"Stay on the ground" he yelled at the top of his lungs as he aimed his death threatening weapon at us. My three year old brother held me tight and I could feel him shivering in fear. In front of me is an elderly couple, both of them calm and their hands were holding each other. He fired a bullet at the blue aluminum that is on top of our heads. A women dressed in red was screaming. "Quiet" he warned the women. She immediately hid herself behind the front passenger seats.
I prayed that all this will come to an end right now. All we wanted was a nice holiday to draw ourselves away from the busy city life. The sound of glass shattering screeched in our ears, a window just broke into a million pieces. “Surrender yourself and let the hostages go this instance” the police exclaimed to him. The eighteen of us just remained as silent as a mouse, listening to their negotiations. In our hearts, we just wanted to leave this bus safely.
He or rather if I am not mistaken, John pulled a boy from behind to his side as he revealed himself to the outside world. I recognize the boy. He always sat next to our table during breakfast at the hotel. A decent boy, very polite and well brought up by his single mother. His mother called him Ah Boy and they came on this trip to celebrate his success for getting accepted into one of the most prestigious university in China.
My attention was brought back to reality. “I want my job back, give it back to me and I will not hurt anyone” John demanded. My brother covered his eyes and ears. I can see string of tears streaming down his crimson red cheeks. I whispered into his ear, “It is okay dear. The police will get us out soon”. My hands wrapped around him tightly. I will protect my brother with all my life. However, my heart beat is faster compared to the time ticking past at this moment. I turned my attention to John, he does not look like any harm at all. He looked to me as a very desperate and devastated man.
He yelled at the police again, “I did not do anything wrong so just give me my job back”. As John continued to reason with the police I noticed Mr. Tan and his wife creeping out the back door. They moved very slowly with caution, one step at a time. My father waved his hand at their direction trying to signal to them not to move anymore.
They ignored my father’s warning and just as Mr. Tan managed to escape he knocked over a glass bottle that was on the floor of the bus. John swings his head back and his eyes glared in rage. “Where are you going?” he shouted. At the speed of light, Mr. Tan grabbed his wife’s hand and tried to jump out of the door. John fired a bullet at their direction but it went off target.
The police heard his gunshot and they tried to come closer to arrest the situation but John knew their tactics well. He pointed his gun perpendicular to Ah Boy’s head. They stopped immediately and went into stand by position again. Mr. Tan fainted after the gun was fired and his wife was wrapping her arms around him tightly. In my opinion, she is a calm and brave woman who is able to switch roles during such a critical time.
I can feel my blood boiling in my veins knowing that the police was trying to buy time and negotiate with John. Is it not more sensible to agree with his conditions just to get us out of danger? Even if they do not want to surrender to John’s demands then at least just lie for our sake and they can settle it later after we have been released.
I clench my fist thinking of their inconsideration. My mother sensed my anger and frustrations. She held my hand to tell me that everything will be fine. Suddenly, John fired another bullet and fortunately not at Ah Boy but at one of the police officers that tried to enter the bus. The police fell to the ground as the bullet hit him right at the forehead and he died and immediate death.
John knew he reached the point of no return as he stared at the lifeless body in front of him. All of us gasp in horror and we wondered if we will suffer the same fate. Droplets of water formed in his eyes. I looked at John and felt the presence of grief in him. Out of the sudden, the whole bus went crazy. They were afraid that they will be next. My father warned them not to do anything rash and remain silent but nobody was sane enough to listen.
I hugged Wen Hang tighter and I look straight into John’s eyes. His eyes showed great confusion and he was stunned. However, as soon as he realized everyone was hysteric and trying to escape he turned into a monster. He let out a huge laugh and started to fire bullets at us with no mercy. My brother cried out loud and the whole bus was out of control.
I moved myself in front of my brother and shield his body with mine. I shut my eyes as I prayed to the Lord. In split seconds, I felt something penetrating into my left leg and I screamed in pain. The pain is unbearable but it did not matter as long as it was I and not Wen Hang. Half conscious, I felt someone wrapping himself around the both of us. It was my father. He used himself as a human shield to protect us.
Everything happened so fast. The police managed to bring John down with one shot at his left shoulder. I screamed simultaneously at that time but not because of John. Another bullet that was fired by a police hit my father right at his chest. My father collapsed in front of me.
If there is one thing that I wish to change it will be the decision to come on this trip. My head is numb at thoughts, my body unresponsive and my emotions scattered into a deep hole of darkness. The rescue team came to our aid. I watched them carry my father out in a stretcher with white linen over his body.
I shut my eyes for a while, taking deep breaths and recalling what had just happened. We were on a trip of my choice as my reward for scoring high distinction for mastering my Er Hu. One fine day, during our tour around the city a stranger held us captive in our bus and after 12 hours of fear everything ended in bloodshed. Tears started streaming down from my eyes, tears of grief.
I winced at my flashback and my thoughts wandered out the window. Someone knocked on the door and entered the room.
My brother ran next to my ward’s bed while my mother trailed behind him. “Jie jie, how are you?” he asked me softly, putting his hand on my hands. I stroke his hair gently and replied him, “Fine my dear”. My mother helped me settle into my wheel chair as I am given permission to discharge from the hospital and catch a flight back home today.
We walked along a beautiful pathway and just as we were about to enter the cab, I noticed a rainbow. I smiled as I admire how beautiful the rainbow is. My mother rested her hands on my shoulder and Wen Hang held my hands as the three of us looked at the rainbow for a while. Everything will be alright now. I know it will be alright because my father is showing his sign of promise to us that he will look after us from the heavens above. Everything will be just fine.