The war had been raging on for weeks now, transforming the once beautiful and serene town of Gardenia into a waste land. A place that was once so full of life and joy had now fallen into an abyss of lifelessness. It was as if a shadow had been cast upon the town and its people.
We had been staying in the town’s emergency bunker since the war had broken out. We remained unknown to the conditions outside and to those of the other cities. All we were told to do was hide. For days and days we could hear the agonizing cries of the unfortunate people who could not find a safe location and had been captured, their cries for help broke my heart because in that moment I felt so powerless, so useless for not being able to do anything to help the people outside. The worst feeling had to have been when the cries stopped because with the last person who died, our hope did too.
It had been a few more days after which we were allowed to go to the top floor of the bunker, the one with windows, to see what had become of our once extravagant town. I wasn’t able to look for long, just a quick glance, but what I saw made my heart shatter into a million pieces, it felt like as if I had been shot because the pain was so immense.
There was fire everywhere, our once beautiful homes that housed so many memories, the tall buildings we saw getting constructed when we were small children, the schools we studied in: all had turned into mere memories in the past for what stood now was a very tattered and broken version of our once paradise.
Buildings, cars, plants and anything else that could be lit aflame was on fire. It looked like a movie scene to be honest because you could never think that such horrors could truly exist, that there could be people out there in the world that would do something so gruesome to others.
The thing that sent chills down my spine and made my heart drop to my stomach was all the bodies of the people I once knew, the people I used to wave hello too, engage in conversations with, all of them laid there, dead. In that moment I wished I never had glanced out the window because as bad as it was in the bunker, it was infinitely worse outside.
As I drowned out the screams of the people around me who saw what had happened outside, I got lost in thought, with one image constantly replaying in my mind, my childhood friend Raven laying there dead with her eyes open, looking nothing like the joyful girl I grew up with and at that moment I regretted nothing more than taking that one glance outside the window, for it forever changed my life.