War of the past
In a different time and place was a world only inhabited by humans, there lived a little girl named Mia, her mother, and her grandparents. They would usually all travel up the mountains and camp out during the weekend when Mia’s father comes back from his active weekday training. Since they live near one of the military base camps. The only beneficial thing about his work is that she’s able to be with her father, even if it’s just for a short while. She was happy, and she wouldn’t want to change anything about her life.
She grew up knowing to never be selfish she would give and help to the one who needed them
The most. After school, she and her mother would go visit a few retirement centers, hospitals, and a few other places to volunteer for an hour or so just to let time pass by since her mother doesn’t have a job. Some days Mia would secretly ditch her mother and hang out with a few of the kids her age. Sometimes they would all hang out in the town’s Central Park, or they would sneak into the movie theaters, if not they would all meet up near the river creek to catch some fish for their families.
One day during her volunteering escape she met up with her friends and suggested that they all ride their bikes to the military base in the morning, to see their loved ones. They all agreed but soon realized a kid snitch to the entire school and a group of five turned to at least half the school’s population of kids ready to run into the military. Luckily for all of them, there was no adult present to stop them and in large groups of ten, they all snuck out of town while all their parents assumed they were going to school. Kids from third grade up to middle and high school teenagers rode their bikes, tricycles, or tagged along in a wagon fully prepared with snacks and water bottles, comic books, and other toys to entertain themselves while traveling together on an empty deserted road towards the military base to where Mia’s father along with other kids’ family’s stayed at.
It didn’t last long before the school started calling parents about their children being absent, Soon after the sheriff and a few volunteers went out looking for half of the children population that went missing in just one day. Word quickly spread about the disappearance, making its way to the hospital gift shop straight to Mia’s mother where she was volunteering at. She had a thought, and she only wish she was right and wrong about it. Taking a quick breath she took a few coins out from the register and went to a nearby payphone to call her husband in the town over. Warning him about what has happened and there’s being a slight possibility that a bunch of kids might be raiding his base in a few hours.
Soon after the call ended Mia’s father and a few others drove off to the location to where the children might be coming from and within thirty minutes saw several dozen of the town’s children playing near the small river creek. He couldn’t blame them today’s forecast was meant to be the hottest day this summer. Minutes later a few citizens who listened to Mia’s mother showed up and even though the adults were all relieved that everyone was safe the children all got punished back in the base. Mia, the ten-year-old received a worse punishment than the rest since she was the ring leader, but it secretly made her father proud that she was born a leader just like him, so when no one (Mia’s mother) was looking he would sneak in snacks and hugs.
Months later everything was fine at first but soon after the weekends that Mia got to spend with her father quickly reduced, and he never had time to see her. It broke her heart but understood that things like this would happen at times, that her father needed to train even harder to be the best in his group, but she didn’t expect to see several of her fathers’ men in uniforms coming into the town and breaking the hearts of the people she grew up within the town all because of a letter. She overheard a few kids older than her saying that they’re telegram man delivering bad news, calling them ′Death Messenger from War′ She didn’t quite understand what they meant, but she didn’t like it one bit.
Everything calmed down for a while but soon after war was introduced to Mia soon after at the age of ten. It was a little worrisome and under control, but soon after 3 years worth of supplies that Mia’s family had stored up, started running low, and not long after they started drafting Women and children to assist in work or putting a band-aid on a wounded soldier.
One night while her mother was tucking Mia into bed she laid down hugging her, both silently looking out the window towards the big, bright moon that shined its light down to her bedroom window. Mia grabbed her mother’s hands removing them from her head and slowly stroked her mothers’ rough dry hands, remembering the days how they used to be, remembering the days she counted to go camping in the mountains with her father and grandparents, remembering the days that she would go out and sneak away from her mother to play with her friends near the river creek, remembering how she doesn’t want to go to school because anyone that stayed in this town is just too gloomy even her favorite teacher stopped coming to school after a ‘Death Messenger’ came to her home giving her a letter.
“It’s all gone, isn’t it?”
Mia pressed her mother’s hand towards the side of her face, closing her eyes. She felt her mother’s warm embrace tighten, hearing her mother holding back the tears. Mia prayed that night hoping that everything would go back to normal and to see her father again.
The next following days her grandfather was sent out to help out with the other men who haven’t come back home yet. Her mother was forced to work longer hours to keep up with demands a month later she started to stay held up in her room as soon as gets home.
Mia thought that she might have been tired from work, so she would bring food that she and her grandmother grew and cooked from the garden. Once she started to eat, Mia would snuggle up next to her mother and begin to read the letters that her father and grandfather would send. Every letter that came back would always bring tears to her mother’s face, but she knew it was because she misses them just the same as Mia.
That night Mia’s mother requested that Mia and her grandmother stay with her out on the porch to look at the moon that night. It made Mia remember the days they would all go camping and sleep out under the stars. Her mother promises that she will get a day off to go camping or at least fishing the three of them down by the river, just like the good old days. It brought a big smile onto Mia’s face that night.
Mia looked at the moon, her eyes glimmering with excitement. Unable to hold back tears of happiness to be able to spend the day with her mother once again. She turned to her mother and grandmother and hugged them both, “Just like the good old days”.
That morning Mia woke up in her family car and saw her mother crying she noticed her grandmother wasn’t with them and the backseat was cover with boxes that had their clothing and food that Mia and her grandmother grew in the garden along with some few canned food.
She wanted to ask, but she knew her mother wasn’t going to answer her right now. Mia bit her tongue and kept quiet only listening to the radio of what was going on around them. She felt her heart was breaking at the thought of never seeing her grandmother again and not being able to say goodbye.
