Tell A Tale in 500 Words

The Journey By Amanda Allen

She was no more than 12, holding her engorged belly in her tiny red hands, the arms of a smaller male child embracing her, protecting her not just from the human elements, as they huddled amongst the masses, they waited for the signal. They had paid their share, in blood, in sweat and more in tears. The darkness of the night felt strangely comforting, you couldn’t see it coming. Evil didn’t approach here in the dark, it didn’t need to hide itself.

A light rippled out over the black water, that was their cue, the silent starting gun announced the next leg of this survival race. They grappled to gain ground, the crowd opposing competition, it was as ruthless as the conflict they were leaving at home.

Home.

It did not exist for these anymore. The war had all but finished off any chance of that. But the glimmer of hope of a new home shone brighter than the fear from the young boy. He used his small might to push, shouting at the bright vested men to let his sister pass. Success was small but they made it. The boat bobbed in the shallow water, as they clambered into the dark hollows, cold seeping into every bone despite the thin layer of rags worn, screams rose along with the tension. Water bled into the wooden form, as the mangled limbs fought for existence. It wasn’t enough for this boat to be able to hold them all, it had to float. It had to.

An eerie calm washed over them like the last capsizing wave. Scrabbling to hold onto each other they kicked, he held her tight, his head dipping under with each reflex, seconds past like hours, despair imprisoned them, dreams ebbed like the men clinging to the boats sinking hull.

A rumble heard on the horizon, a glimmer of light, the girl bolstered her brother with a hand, the other holding onto an unknown floating object “soon” she whispers.

A uniformed arm reaches out, hauling the boy from the girl, she screams “he is with me”, her waving arms grabbed by the same hand, as his shadowed face directs her to a makeshift seat. She wants her brother, there is only them. Heads shake as she asks, no one knows where he is. Bile rises in her throat, she swallows hard, as she steady’s herself, the boat powering forward.

Reaching the rocks, she dizzyingly searches for her lost brother. Unloaded, wading through the cold sea, unknown arms support her to safety as she reaches the shore. No sign of her sibling, she shakes, she cries. Her heart stops, as she sees him carried off. His arms dangling. She sinks to the sand, her arms stretched, giving up. This journey for a new life has ended so many, how can she continue.

As the sea washes over her, helping her to her feet, arms go around her, embracing her, protecting her.


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