Ghosts of the past – A story that has no ending

He bent down and caressed the sand with his fingertips. He drew her face and watched as the southern wind wiped it off. If only the wind could breeze through his mind and erase her memory. He stood and watched the immense desert that lay in front of him. He had wandered away from where his tribe camped and hid behind the high dunes.

The sun was rising, and the frosty nightly air was slowly getting warmer. Soon, the tribe would awaken and each would assume his duties. He smoothed the hair on his horse’s back for an instant and then swiftly climbed on the saddle. He didn’t have to guide the pure breed, for it perfectly knew the road back to the camp…

He caught a glimpse of her, as he neared the camp’s well. The woman that reigned over his thoughts; the last image that flickered inside his mind, before he surrendered to sleep; and the first thing he thought about when he opened his eyes. And, yet, as their eyes met, no words were uttered, respecting an unspoken pact made months ago.

He tied his horse’s leash next to his tent and went inside. He found a jar of fresh goat milk and a warm piece of bread: gifts from one of his pupils. He was one of the few tribe members who knew how to read and write, and he was assigned to teach the new generation. He loved molding young minds, exposing them to new ideas and watching their baffled faces.

Sitting on the beautiful Bedouin tapestry, he thought about today’s lesson. It will be at night, and he was going to teach the kids about stars. The men will soon go out to herd the cattle, while the children stayed to hear war stories from the elderly about brave warriors who fought valiantly for honor and pride, who faced whole armies with a smile and who tamed beasts with a glance.

Pride ,bravery, integrity… the pillars of their society. He had since learned that these values were in fact a global code, respected throughout history by every culture. Yet, the modern city, as he discovered, chose to abandon these values and base itself upon treachery, disrespect, vanity, bitterness…

She had went to the city with him. They were inseparable the whole time, protecting each other from succumbing to  the perverse charms of the city.  What happened was inevitable. She had found a way to unlock the gates of his heart and carve her name upon the walls. He thought she loved him as well, but his efforts were lost in vain as he was knocking on a door that would never bulge without the proper key.

The worst or best thing about a Bedouin’s life was that you have plenty of time to think. He longed to hear her voice, to see her beautiful smile and look into her mesmerizing eyes. And, he questioned for the one hundred time his choice to leave her. For, months ago, when his soul craved more than her friendship and his heart longed for her affection, he had decided he had had enough, and simply stopped speaking to her, desperately trying to erase her memory .

That turned out to be utterly useless, for with every beat, his heart echoed her name over and over refusing to let him forget…

He motioned to the stars, scintillating in the dark sky, and told the children:

” What if I told you’re now looking into the past? Remember when I told  you can only see objects if they emit light? Well, light takes time time to reach us. Sometimes, hundreds of thousands of years. And, by the time, we finally see them. The stars could’ve burned out and exploded. What you see in the night sky can be deceiving. You may think you’re looking at a lively fiery star when you’re only seeing a ghost of the past….”

He was preparing to go back, when she appeared. She sat beside him and said:

“Someone out there might be pointing a telescope on our planet and watching our ghosts laughing in a park back in the city. They’re probably wondering how the story ends.”

“Well, nobody knows.”

Photo credit: arabianessence.com

 

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Greater dreams

This is a sequel to “scared” but you can treat it separately.

Mary wasn’t scared anymore. Her dreams shone high above her and she knew how to reach them. If she’s ever going to achieve something, it would be through hard work. Still, it wasn’t going to be a smooth climb towards success. She was about to go on the most challenging journey of her life. A journey she hoped would change her forever.

Looking back on her life and her previous experiences, she knew she had a serious problem. She never managed to maintain her thrive. She lets go too soon. This time though she had a deadline. She had two years to fulfill her dreams. That could serve as motivation, but it also could be yet another reason to give up. Only time will tell…

It is deep within the human nature to ask for more. Mary, not only craved success, she also wanted to become a better person, for she was growing weary of this lazy, gossiping, judgmental teenager she had become. Enough was enough! Truth is she hated what she had become. Sighing, she fell on her bed. Above all, she was tired of being lonely.

It dawned on her that she had absolutely no clue where to start or how to start. She knew nothing. Change won’t certainly happen over night. No one was going to unveil the secrets of success for her to follow. The journey no longer led to just academic success, it become a journey towards enlightenment and perfection. She had to get out of her comfort zone and rove uncharted territories…

What was she getting herself into?

