The banging. Where was that coming from? It was incessant. What in the world was going on? Realizing where it was coming from, I stumbled down the stairs trying to get my slippers on my feet. I jerked the front door open with a grumbly “What??”

The man in front of me looked right through me as he shoved his way in, barking out orders as he went. 

“Your name ma’am?” he turned toward me, glaring. 

“Margaret, sir,” I answered curtly, half annoyed and half terrified. 

“You and anyone else in the house are to leave immediately.” he retorted back. “There will be no discussion and no negotiating. Grab your things and go. This house is now the property of the Gaston Army. You have three minutes starting right now.” 

With that, he marched off into the kitchen barking more orders to the soldiers who followed behind, their guns held across their bodies. 

“Mommy, what is happening?” A tiny voice coming from a tiny person made its way down the stairs. 

“It’s ok, Olivia. Go grab a bag and throw an outfit in and your teddy then put on your shoes. Quickly! Hurry baby!”

“Ok, mommy.” Her bottom lip trembled but she put on a brave face and ran for her bedroom. 

I took the stairs two at a time and rushed to my room. I grabbed a suitcase from under the bed, threw in an outfit, shoes, and the family bible (which is where I had stashed our emergency money), along with the family photos on my dresser. I ran to the bathroom grabbing a brush and both of our toothbrushes. Dropping the suitcase by the stairs I ran into Olivia's room. 

She had thrown her teddy and her favorite outfit on the bed. I grabbed her some clean underthings and her favorite book. Scooping them up I ran to the hallway and crammed them into my suitcase as well. 

Olivia came out a second later with her shoes on. We ran down the stairs where the soldiers were just coming out of the kitchen. The head soldier eyed us up and down. He then handed us a loaf of bread and two apples. 

“Be on your way. And know that the Gaston Army thanks you for your hospitality in assisting our soldiers.” 

With that, he gave us a slight shove out the door and closed it behind us. I stood there for several moments, just staring at the closed door. My family's home was overrun by soldiers who fought for a government that I did not support. A government that was selfish and power-hungry. 

This was the house I had grown up in, that I had hoped my daughter would grow up in. It was the house my parents had both passed on in, days apart from each other. It was the house my own husband had died in. It was just me and Olivia now and I had no idea where we would even sleep tonight. 

I turned and looked at Olivia standing there, so small, so scared, silent tears coursing down her cheeks. 

“Oh, honey. It’s going to be ok, everything is going to be ok. I promise. Come let’s go get some tea and eat some breakfast. That will help calm us a bit.”

She nodded, the tears barely slowing their flow. As she put her tiny hand in mine and allowed me to lead her away from the house my heart ached. For her, for me, and for our country.


As we sat in the cafe drinking the tea that warmed our bellies, we split an apple and tore pieces of bread from the loaf. The tears had stopped for now and we giggled as we watched a woman walking her dog. The dog was full of energy and kept darting to and fro pulling the woman into ridiculous spins as she tried to keep up. It warmed my heart to hear her giggle like that. On the outside, we looked like every other mother and daughter enjoying their time out together but on the inside, my mind was racing. 

Where were we going to go? I had relatives but they all lived states away. I could take the train to them but there was no guarantee that they would be able to take us in. I would have to find their phone numbers and call them up. But what would I say? “Hi, this is Claire, your great-niece once removed. I know I haven’t seen you since I was seven but could my and my daughter come live with you? Take up all your space? Eat up all your food?” She knew it sounded ridiculous even in her own head. She wouldn’t be doing either of the latter two things. They had one suitcase between them and she would earn her keep, no doubt. 

“Olivia, darling, Mommy is going to use the telephone for a moment. Can you sit very still and finish eating your breakfast for me?”

“Can I still watch the lady and her dog?” She giggled back at her. 

“Of course, honey. Tell me all about it when I get back.” She grinned at her daughter. Olivia shoved a piece of bread in with the next giggle and turned back toward the window. 


Two hours later we were aboard a train heading out to Loudonville. My aunt Rebecca had insisted we come right away, that family was family no matter how long it had been since you had seen each other. It turned out Rebecca had a spare room in her home and Olivia and I were welcome to it no matter how long we needed to stay. 

I leaned my head back and breathed deeply, thanking God for providing in our time of need. Despite the circumstances, I felt like Olivia and I may be ok. As far as my family home, I couldn’t be so sure. It was hard telling once those dreadful soldiers were done with it.

March 14, 2022 18:54

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Gip Roberts
19:46 Mar 17, 2022

Good description of a sad, stressful moment, with a relieving ending.


Kristy Reynolds
20:53 Mar 17, 2022

Thank you so much! :)


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