What's On

Poetry Ireland Éigse Éireann and Schools Across Borders
Creative Writing Project 2009

 

MERIT AWARD PIECES

Poetry and Song

For Never and Always by Ali Coyle

Always wrong and never right
Never day but always night
Always war and never peace,
It seems this pain will never cease

The shrieks of fear, heart wrenchingly high
Pierce nothing but the big black sky
But happiness, hope, and things of past
Assure me that this cannot last

But sometimes I wonder, though I wish I did not,
If this little green planet God might have forgot.
Though this thought leaves me numb and chilled to the bone,
I refuse to believe it- that we are alone.

Always angry never content
Never spoken but always meant
Always war and never peace,
I know someday this pain will cease


poetrySABworkshop


Nothing Else to Blues by Sean McKenna

See the old man on the corner, he has nothing else to loose,
See the old man down on the city streets; he’s got nothing else but blues,
He’s got no place else to go to, he ain’t even got no shoes

That old man, he’s got no real friends to give him help,
That old man, he’s always been much too poor to help himself,
That old man, he just sits alone, always wishin’ he had some wealth

That old man, he ain’t even got a one cent,
That old man, he’s been struck down by unemployment
That old man, sits tight, too proud to claim from the government

Maybe he had a family; maybe he had a nice home,
Maybe he was born down on the street, and has always been alone,
But the people, they just pass on by, they just never want to know

What kind of trouble has he had?
He’s just like you and me, how could things for him gotten so bad?
Or maybe this is all he’s ever had…

Two Poems by Murali RR

I do not know any poems;
Little Princess of the Galaxies,
I do not know any poems other than you!

You can do it by Murali RR

Freedom, Freedom,
It is ours for the taking;
Freedom, Freedom,
This Earth is ours for always;
Victory shall be ours
As long as we run,
Don’t stop running;

Life is ours
As long as we search for it,
Don’t stop searching;
The Earth shall be ours
As long as we live,
Don’t stop living;

Jump the obstacles,
Investigate the answers:
Be the miracle
Who is there
to surpass you?

One Day by Florian Sanchez

One day
Sooner than you expect,
When all thunder will be gone,
And the rage that reigns besides
Will be gone
A day you will raise your hand calling for order
And no one dares to shut your mouth,
A day to be proud of your thoughts, and not scared because of them
When all nations speak in a united voice against what is not fair
That day yours will be the freedom you always have deserved.


My freedom by Rand ‘M. Hayder’ Tahboub

My freedom …
A white dove flying above my shoulders
A name which is dug on my forehead
My flag
My map
My heart beats
My breaths
And tears
My freedom …

Let me tell you about myself
I am a Palestinian
Who writes the words with her blood
Who digs the stones with her tears
Who is so proud to be Palestinian

My freedom …
Hurry up
Don't be late
I am waiting


Poem by Bar Shitrit

All the tears have dropped
And the nights are far after exhausting
The only thing that's left
Is a hole of frustration
Stay still

Blistering cold has frozen our bones
Only sickness within ourselves
Growing inside us
Shivering

The moments of crisis, of pain
Still hunts contained by a whisper
How many endless lost
And sorrow?

It shall possessed us till we'll be bleeding to death
In tremendous grief until our dead end spot
This couldn't be stopped
Ever?

Fire circle of horror and hurt
Often seems like it will never be consumed
Must we suffer once aging?
And aging
And aging
Waiting for the end?


A poem by Shaked Gur

5 years ago
We were afraid to go on the bus
5 years ago
We took our gas mask into the class

5 years ago
We heard the ambulance sirens every day
(And we are still afraid when we hear them to this day)

5 years ago
We were young and so small
5 years ago
We couldn't go quietly to the mall

5 years ago
After every exploding sound we started to call everyone we know
5 years ago
We kept on laughing but it was just a show

5 years ago
Bnaya died
And until this day we cry

** Bnaya Zukerman was a student in my school and a brother of one of my best friends. He died in a terrorist-attack on 2.22.2004. He was just 18 years old.


Days in lives by David Heller

No matter where you live or stay,
No matter how hard you pray,
No matter if you're in denial,
No matter if you're a child.

Every one knows someone
Who fell in the war.
Every one knows something
That makes their hearts sore.

It affects you,
It changes you.
You'll never be the same.
You'll never forget the name.

Forgotten memories,
People that paid the cost,
Each and every one of the days
In lives that were lost.


An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind by Shalev Paller

Our story takes place in town just a year ago
It tells the tale of a man named Akiva Megiddo

On this specific day little happiness is found
Akiva has tears in his eyes – his brother being buried in the ground

A soldier stands up and says: "he served his country ‘til the end"
But in Akiva's mind he hears just one word – it's "revenge"

That day flashes by and Akiva is a father
He's standing with his newborn baby daughter

And he's happier than he's ever been before
He tells himself no need to be angry anymore

But when everyone has gone and he's standing all alone
Deep inside his heart he feels that heavy stone

And he says...
I'll hate whoever hates me
I'll kill whoever tries to kill me
This is my land – I plan to keep it that way
I won't let any other man take it from me

With a community filled with stubbornness and pride it's easy to develop hatred towards the other side

And with Akiva Megiddo that was the case
He began to hate an entire other race

He's going through his brother's things, remembering all their good times of fun

He starts to cry when deep inside, the hatred is now building,
When he comes across his brother's army gun

When they attack me, I'll also attack
And as long as they hate me, I'll hate them back
Because this is my land and I plan to keep it that way
I won't let any other man take it from me

Now Akiva's creeping out in the middle of the night
A nearby Arab village already in his sight

He's barely functional revenge and hatred in command
He strongly holds his brother's gun in his angry hand

And Akiva reaches a home with a family of three
They're all in their beds sleeping peacefully

And Akiva's saying to himself: "It's time I do to them what they did to me!"

Because as long as they hate me I'll hate them back
And every time they attack me I'll also attack

Akiva's finger's on the trigger shaking slightly
He stops one moment closing his eyes tightly

Thousands of years my people didn't have a home
We finally have one yet we're never left alone

But what about my daughter who's waiting at home for me
Do I really want her growing up in a hateful society?

And just then Akiva realizes in the midst of all his rage
He's aiming his gun at a boy his own daughter's age
And if he does this what will really change?

So slowly Akiva lowers the gun knowing he did the right thing
He turns around, feeling free, slowly and softly begins to sing

"Even if they hate me
And even if they try to kill me
I must stay strong and not get too angry
Because too much anger leads to hatred and too much hatred leads to action.

And after the today the one thing I know
Is the only one I can ever truly control is Akiva Megiddo”

*"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" – Mahatma Gandhi


poetryworkshop


Meet down There by Nahir

Walking on pavements
Two sides of the same road
A big sea of hatred and fear between us
Looking at each other, it doesn't get through
“Come and walk beside me”
I whisper
Also he
But a fog of shame prevents us from seeing

Trying to reach your hand
To find a big bird to carry me
Over to your side
To accept you with silence

The big bird flies on without me –
We keep walking on parallel pavements
That will meet down there
When the next bird passes by


Without You / A Poem by Yarden Ishai

To walk into your bedroom,
To look towards the place
where your bed was.
To smell your clothes,
To think about all the times
I saw you,
And about all the times
I'm not going to see you.
Without you.

To wait for the note on the fridge,
Saying you will come back later.
And then to realize
That you were too little
To write that note,
And even if you could write,
We wouldn't had time
To say goodbye.
Without you.

The news was so shocking,
I couldn't absorb it.
Then, just five hours later,
with so many other people
who loved you so much
in your short lifespan,
my eyes reached over to your little body,
under the payer-shawl.
And after half an hour
We had to leave and loose you
in the hardest way,
under the ground, forever.
Without you.

You didn't deserve it,
little watching angel.
You didn't do any bad to anyone
in your short life.
Just happiness and serenity
to everyone around you.
Without you.

But you know,
sometimes one breath is all it take to separate
between so many things.
So many people.
Between life and death.
Without you.

Daniely,
Please watch us from above,
watch your sister,
your parents,
your big and loving family.
watch me so I will have the strength
to watch and support everybody,
the strength, to deal with it all,
to live.
What seems now to be impossible.
Without you.


