It was Ande’s fifteenth birthday.
She thought that she wasn’t ready to leave the orphanage yet. She was sick and frail, she was worried about what will happen to her outside.
The caretaker in the orphanage advised her to head to the recruitment agency and find a job to at least feed herself. The kind caretaker also told her not to talk to strangers and walk in wide roads.
And so Ande went to the recruitment agency. She got lost a couple of times but found herself in the place with the help of a boy who happened to be also heading to the agency. It seemed that he was also looking for a job to earn money to feed himself. The kind caretaker told Ande not to talk to strangers but if it wasn’t for the boy she’d still be lost.
There was a very long line of people trying to get a job. They were also young and needed to feed themselves, like her.
While waiting for her turn, Ande told the boy about her leaving the orphanage. The boy, who introduced himself as Von, told her his origin in return. Ande was surprised to know that he came from a wealthy family but then ran away. He did not tell her why. The conversation went from their hobbies to their favorite foods. By the time their names were called in, they already felt close to each other.
Von went in first. When he came out Ande asked him what job he got, he told her that he will be going to the war. Then she went in and told the recruiter that she was also going to the war.
When she told Von that she was going with him, he got angry at her and told her to go back and change the job she picked. She told him about her illness earlier and he cannot let her go with him to the war.
However Ande insisted on going with him because he was her friend. Von got more angry and told her that he was never her friend and left her.
Ande felt heartbroken. She went back to the recruiter to change her job but they told her that she cannot change it anymore. With a heavy heart she just took the recruit uniform they gave her and followed a man who wore the same uniform with the other kids who also get to work to the war. Her eyes kept following Von who would glare at her every time he saw her.
The man told everyone to ride a big truck that would fit about twenty people in it. As much as Ande wanted to ride the truck where Von was, she was forced to ride the other.
The trucks started moving and it made Ande excited. It was her first time in a vehicle. It was also her first time going to the war.
After five good hours they finally arrived to the place she heard them call the base. She went out and noticed that the people in her truck were the only ones who step down on the base, the others just watched them from the windows of their trucks.
Von watched Ande receive an armalite from a soldier. He watched her nod at everything the soldier told her even when she did not understand a single thing he was saying. He watched her stare at the firearm like she did not know or saw something like it before. He watched her pull the trigger and get terribly surprised by it. He watched her throw it down and run towards the truck he was in.
She was crying. She came to him and told him that it was the sound that killed her parents. She then asked him what was the war.
Von was speechless and wanted to take her in his truck but the soldier came to get her and shoved the armalite she dropped earlier on her face. The soldier then dragged her away.
Von tried to go out and get her but the people with him did not let him. They told him that the enemy suddenly showed up and those kids outside were going to fight as reinforcement so that the other vehicles could pass the battlefield safely, and that they were lucky that their ride wasn’t the chosen one.
Ande held her firearm with her trembling body. She was afraid that the soldier would hurt her again if she drop it. She ran with the other kids without knowing what to do and soon she can hear the loud gunshots and people screaming.
She remembered that scene. Years ago before she was put in the orphanage, it was the same. She then wondered why people were like that. Have they gone crazy? What was the purpose? Ande did not understand why must people kill.
She looked at Von who was anxiously watching her from afar. The kind caretaker told her not to talk to strangers, and she did.
To be continued.