As kids, we’re “taught” the values we should respect but somewhere along the line, we forgot them: justice, patience, politeness, respect etc. They are meaningless now, words we throw in everywhere without true understanding. Her goal was to bring those values back to life and spread them among Men. She had better get started…

Scared…

The past week has been a true mental hell to Mary. So many feelings surged that she found herself too overwhelmed to do anything peacefully. A sudden change indeed! The turning point was over the weekend; a week of joy and delight abruptly ended as anxiety and insomnia announced a new one.

The weekend seemed to be full of meaningless events, although she was sure something must have unleashed the feelings she once thought were under control. She had a pretty good idea what it was, for during the past weekend, people who were just a mere two years older received the opportunity of a life time to study abroad. Her first reaction was surprise and amazement but the human brain has a nasty habit; it tends to over think the situation…

And thus, surprise became jealousy. The wicked monster has been lurking in the dark for a while and was creeping to the surface. Jealousy blindfolds the brain and renders it stupid. She coveted their success but she hypocritically acted as if none of it mattered. Those people had a thorough brain and a determination of steel. Qualities she thought she lacked and that vivified the fire that consumed her heart.

Jealousy dragged along an old friend… Anger. It disrupted all her relationships with her family and friends for she had lost control over what comes out of her mouth. Thankfully, she was accustomed to this feeling and knew she had better keep her mouth shut. The last time she was this angry, she had said many things she regrets to this day for she hurt so many people that were close to her. Silence was the right choice.

Throughout the week, she vainly attempted to find an end to her troubles but the answer seemed to be out of her reach. Old memories and feelings resurfaced as if to add to her distress…

One not so special day however, she found the explanation she was looking for. She was simply scared. Scared of the future. Scared of growing up. She was afraid because she didn’t know what to do for a career, afraid that she wouldn’t be able to summon the will to work hard, afraid her intelligence will fail her, afraid she wasn’t going to get the results she wanted… So many fears haunted her and there was one way to abolish them.

She had to make a simple decision. If she wanted success, there was one thing to do: work harder than anyone who desires the same goal. That’s it! She needn’t worry about the future for God would never fail her. If she focused solely on her dreams, she would make it. She had to grow up, her teenage nonsense needs to end. Her future depends on this single decision. She took it.

He Had nothing to lose

The silence that ruled this little vacant yard was suddenly lacerated by the dreadful roar of death echoing throughout the deserted barely standing building that bore the marks of a great fire. It wasn’t exactly death crying at that moment although that was what the little kid had pictured for he had long since linked the sirens of the military police with the raging vociferation of a monster that terrified him each day and each night- in his nightmares. He dreaded him since the day he was born for his presence announced misery and brought pain upon his mother and brothers. He never knew his father although he had a faint memory of a slim man forced to enter a green truck but then he had seen hundreds of men dragged to the same truck by what seemed to be the same men that spoke a language he never managed to understand. He never looked into their faces; he couldn’t summon the courage for he feared to see a hideous creature and he had seen many of those in his dreams, no need to add yet another. The little boy picked the battered punctured ball he had found in the ruins and ran away from the monsters in their matching green clothes…

A few –what used to be- blocks away, he stopped and looked at the beautiful orange sky that was rapidly becoming dark as the sun went down ending what seemed to be a peaceful day so far… He then went forward towards what was left of the city away from the ruins. He had strayed too far from home this time, his mother must be worried but still he slowed his pace for the terrifying sound was close and he could see the flickering red-blue light reflecting through the narrow streets. The monsters were close, he kept thinking and so he silently walked in the shadows taking a long route for he feared they would see him. But the monsters seem to have invaded the city; everywhere he went, he heard clamors. He realized he had no choice but to sneak behind them hoping they wouldn’t see him. He took a deep breath and ran…

The loud cries covered the sound of his footsteps and he managed to go across; In fact, one soldier did see him but he was too busy to go after him. The little kid stopped for he had heard a familiar sound; it was the voice of one of his playmates, so he took a few steps back and glanced. There it was: the big green truck that had taken so many men on a journey they never got back from. It was loading new passengers. Strange, they didn’t seem to want to go on board for they were screaming and kicking the men in green who were weirdly smiling as they brutalized them and threw them inside the truck. There was a flag painted on the truck but it wasn’t the same flag they kept hidden at their house, not the same flag his brothers drew nor was it the one his father kissed every morning… He finally managed to see his friend whose face was now covered in tears; he was standing close to a door that was obviously smashed by the feet of the men in green. His mother, a nice lady that always gave him a snack and invited him home, was begging the men to release her husband. Her once sweet voice was now high pitched as she insisted that her husband was an honest hard working man that had done nothing wrong. The man that saw him previously had gotten into the driver’s seat and as he drove past the perplexed boy, he grinned maliciously…