Prose Works, Fiction, Memoir and Reporting

A day in the life of a paramedic by Felix Berger

7:00 – I woke up, I got dressed and I got a quick breakfast.
7:30 – I left my house, When I arrived at ambulance base I did all the necessary checks on the ambulances to make sure that they were road worthy and to make sure that we were not missing any equipment or drugs and that tyres, lights and all electronics were all working. Also, I washed the ambulance with the crew.
8:00 – first call of the day: an ambulance service 1 (AS1) *call to a 90 years old woman’s house who was in cardiac arrest. We then did the cardio pulmonary resuscitation and tried to start her heart again. Unfortunately the 90 years old woman died. We got back at ambulance base at around 9:00 o’clock.
11:00 – Our second call of the day was an AS2* call, not an emergency but still urgent. The call was from a 40 years old man complaining of chest pains and having difficulty breathing. When we got there the man was conscious and managed to walk to the ambulance. He was admitted to hospital.
13:00 – On our way to get our lunch we got an AS1 call to a road traffic accident.
It was a 5 cars collision on a main road. Everyone was fine, just one woman complaining of chest pains, but she refused to go to the hospital so we asked her to sign a form. We advised her to go and see a general practitioner.
13:50 – We finally got our lunch and we were soon back in action.
14:00 – AS1 call to a man in his 90 ’s at home. When the information came in on our pager, we got it as man in 90’s having a heart attack. When we got to the house the man was exhausted and breathless but he was conscious . We brought him into the ambulance on a chair. He was admitted to hospital.
18:20 – AS2 call to a woman in her 80’s in a nursing home feeling unwell. We transferred her from her bed to the ambulance’s stretcher and brought her to hospital to get checked out.
19:30 – End of shift, overall an average day.

People may wonder why we do this job as there are bad and depressing times, but the one thing that keeps us going is the fact that we do our best to save people. In some case that is of a cardiac arrest, thinking that you have saved that person’s life or tried to do so is what makes you want to come back to work everyday.
This job is very varied: from headaches to cardiac arrests and heart attacks. We get our lunch at around 13:30 if we are not on any call, but we are always ready to drop everything and respond to any call we get.
My job is challenging but it is absolutely rewarding
*AS1 call : Emergency call. `turn the blue lights on and siren when traffic ahead
*AS2 call: Urgent call. No siren allowed (unless patient deteriorates)

Nights Like This by Mark McCabe

Aidan’s head throbbed and the clock seemed to tick in time with the waves of pain that waxed and waned. Time was not a positive factor in his life, which the clock did not hesitate to remind him. Time, he lamented, had stolen his youth, his looks and his wife. He looked at his reflection on his hip flask and, although the image was distorted by the curvature of the shiny metal flask, the deep wrinkles etched into his face by time were evident.
His hand trembled as he reached for the bottle of whiskey on his desk and even more as he poured some into his favourite shot glass. A crooked smile crept across his face as he saw the precious alcohol splash against the bottom of the glass. Even after the years of heavy drinking the whisky burned his throat slightly. He sat back in his leather chair and it squeaked as he relaxed back into it.
It was dark outside and in the rain the outside world seemed gloomy, unloving. He pondered. Not long ago he was on top of the world. Where did it all go wrong? The wind howled outside and through the window in the half light he could see the wind picking up leaves and discarding them. His wife’s death, he decided, was the reason why there was a bottle of Tennessee’s finest on the desk. He glared at the bottle with such hatred that it was a wonder it did not crack,
A night in the local when his drinking was strictly social was where it had happened. Although his drinking at the time was controlled, his wife’s drinking was far from it. She drank anything she could get her hands on. On the return trip from the bathroom after intoxicating herself liberally with her friends she had slipped on the stairs and had broken her neck.
That was how nights like this had come about. Sitting pensively and sipping whiskey until the day came. He stared at his shot glass, she had given it to him shortly after they had married. It was as if the alcoholism had slipped from her last breath and had burrowed its way into him and there it sat like a tenant.
Rustlings from the room next door reminded him of his sons’ presence. He was only young when his mother had passed away. Now he was fifteen and did as a fifteen year old did, he tried to call upon fond memories of times when he had not fought or bickered with him but could find none. The past few years were a blur. This realisation brought a tear to Aidan’s eye as he remembered the baby in the cot so long ago. The fondness he felt, the pride, the protectiveness.
His tenant cried out for more whiskey and he looked to the bottle. Outside, the sun had begun to rise and a dim light had crept into the room. He heard footsteps in his son’s room and a sense of loss overwhelmed him, the wasted years when he had sat here while his boy grew up without him and he felt the need to drink to dull this feeling.
The alcoholism leeched off of him as it had leeched onto his wife until it could find lodgings, a person dear to him, someone like his son.
A switch flipped in his head. The sickness, the disease would take no further victims, he would be its final resting place. His son, whom, despite lack of communication he still loved could not be allowed to take the same path. He lifted the bottle and walked deliberately towards the door of his study which he yanked open, almost spilling his whiskey. He broke into a run towards the front door. Upon reaching it he took a sharp, deep breath and slowly opened the door. The outdoors looked so much better, the world looked better. He flung the bottle against the tarmac as hard as his feeble arms could manage and watched with grim satisfaction as the remaining alcohol drained away, like the blood of a dying monster.


September 19th 1944 by Davy Shaw

Eindhoven, Holland.
Dear Diary,
It was a cold day today as I took my first steps into the town of Veghel near Eindhoven. I joined my fellow squad mates as we proceeded into the town. We ran to the local inn as we succeeded in barricading ourselves in the inn while avoiding the German and ricocheting bullets from friendly fire. The four of us (including myself) waited there while eliminating the German soldiers that were unfortunate to fall into our crossfire. We closed the windows and began to talk about ourselves, our families, the things we like etc. My squad mates were trying to get me to play darts especially, Billy Matthews, from Oklahoma who joined the army after he found that his brother ran off with his fiancé. He told me the story of the scar on his left cheek which he received when his own brother stabbed him during a fight over his fiancé. Also was James Johnson who was forced into the army for murdering the man who killed his mother. He has trouble sleeping and wakes in the dead of night from nightmares. He is clearly traumatised from the murder. And last was our squad leader Sergeant Hugh Gray who has been in the 101st Airborne Division for ten years. He has the most experience of us but has a bad temper from time to time.
Two hours later we were hit by a tank shell which shell-shocked us all. As we retreated through the side window we noticed a German Panzer tank as we proceeded into the upstairs of the hotel next door. As the Germans searched the inn for our bodies, James uncovered a hidden German cache of weapons. I took a sniper rifle and went upstairs and fired and the tanks driver who poked his head through the roof of the tank. When this happened we sprinted downstairs, out on the street and stole the tank. We drove it from Veghel into Eindhoven while annihilating German patrols under the tanks tracks. We finally stopped short of the German HQ in Eindhoven. We fired two shells and the thick Iron Gate blew open. Many allied soldiers then stormed the base. We succeeded in taking the base with minimal effort and taking twelve AA guns, fifteen tons of ammo, ten tons of guns and 3 Panzer tanks. I’ll continue this account tomorrow as we steam towards Amsterdam.
Yours truly, Matt Baker

 

