I looked back at the white wasteland, smoke rose up in the distance as hundreds of footsteps had been etched into the snow. We had made it, but to what loss? Many stayed behind so we could escape. My guts squirmed, as I turned my back on the smoke. Turning my back on the courageous, the brave, and the unfortunate; I hoped they wouldn't consider me a coward for running, for living, or not becoming a prisoner of our invaders. My younger brother held out a hand helping me onto the back of a flatbed truck. It had been retrofitted to carry refugees away. Canvas walls shaded us from the worst of the cold weather. Its walls were worn through countless journeys sheltering many lives before us. Parts of fabric were drawn in, some elegant sketches of animals, homes, dreams, farms, orchids, meadows, others of sad faces. The canvas lower to the ground had childish drawings. The pictures done by the children were unfortunately tainted by the horrors of war. My gut squirmed again, my face contorted with rage, and sadness.
"What is it?" Mark said masking his emotion with a lame poker face.
"Just..... Just everything. I can't believe it." I said walking towards the back as a large man with a walrus like moustache outside the canvas walls behind the truck shouted.
"Get into the back squish in, we have to fit everyone in! Get cozy! Come on! We don't have much time! Hurry! Get to the back!"
" It is unbelievable, but it’s happening. We won't be seeing some of our friends again; we might ever get to see our home again. Everything was gone, and I remember only a few months ago just sitting up at the ceiling of our house board of the yellow walls thinking; I'm bored, I wish I was somewhere else, I've done everything here there is nothing to do. Now I'm thinking I didn't do enough. There is things I want to see again even if its one last time, but it's to late. " Mark said trying to comfort me, but it didn't. It felt like a distraction it felt forced. Mark wasn't usually much of a talker he kept to himself. Sometime on the rare occasion he made an effort to speak it was worth listening to.
This time though it just felt wrong, why was he speaking so much, why were my words gone? I looked elsewhere I couldn't see the white wasteland that I had escaped only moments ago. The flatbed and been filled were packed in tight like a herd of cattle, or livestock. Was that what war turned us into? Did we become mindless livestock to be killed on a whim over an ideal, over a misunderstanding, over something that hadn't been communicated? I looked around the flatbed trying to see if our parents had made it to this one we had been separated earlier from the commotion of running from town when we were told the enemy was coming. I couldn’t make them out not through the other distraught, confused, unbelieving faces. There wasn't a chance in hell I would hear them over everyone's woes. I just had to hope that they had made it safely. Maybe Mark had seen them?
"Did you see Mum and Dad on our way here?" I shuffling my feet as the truck rumbled to life.
"No." He said simply. The truck lurched forward causing us all to nearly fall over.
"I'm sure there fine." I said trying to keep this dying conversation alive.
"Yeah but..." He didn't finish looking down at his feet.
We were moving along at a good speed now. People had now settled down the cold was still a bit of a nuisance but the collected body heat in the canvas canopy managed to make it bearable. Mark had quit talking now and dropped the lousy poker face he was still staring at the floor his eyes darting about, the muscles in his face tensed. He was worrying about something. It was natural but something told me that there could be a chance that I could so or do something to help.
"What's on your mind?" I said.
“There is nothing you can do. So why are you agonizing over it?" I said steadying myself as the truck bumped over something.
"Why aren't you worried? Where are we going to go? What if we don't see our parents again. Nothing is solid anymore, and no one told us a plan. I don't think we going to a better place than where we left, and that could mean joining the army and I don't want that." Mark said.
" I’ am but if I worry myself to much it's not going to help. It's Naive and foolish I know but I keep holding onto this thought: that we get to our next destination unscathed things will turn out okay, possibly meet up with our parents, somehow making it through. Somehow having things work out. Maybe that's what's keeping me sane right now. But I know I’m setting up myself for a fall. I don't know. Somehow someway we'll make it through were not dead yet." I said.
"That just sounds like a silly fairytale jack. I don't want to dilute myself. I don't want to separate myself from reality. The true heaviness of the predicament I am in. If I did would I be able to make good informed decisions?" Mark said.
to be finished