Excerpt: Somewhere Inside
Midway across the river, I heard yelling coming from downstream. I looked in that direction and saw two North Korean soldiers sprinting toward us with rifles in their hands. Immediately I felt a wave of panic and started running. I no longer cared that the ice might rupture. I just wanted to get away fast. When I was just two steps from the riverbank on the Chinese side, the ice cracked below my left boot causing it to slip into the frigid water. Fearing I might sink to my death, I quickly threw my body onto Chinese soil, pulled my leg free, and continued to run.
I turned to see how far away the soldiers were and determine if they were going to chase us after we reached China. Euna and our guide were about eight yards behind me, with the soldiers closing in on them. Mitch, an avid runner, was around six yards ahead of me. I remembered that I still had on the wireless lavalier microphone and that Mitch could hear me through his headphones.
"Mitch, keep filming," I said as I continued to run.
If we were apprehended, I wanted him to have it on tape that we had been taken in Chinese territory. Mitch turned back toward me, pointed the camera in my direction, and then disappeared over a small hill.
With each step, my foot that had fallen into the cracked ice felt heavier and heavier, like a weight pulling me into the ground. "Run, Laura, keep going," I said to myself. But as in a dream when the force of the world seems to be pinning you down, I found myself falling, unable to budge.
"Euna, I can't move," I said to her as she approached.
She stopped beside me and knelt down to help. Seconds later the two soldiers were on us, with their guns pointed. To this day, I live with the guilt of wondering if Euna would have been able to outrun the guards had she not stopped for me.