S_Cashman


Crossing Borders: A Story by Ciara O’Connor

While the wet rain dripped down on the window cell outside my bedroom and the noise of people shouting, screaming at one another and the sound of gun shorts being fired, I was terrified. I sat on my bed wondering when will it all end. It was a Saturday morning on the 23rd of November. I lived in West Belfast and it was around the time of the troubles. I was a sixteen-year old girl who wished I could live a normal teenage life and do typical teenage things but I couldn’t because of the troubles in the north. I was a Catholic girl and it was almost impossible to go to mass without vicious and sectarian abuse being shouted at us, but it was our religion and we were proud of it. It was also hard getting to and from school because the uniform was very obvious. When I was younger I use to travel to Dublin were my cousins, auntie and uncle lived. I would stay there for the summer. As I was a lying on my bed staring out my window I thought to myself I would love to live my life in a peaceful environment with no war with my cousins in Dublin. So that Saturday evening on November 23rd I packed my bag with all my clothes and belongings, wrapped up well and headed to Victoria street railway station. When I got there I bought a one-way ticket to Connolly station. I couldn’t wait to start my new life in Dublin. As I said my farewells to my family at the train station, I bored my train. I was very sad looking out the window of the train while I passed by the wall that separated the falls and shank hill because I was leaving my childhood, my friends, my family and my old life behind.
It was 11.34 when I arrived in Connolly station. I saw my auntie waiting for me on the platform. I ran form the train into her arms and burst into tears. I was about to start fresh, starting a new life. It wasn’t until the following week that I started school and got my books. At first I was very nervous about starting a new school with completely different people, but I settled in very quickly and loved school. I made a lot of new friends at my new school and I even found myself a boyfriend. I couldn’t believe how I could go hang with my friends or go shopping without any hassle. I loved my new life. As months went by I still kept close contact with my family back in Belfast by ringing them every night. I missed them so much but I was much happier living in the south. I was able to live a normal teenage life with my cousins, friends and boyfriend Michael. I was now with Michael 11 months and I loved him to bits. We would see each other everyday and my auntie and uncle even met him, and they really liked him. I was very close with my auntie and I told her everything, but there was a secret I didn’t tell anyone because I was afraid, afraid I would be sent back to my old life in Belfast. This secret I kept for months and I became depressed because I felt I wouldn’t tell anyone. And this moment and time I hated my life. How was I going to tell anyone this secret? My life was about to be turned upside down. November 1st it was my seventeenth birthday. My cousins and auntie arranged me a surprise 17th birthday. All my friends were there and I got the shock of my life. For the first day ever I forgot about all my problems, I never felt so happy in a long time. As the party finished and everyone went home, I sat at the fire with my feet up and a cup of tea with my auntie. She looked at me and her eyes started filling up with tears and she said to me, “Julie I need to ask you something.” I could tell by the pain on her face she knew, she asked me “Julie are you pregnant” and she burst into tears. My secret was out I couldn’t hide it anymore. As I told my auntie I was four months pregnant and I was afraid to tell anyone in case I was sent back to Belfast. My auntie comforted me and told me everything was going to be ok, but I could tell how disappointed she was in me. I rang my parents to tell them the bad news. They were so angry with me. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. Five months went by and I had a baby boy. I thought to myself how I could make a gorgeous wee person like this. From the minute he was born I fell in love with him. The day had arrived, I had to travel to Belfast to show my parents their new grandson. I was nervous passing through my old town. I thought to myself would it have been better if I hadn’t of moved, I wouldn’t of got myself into this situation. But then I realised I would never change it for the world.
That year I finished school and got my leaving cert. I was very proud of myself having achieved so much over the last two years. I am now eighteen and I have moved into an apartment that I now live in with baby Mathew. My parents now travel form Belfast each week to see their grandson. They are very proud of him and they help me take care of him. I am glad I changed my life around by crossing borders. I am very happy with bringing my baby up in Dublin because I do not want him growing up in an environment with war and sectarian abuse. I don’t know what the future brings for me or my son all I hope for is that this war up the north ends soon and Belfast becomes a safer place, so I can bring my son and show him where my childhood was. The best decision I ever made was crossing borders


Spiralling out of Control by Joanne Collins

SMASH! The glass hit the stone step below and splintered satisfyingly into millions of shards. The glass reflected the pale winter moonlight and the tiny pieces of shattered glass sparkled happily as if they had not just been torn violently apart. Two floors up a girls face could be seen leaning out of her window, surveying the damage she had caused and knowing that it wasn‘t enough. The light bouncing back from the broken shards of glass hit her face, glittering tears were streaming down her beautiful visage. Her eyes couldn’t be seen because they were so blurred and distorted by the salty water pouring from them but remarkably, the girl could see the shining lights of Dublin city bright and clear. She wasn’t aware that I was watching her; she would have been shocked to know I am always watching her. But anyone else who was watching her face framed by shining blonde hair, would I’m sure, have wondered why she was so distraught. After all she always smiled contentedly like her family, in fact she was the happiest person most people ever have met, but obviously that would be boring, there would be no story there, so in the case of Jess Kizzie I am going to tell you a bit of her story, just a bit mind. I am going to tell you what occurred on the 9th of November 2008.

“Let’s go, now!” a shout echoed up to Jess’s room from downstairs, her brother Edwards chocolate brown eyes looked around in confusion, then they met Jess’s darting eyes. He wondered momentarily about Jess’s eyes; when she was deliriously happy or hyper they shone and sparkled with the colour of a million blues, when she was angry or confused they glinted green and drew you in until BAM she had practically attacked you for staring at them. They turned grey a lot; they turned grey when she tried to hide her feelings, so when she was sad they were usually grey. He smiled as he saw her green eyes swirling about wildly. Then she grabbed his arm
“Crap!” she exclaimed “It’s half past bloody twelve!” she shot to her feet and still gripping his arm raced down the stairs. In her opinion (and everyone else that was to see her that day) Jess’s outfit was perfect, the blue she had chosen illuminated her skin, the cut of her top shaped her upper body well, and the grey jacket she had thrown on gave a sophisticatedness to the outfit, her skirt was mad, and the blue was darker than her tights which stretched alluringly down her legs to her new high black boots. She swooped down to snatch her bag from the floor and continued until she slid into the car with the grace of a queen.
“Well, I’m ready” she smirked.
The car drive was filled with Jess and her Mother darting looks at one an another, Jess’s dad Niall was giving directions to his wife like you might to a bratty two year old. Needless to say the drive wasn’t a success. Arriving outside the church for Robert Liam Egan’s christening Jess smiled, she loved family gatherings, she was snapped out of her reverie by a stone coloured coat which was tossed on her lap
“Get it on, now” her mother smiled but there was a steely warning in her eyes. Jess rolled her eyes at her eight-year-old brother and reluctantly pulled the coat on. Her parents bickered while Jess helped her mother transfer her Aunt from the car to her wheelchair. Then they both turned and stalked off to different entrances to the church.
Jess and Edward stepped into the church and immediately realised they were late, there was a coloured priest smiling at them from the top of the church, it was obvious they had interrupted him. Jess caught her Uncle Ted’s eye - he nodded to her to join him and his two children. Jess headed quickly for their row of seats, smiling sweetly at anyone who bothered to turn around. After the ceremony ~ which was mercifully short ~ finished, Jess engaged in small talk with her extended family. Had she been counting (like me) she would have realised she had spoken to 26 people, 80% of her family! She eventually sidled over to where her cousins of near ages to her own sixteen years were standing. There faces lit up
“Hey Jess!”
“What’s up J?”
She laughed and soon they were talking away like the old friends they were.

