The war tore our country apart, split down the middle. Two opposing sides all inside the same country. My family practically lived inside the basement, trying to protect each other from the bombs that rained above us. We lived in one of the border towns inside of Minnesota. My name was Evelyn Winter and I am 11 years old. It was just my dad, mom, brother, and sister cramped inside a tiny basement. My brother and sister are much older than me and I felt like my parents favored them over me. I figured this was all just in my head, that they loved all of us the same. That was until the government came knocking on our door. The East half of the united states was losing the war and they were desperate for weapons.
The government offered my parents a lot of money to get out of the U.S and start a new life somewhere else. I just didn’t know that they would be leaving me behind. They had sold me to the government to get out of a war zone. My mother told me that she would come back for me when the war was over but I didn’t believe her. I was old enough to know that they would never come back here, and that I wasn’t their daughter anymore. As they left, my father stared at me with watered eyes, but my mother with a stern look on her face. Two different emotions from two very alike people. Then, within the blink of an eye, they were gone and I was alone with a dozen men. I have never felt more like a stranger in my own home. They all stared at me, an 11 year old girl all alone but with the most company she's ever had.
They grabbed me, shoved a bag over my head and picked me up off the ground. I had no idea where I was headed until I heard the door to a car open. I braced myself as they threw me in the backseat. It was hot and I had no idea where I was headed. It was pitch black under the bag, I could see nothing but I could hear everything. I could hear the low hiss of the air conditioner, the sound of the car moving, other cars passing, the mumbling of the men in the car. I could smell the leather seats and the cologne in the air. I was scared for my life when the car came to a stop. The men all got out at once but I was left in the backseat for a while. I just lied there, not knowing what was coming. I thought, for sure, that death was coming for me. The countless days in the basement while bombs rained above us, and this was the moment that troubled me the most. At least then I knew what was happening, I knew what it was. Now I am just clueless and alone in the backseat of a car.
I could hear footsteps approaching outside, then the door suddenly opened. A cold breeze rolled into the car as I was slung out. I fell to the ground, feeling the gravel beneath me, I breathed heavy. They forced me up to my knees and yanked the bag off my head. A strange woman appeared before me, tall but older than my mother. She had brown hair and her eyes were like that of the devil. She stared at me, up and down for a few minutes. At the moment I could have sworn she was deciding whether to eat me or not. She got in front of me and waved the men away, they followed her commands and left the courtyard. She got really close to me, so close I could smell the mint off her breath. She stared straight into my soul and said "Welcome to your new life Eva".
I woke up in a dull room, gray walls and very dark. I looked around and saw a bunch of beds all facing one way, with girls on each bed. I tried to go to one of the girls but that was when I realized I couldn't move, I was strapped down to the bed. I looked around to see if it was just me, but every girl was strapped to their beds. I yelled for help and many of the girls looked at me with terror in their eyes. The lights cut on and 2 men looked for the source of the sound, that was when they saw me. They rushed to my bed and unstrapped me, then they threw me over their shoulder and the lights suddenly went back off. I had no idea where they were taking me, but I was starting to think I shouldn't have screamed.
I was thrown on the hard floor and left alone. I was once again, alone. It was cold and my body was aching. I had no recollection of how I got to the room with the beds, and I had no idea what happened after the tall woman talked to me. All I knew was it was dark and the floor was cold. My arm was killing me and I looked to find a bandage on it. I quickly ripped it off to see what they had done to me, only to find black ink on my skin. It was a pair of numbers in a very subtle font, "67". I had no idea where the numbers came from or what they meant. Where was I and how did I get here? The door swung open and the same woman appeared at the doorway. The expression on her face was anger and annoyance. She sat in the corner of the room and stared at me. What did she want? Who was she? Was she in charge? So many questions raced through my head.
She sighed then opened her mouth to speak, "Do you know where you are Eva?". She sounded German, maybe Russian or Italian. I wasn't good with accents but it sounded more like German. I shook my head no in response and that was when she smiled. The smile was fake and made my hairs stand up on the back of my neck. "If you would like to get out of here, then we need your full cooperation and compliance, is that understood?", I stared at her trying to speak but nothing came out. I never thought someone could actually scare you speechless until I was face to face with her. She took up and shouted at me, "IS THAT UNDERSTOOD EVA?". I jumped and shook my head yes, trying to please her so she would leave. She gave me the same smile and opened the door, "Take her back with the others after you punish her," she said to the two men that brought me here. She turned her attention back to me, "your behavior is unacceptable and you must be punished." then she disappeared.
