BOOM! The crackle of the gunfire shot across the dark morning sky.
“Run!” People screamed horrifically as they scampered out of their little huts. Claudine Andre instantly grabbed her rusty notebook, a small, sharpened pencil and a bag, and then scrambled out of her hut. As she swayed her bag over her shoulder, she took a quick last glance of the sanctuary bonobo vet she used to visit everyday when she was little, then ran away, into the morning darkness.
War had started not too long ago. It was really dangerous, many people died. Claudine and her mother moved to Kinshasa, Congo when she was little and lived there ever since.
“The war in Congo is extremely dangerous,” Claudine’s mother had told her, as she ruffled Claudine’s dark, long hair. “You should leave Congo when it gets worse.”
Claudine replayed that memory in her head and gave a deep sigh. She started trudging behind everyone. Her shoes tore and was worn out. Beads of cold sweat rolled down her red cheeks. She wiped her forehead. Her head was spinning. Claudine finally reached the hectic, city, after an exhausting, long five-hour walk. Claudine found a taxi that could take her to the airport. Her mother had booked her a ticket to fly back to Belgium. Claudine slowly rummaged through her bag.
“Hello, I’m flying to Belgium.” Claudine said to front desk woman.
Claudine sat down next to a rather plump man that read a newspaper. He wore a smooth blue and black striped tie, and a dark suit. His dark hair was slicked to the back of his head and face was sleepy.
“Hello,” Claudine said kindly. He glanced at her for a split second, lowered his round glasses and went back reading his newspaper. She peered at the newspaper, thinking of something to say. “How are you?” That man gave her an icy stare. He folded the newspaper neatly and left it on the chair he sat on. Then, he took his suitcase and walked away. Claudine stared at him as he walked away and shook her head. She picked up the newspaper left on the chair and started reading. This was the article that caught her eye:
Can anyone kindly volunteer to help The Sanctuary of Congo to help save bonobos? This is extremely important! Thank you.
Claudine sat there for a while, thinking of what she should.
“This is the last call for anyone flying to Belgium, at Gate 13. This is the last call for anyone flying to Belgium, at Gate 13.”
Claudine hesitantly stood up and carefully placed the newspaper in her bag preventing it from tearing, then she walked to the front desk, and out of the airport. As she slowly walked, she regretted it more. She missed the crisp; orange autumn leaves, of Belgium. And jumping in the soft leaves with her friends when she was little. She also missed Mrs. Victoria’s delicious, warm, crunchy apple pies. She remembered her favorite part, which made her mouth water. The sticky, gooey, sweet apple filling.
“Claudine! Are you crazy? The war is getting worse in Congo!”
“Sorry mother, I really should help the bonobos. They are endangered!”
Claudine said crossly into the phone.
“You don’t understand?” her mother yelled. “Safety first.” Her voice suddenly softened.
“I already confirmed!” Claudine’s face reddened with anger. “Mother, you know how much I love animals! I have dreamed to help the animals in need.
“Claudine, do you understand me or not? It doesn’t matter if you confirmed, you can just quit it! Also, I agree with you, you should follow your dreams, but safety first,” Mary-Ann spat.
Claudine slammed the phone to her desk. A tear rolled out of her eye and down her red face. I must help the bonobos! A faint voice called in her mind. She gazed out of her window into the blazing sunlight. “I can do this,” Claudine whispered. As she walked closer to the taxi, her feet sank into the dry grass, not wanting to let her go. Claudine worked hard keeping the bonobos safe and looking for them. But she realized that she had made a huge mistake. The job was tougher than she had expected. Claudine wanted to quit so desperately. One afternoon, she went out with other workers to look for bonobos.
“There’s a bonobo!” Someone shouted pointing to a tree.
“I’ll get it,” Claudine said bravely. “Get ready to bring the bonobo back to the sanctuary.”
Claudine slowly climbed up the rough tree. Her fingertips kept on slipping on the rough tree skin. “This is hard,” she stammered, slightly shaking. Finally as she reached the top of the tree, she suddenly heard the sound of gunfire shoot across the sky toward her. Claudine tried to get down, but fustratedly; she remembered something, which was her deepest fear: heights.
“Help!” Claudine pleaded. Everyone sprinted away, leaving her by herself and face to face with the bonobo. Claudine turned around desperately looking for a way to get down. The bonobo gave a huge screech. Claudine held onto the tree. Blood splat all over her hands. The bonobo was shot? Claudine got really petrified. There is no other way for her to get down unless… She closed her eyes and let go of the tree. Then, she staggered back to the sanctuary.
Claudine lay down. “I’ll be right back,” the nurse called. Congo is really getting extremely dangerous. Claudine thought. Maybe mother is right. I should go back to Belgium. Mother should be always right. She knows best and is the person that cares about me most in this world. Should I have listened to her?