Outside twenty minutes later Jess dad was making a holy show of himself, being “helpful” by attempting to force the wheelchair into Jess’s uncles’ car when it evidently wasn’t going to fit. He then dragged it over to Jess’s mum’s car and started barking instructions at her to do various things. Jess’s mum (let’s call her Deirdre) sat silently, staring stonily ahead of her. Jess glanced warily at her. She had stayed up past midnight every night for the last month or two, usually with her mum, but sometimes her dad. She sat and hugged her Mum while she poured out her heartbreak about the horrors Jess’s dad committed, Jess contributed herself sometimes to the “Dad bashing” because honestly there was a lot to complain about. Now I’m not going to get into everything that went on because honestly you could write a book or maybe even two books about it and that is not the point here. To condense the two book story - Jess knew of the many faults her father had, and the faults he saw in Deirdre. She also knew that her parents 25 year marriage had turned into a battlefield, a sea awash with pain and hate, a - well you get the picture. Jess was hoping against hope that they wouldn’t get a divorce, even though she also thought life would be marginally easier if this became the case.
A brief conversation in their native Icelandic tongue convinced Jess that her mother was extremely angry and likely to not enjoy the lunch in Graft’s hotel. When they arrived there was a lot more talking and then finally the relief of lunch. I’ll give you a run-down of who Jess sat with — her eight year old brother Edward; her cousins Don, Ashling, Kate, Dermot, and Anna.
They chatted easily to each other, laughing and messing, catching up on each others lives, swapping stories and advice, and generally just enjoying themselves. Soon after desert was served they raced from the restaurant and explored the hotel until they found some secluded seats where they could have fun. At this stage some more teenaged cousins had also turned up; Amy and Ronan. They kept talking, they giggled about the drunks roaming up and down the corridor, they laughed so much their sides hurt and they kept laughing until finally someone suggested they should head back before a search party was sent to look for them.
It was now four o’ clock and most people had left. Jess was reluctant to run into her mum who was determined to make her go to a removal which would basically mean she would leave the hotel at four thirty and arrive home at eight, Needless to say Jess wasn’t to keen on this because she knew her brother was going to be a huge burden and a whinge if he was told he had to go and also as the person who had died was her aunts, husbands, sisters, husband. Yeah, when you’ve worked that out give me a ring.
Edward went to beg Deirdre to allow him and Jess to be dropped home and for Jess to mind him, Deirdre gave him the “I’ll think about it” line. Now Edward wasn’t a fool, he might have been young but he also had figured out that he could play his parents off each other, and he would end up doing whatever he liked while they argued with each other about whose fault it had been. So ‘clever’ Edward then went to ask his dad the same question. Unlike Edwards mum, dad immediately gave the affirmative and Edward gleefully returned to Jess, telling her that they could go home. So after all the goodbyes Jess and Edward sat with Uncle Ted and his kids, waiting for the lift home.
That was until Deirdre called Edward over and he returned crying saying they were going to “that dumb funeral thingy that goes on for hours”
Jess immediately looked around and saw her dad approaching, a frown crossed her features and her eyes sparked green.
Niall looked shiftily around “There’s going to be war” he announced dully “but you GO with Uncle Ted”. Jess couldn’t help it, the look she shot her dad plainly showed that she thought he was insane.
“Mum won’t like it” he continued “but…..just go ahead anyway”.
Then Deirdre appeared “Come on, Get in the car guys, we’re going to the removal”. Then, Jess wasn’t quite sure how it happened, she was sitting on a couch and her parents were having a heated discussion in the middle of the Lobby. Her Uncle Ted seemed to be involved for a while too, and then, again without being sure how it happened, Jess was standing beside her parents and Edward was bawling his eyes out.
“B-but I d-d-Don’t want to-to go m-mum-m-my” he wailed.
A few onlookers appeared concerned over Edwards reaction, then Deirdre and Niall were arguing bitterly again. Jess surrounded Edward with her arms and from where I was standing it appeared to be a subconscious attempt to protect Edward from the fighting that was going on;
“Jess, I want you to come with me, and show support for Laura and Matt at this removal.”
“Jess, don’t worry about it, Ted’s going to drop you and Edward home, just make sure he behaves.”
“Jess, Come on, let’s go.”
“Jess go sit down with Uncle Ted.”
“Jess, I want you and Edward to come with me.”
“Jess, I mean it, sit DOWN!”
“Jess, come on please we’re GOING TO THE REMOVAL!!”
“This is ridiculous” Jess muttered finally.
“Yes you’re right”
“Totally ridiculous”.
Both her parents agreeing on something? Well, there’s something you don’t see every day, week, millennium.
Soon the arguing started again, her mum started to walk off shooting her looks that seemed to say “Come with me, don’t betray me like this, you’re tearing me apart here, now come ON!” But at the same time her dad was pushing her in the direction of the couch. At this stage Jess was ready to scream, her choice being to go to the removal. But Jess was so scared of how her Dad would react that she just stood still.
Aunt Moira came over asking, nosing around and she heard her dad pour out his twisted version of the story but she wasn’t hearing the sentences right. Jess dropped her bag on the ground and walked into the bathroom in a daze. She calmly made her way to end stall, quietly closed the door, and gently sat on the toilet lid. Then she burst into silent sobs, she really lost control, she didn’t think she would ever stop crying. She picked up her phone to ring her mum but her hands were shaking too much. She sobbed for what honestly seemed like hours and when she had no more tears left she sat there still while her body angrily shook. She took a breath, wiped her eyes and left the stall. She turned and walked to the door but didn’t open it until she was sure she could go out and face it, act as if all was ok, after all, in terms her father would have been proud of; war had been declared.

She rode home, acting all the while, pretending to be fine, pretending to enjoy singing songs and messing, but all along the road home she was desperately fighting the urge not to throw up. Her dad was laughing his head off at mindless jokes Edward was telling and continued to laugh until they arrived home. Jess went straight upstairs and opened her parent’s bedroom door, she found one of her mum’s perfumes and sprayed it, trying to pretend it was her mum hugging her and not herself.
She heard the laughter from downstairs and felt hurt and angry. She knew she had to do something. She went to the bathroom and found a bottle of something filled with gold liquid, then the went to her window and threw it wide open, the cold night air rushed in, exhilarating her. She saw the stars glinting in the sky and that’s when the first tear fell, then came the rest, in what seemed to be an endless flow of tears, she unscrewed the lid and smashed it down to the step below with all her might, this seemed to awaken a recklessness in her and she climbed out onto the windowsill, the cold air stung her face but the tears continued to fall. The turned the bottle upside down and drank some and then shook it until it was splattered haphazardly on the ground underneath. Then she raised her arm and flung the empty glass bottle. It seemed to fly and she leant forward to follow it. That’s when the realisation of being suspended fifteen feet in the air with nothing to hold onto seemed to sink in; she climbed back into her room and gazed underneath her…

With a SMASH the glass had hit the stone step below and splintered satisfyingly into millions of shards. The glass reflected the pale winter moonlight and the tiny pieces of shattered glass sparkled happily as if they had not just been torn violently apart. Two floors up Jess’s face could be seen leaning out of her window, surveying the damage she had caused and knowing that it wasn‘t enough. The light bouncing back from the broken shards of glass hit her face, glittering tears were streaming down her beautiful visage. Her eyes couldn’t be seen because they were so blurred and distorted by the salty water pouring from them but remarkably the girl could see the shining lights of Dublin city bright and clear. She wasn’t aware that I was watching her, she would have been shocked to know I am always watching her. But anyone else who was watching her face framed by shining blonde hair would I’m sure, have wondered why she was so distraught. After all she always smiled contentedly like her family, in fact she was the happiest person most people ever have met…..

Epilogue –
Then she sat on the floor of her bedroom and listened to her Dad and brother watch a movie. She sat there until she heard her mum’s car pull into the driveway. Going to make coffee, she knew there was almost certainly had another evening of staying up past twelve ahead of her…and though she didn’t know it, she wasn’t alone. I was there. I am there with her, and I will always be. I will stay silent as a shadow until the day comes when she most needs me.

Between Two Worlds by Rand ‘M.Hayder’ Tahboub

(This story was first written in Arabic and translated into English for our workshop by the author with some assistance from her teacher, Professor Mohammad Shaheen)

He sat beside her bed, holding her weak hand but with all tenderness, contemplating her angelic face with all its feminine features, feeling in her pulse some most exceptional resistance.
She was his long life love story. In her presence, he found his own heaven. In her voice, he found all the support he needed. She made him see the world in a different perspective. He loved everything about her, and she made him feel the beauty of things around him. In brief, she made him a different human being.
Never the smile abandoned his face while he was with her. They met daily. He waited for her with great eagerness. Her words embraced his soul. All these were the constituents of his happiness. Every time he met her, he felt that he is in possession of the whole world. Much hope she gave him. It was she who lifted him up from hellish life, and made him what he is now. She transferred him into a human being whose happiness is infinite. However, our world is not without misfortunes. One day, they were standing behind the building (where her office was) which overlooks Israeli sites. She stretched her hand into her overcoat, and suddenly a stray bullet hit her. She fell down with a red rose beside her. Her blood was coming out of her neck. He was at a loss and did not know what to do. He headed to her office asking for help, yawning, crying and trembling with fear. He followed her to the hospital and waited hours and hours outside the operation room.
At long last, the physician in charge appeared and told him that his beloved was still alive, but in an unconscious state and only God knows when it will all end. He accompanied her to her room and sat beside her bed all the time. His main concern in life was to see her recovering.
He went on contemplating her angelic face, trying to penetrate into her new world. He knocked at all doors attempting to make her appear at one of the windows of the world in case she can have a glimpse of him waiting impatiently outside all those doors to open, but in vane. His sleeping princess would make no response.
He turned to the window contemplating the fall of the rain against the glass thinking deeply of her captivating transparency. He thought much of the captivating beauty she has. He spent with his beloved the most beautiful time in his life. He went back in his memory when he first met her and found her beauty irresistible. Her eyes seen as enticing while the sun through them mirrors her light, he remembered all naïve things which made him attracted to her. He remembered all the fun they passed through. How precious was every moment he spent with her. He went back to sit on his chair opposite her.
He gazed at the monitors tied to her. How amazing it is for anyone to see one's beloved so close, yet in a different world. How incredible it is to see one's beloved on the verge of life's end, when you cannot extend a hand for support.
He was so sensitive, torn out between many different possible alternatives. He was full of muddling thoughts. Puzzled. He was torn out by fragmented fear. What would I do had she departed forever? Who would protect him from winter cold had she not returned? What would he offer her had she come back? He lived in a state of conflict which he tried to conquer and prevent the possible scaring ends.
Every time he thought of a feasible resolution, she proffered him an open ending. What to do?
For hours and hours, he sat remembering the happy evenings he spent with her. He remembered all the poems he presented to her and all the roses he carried to her. He went back to the window contemplating the rain heavily powering.
He imagined the image of his princess wearing the wedding gown, approaching him, holding his hand and walking along with him to the door of their home, assuring him that she would be his forever, that only death will separate them.
He felt how affectionate and warm she was. He recovered his consciousness anew. How much he loved being unconscious where people are never disturbed by presence and opinion of others. He turned to her and she suddenly gazed at him. With a smile he approached her and contemplated her beautiful face. Suddenly, he went out asking for the physician in charge. As he went back, he came close to her to hold her hand, but she turned down the offer. He spotted apprehension in her face. He felt that she was no longer the princess of his own, as she once was. He said, 'we were going to marry for we lived a love story never lived before. You are the love which occurs only once. You are the light of my life and the reason for my survival.'
She looked at him with surprise, then looked at her hand searching for a ring which might be an engagement to him, but her bare fingers discouraged her from trying to remember him. All the images which had just made her so apprehensive to him began to vanish. He became helpless, unable to utter another single word. He found himself wrapped at a distance and lost in the horizon.

