Story Image

Mirage

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He pressed his face on the fence very hard. He looked far into the empty street to see if there were any signs of life. There was not even a slight breeze making way towards the city. This street was once his favorite place.

He closed his eyes. He could hear the voices of shopkeepers who sold sweets and desserts. There was a toy shop at the corner. There were poppy flowers here and there. There were people with pretty smiles. There was joy … happiness ... love … life and in midst of this he could see himself holding his mother's hand, walking towards the toy shop. It was all colorful. It was all peaceful. But he knew the moment he opened his eyes the mirage would vanish. He knew he would open his eyes to a colorless deserted city, a cemetery of broken dreams. He knew he would have to embrace the reality of a war struck city where there were no poppy flowers ... no colors … no smiles … no life … just blood and ashes...

The fence was huge. There was no escape. He lost his shoes last week which made it more difficult to walk on the crumbled road. His hands were covered in mud and his knees were still hurting. He sat near the fence hoping someone would find him and take him to a refugee camp.

It was on this street where he lost his mom a few months ago. The first air strike and since then he had seen the joyful city losing its blooms and slowly evolving to a pile of ash and rumbles. Many started fleeing to other countries but he was left alone. Sometimes they distributed bread and water in the streets and people fought like dogs to get a slice of bread. And it had been a few days since the relief workers had visited the city. The bread he saved was over. He was hungry and thirsty. He shouted ... "I am hungry, someone help me please.” His voice echoed through the barren streets.

He was with his mom. She had baked his birthday cake. She gave him a slice and he opened his mouth. But all of a sudden the cake turned into a pile of stones. "Where is my cake? Give me my cake.” He mumbled. The Sun was gleaming hot and pierced his eyes. He woke up from his sleep. He didn't know when he had fallen asleep. But he knew that the moment he woke up, hunger would grasp him. It had been a day since he was sitting near the fence hoping to find help and it had been two days since he ate anything. He was too weak to walk. His lips were chapped. He held the fence for support and tried to stand up. But the fence was too hot to touch. He tried to walk. He was limping. The pain was nothing but the Sun had drained him and he was thirsty. His father once told him, “We are rich, we have oil. But one day water will cost more than oil.” Now he knew what his dad meant that day. His dad was a soldier, a proud soldier. There was no news of him since the war started. There were rumors that he was held captive and some said he was killed in a blast. But his mother believed that one day his father would make his way back home. Unfortunately, his mother lost her fight leaving him alone in the battle of survival.

The Sun was setting. He felt like he would not outlive the night. He sat down. The fence seemed so endless. His throat was burning. “I am sinking.” He mumbled. “Ya Allah, give me some water”. The flame in his throat was sweltering. His vision was getting vague. He was glad that Sun had bid goodbye. The dusk cuddled him with a blanket of chill. He heard grumbling noises inside his stomach which was not new to him. There comes a time in life when you wish you better not see the Sunrise tomorrow. But he was a kid unaware of the blessings death will bless you with.

The scorching Sun was not so kind to him that he woke up in the mid noon with a flaming throat, red hot Sunburns, a hungry tummy and a dying soul. He felt paralyzed. He licked his sore lips. The heat wave was so intense that he couldn’t even open his eyes. He heard his mother calling him. “Zalman … Zalman ... let me help you, my son.” He turned his neck around and there she was. Beyond the fence, in the green street full of poppy flowers, stood his mother dressed in white. He blinked his eyes. Was it a mirage? He could feel the aroma of freshly baked cake and the sound of the street vendors reached his ears. He stood up and tightly held the fence. Yes … there were poppy flowers all over … His mother stood there and there were kids from his neighborhood playing around with balloons. There was a table with plenty of dishes and in midst of it was a cake. “Zalman”, his mother called and he ran. He ran with full vigor until he fell into the mud with a thud. He opened his eyes and he was on his mother's lap and she had a piece of cake in her hand. Poppy flowers bloomed around them.


Author

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Janice Joseph


Born with the passion for reading and exploring and now I think I am ready to talk to the World through my pen. A newcomer in the field and let me tell you, I have lots to tell.


Stories

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Ammi Was Right

I knew the basics of survival. My mother had already given up on trying to confine my unmanageable bouts of adventure and had resigned instead to teaching me a few life hacks in the hope of preventing my untimely death.

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The Small Big Thing

Ahiliya, the beautiful princess of Magadha, was sitting on the balcony of her palace brooding over her loneliness. She had a score of girls to keep company though. Yet, everything looked so lacklustre.

