Our guide, who had been able to elude the guards as they encircled us, walked back cautiously in our direction, but not close enough for the soldiers to reach him. He told Euna to take out some money, which she did, and offer it to one of the guards. Pausing for half a second, the soldier next to Euna seemed to consider taking the few hundred Chinese yuan, the equivalent of about one hundred U.S. dollars, but his comrade standing above me would not be persuaded.

"Take me instead," our guide pleaded in Korean. But when the soldier tried to reach for him, the guide dashed off. The soldier next to me grabbed my bag and noticed Euna's small video camera, which I had been trying to cover with my leg. The red record light was on.

"Please, please, please," I called out in English. "We're sorry. We're foreigners."

I knew they couldn't understand a word I was saying, but I was hoping they would sense an innocence in my tone and feel sympathetic. Furious, the guard holding Euna grabbed her camera and backpack and told us to
get up and walk.

"They want us to go across the river," Euna translated.

"Euna," I said nervously, "tell them that I want to walk, but I can't because my foot is numb from falling into the water."

Though I still had feeling in my foot, I began to hit my boot so it would appear that my leg was truly immovable. I was trying to buy as much time on Chinese soil as possible. I figured that as long as we were in China and not on the North Korean side, we might have a chance.

Excerpted from Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home by Laura Ling & Lisa Ling. Copyright © 2010 by HarperCollins. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced without permission in writing from the publisher.


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