The Other We Don’t Know II: The Sequel by Olivia Hicks

In the Beginning God made the Earth in six days, and on the seventh day He rested. So it’s perfectly natural that the end of the world should take the same procedures.

THE FIRST DAY

“What do you mean you’re breaking up with me?!”
“I’ve been talking to a Reverend,” Lucy said, pausing momentarily in her packing, “and he says that I still have time to save my immortal soul if- if-”
“If what?” Darren swept his long blonde hair out of his eyes.
She took a deep breath and picked up a Bible that was lounging on the bed beside her suitcase. Opening it, she read dramatically; “‘If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into Hell.’”
“…Meaning?”
“I have to ditch excess baggage, Darren. You are excess baggage. You are my excess baggage. I’m taking a trip on Air Salvation and you’re not going to stop me.” She picked up her suitcase. “I’ve found a nice church with a lovely minister and- well, I’ve taken quite a shine to baking.”
“Baking?” He blocked the doorway, “I see what’s going on here. You’re not travelling single ticket are you? You’re getting a minister’s wife’s discount!”
“Get out of my way, Darren!!”
“Everyone was right. ‘You shouldn’t date a New Yorker’. Damn right I shouldn’t have!”
She didn’t waste any time waiting for him to move.
The suitcase swung up and hit him on the nose. He toppled unceremoniously backwards, falling down the narrow, paisley carpeted staircase.
He was painfully aware of Lucy stepping over his crumpled body and leaving with a final “Humph!”
By the time he got in the car he was not impressed, especially as he knew that Mr. Jefferson had been watching the whole thing through his binoculars. He wiped the blood off his nose and getting the car in gear, began to drive.
Mondays. Bah. He hated Mondays. He was stuck in a traffic queue. An unnecessarily long traffic queue, considering. He was going to be late. He had to get to work. He was going to be late. He had to-
He wound down his window and stuck his head out into the freezing winter air. “Hey!” He yelled, “Hey man get a move on!” He hit the horn which blared tiredly back at him. “Whatcha waiting for, it’s a green light!”
“The sky!” A woman on the pavement gasped, “Look at the sky!”
He looked up. Where light began and dark ended he could not tell. There was no light coming through the dull mix. It was red. It was all red, a poisonous colour that had seeped into the sky and killed the sun. There was no division, just a demented child’s palette of poster paints; RED.
“What’s the matter?” Darren hollered back at the woman, “ain’t you ever seen a winter sunrise before?” He pulled the car out of the line, muttering, and drove viciously down the bus lane.
Sticker Music Channel was aired from a small grey bunker somewhere in Meath. The clock struck ten as he entered the boring linoleum interior. Mr. Sapp jumped out from behind the coke machine.
“What time do you call this, Kirk?”
“Ten o’clock,” he replied glumly, feeling his last joy reserves seeping away.
“Twelve seconds past ten, mister Kirk. Don’t slouch, wipe that blood off your chin. That must be the third time this week!”
“It’s a Monday.”
“Well…” Mr. Sapp sniffed and readjusted his tie. “Well don’t let me catch you doing this again.”
The doors opened. Mr. Sapp spun round. “And what time do you call this, Phoenix?”
“Urm… ten o’clock?”
“Thirty seconds past ten, miss Phoenix. Don’t look at the ground, wipe that blood off your chin. WHY IS THERE BLOOD ON YOUR CHIN?!!”
“I tripped getting off my bike,” she said, wiping the blood obediently, “I was looking at the sky.” Mr. Sapp’s look could have frozen Barney.
“If I catch you two this late again,” Mr. Sapp glared at them, “I’ll fire you both. Now get.”

THE SECOND DAY

“And get this,” said Darren round a mouthful of tuna, “she took my wallet too.”
“Gee,” Brad, a pale spotty man with cropped ginger hair, coughed slightly, “you too? Just like Emily. She took all my credit cards and bought this huge mansion in Mexico.”
“You’ve got to get that wallet back,” Francis, a pale spotty man with black hair that fringed and curled constantly, leaned forward earnestly from his position against the wall, his hands behind his back, “or she’ll spend all your money on bonds!”
“Flighty little tramp,” Darren added gloomily.
“And how are you planning on getting the wallet back without calling her and sounding desperate?” Maddie Phoenix asked suddenly.
“I’ll just lay down the rules over the phone,” he replied, “and she’ll realise that I’m totally over her.”
“Whatever,” she rolled her eyes and continued on her way to the coke machine.

It was a bright red afternoon. It was frozen. Ice lay vigilantly in thin layers over the dying grass. The park bench was cold and uncomfortable. The wood seat and back was soaked and the green painted iron frame had water dripping off it.
Lucy sat down beside him haughtily. “What do you want?” She demanded.
Darren swallowed. “I want my wallet back,” he announced.
She dug into her coat pocket with an exasperated sound and gave it back to him. “There,” she snapped. “Is that anything else you wanted?”
“I want you to take me back,” he began to gabble before he could stop himself, “I can change. Promise.”
“Darren-”
“No I mean it. I think I can get ordained over the internet and we can get married and-” he started to sob, “don’t leave me like this!!”
“Darren,” she got up patiently, knowing full well that she had all the power, “I have several very good reasons for dumping you. I don’t want you to think this is an amicable parting, or time out or anything. I’m dumping you for Larry. You are unreliable and-” she dusted off her extremely fashionable clothes, lined with faux-fur, “your nose is running.” She turned to go.
Above his wails they both heard the cracking sound. A huge rumble rolled throughout the heavens and then the shaking began. What looked like a slab of broken off glass fell from the sky. He saw that Lucy was shaking her head at him, her eyes full of pity, and then the slab impaled her. Her brains and blood went everywhere, her body fell uselessly to ground. He jumped from the park bench and stared at the slab. It had shimmering vapours trapped within it.
“What the hell was that?” A black homeless man with a dog edged forwards.
Darren looked up. He looked down at Lucy’s body and poked it carefully.
“It looks like the sky,”he observed.

THE THIRD DAY

“Darren?”
He swallowed the peanut hastily and tried look like a productive worker. “Hey,” he acknowledged.
Maddie Phoenix was standing before him. “Shouldn’t you be at work?”
“I… am working,” he replied, stuffing the bag of peanuts into his pocket. “I’m… conducting a survey for Mr. Sapp. What are you doing here?”
“Mitching work.”
“Same!” He shifted along the bench and she sat down.
It was a dark, sultry day, and the huge glass fronted shopping centre was dimly lit.
“They say it’s gonna rain,” she said.
“Hmmm…” he looked up at the menacing clouds. “It could do.”
“Where you throwing peanuts at the Santa’s Grotto?” She pointed lazily at an indignant Santa Claus and his bored buxom elf companion talk to the security guards.
“Sort of.”
“You’re in for it now, man.” She laughed softly.
“Urm…” He pondered how best to broach the subject. “Do you know how to work a washing machine?”
“What’s that?” She shifted away from him slightly, “A proposal?”
“Oh no,” he shook his head, “it’s just that-”
“Well I’d love to stay and chat about washing machine models but I have to go home and forge a doctor’s note.” She stood up.
There was a huge rumble that resounded throughout the place, steadily getting louder and louder.
“What’s that sound?” One of the Security Guards cried out.
“The sky’s falling!” screamed the buxom elf companion, “Again!”
They could see something in the distance growing closer and more ominous in size.
“What is that?” demanded Santa Claus.
“Quick!” yelled Darren, “everyone on top of the Santa’s Grotto! It’s a wave!”
Pandemonium broke out in the shopping centre. Darren hauled himself on top of the rusty and unstable shack. He was soon joined by the security guards, Santa, and the buxom elf companion. Suddenly, mud burst into the shopping centre. The glass walls imploded, showering people with glass. The mud shot past them with a surprising ferocity, covering everything in its sticky substance. Under the pressure of the mud, the shack creaked, swayed, and collapsed. Darren landed on top of the pile of ex-Santa’s grotto. He sat up, winded, to see Santa Claus being swept along by the path of the knee-deep mud, in the direction of the car park. Soon he was completely out of sight.
“Noooo!” Screeched the buxom elf companion. “Lycurgus!!!!!”

