‘Run’ by Daniella Kaupaite, Year 10, Thomas Clarkson Academy

I was in Daugavpils, Latvia, around 3:05 p.m., and everyone was talking about a war, but I didn’t believe them until I heard it on the television. Throughout the day, I kept hearing whispers about a coming conflict, and gradually a part of me began to believe that this might be true. I just got out of school and was heading home. I resided in a flat on floor 427. Our apartment was small but had a nice view, and it was only a 4-minute walk to the shop. To make matters worse, the bus was cancelled due to widespread dread as people waited for the ‘bomb’ to drop, but I simply dismissed it as nonsense.

Not far from my house now, I noticed that the weather was becoming colder and gloomier, as if a rainstorm was ready to arrive unexpectedly. I was now cold and wanted to go home, and this walk seemed unending. I needed to take a detour since my mother told me to go to the supermarket before returning home. She needed butter, milk, and a candle for my father’s grave because we were going to visit him for his birthday on Sunday. He was the best father I ever had, but he didn’t want to live and was struggling with depression, so he committed suicide.

I kept strolling towards the shop. Suddenly, I heard planes over me. The planes were now coming in loudly, low, and fast, sounding like lions roaring. Then I was abruptly swept up by deafening sirens all around me, which appeared to be coming from all sides; I was terrified; within minutes, I felt as if I had been thrown into danger; I needed to flee right away. I needed to hide right away, so I ran to the neighbouring woods. I kept running until I was unable to breathe. I could only hear screaming and explosions in the distance, then all around me. I was lost, afraid, and on my own. How do I get out of here? I need to get outside. I came to a halt, unsure which path to choose; should I turn back or keep going? I wasn’t sure anymore as the confusion set in.

Suddenly, I felt the ground shake, like an earthquake. I needed to hide, but there was nowhere to hide, so ran faster. Then I noticed a massive tank approaching me. I closed my eyes and began screaming as loudly as I could, having lost all hope, I knew that this was my end. My entire youthful existence flashed in front of my eyes as I felt the tanker slowly and brutally crush my bones. To say that I thought of my family at that moment would be a lie but hoped that as the bright array of colours and the sweet sounding music that I started to hear in the distance was my family welcoming me home, blackout.