The force of the first blast blew the little girl out of bed. Whimpering, she lay on the floor covering her ears against the string of explosions that followed. The deafening torrent
of sound didn’t stop right away, but continued for what seemed like forever, a thunderstorm
of fire and steel.
The girl could feel things in the air above her tearing holes in the walls of the room as they passed over her head. When the barrage ended, for a moment she thought it could have been a dream. Any doubts vanished the moment she saw her grandmother burst into the room. The old woman threw herself to the floor, covering the girl with her body.
As her hearing returned, she recognized the agonized screams of farm animals and the wailing of her Grandmother. She couldn't make out what was said, but she could tell by the tone of it that Nana was extremely upset.
The door burst inward again, and the girl looked up to see her father, face crazed with concern. His eyes darted about the room, finally settling on his daughter and mother on the floor.
They were still partially deaf from the concussive effect of the bombardment, but they could make out the words as he screamed, "Are either of you hurt?" When the two on the floor shook their heads, he ran back out into the night. The old woman got up and sat on the bed, tears in her eyes. The little girl found her voice. 'Nana, what happened?" The woman wiped her eyes with an old piece of lace she had wrapped tightly around her fingers. "We've been bombed, my darling, but never you worry, it's over now." The old woman stood and pulled her grandchild up with her. "To be certain we're going to spend the rest of the night in the cellar until your father says it's clear."
When they came out of the house, the chill light of dawn was casting a dreamlike aura, softening the harsh reality of the scene. The little girl wanted to believe that it was all a dream, but she couldn't pull her eyes from the carnage that lay in front of her. The barn was destroyed and dead livestock was scattered about the yard.
Her father was tearing through the smoking wreckage of the barn with his bare hands, making a kind of mewling noise in his throat she had never heard before. That noise and her father's frantic clawing upset the girl more than the explosions had. Gasping at the sight, Nana hurried her grandchild around the side of the house to the cellar entrance, blocking the surreal tableau with her body. Once they were underground, the girl gave voice to her fears. "Where is my mother?"
It's all right, child. The old woman nestled the child's head in the crook of her neck while hugging her tighter. "She's probably helping your father save what's left of the livestock, now shush."
The fear in her grandmother’s voice exposed the lie, and the little girl cried when it sank in that she'd never see her mother again. The two spent the evening hugging each other, unable to stop thinking about what they had seen.