Tell A Tale in 500 Words

The mountain of rags By Anoushka Das

It grows almost everyday. Rising above the concrete slabs of the ghettos and backed by the barbed wire, its growth is a testament to the life in those lifeless streets. The streets that seem to gleam a blend of scarlet and silver in the moonlight. The high walls of ash grey garnished with violent gashes and barely distinguishable red handprints. Torn rags lie scattered at the sides of the roads, scorched and stained with soot and blood. They huddle together in the corners of the slums, stained with filth and blood, but not soot. Never soot. They live near the edge, so close they can see the houses, the ceramic tiles, muffled light shining through the curtains. But everyone they know had left them and the only things that comes back is their ensanguied clothes, dusted with soot.

One of them scampers across the road, his shadow mimicking a stray. Tentively his arm weaves through the metal thorns and seizes a woollen coat in a cold, trembling fist. Dragging the prize back to the crowd, his gaunt frame stumbles as he struggles with his limp. It was the only fight he had fought these past few years. He isn't brave like the revolutionists before him, who looked their captors in the eye before the clothes on their back were ultimately thrown on the mountain. In his submission he never sees the glint in the soldiers' eye; only the the gleam of their polished shoes. The dismal glares of the other survivors are steadily ignored as he crouches back into his corner, trying to sink into the pale walls. Hasty fingers search for the only thing he owns, the only thing he had salvaged after everyone else rejected it. A sewing kit.

He forces the blunt needle through coarse fabric in meticulous stitches. His eyes are studious as he puts his whole being into mending the rags of the coat. He would never pick up a knife or gun, only a needle and thread. Nor would he ever be there to stop the blade from tearing the cloth. He would only wait to stitch the wound. Every day he tries and pieces back together the crimson cloth that has been ripped apart, bowing his head and avoiding the front lines. Maybe some day, the fighting would stop and his mountain would cease to grow. For every shoe he fixed two more wouldn't take its place and eventually the mountain would no longer exist. But what else is there to do except wait?

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