The flood of refugees grew bigger as they slowly moved toward the border. There were dark mountains around them.
"Up there is the village, where our Granny lives." Saranda poitned to the left, there was no sign of burning.
Dardon nodded, still looking at the long convoy of civilian vehicles stacked out behind them. His brown hair was soaked, dripping on his dirty jumper.
"Remember, how we were skiing there this winter?" She spoke again holding an old sheet to protect them. The water ran down her cheeks as she turned to him. He was usually at his loudest while home. But now...
Suddenly they heard an aeroplane. In a split second there was an explosion. Flames engulfed the lead vehicles. A bomb attack.
Dardon screamed in terror and Saranda wated to as well. Dad appeared and grabbed her hand. The black suitcase thumped on the ground and everything spilled out. The wind vigorously turned the pages of their family album. She wanted to pick it up but Mum pushed her to run.
After a while they all flopped down, exhausted. As they were lying on the drenched ground, Saranda touched gently Mum's bandage. She looked like a hundred-year-old-mummy, with her eyes closed, lips tightening in pain, she was saving all her energy for the future.
" Let's get out of here, we have to manage to reach the border before dark." Dad ruffled her hair with one hand as he helped Mum to stand up.
The rain stopped but the wind was blowing fiercely as they approached the borderline with tens of other escapees. Saranda hated meeting the soldiers. They gave her the creeps. She could feel their unconcerned eyes boring holes in her face, their voices hammering at them.
" No one is allowed in," they told them. " The situation is getting worse, the border is full of refugees, wait here, until tomorrow."
So there they were standing, on no-man's land, scared to go back and not allowed to reach safety. The wind stopped as suddenly as it had started, and the last snow slowly fell from the silent dark sky. The sodden and wretched group of refugees crying out for help were covered in white, as was the black mud around them.
" Oh, I am so cold." Dardon whispered, his face blue.
" Give us a hand getting some sticks for the campfire." Dad said cheerfully handing Dardon his coat.
They didn't get much benefit from teh tiny smoking fire in the early Spring evening.
" Not that dry bread again, I'm sick to death of it." Dardon wedged himself on the patch of first green grass next to Mum looking for some food in her pocket.
"Goodness, just look at this misery, I hope Grandmum managed to cross the border yesterday." Dad's voice sharpened with worry.
"Gran is too old, it's just not fair." Saranda said, peering through the slow tendrils of smoke at the people gathered around them. Old and young, crying babies and sobbing kids were huddled there, shivering over dying campfires.
"Don't worry, she is strong...she always taught me, that our family is capable of handling any crisis." Dad said, but for a moment his dirty, unshaved face sagged with anxiety and his arm tightened instinctively around Saranda.
"Mm," Saranda's eyes were full of tears, but she knew, there wasn't much point in allowing them to burst out.
" If only we could find a safe place for us to go, if only we could cross this damn border and...with God will..." While Dad was talking, Saranda nodded off to sleep with one hand tangled in his.
Dardon's head lay heavily on her shoulder. He was snoring loudly. Saranda imagined herself as a golden bird flying to the sun.