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Luck and Patience

"There are two lives that can be lived," said Mother Cat to her kittens, "the one you have with me safe at home, nestled in comfort... or ..."

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INGENUITY

Sam does not smoke; at least no more at present. In his boyhood days, he used to inhale an occasional puff or two from a friend maybe, but not now.

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Derailed

It was a regular Friday morning, the last working day of the week. As much as my little princess Ziva, I was also pretty excited about the weekend.

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Child's Unfulfilled Wishes

There was a 12-year-old boy who had a lot of money to spend and enjoy his life. He lived in a mansion like house and studied in one of the best schools in the country.

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Chance Meeting

Let me see dear. Oh yes, I should do. I've lived there for nearly fifty years. Was there anyone in particular you were looking for? I might know them.

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The Epitome of Love

'Handle with care' used to be written on the bottles into which my father poured his finest blends. My brewer father and simpleton mother handled me with utmost care.

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The Clock

First shot for the late Hero... Second shot for the noble mission he died for... Third shot for the honorable corpse he so bravely served... Fourth shot for the departed Martyr.

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Wise Yenzi

Word had come through the mountains, along the long winding trails of our jungle and finally along the river, Yenzi was coming.

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Wrong Turn

It's evening, and we are walking on the beach. The sun is going down, and the sky is so beautiful. She is beautiful too, and laughs like a pixie.Of course, I've never seen or heard a pixie, but I love her.

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Tom and Molly

Molly: Hey Tommy! You, goody-goody! Why on earth you're peeping through the window?

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Eddie To The Rescue

Lou looked up from her school exercise book and looked across at her gorgeous teddy she called Eddie bear.

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The Missing Person

She looked around uncertainly. The station was crowded, how was she supposed to find her daughter amongst the crowds.

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Our Story

Look at this snap, I say. Isn't it so telltale? Doesn't it speak volumes on our closeness? Our relationship could be the subject of a great novel of romances.

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The Wolves

Although it was dangerous, I had no choice. We needed to eat and there was nothing left in our old habitat.

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Messenger of Chance

Life is complex, putting most answers on a spectrum, which I suppose places me between ordinary and special, smack dab in the middle of average.

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Lucky Strike

God! He had been lucky, what if he had not walked back into that place today? Tomorrow would have been a disaster; his life would have changed completely.

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The Docks

The two girls Grace and Charlotte stood watching, fascinated by what they were seeing. Grace put her hand over her mouth to stop herself crying out.

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Magic

The plan chalked out in the morning had nothing to do with birthday plans. They wanted to visit the Forbidden Fortress. It is a place they are told to stay off.

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Little Jackie Pete

Janette was a head and half taller than her sister Susan who stood just in front of her under an arching entrance to an alleyway off the side of a cobbled street.

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The Dragons Of Drakonfell

Scarlet and Ashley had been told not to leave the castle. They stood in the doorway watching something flying overhead. It wasn't all that large as dragons go.

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Joy

"Fred! How are you?" Jim said to the man that had stopped in the street before him. He had been cycling down the road trying to keep warm...

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Gratitude

I can imagine you in a pinny. I've just been up to the cemetery; it would have been Ethel's birthday today so I took her a few flowers.

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The Release

The enormous looking egg sat there with a look of abject horror on its face. A human was trying to take the layer of shell off.

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A New Dawning

Charlie came running out of the woods in the morning mist. When he saw the lake pier, he slowed down to a walking pace.

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My Fair-weather Friends

We trees are pretty awesome. Don't you think so? Just look at me! How blessed I am to have these orange beauties all over me.

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Maisy

His niece turned to her teddy bear. A notebook opened upon her lap. She had been scribbling along pretending she knew how to write.

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The Hitchhiker

He walked along the road, arm out hoping to catch the eye of a passing motorist. It was a lonely stretch of road with trees lining it.

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The Final Stand

Two young girls, one looked to be ten while the other looked no older than six, were running around the tavern with trays over their heads.

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Sitting By The Lake

Darkness in the trees that reflect his mood. A match that will not light. Thoughts that take him far from serenity.

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Lost People

He tried to judge her accent. Possibly Spanish. Definitely another backpacker, like himself. If she wondered about him, she didn't show it.

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Mirage

He pressed his face on the fence very hard. He looked far into the empty street to see if there were any signs of life.

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Fly Away

I was beginning to go stir-crazy being cooped up indoors. All the things you take for granted suddenly became insurmountable mountains.

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Jake's Story

It had started in college. In the summers Jake had worked for a catering company in the resort area south of his hometown.

