Saturday, 1 June 2013

Samir's Story

Hey all! 

I know, I haven't posted in aaaaggges. I've been pretty busy with exams and writing English speeches - ugh! I guess it's just that time of the year... *sigh*

Today I thought I might share with you a little story that I wrote a while back, about a former child soldier. I was confronted by recent campaigns that have been trying to raise awareness of the issue, and after doing a little research myself, I felt inspired to write a story from the perspective of an old man. Anyway, here it is:

Samir's Story

Samir stumbled through the market place, sweat dripping from his brow, his gnarled hands quivering. A salty tear slipped from his eye and rolled slowly down his cheek, the moisture glistening on his dark skin like a jewel catching the sun. It was only his imagination, he told himself. He was safe now. The man he had seen in the stall across the street was just another stranger with that same, awful face which seemed to follow him wherever he went.

Samir pressed on, oblivious to the sounds of bartering and the consistent chatter of voices around him. He reached the edge of the market square and shuffled down a narrow alleyway till he came to an old doorway, which was once used and now forgotten; it’s cracked paint peeling from the wooden frame and years of filth and grime covering the steps. Once hidden in the shadows the tears flowed freely, wetting his lashes and blurring his vision. The shaking continued, and his cracked lips quivered, the fresh tears rolling past and falling into his clasped hands.

It did not take long for the memories to come flooding back to him, it never did. It was as though they lurked in the shadows of his past, hidden beneath tired eyes and a weak smile, waiting until he was alone so they could come out and haunt him again.

He saw the dark and decrepit alleyway transforming in his mind to what it had been years ago when he was a boy; an alleyway full of all the make-believe and dreams of a child. He saw his brother Jamal running past in the dirt, caught up in the game that they had played together, a game where they could block out everything else and just be caught in a world of fantasy for a few hours.

The alleyway changed again, and Samir saw himself, a boy of 13, with a gun thrust in his hand by the soldier, the owner of that very face which haunted his thoughts and ruled his dreams. He saw himself as he was ordered to shoot Jamal, and his own voice echoed through the vision and resonated off the concrete walls, “No!” Trapped in the nightmare, Samir could do nothing but watch as he heard the gun explode and saw his brother’s body crumple to the ground, blood pouring from the wound and turning the puddles they had played in to a deep and sickening red.

Cries arose from within him and burst forth in great, heaving sobs, sending his frail body into spasms of coughs. Samir looked down at his shaking hands, the same hands that had pulled that trigger so many years ago. He had been such a coward, and how he hated himself for it. There was not a day gone by that he didn’t wish it was him who had died that day.

Fumbling in his pocket, Samir pulled out his worn notebook that had survived all of these years. Opening it’s faded leather cover, he began to read from the beginning.        

                      6th May 1953
Last night I had the dream again, where I was back in the alleyway. I screamed and screamed for help but no one heard me, and as I cradled Jamal in my arms he changed into the soldier’s sneering face that laughed at me.

Yesterday we went into a village and recruited more boys. There was one who refused to join our army, and so the soldiers shot him in the head right there, in front of all of us. I saw the boy’s fear written on is face as he said “No”, but he didn’t flinch as the gun was aimed at him. Why couldn’t I have been as brave when I had the chance?

Maalik says that if you stay here for long enough the soldiers will eventually turn you hard and cold. I don’t know if it’s true, but I don’t want to end up like them.

It pains Samir to keep going. He wants to forget it all, but he’s terrified that if he does, he will forget Jamal and what his cowardly actions that day cost him. Samir sits in silence, his calloused hands gently cradling the book in his lap. The book is his only sanity, a reminder of who he was and how those ruthless soldiers changed him into a hardhearted man. He lives in the fear of his past, afraid that it will all catch up with him one day.

Slipping the book back into his pocket, Samir carefully rises to his feet and takes slow, deliberate steps towards the light at the end of the alleyway. For the moment the visions have faded, the memories left him for a while. They’ll come back though. They always do.


I hope this story helped to give you an idea of the kind of battles that former child soldiers go through - remembering their horrific pasts, and not being able to escape their memories. 

If you're interested in finding out more about child soldiers or what YOU can do to help, visit this website.

Well, what a relief it is to have FINALLY written something again! I'd better get to work on that English speech now... I really SHOULD rethink my priorities next time :) 

Enjoy your week!

Maddy :)

P.S. The font sizes are doing something weird, so I'm sorry about that - I've tried fixing them, but it's not working. So yeah. Bye!
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