THE FOURTH DAY

“What’s going on here?” Darren asked, stepping timidly into the mud stained lobby of Sticker Music Channel. The mud was still knee deep.
Brad looked solemnly up from his futile attempts of clearing away the stubborn mud.
“It’s Francis,” he replied.
“Sorry?”
“When the global bog burst happened yesterday, Francis was swept away. We just got a call that his body has been identified. We were all standing on the desks, but he didn’t get on in time. We told him to grab the coke machine, but he just couldn’t hold on.”
“The mud was knee high,” Darren pointed out, “It wasn’t even going that fast. We lost a Santa, but we still picked him up in the middle of the car park.”
“Yeah well, I guess a JCB didn’t drop on him as he was being carried along by the flood,” sniffed Brad. “I tell you, you’re lucky to still be here. You too, Maddie. If you hadn’t been getting a spastic ear drum removed, you’d probably have been killed too.”
“A spastic… ear drum?” Darren repeated slowly. Maddie Phoenix winked at him from where she was fiddling with the mud logged computers.
“Hey,” continued Brad, “did you hear that they found a whale on the beach today?”
“What?”
“I’m just trying to make light conversation.” Brad muttered defensively.
There was a crash outside.
They waded through the mud to the window and peered out.
“Aw,” said Maddie, with an illegal amount of sarcasm, “stars are falling from the sky. It must be Christmas.”
“Gee,” exclaimed Brad, “I mean- whoa. Oh man. This is weird. Too weird. Whoa. It’s just like when Emily broke up with me.”
“Guys,” began Darren, “is it just me or have we been having really weird weather recently? I mean like, this is bigger than global warming.”
“It’s Christmas, Darren,” said Maddie, “where’s your sense of magic? Are you saying that you don’t believe stars fall from the sky at Christmas and that a fat man who’s been watching you all year doesn’t drive his reindeer to your house to climb down your chimney and give you presents? Stop being such a cynic.”
“Who wants to listen to some R.E.M?” asked Brad, moving to the radio.
A lump of rock fell through the ceiling, showering them with sparks. It hit the radio in a spectacular fashion, exploding it as Brad turned it on.
Darren had never seen anyone be electrocuted and catch fire before, but it wasn’t an experience he wanted to repeat.
“It’s ok,” snapped Maddie, “you stand there with your mouth open. I’ll call the ambulance.”

THE FIFTH DAY

“Yup,” said Maddie Phoenix, “I can safely say that you have a washing machine.”
“Yeah… but can you work it? You see, I’m onto my last clothes. This is my old Star Trek costume from last Halloween.”
“You went trick or treating last Halloween? How old are you?”
“I just wanted an excuse to dress up like Captain Kirk, ok?”
“So what’s your real last name?”
“Hughes.”
She shrugged. “Ok, you press that button there, pull this thing out put that thingy in and press that and turn that and you’re done provided you’ve cleaned this thingy out here otherwise it could explode.”
“Yeah, I didn’t ask for a monologue, I just asked for it to be done.”
“You did sort the darks from the colours and the whites before you put it all in there, right?”
The door bell went, breaking up an excruciatingly embarrassing moment.
“I’ll get it,” he decided, sprinting out of the room, and pulling open the door.
“Hello, my son.”
“You’re not my dad!”
“Perhaps I should explain. My name is Larry Ní Mhurchú.”
“Are you sure?” asked Maddie.
“The very very very Reverend Larry Ní Mhurchú.” The stranger ignored her.
“You mean… you’re the guy Lucy dumped me for?”
“I think I can see why,” interjected Maddie, “he is extremely… reverend.”
“Well, what do you want?” Darren snapped, feeling even more irritated as he knew Mr. Jefferson was probably listening to the whole exchange through the hidden microphones Darren sometimes found loitering on his bookshelf.
“I want your grandmother’s punchbowl. Lucy expressed a sincere desire to be cremated and have her ashes buried in it.”
“But it’s mine.” He stamped his foot.
“Yes,” Larry nodded sadly, “but your grandmother did always like her more than you.”
“How would you know? You only ran off with Lucy o n Monday.”
“Actually I ran off with her two months ago. We’ve just been stringing you along until we could get our hands on your bank account details.”
“I bet the ladies love you,” commented Maddie.
“Maddie!” Darren turned to her. “Are you with me or against me?”
“Just give me a second,” she replied, “and I’ll get the punchbowl.”
“I really appreciate this,” intoned Larry.
“I hate you all,” muttered Darren.
“Oh… I wouldn’t say that until you see next month’s bank statements.”
Far away a dog started barking.
“What’s that?” Larry asked.
“It’s probably that whale they found on the beach. I heard it died this morning and they’re taking it someplace to have a controlled explosion of the body.”
“Oh,” Larry hung his head solemnly, “sad.”
“Here it is!” Maddie reappeared with his grandmother’s punchbowl.
“Thank you,” replied Larry.
“Hey look,” Darren wheeled him around and pushed him out the door, “it’s the whale!”
Larry turned to look at the procession. Darren took the opportunity to slam the door shut.
“Thank you for your time,” They could Larry say on the other side of the door, “sorry to have interrupted your seduction.”
It was the first and last time that Darren heard anything as impressive as a comic book ‘ka-BOOOM!’ He flung himself back, successfully squashing Maddie in the process, as a whale bone imbedded itself in the front door.
Maddie pushed herself to her feet and pushed open the door.
“What a way to go,” she mused, as Darren peered at the mess over her shoulder, “killed by an exploding whale.”

