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I ran to what looked like the receptionist's (sp) desk. People were shoving and yelling names to her. I managed to push my way past them, with Brett's help. We made it to the receptionist. Just as I was about to ask if she had seen Ashley or had her on her list, another girl cut in ahead of us. I had enough of being nice to people. I put my hand on her shoulder and spun her around to face me.

"Listen, I..." I said angrily. "Ashley?" I whispered to myself. I took a closer look at the girl in front of me. I looked back at Brett and he only nodded with a big smile on his face.


NEVER in my life had I been more relieved to see my sister. Not even that time when I snuck out to the party and needed her to pick me up before mum and dad found out. I threw my arms around her and hugged her as if I never planned on letting go.

Brett and Marc-Andre were equally as happy to see each other but, of course they had to do the macho thing. So they just high-fived.

We decided we should head home until we knew where to go.


Mary-Kate, Ashley, Marc-Andre and I all grew up on the same block, and as a result were friends since childhood. It was together that we faced the devastation that was once our home.
For minutes we just stared in horror at the bomb crater.

"What are we going to do?" Mary-Kate asked me. It seemed like everyone was looking to me to protect them to help them. Being a couple of months older I'd always been the big brother figure everyone looked up to, and disobeyed me at the same time. I remembered -with a longing to go back to simpler days- a time when at the age of 15 Marc-Andre and Ashley decided they liked each other as more then friends and decided to date. I was totally against the idea and didn't think it would last. They stayed together for a year. I often wonder if proving me wrong was their only reason. Or if it really had worked. If so what ended it?
I was jolted back from my nostalgic trip by their desperate faces.

"What do we do?" Marc-Andre now asked.

"I don't know!" I replied "I just, don't know!" .


I looked around and saw more survivors walking up the road on their way to the shelter. I walked over to Brett and sat down. We discussed what we could do and where we could go.

We heard the sounds of buses and jeeps from down the road. We all took cover since no American military vehicles had arrived yet. I took a peak as they were coming closer and saw a Hum-vee escorting green school buses.

One by one we walked out and watched the caravan pass by.

Eventually all but one of the procession had past. The last school bus stopped and a person came to the door.

"All residents are being evacuated" he informed us.

We all glanced at each nervously. Leave? But this was our home.

"You lads look strong" he observed "they'll be taking army volunteers soon..."

Chapter 4

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