One day when I was about seven years old, I was carrying my six-month-old brother in my arms and waiting for my mother on the corner of a quiet Kabul street. My brother was so heavy that I could hardly carry him. I was getting tired.

Suddenly, a scary-looking man with a long beard ran toward me from the other side of the street. The moment I saw him, I felt frightened. Why was he running? Why was he looking at me with an angry face?

The closer he came, the faster my heart pounded. I almost stopped breathing when he stopped beside me and looked deep into my eyes as if he wanted to eat me. Suddenly, he took my brother out of my arms, grabbed my hand, and forced me to run away from where I was waiting for my mother.

“Where are you taking me? Leave me and my brother alone!” I shrieked.

My heart was beating faster than a mouse; all my body was shaking with fear. I thought I wouldn’t see my mother again. I thought I wouldn’t see my family again.

Luckily, three women saw us from the other end of the street. They ran toward us shouting, “Please stop him! Block his way! Oh people, he is kidnapping the kids!”

The man was scared of getting arrested, so he threw my brother in the mud, abandoned my hands, and ran away.

I learned from this incident that we can’t know what is in everyone’s mind and we cannot trust everyone we see in the street.

By Alia, age 13