THE SIXTH DAY

“I can’t believe I’m at work,” he moaned. “It’s a Saturday!”
“We are VERY understaffed, Kirk. And since you and Phoenix thought you’d cut work on Wednesday- I KNOW WHAT YOU WERE REALLY DOING ON WEDNESDAY- I thought maybe you might not object to an extra day’s work.”
“Some people say the world’s ending. Must be because all the animals upped and died yesterday.” Maddie Phoenix contributed.
“The world is not ending, Phoenix,” Mr. Sapp snapped. “And if it is- which it isn’t- there’s all the more reason for people to tune into eighties week.”
“We had eighties week last week.”
“Well, Kirk, if you bothered to glance at our frankly dismal ratings, you’d know that since no one tunes into our channel, no one will notice!”
“But its Christmas,” said Maddie, “where’s your festive spirit? Even Smash Hits are playing Christmas songs and you know they like to play Kylie Minogue every five seconds.”
“I don’t want to hear another word about… that place or I’ll sack you faster than you can say…”
“‘Unlawful discharge of employees’?” She offered.
“Something like that. I mean… oh, get to work!” And with a final vituperative look at them, Mr. Sapp melted into the shadows of the outside corridor.
“Do you think that the end of the world is coming?” Darren asked.
Maddie shrugged. “I find it highly improbable,” she replied.
“Why?”
“I dunno,” She tore her eyes away from the computer screen. “What do you think?”
“I think the end is coming. You should see the queues for the confession boxes in town. It was this long,” he motioned with his arms.
“So what are you gonna do when the world ends, bright spark?”
“I wasn’t saying that it was going to end I was just saying that it was a hunch I had.”
“Well if it was to end, what would you do?”
“I’d go to my family and spend my last moments with them.”
“Liar,” she said. “You’d go and hook up with the first girl you’d see.”
“I don’t see why we’re even having this conversation,” he sniffed.
“Really?”
“Well, the world’s not going to end. You said that yourself.”
There was the sound of breaking glass.
“What is it now?” Darren demanded exasperatedly. He got up and leant out the window.
Maddie got up and pushed open the door. “Coming to take a look?” she asked.
He grabbed his coat and left the room. They walked down the corridor, past the coke machine and turned the corner.
“Oh my,” he said, “it’s the hordes of the living dead.”
They spun round and walked back down the corridor, past the coke machine and back into the room. They locked the door.
“I was right! I was right!!” He turned to her, half-crazed. “Why would there be zombies wandering around in here searched for flesh unless it was the end of the world?!! Huh?”
She looked at him. “Kiss me,” she said.
“But Mr. Sapp is being torn up out there as we speak,” He pointed the gruesome scene out to her through the window in the door. Somehow, however, he knew deep down that she didn’t particularly care.
“I think they’re getting through the door,” he said eventually, disentangling his tongue with difficulty.
“Let’s get them.” She agreed, taking the fire extinguisher off the wall.
“What are you, suicidal?”
“Yeah. Wait… Darren, who just said that?”
“I did.”
They turned to the wall of TV screens.
“Holy shit!” exclaimed Maddie, “it’s Diana Ross!”
“I’m not Diana Ross. I’m simply using a well known figure to talk to you. I am… LaVerne.”
“I think I saw this once in an episode of Doctor Who,” Darren whispered.
“Can Doctor Who do this?” LaVerne asked, stepping smoothly out of the television screen and standing before them a little smugly.
“No, but David Tennant can,” Maddie folded her arms and regarded LaVerne suspiciously. “’Sup?”
LaVerne smiled brightly. “I want to help you,”
“How very generous.”
LaVerne ignored her spectacularly. “You see, you two seem to be in a bit of a fix. Well, everyone is, really. Because it’s the end of the world, and this is the last wave of destruction before the good go to heaven and the bad don’t.”
“And how do you know all this?” Darren asked, nervously watching the zombies that were staring back at him from the other side of the door.
“I’m LaVerne,” she grinned, summoning up a business card and giving it to them, “I’m setting up my own little religion. I’ve recently bought a little patch of Heaven off God and my followers are gonna get some great offers. So how about you join LaVernism and I’ll deal with your little zombie problem?”
“How do we know we’re not going to get into Heaven anyway, without your help?” Maddie asked stonily.
LaVerne laughed. “You guys haven’t a chance of getting into mainstream Heaven!”
“Explain.”
“Making out while Mr. Sapp was being pulled apart by zombies? That’s real saintly behaviour.”
“Then prove that we’re going to hell.” Maddie said.
“What if I told you a friend of mine gave me a copy of the Book of Life? You know, where all the goodies’ names are written down.” LaVerne took out an inordinately long scroll, “I can safely assure you that you two haven’t made the grade. But you know, you guys look like you’re going to be a lot of fun. So how about you worship me, I’ll get the zombies out of your hair and we all go to Heaven together. Deal or no deal?”
“Let me see that list,” Maddie held out her hand.
“Are you calling me a liar?”
“Yes.”
“Gods don’t lie.” LaVerne countered.
“Who said that you were even a god? Where’s your references?”
“Why are we worrying about that at a time like this?” Darren demanded. “There are zombies out there, man! They’re going to eat us!”
“Touché,” LaVerne put away the list. “You want my help or not?”
“Not.”
“Maddie!”
“SHE’S A QUACK, DARREN!!!”
“DON’T YELL AT ME!!!”
“Looks like the zombies are breaking through the door. Give me a call if you survive,” LaVerne stepped back into the television and disappeared.
“I can’t believe you were about to accept her help,” Maddie snarled, kicking a zombie in the head.
“Well I can’t now can I? You’d rather we were eaten alive because you’re too proud to accept help! There, I said it!” Darren hit a zombie with the fire extinguisher.
“See you round, Darren,” said Maddie, “wait- no, I don‘t think I will!” She jumped out of the window bad temperedly.
“See you in hell!!” He yelled back, wishing bitterly that they weren’t on the ground floor. He’d quite like to see her with all her limbs broken beyond repair, being eaten by zombies. Whahahahahaha-
He bashed a zombie in the head and was sprayed with brains. There were too many of them, all around him. He jumped onto the control desk and kicked a zombie away from him. One of them grabbed his foot. He punched them. The zombie held on grimly and dragged him off the control table. He kicked helplessly, yelling, thrashing around desperately, trying to regain a hold on that pesky fire extinguisher. He looked up and saw who the zombie was. It was Francis. He was going to be eaten by Francis. Like, surreal man.
“DIE, ZOMBIES!!!!!!”
Lycurgus, Santa Claus extraordinaire, and his buxom elf companion climbed in through the window. They had the biggest guns Darren had ever seen, save on Halo that time.
“EVERYBODY WHO’S NOT UNDEAD HIT THE FLOOR!!!” Lycurgus boomed.
Darren was already on the floor, so that was pretty convenient.
The duo opened fire. The zombies crumpled; exploded; dropped like stones; Francis fell down beside him, a confused look in his zombie’s eyes.
“I hate zombies,” spat the buxom elf companion.
“Damn right, too. They’d eat you as soon as look at you. Remember that kid today in the grotto? Thought he was the sweetest thing till he ate m’beard. Damn zombies. They’re everywhere. Well? Is anyone alive in here?”
Darren raised his hand timidly.
“Hey look, Lycurgus,” the buxom elf companion pointed at Darren, “It’s the putz who threw peanuts at you the other day.”
“Aw, man,” Lycurgus looked at Darren in disdain. “Well, I guess being eaten by zombies isn’t a nice way to die, no matter who you are.”
“Nicely put,” The buxom elf companion took a swig out of a bottle of wine.
Darren wished anyone else in the entire world had saved him, because now he’d have to apologise to them. How humiliating. He closed his eyes and swallowed. “Urm guys,” he began, “I just wanna say-” He opened his eyes. They were gone. He got up and swung himself over the window ledge and out of the bunker. He looked up.
“Oh come on,” he said to no one in particular, “how come they got to ascend into heaven?”

THE NEXT MONDAY
OR HOW THE PEOPLE IN PURGATORY AND THE PEOPLE WHO WERE STUCK ON EARTH TO LIVE OUT THE REST OF THEIR LIVES IN A HELLISH EXISTENCE GOT ON AFTER THE APOCALYPSE

“What are you doing Mr. Jefferson?” Darren asked, leaning over a newly built garden fence that separated his garden and Mr. Jefferson’s.
“What do you think?” Mr. Jefferson replied, barely looking up from his hammering.
“Is it to keep the looters out?” Darren waved at a boy who had nicked a plasma screen TV from one of the houses of the Saved.
“Nope.” Mr. Jefferson grunted. He picked up another piece of wood and began to put it into place.
“So then…?”
“If you must know,” Mr. Jefferson said, scarcely glancing in his direction, “It’s because of that.” He nodded towards Darren’s house. Darren swivelled his head. He blinked. On his house, (his half, anyway) there were four stark blackened words, burned into the wall: HOUSE OF THE DAMNED.
“Oh,” he said. “That. I’ve seen that a lot recently. Is it a new Goth band?”
Mr. Jefferson pointed in the direction of his half of the house. On it was only one word: PENDING.
“And what does that mean?” asked Darren.
“It means,” Mr. Jefferson paused in his relentless building, “that I am going to Heaven when I’ve done my time. You - aren’t. I don’t want you coming near my tulips and ruining my Karma.”
“You mean three years of living together as man and neighbour means nothing to you? Nil?”
“No,” Mr. Jefferson, having finished his fine looking fence, stood back to admire his handiwork. “It just means that I know what sort of crap you get up to when you think that no one’s looking. This is the last time I’ll talk to you. They’re watching all the time, and if I’m good maybe they’ll let me up on parole.” He gave Darren a curt nod and walked into his house.