She tried to fall back to sleep but was unsuccessful to do so. Hanging her head she looked down at her current outfit, she recalled how her father and mother always told her to wear clean outfits, to never look dirty in front of others, she closed her eyes resting her head on the window of the vehicle, clutching her pants.
“It has almost been three years since the war started…”
She didn’t have the energy to look at her mothers’ current expression at the moment. Her mother didn’t respond back either. Mia looked out at the scenery of the woods passing by
“They made the noticed that every thirteen-year-old will be assigned to a task once they receive a letter from- Mother am I the reason why we’re in this vehicle right now and not with grandmother? Are you dropping me off at the station- You’re going to come with me right?”
Her mother didn’t speak a word the entire ride to the station, she just kept the tears coming down her face, even though Mia knew she was correct about it all.
The truth was Mia has turned thirteen last year and the notice was received the day of her birthday, but her mother fabricated a lie claiming that Mia has been dead.
For a few months, Mia’s mother has been hiding her in the house, trying her best to protect her from the war, but it was only getting worse they weren’t going to be able to survive if they stayed in that town any longer.
Mia’s father and a few other men had a section of land, a large town being protected to ensure the safety of the children, and quickly sent out a letter before the gossip spreads, and it becomes too late to expect any more children into the town. The truth was Mia isn’t the only child hiding her true age there have been parents that bought fake identification document passports just to change the child’s age and a few other stuff.
Her mother turned down the radio and wiped away her tears and silently drove until they reached the station. Mia noticed that there were quite a few people it was almost deserted it was something she has never seen before she recalled not being able to walk in a straight line here because people will most likely always bump into you, didn’t matter if you were tall or short there was always that one person that was in a hurry to jump into the moving train.
“Mia, baby, I need to say this now because I don’t know if I’ll be able to say it after we get on the train.” Her mother reached for a suitcase from the back seat and made sure it was tightly shut. “Everything you need to know is in this suitcase. Grandmother’s cookbooks and her gardening secrets the ones she hasn’t taught you yet are in here and all the letters we have gotten, clothing, and a few other things you might need are in here. As well as my diary, for that, all I wish to say is that you read that one once you’re a few years older.” Mia noticed her mothers rough, dry hands forcefully shaking, she knew she was trying to hold back the tears, honestly, Mia was as well. She grabbed her mother’s hands and placed them close to her face, ensuring her that no matter what happens she will be here close by.
Her mother gently tugged her hands away and wiped away the tears she had from her swollen eyes. She quickly reached for another item in the back of her seat this time it was two more bags, it was full of food that was grown in the garden back home along with a few canned food.
She didn’t say more and quickly set Mia and a few of her stuff in the private cabbin of the train. Both sat opposite side from one another waiting for the train to depart soon Mia kept on insisting where they were going and if grandmother might tag along later on, but her mother only smiled and nodded while she was fidgeting with her wedding ring. Mia kept on asking a few more questions until she realized her mother might want to rest for a bit longer. She rested her head on the windowpane of the train and noticed the vehicle that took them everywhere is being taken away by a bunch of men, she addressed the situation to her mother but all she did was nod even more still fidgeting with her wedding ring even more.
Mia sank back down to her seat and looked and the mean men who are badly dressed up as soldiers parading in mothers dress and nickers and happily enjoying the food that Mia and her grandmother grew all that effort and energy wasted on a bunch of barbarians. If father saw the barbarian soldiers now and how they are dressed he would have them punished and sentence a day with no food as punishment.
“Mia, come. I need you to remember something.”
She didn’t hear her mother. She was too focused on the men. Mia couldn’t take her eyes off the ones who are enjoying the things that don’t belong to them. Everything that once was theirs was tainted by them. Mia felt angry and wanted to get off the train and scare them all away. She was sick of it all. Her friends and family were taken away as well as her school, her home, her entire life was taken away and now what little that is left to keep her and her mother from sinking in the depths of despair, but she couldn’t do anything, she was just a little girl, all she can do now is hold in her tears and hope that everything turns out ok because that how it is here now. “Everything changed so fast, it’s hard to keep up when you’re just a kid.”
Her mother stopped messing with her ring and reached out from the top shelf above Mia to her food bag and grabbed a few oranges, cutting and peeling away the skin and tugging Mia towards her side of the seat making her unable to see the men. Her mother hugged Mia close to her, swaying and singing to calm Mia down. It was an early morning for the both of them, but all they can do is keep fighting on, that’s all they can do right now.
Within an hour, the station outside started to get packed with children and their mothers. The only thing Mia can think of was how lucky she was to have the energy to wake up early and feel refreshed, It was because she wanted to be up to be able to spend time with her father before he needed to leave for work. The good old days. Something she will always cherish.
Mia’s mother peeked out the window and saw the groggy children and the mothers outside the train, emphasizing some of their morning appearances. Both of them couldn’t help but giggle. They both already knew that some folks thought they were strange for having so much energy so early in the morning, they knew that if the town folks saw them crying, slouching, fidgeting, and laughing within an hour they would be very annoyed with the both of them.
Both sat there talking and laughing about the past while the train was ready for departure, more and more people kept coming in and the once so quiet station is now twice as packed as how it normally was back then, but this time there was crying and tears and forever farewells for as Mia was fortunate enough to still be with her mother the others are quite the opposite. Some can depend on their siblings while some are only four years old and being transported to a different station to be in their foster homes until the war is over.
Mia felt the sadness overgrow the station and all she can now hear is the strong cries of the children who might have perhaps become orphans. She couldn’t help but feel sorry for them all. She rested her head on her mother’s laps and dozed off to sleep. Hearing only the loud whistle of the train is ready to depart to our new home.
“For me and Mama.”