Madeline Francis, Grade 8, Tamborine Mountain State High School
All I could remember was a blur of leather hammering down parchment steps. Sirens blared and painted red shadows across cobblestones, gleaming with recent showers. Humans inhabited every spare corner and crevasse of the stale, shelter. Hiding amongst the shadows, shivering, with their heads slung in deep folds of dull, rough clothing. There was fear in the air, you could taste it, musky, pungent, with the aftertaste of sweat.
The whole room held their breath as they waited, for the rock of the ground above, the rubble to be thrown on their limp bodies. Some kept to the withering corners, some squeezed each other’s hands, silent, desperate prayers echoing in the hollows of their heart. It was too late for prayers now. I hate war. You hear that war? I HATE YOU! War is a greedy, selfish, manifestation that nibbles, then bites, and then gorges itself into the minds of humans, as if we are none other than appetizers served at a dinner party. If you are not familiar with the symptoms of war, let me remind you. War shreds people and their miserable souls from the inside to out, till they are nothing but a limp pile of confetti on a damp, air raid shelter floor.
The first movement came after two desperate hours of tedious waiting, a rumble in the gentle ground. Nothing more than a quiver, perhaps merely the shiver of the fatigued earth waiting for the moment that it would be allowed to finally rest. As its own inhabitants continued to destroy the land that had been created with the greatest of accord. Hands braced, and knuckles whitened, I felt my heart beat rise. Beads of sweat drew on my brow developing small waterfalls across my forehead, running down my nose and soaking into the auburn, tweed material of my button up jacket. Everyone was silent, and the silence was deafening. Suddenly all confidence and trust in the cement box in which we were contained, drained. Surely these concrete poles couldn’t withstand the great force of a bomb? Why were we here anyway? Who were the Nazis and why was the Fuhrer taking the people across the street away? I fell asleep to these thoughts circling my mind and to the utterly terrifying sound of pristine silence.
My dreams were interrupted by the ringing of the alarm to signify “all clear”. Bodies shoved and jostled to reach the door. My hand was lost from my parent’s side in a sea of others. The crowd stopped moving… why? I tried to perceive the source of the gasps coming from the front of the throng. I found a dishevelled wooden fruit cart nestled cosily in the corner. Grasping the cart I stood on top and gazed out. A dump, nothing more than an ocean of crushed bricks, glass, wood and dirt lay before my eyes. What had once been my beautiful home, was gone.