24 Hours

What can you do in 24 hours?  Go to school, play football with your friends,  go home, do your homework and watch a few videos on YouTube.  That used to be my daily routine.

My dreams were simple, I wanted to be an architect.  I reckoned this dream could come true since I was a good student, with good grades in all subjects.  Unfortunately all that changed in 24 hours.

It was Monday June 9th, an ordinary day.  I had just finished my exercises and it was time to go to bed, but for some reason I couldn’t sleep.  From one moment to the next, my safe haven became a dangerous place.  It was 3am on June 10th when we heard the sound of gunfire.  We had no means of defending ourselves.

My father and I went to find out what was going on.  The streets were empty, so my father decided to go to the police station to ask what was happening.  We had heard that there were terrorists not far away from our town, who were threatening to attack us.  We were not afraid because the mayor had released a video of himself walking round the streets of the town in total safety.  He said there was nothing to fear.

When my father returned he said that there was no one at the police station, which was on fire.  My heart started racing.  I heard my father saying that there was nothing we could do.  I couldn’t breathe.  How come the “angels” who had undertaken to keep us safe, were now abandoning us?

Years of dreams and hopes were shattered in one day.  My whole life passed before my eyes and I asked myself what is going to happen to us.  My mother hugged me.  “It’ll be fine, go and rest”, she said.  I washed my face and went to bed.  It was 5am.

We woke to a new, unfamiliar reality.  Demons, disguised as heroes, were telling us that they had come to save us and help us.  We felt lost.  Some people cheered them.  The only thing I could hear were the terrifying voices of the demons coming to destroy our lives.  Everything happened in one day.  24 hours full of fear and dreams being shattered into little pieces without anyone being able to do anything.  The only thing we could do was to watch it happen.  That was the first day of Isis’s occupation of my town.

*This article has been published in issue #13 of “Migratory Birds” newspaper, which was released as an annex with “Efimerida ton Syntakton” newspaper (Newspaper of the Editors) on May 25th 2019.