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Color Blind

I was a mathlete, my teachers always called me the Bell Curve Breaker.

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The Dig

They were camping. It was supposed to be a relaxing break from the hectic pace of the last few weeks.

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Hide And Seek

They say there is no such thing as the Bogeyman. But I know different. And right now we are playing hide and seek.

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Differences

"Why are you staring at the water? We pass by this stream daily and I can't see anything new. Are you ok?"

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The Devil's in the Details

He'd been waiting for hours for God only knows what. Frank wasn't an information guy. They told him to wait here, so here he waited.

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A Wannabe Voyager

"Why did I leave home? Why am I here? Does any of this make sense?" I kept questioning myself over and again.

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The Trail of Two Brothers

"You came all this way just for college?" Cody said to his little brother. Cody looked around himself.

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A Day By The Lake

Father and son were enjoying some quality time together. It was late September but still the weather was nice.

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Life Goes On

"Sometimes it is not the person we miss; it is the feeling you had when you were with them."

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The Message

My romantic nature pondered whether the 'special something' he wanted to buy me would be an engagement ring.

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Swirls

For me, the bridge was a gateway to a new life and for Ryan; the bridge was something he never wanted to cross.

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The Distress of Our Planet

I kept flapping around my house with similar haplessness until the quake subsided. I empathise with the bird.

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The Text

A blonde-haired woman wearing a bright green trench coat walked down the streets of a bustling city, her nose buried in her phone.

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A True Friend Indeed

Rambo came into Maggie's life a couple of weeks ago. The moment she saw him, she fell in love with him.

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Incurable

I lay in the bathtub with my eyes closed. I pressed the straight razor against my wrist.

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A Father's Treasure

"No, not again", I sighed. It has been a routine now to search for my pen in the morning before leaving for work.

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Crossing Over

Yumi couldn't feel her hands. She pushed her fingers through her hair. Nothing. Her heart didn't beat.

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Picture Of A Man That Couldn't

My fingers caressing its strings like they once caressed the only woman's skin that I have ever loved.

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The Fall

No one would give a job to a homeless young man. Prejudices never gave an opportunity for survival for the homeless.

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Gateway To Getaway

If I tell you, 'I've made this bridge', you will laugh at me; because you know me. I have never done anything constructive.

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My Superhero!

I am here at the park; taking a stroll with the person I love the most, My Dad!

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An Everlasting Love

This love started many years ago when they lived in the same neighborhood, a couple of houses away from each other.

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And It Rained

Croaka was pensive as he sat down on the slimy stone near a puddle formed by a steady stream at a corner of Mughal Gardens.

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Follow The Money

It was just past midnight when she arrived at the cordoned off station. There was a yellow Ka parked by the front.

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Long Road Home

Not sure who took that picture, but it's me hitching a ride, my backside anyway, age 17, running away from home.

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The Unfinished Coffee

I am Wahid. I came here nearly 40 years ago. I live in the next street. Are you here with your family?", the old man asked.

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A Fine Evening

It is a typical evening; a cool breeze surrounds the insides of the subway. Never do they notice the intentions of each other.

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Strange Obsession

The cold winter air stung his nostrils as Stephan walked along the brick covered sidewalk next to the tracks.

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The Café

It had started innocently enough; the place had been packed, he had asked if he could share my table. The hour flew by as we started talking.

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My Thumb Leads The Way

Sam was on that lonely stretch of road and he had his thumb leading the way. He was out there all morning.

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Sarah Disappears

What if all the books were worlds, and when she opened one, she opened a door to that world that she could go through? Wouldn't that be awesome?

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Take My Hand

John's wheezed as he ran through the forest. He was a runner, why was he wheezing? Couldn't he outrun his six-year-old?

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A Penny For Your Thoughts

Pete was at a cross roads and he had to make a decision fast or else he was going to lose everything.

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Memories For A Lifetime

The narrow road at the corner is the way to the blissful nature, where one will find true bliss.

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Scars Of A Rose

The fight is over forever. It is all numb now. There is no more pain. Life is setting me free. Let me fly...float in the clouds and forget my wounds.

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What do I have Left?

Marty's number was called and he had to report to Parris Island, South Carolina for 12 weeks of basic training.

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Bruno's Howl

Bruno knew something was wrong long before I did. He was a dog amongst dogs and saw things before anyone else.

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Keeper Of The Logs

The old man makes his first journey at seven in the morning and brings back a pile of logs on his return journey.

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A Newer Dawn

Lake Kaka is one of the nicest as you can see here. It's not large, but beautiful; Miss Caroline calls it 'serene'.

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