Part 1

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"Is this how you do it?" I ask my mother, who smiles in response.

"Yes, you're doing a fantastic job, my angel!" Her golden eyes beam with pride as I start to stitch up the side of the cloth. Today is my eleventh birthday. Mama bought me some new cloth so I can make my own dress. "And then, you cross stitch this part, and fold this over." She instructs. I listen intently, following her every order.

After a few minutes, my mother stands and walks into the kitchen. My eyes stay glued to my dress as I push the needle in and through the fabric. My mother walks back in, carrying a cake. "Happy birthday, (Name)." She sets it down, and lights the candle. "Make a wish." She urges, and I close my eyes.

I wish this day would last forever...

Just as I blew out the candle, the door flies open and my brother runs in. "Mom, they're here!" Aleks yells. "They're coming for it!"

"Oh, no." My mom desperately looks around the house, obviously searching for something.

"Mama? What's-" My question was interrupted by multiple gun shots. I hit the floor, scared to move. "What's going on?!"

My mother forces her way out of the room and grabs my hand. "Come on, sweetie. Just stay close to me!" We run out of the house and into the chaotic outside world. People were running left and right, parents holding their children in they're arms as they try to escape the danger. I look around in fear and see a few strange looking men. Their long, colorful coats and feathered hats caught my attention.


"What are we going to do?!" My feet move as fast as my heart beats.

"Just follow me, ok?" My mother shows me a confident smile, and I curtly nod my head. We push our way to the middle of the crowd and blend in with the others of our village.

"Mom, over here!" Aleks calls. We make our way over to him and he looks around secretively. "Alright, if we can get through this path, there's a boat at the end that'll take us away from here!" I stare into his frightened eyes in terror.

What are they after?

I look behind me and see the pirates take out their swords. One grabs a man by his collar and pulls him towards the others. "Where is it?!"

"I-I don't know what you're talking about!" The man yells. "Let me go, please!" The pirates exchange eye contact amongst themselves before brutally, and fatally, striking the man in the head. I gasp as I watch his body fall to the ground.

"It's ok, they won't hurt you." My mother instructs, stroking my hair to comfort me. "Come on, it's time to go." She takes my hand and starts to run into the forest. Aleks follows quickly after us to ensure our safety.

"Hey, over there!" A rough voice calls from behind us. I turn and see the pirates hot on our trail.

"Mama!" I look at my mother who stares straight ahead.

"Keep running! Don't look back!" I cling tightly to her arm and run as fast as I can. Soon, my mother rips her arm from my grasp, and turns to face them. I instantly rush to join her, but Aleks picks me up and keeps running.

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