Somebody screamed at me, “Vedran, lay down, lay down!” When something flew over my head, it was that bee sound that I had heard so many times before, only this time, much, much louder. Somebody was shooting at me and my sister while we were on the way to the well to get water for our family. While we were lying on the ground, the bullets kept flying over our heads. I asked my sister, “Are you OK?” Yes I’m fine,” she said. “But is dad OK?” I didn’t even know that dad was there in the first place, but as we both turned around, we saw our dad lying on the ground and giving us a sign to stay quiet and down.
I don’t know how long we were lying on the dirty road, but it seemed to me like an eternity. My whole life flashed in front of my eyes. I know at that time wasn’t much, because I was only thirteen, but it seemed to me a lot. Finally I looked up to see my dad, and he gave me a sign to start running towards him. While running, I was covering my little sister Irena, with my body, my little sister Irena. At the same time, one thought was going through my head; what was dad doing there? This wasn’t really the perfect time to ask anybody anything, especially while somebody was shooting at us, so I let it go. The only thing that crossed my mind was my mom and my brother Igor.
Prior to this whole incident, my mom and brother were on their way to a nearby Bosnian city to try to get Igor’s girlfriend out of the war zone. Everybody knew that that wasn’t such a great idea, but Igor is an extremely stubborn person. What he puts in his Prior to this whole incident, my mom and brother were on their way to a nearby Bosnian city to try to get Igor’s girlfriend out of the war zone.
Everybody knew that that wasn’t such a great idea, but Igor is an extremely stubborn person. What he puts in his head is how it is going to be. My mom couldn’t let him go by himself, so she went with Finally, my father, my sister and I arrived safely at the house. Nobody was hurt, so we were happy about that. However my dad didn’t look so happy so I asked him, “What’s wrong, dad? We are alive.” “Yes we are,” he said. But mom and Igor were shot. They are alive but they are injured pretty badly.” That is why he had followed us, to tell us what had happened.
That was the first time in my entire life that I was scared, not because I almost got shot, but because that was the first time I felt that the war was not a game. The attitude that “it won’t happen to me” just disappeared. A few hours later Mom and Igor returned from the hospital. Just a few minutes before they showed up, I was back to my old self, thinking now that they had been shot in the arm or leg, I would have to do all the work around the house.
Irena and I were still in the house when I heard my dad, “Hey, you two! They are here.” When I came out of the house I literally got scared again. It was a horrible picture. My brother Igor was only shot in the arm, but the woman in the front of my house didn’t even look like my mom. Her eyes were full of blood because of the shattered windshield glass and she could hear absolutely nothing. She said only one thing, “We are the luckiest people alive.” And they were. Thirty-six bullets went through the car. Only one hit my brother in the arm. Nine of them went straight to my mom’s head.
Five of them hit her but they kept bouncing off her skull. I didn’t understand how that was possible, but later on I learned a little bit more about so-called Dum-Dum bullets. They are bullets that explode on contact with a solid surface; therefore, only ricochets hit my mom’s head. That was one more proof that my mom and brother were not ready to leave this world. A few minutes later my mom said one more thing, “We are out of here.” And that’s how it was.
In less then two hours, we were on our way to freedom. At the moment we set in a car, some weird but great feeling, and my heart Unfortunately, the trip out of the war zone, was not as easy as we thought it would be. We decided to travel during the day, just in case somebody decided to shoot at us, so they could see that there was kids in the car. Unfortunately, only two miles down the road, somebody started shooting at us again. The sad thing was nobody really cared.
It didn’t matter that three young kids were in the car. I guess that is the way the war goes. Finally, the brave, Serbian Army jumped to our protection. They started to shoot at the people that were shooting at us and we were saved again. It took us about an hour to get to our first destination, which was my grandfather’s house. We stayed there for the next seven days. During those seven days, we were supposed to come up with a plan to get over the border to Serbia. And we did. We left early in the morning at seven o’clock. Driving on the roads was not safe because you never knew who would kill you or why.
We went through a couple of checkpoints and everything went fine until a bunch of drunk people at one check point, decided to harass us. The reason was because my parents were a mixed couple, which really meant that my parents were different religion, which was a bad thing. I guess. The drunken group didn’t like that.
However, they didn’t know one piece of information, and that was who my grandfather was. My grandfather was a well-known person. There was not a single person who didn’t know him. So on account of his name, they let us go. Very soon we were in a place called Doboj, which is the city that we were supposed to catch the bus to Serbia, and we did. I always hated to ride the bus, but this time I couldn’t have been happier about it. This ride was my ride to freedom.
My mom woke me up and said, “Wake up we are in Novi Sad.” Novi Sad is the second largest city in Yugoslavia. I had always dreamed about living there, and there I was. There were actually people in the streets for a change, something that I hadn’t seen in the past three months. The war was finally over, at least for me.
There were so many things to do and I didn’t know where to start. It was a drastic change from not being able to walk in front of your own house. Now I was like a dog off his leash. Unfortunately, one thing was missing for full happiness, MONEY!!! Therefore, we decided to move to the USA. And that is how I ended up here in Idaho. It is not exactly the America that I dreamed about, you know New York, Chicago, LA, but it keeps my stomach full. Now, looking back I still think that war is “a sick game.”