Prose-ject 2020 2: When Everything Changed

The prompt used: race to the top.

That day was supposed to be a fun day. Olly and I had organized a charity run for us kids with our friends: each participant would pay the one-euro participation fee and we would all race to the top of the hill just outside our town. The winner would get an ice cream of their choice from our local sellers and the money would go to the local animal shelter.

And man, race we did. Each of us ran as fast as they could, but no one could beat Olly’s BFF, Wayra. He was unbeatable in racing, as always. He had always said that his name meant “wind” in Quechua; if it was true, it definitely fit him.

While Wayra was the one who won ice cream, the rest of us also bought our own cones and enjoyed the pretty summer day. Life was normal and simple. While each of us had a tough time in one way or another, we were happy nevertheless. We had each other, after all, and life wasn’t too bad.

Little did we know that that day would change our whole planet forever.

We had just dropped the twenty-two euros in addition to the forty or so euros adults had chipped in as donations to the shelter when the bombing started in unison with the blaring alarms. Then parents started to call us to get into a bomb shelter, that we were under attack, that they’d come and get us once the bombing ended.

Some kids’ parents never came. The rest of the adults took those poor souls under their wings all the while the news told about only one thing: one of the warmongering civilizations had chosen to attack Earth. Our bombing wasn’t the only case: it was happening all over the globe, all at the same time.

In panic, many started to flee to parts unknown with hopes of finding shelter someplace too uninteresting for the attackers to bomb. That was the last time Olly and I saw Wayra; his family chose to return to their roots in the Andean mountains while they still could. We never heard from him again after his ship to South America departed.

Eventually, my family fled to an underwater compound, hoping that we would be the safest there despite of all the water overhead and the risk of drowning, should the structure fail. They said that the attackers didn’t like water, so we would be safest there, in the middle of it.

The day we left for our underwater shelter was the last time I saw Olly — or anyone else who participated in the charity run still around. Our ice cream sellers had died in the first bombing to a ricochet — it still chills me to this day that had we been some tens of minutes longer there, we would’ve all died there — and the animal shelter had been reduced to ashes with all the animals and the little remaining personnel in a later bombing.

With communications cut down, I have no idea where my friends went or if they’re still out there somewhere.

No matter what has happened to them, I can’t help but reminisce the race day and everyone who took part in it every single day.

Someday, I will join everyone who’s lost their lives to the bombs. I can only hope that the Bjerkes are still making and selling ice cream on the other side when I get there.

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