Olivia Johnson, Grade 6, Buderim Mountain State School
I scan the room, frantically, like an afraid mouse. My heart is beating so fast, I feel as though at any moment it will break through my skin and smash on the ground. I feel as though my lungs are travelling up my throat. Oh god. A solider helicopter scans the house, with its blinding light. I lie under the attic window, on the soothing cold floorboards and I'm shivering like a wet dog. I see the frayed pale purple curtains fly effortlessly over my head, and I hope the soldiers can't see me. The war chopper circles the house, then leads itself away.
I feel like the last sane person on earth. My family's small, brick house is my only shelter and protection in this bitter war.
If it wasn't for that day I hid in the attic while playing hide and seek with my cousins, I would have been taken, like the rest of my world. My brown hair is an oily matted mess, and my olive skin is full of cuts and mud, and my black shirt and denim shorts smell like sweat, mud, musk and dust. But I'm used to it. I'm used to the cuts, the horrible aromas, and the pain, or at lest, that's what I tell myself. I've been hiding in my own home for over 2 weeks now, and I haven't the slightest idea what’s happening outside my little cottage. All I have to eat and drink is warm milk, a few bottles of lukewarm water, a couple of boxes of crackers, and a loaf of half-mouldy bread.
I feel a single tear fall down my cheek, softening the crust of mud on my skin.
I'm not used to it. I don't know how long I will have to stay hidden, and more than anything, I just want to hug my mum, and nurse my baby sister, Holly, and I want to hear my 8-year-old brother, call my name with his playful little voice, and feel my dad, kissing my forehead, and saying "Good Night, Allie", like he used to every single night. I curl up into a ball in the hot attic, and put my hands over my ears, and try to block out all of the piercing thoughts. I sob myself to sleep, as I do every night.
I look at the picture of my family, and whisper. "Goodnight'.
I scrape another tally into the wood. "Day 18" I say to myself.
I decide I need to get out and get some fresh air, or at least get out of this attic. I start climbing down the ladder, and everything is quiet. I can hear the birds chirping, and it almost hurts my ears. I haven't been out of the attic since the war started, except to get food. I decide to enter my room, and change. I put on some jeans and a plain, white shirt. Then my heart drops, and I viciously clamber under my bed. I hear another helicopter. I squeeze my hazel eyes shut as sweat falls down my face.
The thing about war is, you never know what tomorrow will bring. It could be the day you see everyone you know again, but you have to live every day like it’s your last, because it might well be.