Today is my 14th birthday. At 9:00 pm this evening I will smoke my last cigarette. Then I will do what my heart tells me I must.
It has been a month since the start of the invasion, and still the people resist.
Everything is ready. I am ready - or as ready as one can be. I will dress all in black. And I have boot polish for my face and hands. I will be like a shadow in the shadows. I will take my rifle and the three molotov cocktails already packed into my school satchel. If I am caught out after curfew I will be shot, but this is my city. I know every building, every alley-way and back street. All of the bridges are guarded, so I will cross the river by boat, and make my way to the old town square. There are soldiers there, with tanks. I will blow up the tanks. Kill as many of the soldiers as I can. I will shoot until I run out of bullets. All but one. One I will keep for myself.
Whatever happens, I will not let them take me alive.
I have no family. There will be no one to mourn me. But, I hope, there might be someone who remembers how I died - defending my country.
It is the 21st of September, 1968. For me there will be no tomorrow.
You know, death isn't all that bad. I spent half of my life fearing it and half of my life chasing after it. But now, laying on this bed and standing between both worlds, I've come to terms with the consequence of my sacrifice. It is a beautifully tragic thing; to die for the man you love. The seconds tick by as my pulse slows. I hear my lover's wails from my side, holding tightly to my hand as though that could keep me from slipping away. So much to say, no way to say it. All I can manage to do is squeeze back faintly and hope he hears my final "I love you" with this desperate act. It takes away the last of my energy. A final deep breath, a final tired sigh, my hand hangs limp in his own. I am gone. But I give a silent promise as I quietly slip away like a thief in the night. I will find you, again.
As He Watched It Burn...
Their screams were drowned out by the roars of the growing inferno. The tightness of the ropes that held him to the chair seemed to melt into the rising heat. None of it mattered anymore. The entire place was going up in flames all around him.
And, as he watched it burn, he laughed.
Epilogue of An Everlasting Hope
The ballroom was lit, and dancing couples whirled. King Adrian and Queen Adara sat watching. A gentleman approached.
“Your Majesty,” he said.
“Yes, count?” inquired King Adrian.
“I wish to say that I have never seen such a necklace as the one your wife now wears. What kind of gems are they?”
Adara and Adrian met eyes and smiled.
“Those are the Gems of Tragedy and Decision,” Adrian said quietly.
“I see,” the count said, puzzled, “I have never heard of them. And your wife’s ring, it is so beautiful. It looks like-like…”
“Like every color of the rainbow and more, both there separately and together,” Adara said softly.
“Yes!” exclaimed the count, delightedly, “You describe it perfectly! What kind of gem is it?”
Adrian glanced at Adara and said, “It is the Gem of Hope.”
Adara spoke so softly, it was barely audible, “Yes, The Gem of Everlasting Hope.”
(This is the end of a book I wrote a few years ago.)
Passing the Torch
Candles are only lit during blackouts, but I feel as though I am a cigarette. To everyone growing up I was a burnout, but right now I am burning for the last time...and I feel the urge to take a drag. When the war began, we rose together as our world fell apart. As children, unable to abide crooked beginnings to end themselves, we kindled the flames of rebellion...And once lit, a fuse must remain tended...for what might happen if no one cares to keep watch? It has been so long since, and now, only a few of us are left to remember how it all began. I was unable to accept things then, but I can't bear to leave them as they are now! Once all is done, will everything become as it was meant to be? Was this how I was intended...a candle to be snuffed out? Am I this...because a candle only shines in the dark? Just a suspect who might lose heart, once everything becomes light at the end of the night?
Suddenly, my brain turns on and I can feel my body again…my best friend is tending to it. Kneeling beside me, I can't make him out but he is speaking quickly and quietly. In thanks, I grimace. Despite all that has happened, he hasn't changed since it all began--it's me…if only I could get up to show him who grew to be taller…but who would believe it? At this thought, a bomb at the end of its wick, I explode. A sudden urge to ignite everything burns me up, and, as I stare at my best friend, I hope he catches my flame and carries me back home. Finished tending to my body, my best friend informs me I'll pull through…but until then…I must rest. Then, to place my mind further at ease, he reassures me. You are truly a good person if you can remain honest when you're angry or sad and still be loved… He punctuates this with a nod and smiles. It is my closure. I can allow myself to rest before returning home.
The simple sweep of her hair caught him off guard. He saw for the first time the true nature of her loveliness. Yes, she was beautiful but it was a beauty born of sorrow. Only now that he was acquainted with her grief could he see the depth of her splendor. He would hold fast, cling tight to it, and to her for as long as there was blood in his veins.
The empty halls rang with his words.
“It’s not you that they are scared of, or even that you are scared of. It is your thoughts.”
As if he was right next to me, his words seemed to fill the entire hallway, drowning out the bright fluorescent lights that bounced heavily against my eyelids.
It made sense now.
Walking slowly in deep thought, I found myself in front of the last wooden door.
I reached out, took a deep breath, and twisted the metal door handle.
The cold metal felt nice against my warm skin.
His unforgettable words gave me confidence in having some insight into my own inner chaos.
I felt renewed, as if I had just washed my face with ice cold water and stepped out into a nice breeze.
I swung the door open.
The beginning of a new living.