An electric buzz pulsed through my temples and filled my ears, nauseousness gnawed at my stomach, the smell that filled my nostrils told me I was someplace, I had never been before.
Someplace, far away from where I had been before. An unfamiliar smell wafted through the small crack beneath the metal door. Unfamiliar—as it should not be where I was, I had smelled it before, my mind searched for placement.
Easing to a sitting possession I glanced around the room. A single electric light glared down at me from above, I was encased in by dingy cinderblocks, a table, and two chairs were in the middle of the room. My heart started to race, this was not good, I was someplace I shouldn’t be—someplace very wrong. In a moment, my mind leapt back to the stories I had read about Nazi Germany…the questioning rooms. This was one of those…
How did I get here? Why am I here? What did I do wrong?
I was a secret missionary in China, I was always super careful, no one would know—how? How was this found out? Who tattled on me? Whom had I trusted that I shouldn’t? My mind raced through days, searching for an explanation, anything that would tell me why I was here, what I had done wrong, how I could explain myself.
Chinese…were not always ethical…but I was an American citizen, just maybe—something could be explained. My mind sickened at the thought of deportation. These people that I had grown to love, these were my people. Despite the color of my skin, and what it said on my passport, despite it all, I felt at home. I missed the conveniences of the United States, but China—China was home.
There were heavy footsteps thudding down the hallway, through the crack under the door I saw the feet stop, the shadow of the person outside sent a shiver down my spine.
A cry came to my throat, one of despair and fear, a scream of “No!” But it never made it out of my mouth.
Keys rattled in the lock. My racing heart, seemed to stop beating for a full minute as I waited for the door to open.
It swung open with a loud bang. I jumped, startled.
There was the officer, his uniform perfect in every way.
It was similar but…different.
Then, I saw the flag.
I must be dreaming.
I had to be dreaming.
This was one hellish nightmare.
Wake up! WAKE UP! I told myself.
He spoke sharply in a tongue I recognized, and it wasn’t Chinese.
It was Korean.
I struggled to my feet, looking at him, trying not to let fear get the best of me. Praying, praying that this wasn’t real, that this wasn’t—what I feared it might be.
The officer motioned me to sit.
Trying not to shake, I sat in the metal chair, feeling small and insignificant in the presence of this man and his perfect uniform.
“Do you know why you are her?
Agony swept through my heart.
I knew why, in some small way…I knew.
With a shake of my head, I met his eyes. He glared into mine as if he could see through me and read my soul and every sin of my past.
“Why am I here?”
He sneered and his narrow eyes were mere slits.
My jaw tightened and I drew a deep breath.
I will not be cowed. I will protect them. I pledged to myself.
My stomach twisted.
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It is true that North Korea is kidnapping missionaries who are helping North Koreans who have escaped. What do you think of that?