment Mom had said ‘I love you Nakeisha, and… Taniel’ I knew that Taniel had been captured.