I can hear them trampling up the stairs in their big black combat boots. The cold steel shifting in their hands makes an exceptionally poignant sound, one that causes me to sit still and as quiet as possible. It’s so dark in here and the air is filled with dust. I hold onto myself with my knees to my chest in the tightly cramped space.
“FIND HER!” I hear one officer scream. Following shortly by what sounds like crashing dishes on the floor, glass shattering and furniture breaking. Then come the bullets. Random firing at the walls, ceilings and floors; anywhere they think I may be hiding. I think, “All of this over a loaf of stolen bread?”
“Foonk-whirr!” A shot comes through the wall above my head missing me by inches. I hold myself even tighter. Scared to death, unable to cry or move for fear that they will hear me, I bury my head into my knees and I pray.
I pray they give up searching for me. I pray they do not kill my family because they cannot find me. I pray we will not have to live this way anymore, in fear.
I pray, I pray, I pray.
The screaming and destruction of my home has ceased. I can hear the faint crunching of glass underfoot along with boots stomping down the stairs away from me. I can’t help but think, “Did I really survive?”
I wait what seems to be an eternity before I make any attempt to leave, just in case they are downstairs waiting. I inch forward to the small door. Not an easy task in such a tight fit, but I manage. I push on it with my foot but it won’t move. I push again and nothing happens. I kick it as hard as I can in the restricted space that I have, it won’t budge. I can see the small, round bullet hole in the wall just above my head. I stretch my neck as far as I can to peer through it. One of the dressers is lying on the floor. The officers must have knocked it over when they were searching for me, unknowingly blocking the hidden door to my secret hiding place.
Panic sets in. I yell for help but no one comes. I kick and scream for what seems like hours. I can’t breathe. There is dust in my lungs, the walls are closing on me and the darkness consumes all. Reality sets in…I am trapped. Scared to death, crying, kicking and screaming for someone, anyone to find me – I pray.
I pray the officers will come back to look for me again. I pray there will be enough oxygen in the dust to last me. I pray that I do not die this way, in fear.