The boy took off haunted by that horrible smile and those demonical blue eyes. As he went on looking for his home, he noticed more broken doors hanging sadly on their hinges, more grieving wives and more crying kids. The city was sinking in pain and misery and no street seemed to have been spared. He feared the men in green had ravaged the house and so he fastened his pace. His heart was beating faster as he approached his street. The houses seemed to be strangely empty and as he drew closer to his home, he saw that everyone was surrounding his house… When they saw him, they cleared a way for him to go inside his house… His mother was sleeping on her bed and everyone seemed to be present except the oldest of his brothers. The little kid went to the couch and slept for hours dreaming of the man with the blue eyes… He eventually woke up and he felt extremely hungry as he didn’t have dinner last night. His mother was still sleeping so he went to the kitchen looking for something to eat. There, he found an old lady, a neighbor, making breakfast to his brothers who sat around the table and so he gratefully joined them for a delicious meal…

When they were done, he took a plate of biscuits and a glass of milk to his mother thinking she’d be awake now but as he went closer, he found that she was still asleep. He put the glass and the plate down and tapped her gently to wake her up. The mattress was tainted in a red color and his mother was strangely pale. An old woman approached him and with a pitiful smile took him away from his mother while another one covered his mom with a white cloth. The lady that took him was now talking to him, telling him his mother was gone and won’t return. His mother had been shot.

-“But the men in green didn’t take her, she’s right there”, he insisted.

-“The men in green have many ways to take people’s lives; fortunately, they used the quickest least painful one on your mother. She was gone instantly.”

The little boy went outside where the men were sitting and talking about his mother’s death. He knew now why the man with the blue eye’s grinned… He was the man that shot his mother after she tried to stop from taking his brother. The man in green must have recognized him for he looked exactly like his mother. The driver took away his mother and brother… The little kid wasn’t afraid of the man in green anymore: What was he going to do to me besides making me join my mother or my brother? he asked himself. The man in green had lost his power that night; simultaneously he had created a fearless orphan that had nothing to lose…

 Source: ALLSSC


I didn’t name the characters nor did I say which country they came from. You can place this story in any place and any time from 1914 till this present day. Children suffer in the same way all around the world. The sufferance they endure at a young age will mark them forever and the men that caused this sufferance should be held responsible for any future acts done by those poor children.

 

A dazzling jewel she was

A dazzling jewel she was but it was hidden under a layer of dirt that sometimes let the light threw but it was feeble and hardly perceptible, reminiscent of old days of glory… Oh, Alice was once a jewel that captured every heart and mesmerized every mind for she was brilliantly talented and intelligent: a diamond of the finest cut, a woman that had the whole world in her hands but she let go and once you fail the world, you’ll have to fight for a second chance or lay at the bottom to be stamped and kicked as others who have not been as gifted climb their way up…

It dawned on her that she was an arrogant brat spoilt and raised with the uttermost care… The world that was so cruel and merciless on others was so pleasant to her, favoring her with the most exquisite opportunities to thrive and excel but she disdainfully turned them down. Fooled into thinking she would rule the world forever, she let her talents rust and didn’t aspire to reach greater heights. And so the world grew tired of her laziness and rightfully crowned another.

Alice felt betrayed and angry at the world she thought was unfair to her. She looked distrustfully at the new queen as jealousy crept through her veins like toxic venom. Furiously, she dared to ask her to a duel of which Alice got out vanquished and destroyed. Then, she waited for the queen to make a fault to bash her but she only succeeded in making a fool out of herself. As the years went by and she sank deeper and deeper, the mist of anger had gradually faded away and she could see the error of her ways.

She realized that: once you reach the highest rank, keep pushing forward, set the bar higher and reach for the unknown or else someone will eventually reach you and venture into the ground you lazily left undiscovered. Isn’t it stupid to go through the hardest phase and crush the competition and when the ground is finally clear for you to ascend freely, you lazily give up? It was a fatal mistake that no one would forgive…

Now that she finally understood her past, she was ready to focus on her present. It was a rough journey to the top; the diamond must be washed of all its sins. Many sleepless nights of hard work awaited her for that was the only currency that the world might accept. It is a long journey to reach the top now that she was at the bottom and it requires a will of steel but she will make it … hopefully…

When You Reach The Top, Keep Climbing

source: sjamalullail15iskl

Lost until we find the answer

The sea was losing its darkness as the dawn’s first rays exposed its nudity and unveiled its secluded mysteries. Playing with the delicate sand, he sat eyes drawn to the sky yet not noticing the luminous stars above him for his mind had wandered away in a maze of puzzling thoughts. He had been there for hours thinking the fresh salty breeze would enlighten him. But the answer was still beyond his reach; he was still lost and troubled…

