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Shattered Hopes Started by: Amira on Sep 13, '23 02:38

America was supposed to have been the land of opportunity- the land of freedom. Instead, Amira and Yael Dayan were met with tragedy and despair nearly from the first day their feet touched the New York harbor. They had stolen away on a ship from their home in the coastal city of Haifa that was bound for America. Both were teens, with Yael being the eldest at nineteen and Amira seventeen. The journey had been difficult, having to steal food from the deck, only to end up having most of it stolen by rats in their hiding place below. But the weeks went by with little more trouble than that, as the hope of a new start in America filled their hearts in place of their empty bellies. 

Upon arriving, they were met by a distant cousin, Jacob, who gave them a place to stay for a few weeks until he was called off to serve in the Korean war for the Americans. The tiny apartment was leased by the month, and so Yael and Amira were forced to move on. In that time, Yael had found work, and brought home a meager amount. He would not allow Amira to work, however, and so her days had been spent with other women in the apartment building cleaning and learning the language of her new home. She thought that they were doing fine- after all, Yael was a hard worker and would certainly be promoted in his job. What she didn't know was that her brother had found work as a package boy for a local mob outfit, and had been skimming product from the packages of substances he ran around town. One night, Amira awoke to Yael shaking her hard, waking her and dragging her out the door of the hostel in which they lived. Amira had no idea what was happening, and before she knew it they were on a bus leaving the city. She couldn't remember how long they were on the road, but one afternoon the bus came to a stop in a place just as hot as Israel had been. It was Las Vegas, Nevada, and Yael declared that this would be their new home. With what money he had, Yael rented an apartment and immediately found work. Still not knowing what it was he did, Amira assumed things were back on track. In time, her brother did advance in his work- whatever it was- and brought home enough money to keep them in the apartment, food on the table, and send Amira to a school for women to learn to be secretaries. He said that when she was through, she would be a great help to him.

This went on for two years. Yael kept working, but the money began to dry up. He often came home with a downtrodden face, telling his sister that there was no money for food. Amira, however, finished her training and took a job as a secretary in a local synagogue. It was a very small salary, but it was enough to keep them housed and keep them from starving to death. 

On the evening of her 21st birthday, she was sitting in their apartment reading a book, listening to a new record that her brother had gifted her for the occasion. Yael was asleep in the bedroom. The peaceful evening was interrupted by a thunderous sound, as two men broke through the door, guns drawn. Amira screamed, and withing seconds Yael came running from the bedroom, a gun in his own hand. She had no idea that her brother even owned a weapon. Yael immediately shot one of the men, the bullet hitting right between his eyes and blowing a hole in the back of his head that was much bigger than the one that went in. Yael lept forward, knocking Amira to the floor and rolling over her just in time for a bullet to whizz by them. Yael fired off two shots, but both missed. Admonishing her to stay down, Yael growled and got up, screaming for the stranger to stop shooting- which, to Amira's surprise, he did. 

There were a few very tense moments, and all Amira could understand was that Yael owed this man a very large amount of money. He had been stealing? From his employer? She held her breath, still ducked behind the couch. She closed her eyes and prayed to God that this would end soon and that she could find out from her brother what in the world was happening. Would they have to run again? Is this why they had to run from New York? Her thoughts and questions were interrupted by an earsplitting crack, and she looked up in time to see her brother sink lifelessly to the floor. Stunned, Amira scuttled backward as the stranger approached her. He aimed to take her life, as well, and she knew it. Amira thought as fast as she could, and kicked mightily up towards the outstretched gun, fast enough that she was able to kick it out of his hands and across the apartment. The stranger cursed and lunged for her, but Amira slipped away and ran for the window to go through the fire escape. She made it before the man recovered his gun, and ran as fast as she could down the hall. Behind her, she heard another pair of feet join the ones already after her. 

In her chest, Amira could feel the hope that she and her brother had held shatter to pieces and land like nails in the pit of her stomach. She had no idea where to go, so she just ran.

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