Schh!

The sound of engines running over our heads, one louder than the other, was blasting into our eardrums. They were close now. Some passed so close to the rooftops you might even be able to touch them if you raised your hands while standing up there.

It was cold outside, and it was cold inside. The wooden house didn’t provide much shelter in the rough winter, and the wooden boards covering the windows didn’t let much light in. The darkness made it feel even colder.

Boots belonging to soldiers were heard outside. They were probably dressed warm. So were we, but we had to huddle up in the corner to keep warm anyway; my sister, our mum and me.

My sister and I were about the same age, just a year apart. We spent a lot of time together and she was the only friend I had.

We sat there next to each other talking quietly but fast. We were a bit exited. Not because of being frightened, but because we had fun. We always did, and we always talked a lot. We talked about us and we talked about others. Mostly others. Call it gossiping if you would like. A lot of people did. But we didn’t. We called it minding other people’s business.

My sister and I didn’t even pay attention to what was going on outside. The war couldn’t really bother us too much. We had each other and our mum. That is all we needed. Our family.

As the heavy boots passed by outside the house, our mum stood up and walked towards the window. At the same time my sister made a joke. I laughed out loud. Our mum on the other hand, did not. She turned around, put her finger over her mouth and said “be quiet!”, without even saying anything. No words came out of her mouth. We could barely see her eyes, but we saw they were angry. As was the rest of her dirt covered face. She feared for our lives like she always did.

At the same second as our mums face screamed at us we could hear that the number of boots walking on the other side of the wall suddenly got fewer. Some of them had stopped. Mum quickly came back to us. The gap between the door and the floor turned black as an unknown number of black shadows appeared, stopping the light from coming in. We could almost see the smoke from their breathes coming through the narrow space in between the rough wood of the door as the boot wearing men stood outside, quietly listening for more noise.

Maybe now was the time to start caring about the war. This might have been the last few minutes our family had together.

The darkness became a bit lighter as the door opened. As that darkness slowly disappeared, so did the cold. I felt warm and sweaty. I had too much clothes on. I had to take some of. I had never felt like that before. I panicked and my mum held me as tight as she could, even though I resisted.

We could se rifles coming in now and we could see three men coming in behind them, but we could not see whom they were. They shouted something but I heard nothing. My mum heard them though, so she slowly eased her grip around me to let me go. Me, whose heat had turned into cold again, I just laid there, as if I was frozen. My sister put her hand on my shoulder. She sat with her back against the wall, not showing any fear. She was not showing any emotions at all.

Our mum stood up again and moved towards the other wall. Two of the men stepped over to us who were still on the floor. They shouted something. But again I saw them but I didn’t hear them. We did nothing.

The soldiers approach got more intense. They started pointing with their rifles and became more aggressive. When one of them pointed weapon at us and put his hand on the trigger. Mum reacted and rushed towards us. Then the rifle hit the target. The third soldier’s bayonet had entered our mum’s chest.

I could see her face as it happened. The tears that instantly appeared ran through the dust down her cheek. She was screaming, but there were still no sound coming out of her mouth. Or could I not hear her because my sister’s and my screams were louder than hers?

The soldier twisted his rifle with the bayonet still in mum’s chest. He wanted to cause as much harm as possible. More than what was actually needed. It was over after that. She stopped screaming, but we didn’t. The soldier finally pulled his rifle away from her.

She was on her knees. Her whole body was in the pillar of light created by the open door. Her shirt, which was once white, was now grey from dust, brown from dirt and red from blood.

Two of the soldiers grabbed her and carried her out and away. We were still there; left with ourselves and the knowledge that it was our fault. Just because we could not keep our mouths shut.

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