‘Over The Border …’ by Brooke Leah Scott, Age 14

When the night shadows cast over the boat, it’s the edge of my thoughts that makes me uneasy. When a wave hits my side, I’m at the edge of my mind. It is the boundary of my thoughts that prevents me from progressing. It’s no longer Afghanistan’s border. And it will never be again…  This is my tale as a survivor.

I battled for my freedom nine years into the war that ripped apart my world; the Taleban ripped away everything I had ever known. I was just six years old when my daily existence changed from my parents making sure our front door was closed to strolling alongside British soldiers checking for bombs on the route to my neighbourhood shop. I had no idea if my next step would be my last. Enough already.

We spent years plotting our escape, considering every movement or linguistic obstacle that could stand in our way of freedom. Even with the gallant warriors protecting our once-beloved homeland, it wasn’t enough to stop the Taleban, merely to hold them off till submission. I reflect on the horrors I witnessed and remember the devastated families of the warriors we so desperately needed, never knowing how much we admired them for their sacrifice.

My family’s only survivor is me: My older sister died from weariness as a result of the several rapes she had to face, my mother died from a bullet meant for me (a debt I can only repay by living a life meant for all of us), and my aunties family never even made it to the border since they had been attacked only days earlier. I got through all those atrocities by myself when I was only 15…

Britain was beginning to evacuate troops two years after witnessing their deadliest 365 days, returning home 109 lifeless remains. My protection was fading, and so was my hope. That’s when I made a run for it through a gap in the border fence, which is also where my mother died. Her final minutes were devoted guarding me, like she had done for so many years. I sat behind a tree, crying in agony, while what I now know were missiles flew at 100 mph, aiming for me like a dummy at target practise. But I got through it!