April 2

Dear Diary,
Sometimes I still have bad dreams that I am being chased. I am riding on Lebna, the ox, and though I am tapping him hard with a stick, he is walking slower and slower, as if through deep mud. I can see Kassa racing in front of us and I call to her, but she doesn’t listen. The men chasing us are getting louder and nearer. My heart is burning with fear. Then I wake up. Sometimes I am crying out loud when I do. Then Mother hugs me and tells me it’s alright and I can sleep again. That’s the bad part of my adventure.

After leaving the truck, we traveled back along our trail as fast as we could. The oxen went single file, and I was sorry for their thick rumps because they were made to hurry as much as possible. Oxen can run when they want to, but that would make them very hard to control! It would do no good to have them run off with the supplies. So the boys tried to keep them walking fast. As for me, I tried not to hurry Kassa, because she would have been glad to gallop away after all the shouting. I would keep my promise to Father, but only if there was real danger.

Two good things happened: the sky grew dark as night and the thunder boomed, covering the sounds we made. We hoped this would slow down any thieves on our trail. Of course, it also meant we couldn’t see or hear them, but there was nothing we could do about that.

“We will pause when we reach the plateau,” Father said. “We should be able to see if anyone is chasing us from there.”

I didn’t really want it to rain again, but when the sky opened and the waters poured down, I hoped the thieves would be as miserable as us and decide to go home. Berhanu kept saying that they might have been villagers who were stealing, not criminals. He pointed out that they didn’t have guns or trucks or wear belts of bullets across their chests. Maybe they felt bad for stealing. Maybe this, maybe that.

“Can’t you be quiet?” cried Dawit. “You are not helping and you are making more noise than the storm!”

I knew my brothers were only being afraid, like me. If they had only known what was coming, I wonder what they would have done?

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