Tell A Tale in 500 Words
The Raft By Rachel Martin
I am slipping. I am powerless. I am tired. I am ready to fall. My eyes are heavy. I let gravity pull me. Someone grabs my hand. He pulls me in. I don’t know him, but he holds me. He talks to me, but I don’t understand. I stare at him, confused. He sighs, pats my head, and gives me some bottled water. He smiles at me with a broad grin. I smile back at him. I decide I like him. I feel better. No-one else speaks to me. No-one else knows I’m alive. I am huddled between bodies, frightened bodies, sweating bodies, crying bodies. They are shouting. They are hungry. They are angry, and scared. I am scared. I shiver even though I am hot. I hear someone fall with a loud splash. I turn and watch as one of the bodies bobs away. He cries out, but we don’t stop. We don’t know how. He is flapping, going round in circles, helpless. The big orange jacket is holding him up. The boat keeps moving. He becomes a small dot of orange in the distance. He disappears completely. I look away. I try to stay away from the edge because I can’t swim either. I have never seen so much water before in all my life. I never dreamed I would be here. I stare at the sun reflecting on the waves. It is beautiful. I close my eyes and imagine I am safe. I am safe, surrounded by these bodies, I am safe. I think it. I believe it. It is true. It is. It has to be. I feel the sun burning my arms and my face. There is nowhere to hide. I think of the dunes, my mother, my father, my family, my home in the city. All of them gone. Forever. The bombs, the screams, I hear them in the silence. I am walking over rubble in dreams. I am the only one left. The men, they came and told me it is better over the water. Life is good, they said. You get a house and money, they said. You live in a big city with tall glass buildings, they said. It sounds magical, wonderful. They tell me there is lots of nice people that live there that want to help me. I am happy. I am excited. I believe them. I go. I leave everything I know behind. All the money I have, I give to them. It is barely enough they say, as they push me into the back of a van, along with so many others. The door closes, it is dark and hot. I am being crushed. They drive for so long and I can barely breathe. We cry. And now I am on this little island. This floating island in the sun. With all these sweaty bodies, pushing me, squeezing me. I hope that land of tall glass buildings is real, because I am alone and lost.
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