‘The Journey’ by Natalia Jarzabek, Year 9, Thomas Clarkson Academy

Boom! Then there was nothing but darkness. It all transpired in the afternoon calm. What began as a routine day on the farm quickly turned into the scariest scare? I began the day by feeding and leading the horses to the field. Then it was time to sort up the youngsters before seeing the new. All they could talk about was the president’s desire for war. Then an instinct took over, and I felt compelled to pack an emergency kit for us. My spouse thought I was crazy, but he’s glad I did. I didn’t believe it until my husband, who had recently left his military position in another country, told me that the military was ready to invade and had all the artillery ready. Then everything happened swiftly, all in approximately 2 hours. The area is patrolled by soldiers. There were gunshots. Then this morning…

I heard what sounded like a rainstorm in the field, then it hit me… it was an air signal. Within 15 minutes, my husband and I had put the two horses onto the trip car and were ready to flee. We hadn’t even gotten to the end of the driveway when we heard a jet overhead. We watched all the things we had left behind burn in the first of many disasters. The bomb had hit directly close to our house, and all that could be seen were flames, dust, and a foul odour. We were obviously upset and afraid; think what would have happened if we had waited even 2 minutes longer.

When we got to the main road, there were so many automobiles attempting to get out of Austria. With no idea where to travel, the only logical alternative was to take the Eurotunnel to the UK. Fortunately, I had taken all the horses’ papers, so that wasn’t an issue. The only difficulty was that we didn’t have any tickets to board.

Now that we were out of Austria, we had a long drive to the French border. The horses had never gone on such a long drive before, but they were excellent. I was a little worried, but I knew we couldn’t abandon them. We’ve been here for a few days and have managed to rent a countryside house so that our horses can be close by. We are overjoyed that they could accompany us.