He felt happy and satisfied up until last night… Something must’ve happened inside his brain, triggered a chain-reaction that started with a strange feeling of emptiness and ended with a suffocating feeling of despair that enveloped him ever since. He felt deluded and deceived like his futile life was unworthy of all the hard work he had put into it, apparently his heart was drawn to a much higher cause, a greater reason to exist but his perplexed mind was still unable to find it. The sea was an old friend; he had spent on its shores many days for it was his refuge, his hiding place from the infinite cluster that was life. The sea was the mother he lost, the one that could suppress every noise and every voice but the sound of his thoughts; no one could disturb him when he was with his mother, no one could touch him for mother would send upon the incautious a raging wind and colossal waves.

On impulse, he ran to the sea like a scared infant runs towards his mother and he jumped inside… There he emptied his lungs and sank gently to the bottom. He had remembered… Pushing on the ground, he rose to the surface and floated on his back. A terrifying memory he thought was long forgotten resurfaced, the same emotions were preserved for 20 years and now a grown men was crying like once a ten year old Sudanese hugging his dead brother’s bloody body did. He woke up in a dark crowded room; a U.N officer had found him and put him on a boat that was leaving the country. Alone, terrified and grieving, he arrived to this new country and decided to forget the atrocities and the cruelty he had seen. He thought he had erased his past but that is easier said than done…

His life was indeed in vain for he had forgotten his origins and the victims of the war he had left behind. He felt ashamed of himself, he should have helped his country get back on its feet instead he left it to drown in a sea of disease, civil war and poverty… Aiming for the shore, he swam vigorously and purposefully. The sun had finally rose illuminating the darkness of the night, a new day had started… He had been living a lie all these years but he finally knew the truth, his true purpose of his existence. Isn’t that the toughest question of our lives?

Rage or Kindness : The last battle

He went outside, looked at the mysterious blue moon and smiled. He took a deep breath and that fresh dose of oxygen seemed to have revived the painful memory. The smile faded away for he was only trying to fool himself. He let the knife down and held his head between his hands shutting his eyes with all his might until it became painful, still the tragic memory wouldn’t disappear, wouldn’t quit distorting his tormented soul. He wasn’t going to sleep because he knew insomnia awaited him like a sadistic monster that tortured him every night for the last week. And so he sat down and looked at the knife then held it in front of his eyes. Oh the idea of suicide had crossed his mind many times but he would never do it, he never took the easy way out. He won’t give them the satisfaction of seeing his frail body buried in the ground. He was the last man standing against it and he won’t let go. A gigantic responsibility for he was mankind’s last hope. He was now the incarnation of HOPE and every other value that used to rein every human soul but his baggy eyes, broken nose, lacerated cheeks showed that he has taken a few blows. His once pure gentle angel’s soul has been infected. New feelings surged; he felt angry at the world he once adored, angry at them for leaving him lonely. Oh how lonely he felt! For nights, he cried his eyes out seeking a helping hand, a whispered advice that would never come. Alone, haunted by the memory of his dear wife, he sat there for hours thinking of that miserable day: the day her poor soul couldn’t handle all this misery that fell upon earth and her eyes were shut forever. She was his last companion and her presence always brightened his spirit and gave him hope that one day they’d win their battle against evil in all its forms. But she’s gone now and he thought of joining her and letting this sick world destroy itself. He remembered her last words clearly, she said: “There’s no pure evil, my dear, and no pure goodness. Every soul is a mixture of both. Man kind has strayed when it favoured the darkness but deep down lays a faint light of virtue and kindness. Awaken that side, unleash it from its cage and let it strive but first cleanse your soul from every sinful feeling this fight has brought upon it”. He must pull himself together and give it one last shot. He stood up and threw the knife. He’s been wandering around with that knife for the last three or four days. Strange, he never knew he possessed a knife. And suddenly he realised it was made out of anger and frustration! The blade was getting bigger everyday as the feelings of rage and betrayal infested his spirit. He felt better now, free from the feelings that made the past days of his existence a nightmare. He dragged himself to the bed and slept like a baby smiling as he dreamed of his wife laughing and dancing with joy and whispering encouragements… He woke up revived and energized not knowing how much time he slept. He knew what he had to do now and he wasn’t afraid. He’s going to do whatever it takes, the path to reconvert the world was long and hard but he will fight for what he believed in, until every form of malice has been abolished. He knew though that he had to watch out for he could stray from the right path any moment but he hoped the memory of his dear wife would guide him. The fight has now begun…

Download / By Tirza van Dijk
Source: Unsplash by By Tirza van Dijk