On January 1st, 1994, in a small remote village in Chiapas, Mexico, a young girl is separated from her family when a group of Guerilla soldiers named Zapatistas enter her village and take away everything she holds dear to her, her family. Alone and nearly starving to death, she must learn to live life everyday as if it were a gift remembering her mother's words: "Even when hope seems to be nowhere in sight, remember this, a brighter day will overshadow all the bad days to come".
January 1st, 1994
No one in my village saw them coming. Soldiers in green and red uniforms took over our village and started giving out orders for my people to leave their homes and only carry what they could with them. They had no idea where they were even going. The soldiers, called Zapatistas only told my people that they were going somewhere, where they would be well cared for. My mother looks around our house sadly and then shuts the door. My sister and brother follow her. My father was just ahead of my mother. I tried my best to keep up with them.
Suddenly, loud shouts and cries rang out that would have made the valley shake and shudder all around us. What was going on? People were running in every direction possible. My mother was the first one I saw. I heard her shouts.
"Maria, se escapa! Por favor Maria! Se escapa"! (Maria, run away!Please Maria! Run away!)
I listened to my mother's words and didn't for a moment look back to see what was going on behind me. As I ran, I heard the loud shouts and cries become louder. I didn't want to hear them anymore. I ran as fast as I could to find a place to hide. Everything was either on fire or was being lit on fire by these ruthless soldiers that had no respect for anything that was held dear to us. There had to be somewhere for me to hide. But where? I ran past the church where my grandmother was being taken from inside where she had been lighting a few candles for my cousin's small baby boy who came down with Cholera. I had no time to stop and look at the expression on my grandmother's face at that exact moment when the soldiers were taking her away and leading her towards a truck. I knew more people were being dragged out of the church as I kept running past it. I ran past a beat up old yellow Volkswagen bug and hid in some thick bushes just beyond it.
I watched silently in horrified shock as my entire village was being rounded up like burros and ushered into the back of army trucks. I saw my mother suddenly; she was being shoved into the back of one of the trucks behind my brother and sister. I saw the tears running freely down her beautiful dark face and into her black hair. I heard her yelling at one of the soldiers.
"Yo no soy su prisioñera! Por favor, suéltame! Por favor, basta ya, me estas hacienda daño! Basta ya, me estas hacienda daño"! (I'm not your prisoner! Please let me go! Please, stop it, you're hurting me! Stop it, you're hurting me!)
I could not bear to hear my mother's sorrowful cries to the soldiers, begging them to let her go. I watched the soldier shove my mother into the back of the truck and ignored her pleas to let her go safely. My heart sank even further when I saw my grandmother begin to beg for her own freedom.
"Por favor señor, sueltame! Tu no tengo una vieja! Sueltame! Mi vida es muy importante… Por mi, a mi familia… Yo tengo mi marido! Por favor, sueltame"! (Please sir, let me go! You don't need an old woman like me! Let me go! My life is very important… For me, and my family… I need my husband! Please let me go!)
My grandmother's pleas too went unanswered and ignored by these ruthless soldiers. I heard shouts all of a sudden as I saw the truck that held my entire family pull away and down the long winding dirt road. I ducked lower into the large bush as two soldiers came my direction with guns. I held my breath and closed my eyes when one of the soldiers stood in front of where I was hiding. I heard his loud voice.
"Yo piense ver una niña en el arbusto"! (I thought I saw a little girl in that bush!)
I heard their heavy boots rustling the dried out leaves below on the ground. I kept my eyes closed for fear that they might find me. If they found me, they'd put me in a truck and send me to who knows where. I had to keep quiet if I wanted to keep my life. I heard the other one speak up.
"Yo no veo nada! Eres tu payaso"! (I didn't see anything! You're crazy!)
I heard the two men starting to walk away laughing and telling jokes to one another. I didn't recognize their accents. They must be the rebel soldiers coming from Guatemala. I hid in the bush until I was sure they were far enough up the road to where I could come out of my hiding place.
Once I knew that they were long gone down the dirt road, I climbed out of my hiding place and looked around me in tears; my entire village was destroyed except for the church. The soldiers had enough decency to leave the church alone, the holiest spot in the entire village. I quickly entered the graveyard beside the church. I found my grandfather's grave. I knelt down next to it and began to speak to him, hoping he would hear me.
"Abuelito, tengo miedo. Yo tengo miedo! Mama, papa, Jorge y Lupe ya se fueron. Los soldados ya se fueron Abuelito! Abuelita ya se fueron a los soldados! Yo tengo miedo por mi vida! Ayudame Abuelito! Ayudame"! (Grandpa, I'm afraid. I'm very afraid! Mama, papa, Jorge, and Lupe were taken away. The soldier's took them grandpa! They took grandma too! I'm afraid for my life!)
I sat by my grandfather's grave for awhile and poured my heart out to him. I was afraid what more terrible things today might bring, not only that, but tomorrow as well. I was literally and utterly alone. I heard the wind whistling through every nook and cranny of my village. It sounded as if the spirits had grown restless and were going about looking for something. Anything really.
I slowly made my way inside the church and sat down in the front pew. I peered up at the huge cross with Jesus on it. I had no idea that I wasn't the only one in the village. I heard noise in the back of the church. I quickly turned to see what it was. I smiled in relief when I saw that it was only Padre Jose. He'd figure out a way to help me. Maybe he could help me find mama and papa, Lupe and Jorge. It would just have to work! I listened as he spoke up.
"Hola Padre. Pensaba que fui todo solo. ¿Me puede ayudas usted? Padre por favor..."
(Hello father. I thought I was the only one left. Can you help me? Father please.)
Padre Jose could only look at me with pity and deepest sympathy in his eyes. I started to wonder now if he and I were the only one's left in the entire village. If we were, then we'd have to find a way to survive.
To Be Continued...
A/N: So, what do you guys think? Let me know! Thanks!