Before I saw the helicopter, I’d given up hope.
My days were spent in the workhouse with Jim. I chopped wood, sharpened tools, tidied up. Sometimes, I was left on my own. Those were the times when Jim had been called to discipline. My heart always lurched, pressed right against my rib cage; I was sickened over my own thoughts of what form of punishment would be exacted upon the wrongdoer, and concerned for their body and soul. But, underneath, I felt relief too. It fluttered around, cooling with its butterfly wings, whispering:
At least it’s not you. At least it’s not you.
But the day the helicopter flew over the clearing, I registered a new emotion. One that took moments to name. It was hope. Someone had missed me. Someone had kept looking for me. Someone loved me. Someone knew, somehow, about the torture.
I watched as the men winched down, holding guns in their hands. I ran towards the chopper, ducking my head from the force of the whirring blades. Three of us were whisked upwards and, at the same time, six black vans drove into the clearing, leaving trails of dust in their wake. It was over.
A rescue for us all.