The Gold Star

The Gold Star

The gold star on my chest identifies me as different. It tells all the people around me that I'm tainted, unwanted, and something to be feared. Maybe I should use that power, but instead I find myself trapped, hovering between who I want to be and who they tell me I am.



The war ravaged city passes by the windows of the train. I'm afraid and don't know what is going to happen to me, but I've heard the stories, I know what happens when they show up to take people like me away. I'm trying to stay strong, if not for me, for my family.

My mother and father are huddled in the corner of the train car, holding my baby sister. Their faces look scared as they hold on to one another. There has to be something I can do. I sit in the middle of the floor and hug my knees to my chest. I rest my chin on my knees and try not to let the fear overcome me.

I have to stay strong.



Just then the train lurches and screams wrench through the air. My body flies forward, leaving me sprawled in front of a young couple clutching each other in terror. The seconds pass on silence, the only noise coming from the pounding heart around me.

Gunfire pierces the air. Loud pops accompanied by the burning smell of gunpowder. The sounds and smells are all too familiar. Wails of fear and desperation echo through the train as the realization hits. These are going to be our last moments.

I crawl to my family and wrap them in tight embraces. I can feel the sobs wracking through my mother's body. My baby sister clings to my mother. Her tiny fists wrapped around the gold chain that I gave her for her birthday. My father remains stoic.

I jump up and stand in front of my family when I hear the door squeal. It moves so slowly, like my life is moving in slow motion, as I live out my final moments. Light slowly streams into the train as the door slides open. I can hear men yelling outside of the train. Their voices sound excited, but I can also hear moans of pain.

When the door finally opens all the way, a group of men, rifles on their backs, stands in the doorway. I'm waiting for them to open fire. For their bullets to spray through the train, piercing the bodies clinging to each other.

“What are you waiting for?” I yell when the seconds tick by.

The man in the front of the group walks towards me. My body tenses, poised for an attack.  He stretches a hand out to me and I pause in confusion.

“What do you want?” I ask.

“We're here to rescue you,” the man says.

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