My Short Story Essay Example
I woke up, confused as I trembled. For a second, I forgot my name. Angie, Angie, Angie, I repeated to myself. My eyes suddenly open like an owl that had spotted its prey. I could hear my mom’s faint voice called out to me. I looked over to my right. I hoped that she was next to me, reaching to hold my hand. I wanted her to tell me that we were finally safe. As my head slowly rose up, I scanned the dark, noiseless room. I couldn’t hear anything but my heart beat rapidly in my chest, which generated a loud thud over and over again. I whispered softly for mom but heard no response. That was when I realized I wasn't safe. I wasn’t with my family. As I lay back down, I could feel my blood move through my entire body. Unsettlement stuck me again. A tear trickled down my face as my heavy eyes closed once again. I distinctly remembered my family and the journey to escape the horror I faced.
I was thirteen years old when I had to flee my hometown near Mexico City. Nobody ever heard of where I lived. It’s a small, peaceful town, isolated from the rest of the world. I lived in a small house with mom, grandma, my older brother Sam and my younger sister Amelia. I never knew my father. He died when I was three and that is all mom told me about him. Grandma and Mom were complete opposites. Grandma was an energetic and lively seventy-year-old woman full of memories from her childhood. Her wrinkled face and grey, thinning hair that reached her shoulders hid the memories that he held underneath the aging.
Mom, on the other hand, was young, mellow and cautious with brown hair and sparkling hazel eyes that caught everyone’s attention. Amelia was twelve, a year younger than me. We were similar as both of us were medium height with brown, rounded eyes and long brown hair that was braided down to our shoulder. Amelia and I even walked in the same way, with a graceful stumble every other time we stepped on out left foot. We were always thought of as twins. I was hopeful while she was pessimistic, which mom always joked how that set us apart. My brother Sam was fourteen. He had short, dark brown hair with a few pieces of light hair disbursed almost at random and blue eyes that sparkled like my mom’s, he was the only one of us with blue eyes. He was bright and cheerful, always wanted to do the most he could for everyone.
I was reading, fascinated by the characters and their lives, lost in a world that didn’t exist. As the book faded out of my head, mom called out with a stern and frustrated tone to get ready for bed. I jumped out of bed and rushed to the bathroom before Sam or Amelia could beat me to it. It was always a game to see who would get their first, a game only we understood. As I approached, inches away, I see Sam run by with a smile like lightning on a stormy night. Frustrated, I turned around and went back to my room to continue to read, which marked the end of my day. I fell asleep fascinated by the free lives that I read about. I hoped I would experience it for myself.
I woke up to the clatter of the keys against the cold metal lock as the guard struggled to find the right one to open the cage that surrounded me. I sat up and looked down. I was on a bottle green colored mat that lay on the cold concrete floor. My head tilted up as I observe the cage. It was a box made out of metal no bigger than two small bedrooms but together. Scattered around were children of all different ages. The older kids sat quietly, while the younger ones began to wake up, and steadily sat up, unable to hold themselves up. A line formed and I followed the kids. As the others began to walk, I slowly stumbled behind them, terrified, unable to catch my steps. I finally reached a room where the smell of musk and the combination expired cheese overpowered the room. As I got to the front, I was given a sandwich wrapped in tinfoil that was cold as ice and a separate plate of what looked like mashed potatoes but smelled unsettling and rotten, like milk that has been out in the hot sun for a week. I exited the line and began to walk to the corner to sit down and eat. Two girls ask the guards where their families were. The guards refused to answer the two girls and coldly told them to sit. One of the girls cried as her friend reached for a hug. The guard stepped between them. I walked past the two girls with my head down as I did not want to get involved.
As I sat down, a girl named Clara came up to me. She was sixteen, two years older than me. She was tall and slender with olive skin. It was as if she hadn't eaten anything in weeks. Brown, coarse hair flowed past her shoulders and bold green eyes constantly observed the cage. Clara told me that her country faced violence which forced her family to flee, which reminded me of the night that made us leave.
While I was asleep, I heard a loud rumble followed by a scream outside. I sprung up from my bed as mom rushed into my room. She told me we had to leave right away. I grabbed a backpack and stuffed it with as many things as I could. I gathered pictures of my family, some clothes and my book Before I left my room, I quickly glanced outside the window. All I saw was a stuffed animal bear covered in a wine-red color on the dirt road, in front of a still hand of what looked like a child. I couldn’t look any further than the wrist. I rushed down the hall to see my Sam, Amelia, mom, and grandma waited to escape the savagery that was outside.
A year ago, gangs started to move into my town. As time went on, violence had increased. From now and then, there would be one or two bodies found but the occurrences had escalated. One night, it was the worst it's ever been. Merciless break in from house to house left no one behind. We had to leave before they got to our house. When it was clear, we ran. Grandma first, followed by Amelia, then me, mom and Sam. Suddenly, I heard a gunshot. Afraid to look behind I ran faster than before. I sprinted across the dark desert and tripped over rocks and small plants. I felt the wind on the back of my neck. I couldn’t feel my legs but I knew I couldn’t stop. As we reached safety in the desert, we stopped. I looked behind and couldn’t see Sam. I asked mom where he was and she broke down in tears. She told us he was gone.
Everyone called this place ‘the center’. The thought of mom crossed into my head. I needed to find her. Panicked, I started to rock my foot from heel to toe, back and forth which created a slight tap on the floor. The tapping became faster and faster until it became uncontrolled. Clara tried to comfort me with a bright yet upsetting smile that extended across her face. She assured me that mom was at another center, just like her mom. She suffered to stay optimistic but the smile never left her face.
Clara began to tell me about the center. There were no contact or writing letters. Before classes every morning, a group would be chosen to clean the center and then proceed to their class. Everyone had to be accompanied by a guard at all times, without exceptions. If I needed to get water, a guard would take me. If I needed to use the restroom, a guard would take me. If I disobeyed the rules, nobody would ever see me again. The last person that neglected the rules was never seen again, he was ten years old and nobody knew where he went.
Once the guards turned away, I threw my food into the trash. After fifteen minutes, I had to line up again. These final minutes felt like an eternity. This time, they split us into two different groups. My line was led out of the room and back to the metal cage. The others were sent to clean the bathrooms.
We lost Amelia the week that followed as we walked through the hot desert. She fell sick and was gone the next day. Mom, grandma and I kept going. We dug a small grave and placed an orchid on top. Grandma’s fragile heart couldn’t bear that she had lost two of her grandchildren within two weeks and died later in the week. It was just me and mom left, both of us heartbroken but we kept. We were headed towards safety. After weeks of travel through the blazing desert during the day and slept in the frigid night, we finally reached the border. It was our chance to live once again. As we started our journey to cross into the United States when we were blindsided and apprehended. This marked the last time I saw my mom. I lost everything I had that night.
Clara and I spent every second that we could together, I finally had someone. I could see she lost fate in reuniting with her mom as her smile became more fainter as the days passed. Many started to die from malnourishment and illnesses that were left untreated. Some started to harm themselves, as a way to get out of the center. A little girl who was nine was found after she stole pesticide and poisoned herself. All of us were drained, physically and emotionally. I started to lose hope.
I sat on the uncleanly mat on a rainy evening as I heard the constant drops of the raindrops against the roof. Longed for an excuse to get out of the cage, I asked to use the restroom. I was escorted and while the guard conversed with another guard, I slipped in the filthy room that was cleaned earlier that morning. As soon as I walked in, I saw Clara’s lifeless body lying on the floor. I bent down to see if she was breathing but I notice a picture crumpled in one hand and bottle of cleaner in the other, almost empty. She was gone and I was alone again