When I wake up from my sleeping place on the hard stone floor, there are so many people around me. Old women clutch at the young women. Tiny children cling to their mothers. Everyone is weeping and crying aloud. I know what is happening, and yet everything seems so unclear and chaotic. Where is my mother? I look around desperately, until I see her stumbling toward me. I scramble to her; her eyes are blood shot and filled with tears.
“Where is Papa?” I ask. At my question she gives out a suppressed sob, and I know the answer. He has gone to fight, to save us all. And then I realize I may never see him again. I have never wanted my father with me more at that moment than I have in my entire life. My knees grow weak, and I sink back onto the floor. My mother kneels next to me, holding my shoulders. As I look, I see other men - the young and old alike - being guided by the soldiers to the surface of the Deep. They may not live to see another day. To see the sun rise and spill its colors onto the earth. I cry.
Drums. There are drums in the distance. The steady rhythm of marching echoes throughout the caves. There is no escaping it. I back myself up to wall of the cave, pressing myself against it in fear. The marching stops. All is still and much too quiet. Silence fills the cave and rushes around my ears. I realize I have stopped breathing. The tension is unbearable. My heart beats faster and I fear it will leap out of my chest at any moment. A single tear falls down my cheek. Then it begins. Boom. Boom. Boom. They are stomping in place. It sounds as if they are right on top of us.
“Mama!” I cry. She is next to me in an instant. We grasp each other.
What is happening? The noise continues for what seems like ages. And
then - the blast, what sounds like an explosion. The caves shake, bits
of rock and stone fall from the ceiling. We all scream and look up -
fearing the mountain will crumble and crush us beneath it.
The shaking stops. There is silence. The only sound is that of people breathing, taking short little gasps of breath. Then again, the drums. A new wave of terror flows over me, and I bury myself into my mother’s cloak. I just want it to end. When will this senseless destructive violence end, I just want it to end. This is all I can think as I sob for the defenders, for the innocent, and lastly for myself.