The two men walked towards me as I backed up frantically, not wanting to be punished. They beat me for maybe 15 minutes. Kicking, punching, and throwing me around the room until I could barely breathe. It was after that, that they had carried me to the infirmary and left me once again alone. I got the sense that I would be alone a lot more after this. Nothing was the same as yesterday, and neither was I. I just lied there waiting for someone to come in and help me but I stayed awake for hours. A strange thought had crossed my mind, why did she call me Eva? Eva most certainly was not my name. Maybe she thought it was since my real name was Evelyn. A woman like that, I wouldn't think she makes many mistakes. Also what did she mean by getting out of here? Are they going to let me out in the future? I can't wait to see my family again. I couldn't help but to turn to my side when I heard a noise, but it turns out it wasn't for me. I caught a glance of a folder on the table beside me, it read "Project Snake". I had no idea what that meant or where I was, but I just couldn't wait to leave.
The next morning I woke up to a loud ringing throughout the room. It was some sort of bell on the wall, and all the girls were being unstrapped and began making their beds by the time it stopped. Last night I remembered someone fixing my injuries up but then I don't remember anything after that. How did I get back to this room? All I knew was that I was going to go along with it because I didn't want to get hurt again. I was making my bed when I noticed all the girls staring at me, I felt so out of place. They snapped their attention away when the woman approached the room. She was wearing a uniform that looked almost military. She started walking up and down the rows looking each girl up and down. I was trying to hold my breath when she got in front of me and did not look her in the eye. She was intimidating and was everything I was afraid of. Maybe that was her purpose, to scare us. Either way I was not going to test my luck that day. When she left the room, 3 men started escorting us out to the cafeteria. I was so excited, I hadn't eaten in over a day. I was thrilled up until I saw the food, it looked okay but tasted disgusting. I felt like I was in a prison, but I needed to eat so I sucked it up and ate all of it.
The next thing I know is the same loud ring was resonating throughout the room, then all the girls got up and put their trays away. I followed, fearing what would happen if I didn't obey. We came to a room with 3 different doorways. One on the left was a small hallway with "Class" written above the door. The middle doorway was a very large hall split into 2 parts with a railing in the middle, this doorway has a sign that said "Training". Then the last doorway on the right was the same as the left hall, small but with a different sign. This sign read "Lab - Authorized Personnel Only". I had no idea where to go, that was until a man approached me. He leaned down and smiled, "You'll be in class today, first door on the right". He seemed nice but in a place like this I had to be careful, I nodded and walked away. Walking down the hall was nerve wrecking, It was dark and the walls were hard cement. I had no idea where I was going until I reached the classrooms. I walked into the first door on the right and I was alone. The door shut and there was a woman standing at the front of the room, she was completely different than the other woman I had seen. She seemed light and bubbly. She had long blonde hair and was wearing light colored clothing. I wondered how a woman so heavenly could exist in a hell like this.
She told me to take a seat as I would be the only newcomer joining her today. I sat in the front row suddenly feeling safe that I was with her. She started talking to me about the past and the U.S and how we began the war. She told me all about the causes and the history of the East. Then she began explaining where I was and what the program was for. "Well the program is sort of a training facility. You come in, train with us, then you get to leave and help us with the war! Exciting huh?" she was so bright in an other wise dark place. "We will train you in hand to hand, and marksmanship as well as teach you about espionage and the history of our great nation!" she seemed ecstatic that I was sold to them. I had no intentions of loving this place but she made it seem okay. She made it seem like I was given some great opportunity that everyone would kill for. I was worried that's just what I might have to do. "Just do as you are told and please comply with the headmaster and everything will go smoothly here!". She was trying to convince me to give up my freedom but I did not want to, but in this place I just might have to.
When the bell rung I was told to go back to the cafeteria for dinner then I should report to the courtyard. Dinner was even worse than lunch, if possible. I tried to eat it quickly and drown the taste with my water. That was when I saw everyone leaving, I guess they were going to the courtyard so I quickly followed. We were forming a circle around the center and I just tried to mimic what they were doing. That was when I saw the woman again, my teacher had called her the Headmaster. I wondered if this was a school but then I thought, no place with these intentions could be a place of education. This was a prison, not a school. Suddenly two girls started to fight, I was waiting for the woman to stop them but she watched them as if she were proud. They fought at unbelievable speed, with unimaginable precision. These girls were really good at this and were very skilled. A punch here and a kick there, until one girl wrapped her legs around the others waist and flipped her on the ground. I felt like clapping but I soon realized it wasn't over. "Finish Her" the woman shouted, I didn't know what she meant until I head the snap of the girls neck. This girl, not much older than me , had killed her friend. I was in shock I couldn't breathe, I couldn't move or speak. That was when I realized, there were not friends here. Just prisoners.