Chapter 1 “About Myself”
My name is Andrij. In Ukrainian that means “warrior”. I am sitting with a group of women and children seeking to leave our city of Kiev. I am cold and hungry. And I am so terrified I can’t stop shaking. Loud explosions are coming closer. Women are crying and some children are screaming. They are boarding a bus to take them out of the city but no one knows where they are going. I hear them saying “Poland” and “Romania”. I think these are other countries where there are no rockets and bombs.
What is going on down the street? There is a helicopter on fire and it has crashed with an enormous boom to the screams of the crowd I am in. There is the smell of burning petrol. I want to run away and be safe but something tells me I am safer here. I do not know anyone in the crowd. I am an orphan in hell.
There are soldiers coming with yellow and blue armbands and they are shouting for us to run over to the next street as there are buses waiting for us. We crowd on the buses and I hop on. Where am I going? I don’t understand all these explosions and bombs near us. We are not soldiers. We are proud Ukrainians running for our lives. I hear several people refer to these brutal attacking Russians as “dogs”. I am not offended but if I was able to fight the Russians I would be fighting them.
Sorry I should have given you more information about how I am on this bus now. I was a happy dog living with my master Anatoli and mistress Boyka with their children Danilo and Daryna in a big flat in Kiev. Anatoli and Boyka owned a small brewery. I came from the countryside from a relative of Anatoli. I am two years old. I am a mixed breed but do not know of what. Three days ago Anatoli took me out to the park for our afternoon walk and we were knocked off our feet by a massive explosion. Our apartment complex was in a state of flames and rubble. Boyka, Danilo and Daryna could not have survived. Anatoli let out a scream of pain and fury. It was awful to see him destroyed. I could not believe what happened but people were shouting “Bastard Putin”. Anatoli took his machine gun that was given to him by soldiers at the corner and I followed him and hopped on a truck with armed men and teenagers. It only worsened.