“There he goes.”
“Oh, oh, look. Look at the state of him.”
“I can see why he didn’t get in.”
“Pfah. What a moron.”
Laughter.
Darren walked past the Methodist church with his head held high, trying to pretend that he didn’t hear them. Out of nowhere a radio came and hit him on the head. He jumped back, stunned. Then he wheeled around to the old pensioners who were taunting him, his features screwed up in rage.
“Darren!”
Maddie Phoenix ran towards him.
“Sorry, man,” she said, “Are you ok?”
“You… you threw that radio?”
“Uh, yeah…” she bit her lip, “I was trying to scare off some hungry lawyers. And it worked, too.”
“I… I haven’t seen you since Saturday. How are you?”
“Oh. Ok. Not too bad. I’ve found a swanky new place in the middle of Dublin, like. Completely deserted. It’s great, man. You know, Apocalypse Discount. I always carry about three radios with me nowadays for protection, but aside from that, its not too bad, this whole Rapture thing. It’s kinda fun. No work, lots of interesting new people trying to break into your house everyday… it’s not a picnic, but it beats the Credit Crunch, you know?”
She stopped for breath, allowing an awkward silence to fill the air between them.
“I’m sorry.” They both burst out simultaneously.
Silence.
He took one of the radios from her and with his free hand took hers. They began to trudge down the street, past the boarded up, broken glass fronts, past the empty bus stops and the alleyways where the murdered bodies of the Damned were steadily accumulating.
“How’s the water shortage treating you?” he asked, as they walked over the frozen and yet fiery, nuclear sludge that was now the Liffey.
“It‘s alright.” She said. “There’s lots of water in like, Tesco and stuff, and when those holy jerks go up there’ll be a lot more water to go around.”
“So you think we’ll run out?”
“Eventually. But by that time they’ll have invented something to treat water that won’t melt on contact. I mean, all in all, we’ve got it pretty good.” She seemed determined to be optimistic.
A burst of We Will Rock You burst out from the heavens.
“Yeah,” he said bravely, swallowing a particularly dry lump in his throat, “we‘ve got it pretty good.”
“Darren,” she looked into his eyes, “are you not happy here? Do you want to go up to the big snobfest up in the sky?”
“They’ve got Queen up there,” he sniffled.
“We’ve got lots of cool music down here.”
“But they’re just waiting for their sins to clear. Even Marilyn Manson isn’t staying around. I was talking to him on Skype the other day, and he says he’ll only be here a couple of months now that he’s saved the Rain Forest!”
“Getting into Heaven isn’t a talent contest,” she sniffed, “and besides, I ain’t going nowhere.”
“Yeah,” he said, smiling a little grimly, “you’re going nowhere.”
It was a clear frosty morning and all the Pending people were ice skating on the Liffey, wrapped up warmly in their coats and scarves.
“Maddie?” they were nearing her flat.
“Mmmm?” she had her head against his shoulder. Her voice was a little drowsy.
“Do you think we should have accepted LaVerne’s offer?”
“Nah.” she shook her head. “A Goddess on the make? Talk about a scam. Let’s not think about her. She’s just another small company with dodgy deals trying to get new costumers.”
“Ok,” he was happy to let the nagging thoughts about LaVerne go. He was strangely satisfied in this crisp, clear moment in time, despite the Apocalypse and everything.
They rounded the corner. They were standing in front of a Polish food store. Above it was Maddie’s new flat; a crummy nasty example of central Dublin, a testament to a grime that would never go no matter how clean the insides were. Set out clearly on the house was the customary black writing that belonged to the ones below. It said clearly one word: PENDING.
They stopped dead. He was barely conscious of dropping Maddie’s hand. His breath swirled in front of him in the suddenly harsh cold air, the barren landscape around him magnifying and contorting. He looked sharply at her. She wrenched her eyes from the words and turned to him. Her eyes were wide and dark; thin frozen ice over a river of crazed waters.
“I-” she turned quickly and looked at the house again. Then she swung back to him. “I don’t know what that’s doing there. It wasn’t there this morning. It’s a mistake.”
He tossed the radio into her hands and began to walk away quickly.
“Darren!” He could hear her calling him. “Darren, dammit!” She ran and caught up with him. She grabbed his shoulder and forced him to turn. “That’s-”
“Congratulations,” he looked at everything around him apart from her, amazed in his paralysed heart at the bitterness in his voice, surprised that emotion had found its way into his words uninvited. He felt like he would never feel anything again. He looked at her. “Looks like your charity case paid off.” He began to be aware of a burning desire to cut her, to wound her, to hurt her so badly that she would never be able to enjoy one moment of Heaven. He realised his nose was running badly. He swore and began to fumble for a paper tissue.
Maddie just stood there, looking at him.
“I don’t want to go,” she said. “I want to-”
He blew his nose bad temperedly, cutting her off. “You can take my wallet if you want it.” He snapped, turning and leaving her.

He walked until he found a telephone box. He looked to check that no one was looking or watching, and then opened the door. On it was scrawled: PENDIES ONLY. He took a nearby brick and smashed the window, and then jumped on the glass until the marked and the clean had ceased to be different and were as one again under his feet. He pulled the now dirty, smudged and crumpled business card out of his pocket. Then he found a coin and pushed it into the machine. He punched the buttons, counting them off as he hit them; 52 83763, 52 83763, 52 83763. He listened to the slow rhythmic dialing of the phone. It was strangely calming.
“Hello? Hello? Who’s there?” The voice was sharp and commandeering.
“Uh…” he was a little taken aback. “Darren. Darren Kirk?”
“Eh?” The voice reminded him off a grumpy old nun with white hair who’d sometimes taken the same bus as him when he was in second year. “Who?”
“Darren Kirk?”
“We don’t know any Darrens. You’d best be ringing off.”
“Do you know a Darren Hughes?”
“Eh? What? Hmmmf. Are you Hughes or Kirk?”
“Hughes.”
“Yes, we have you. Yes! Speak up now!”
“I was looking for LaVerne. She gave me this number.”
There was a lot of unhappy muttering at the other end of the phone. He looked nervously out the telephone box. A couple of Pendies were eyeing him suspiciously.
“Hello? LaVerne speaking. Darren, isn’t it? What can I do for you?”
“I can’t talk to you now,” he hissed, “It isn’t safe. There’s a couple of Pendies watching me even now.”
“Sure,” The voice was easy and melodious. “I’ll contact you later. Toodle-oo.”
She hung up, without telling him what ‘toodle-oo’ meant.
He put the phone down and walked out.
“You a Pendie?” one of the Pendies asked.
“Yup,” he replied briefly, avoiding eye contact. He began to walk away.
“Look at me when I’m talking to you,” the Pendie snapped.
He turned around.
They scrutinised his hair, his clothes, the way his hands were stuffed in to his pockets.
“Looks too thin to be a Pendie,” one of them muttered audibly.
“What you doing using the phone box?” The leader asked. “It said ‘Pendies only’, if I’m not mistaken.”
“Must have got broken,” he looked them in the eyes.
“You ain’t a Pendie.” The leader decided, spitting contemptuously onto the ground. “Why did you lie to us when it’s obvious you ain’t going nowhere?”
“I’m sorry,” he said, and turned to go.
The leader took a couple of bounds and grabbed him roughly. “I said,” they repeated slowly and angrily, “you ain’t going nowhere.” They suddenly pushed him to the ground. He began to scrabble to his feet but he was kicked down by the leader. He lay on the floor, winded. Rough hands pulled him up. Someone was holding him. The leader began to rain blows on his stomach, his face. Others joined in, yanking his hair, or kicking his shins. He bent over painfully to be pulled back into position for the target practice. He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t think. He struggled, and then became limp, conscious only of the sharp pains and then the dull throbs that came before the next blow. He could hear continuous laughing, taunting. He could feel the bones in his nose yield painfully under a big fat ham sized fist. He felt a trickle of blood begin from his nose. Another blow glanced off his mouth. Suddenly he was dropped. He lay on the ground, in a puddle. He saw in sharp colours a small boy, a few feet away, looking at him curiously. He coughed weakly and blood flew across the nearby ground. He felt bruised and swollen. There was a curious silence. A pair of hands picked him up, trying to put him on his feet. He fell uselessly over.
“You’d better kill me now,” he heard his voice say even as he grimaced in pain, “I can’t stand and so won’t be much more fun for you.”
“Shut up,” replied the pair of hands. He was lifted up carefully. The pair of hands seemed to be floating briskly through the air, carrying him with them.

He woke up in his bed. The sheets were pulled up high around him, and had been dexterously tucked in. He felt weak and nauseous, and all his bones seemed to be aching. He noticed that the mirror on the opposite wall had been carefully covered with a white sheet. He had no idea how he looked but he felt dreadful. And hungry.
The bedroom door banged open and LaVerne entered, holding a tray laden with a breakfast that the Hilton would be jealous of.
“Ta-dah!” she said, tossing her hair over her shoulder and putting it down on the bed carefully in front of him. “I made you a Get-Well-Soon Breakfast.”
He stared at her hands. They looked oddly familiar.
“You… you rescued me?”
“Yup.” She sat down in a wicker chair and drew up close to the bed. “That’s part of my wonderful Divine Intervention Package.”
“And you made me breakfast?”
“When was the last time Buddha made you breakfast? You see, that’s the advantage of choosing LaVerne. And how’d you feel about a Courtesy Car until I find your old one?”
He looked at the tray. She’d even found Kiwis, which had become practically extinct since the Apocalypse.
“That’s uh… amazing.” he replied inadequately, beginning to fall on the breakfast ravenously.
LaVerne smiled indulgently. “Now, before you join up and begin getting my exclusive believer’s rates, there’s a small matter of a, er, contract to sign.” She took a bulky manuscript out of one pocket, and found a pen in her other one. “You just have to sign here, here, here, there, here, er… there too, here, there, and at the bottom and hey presto! You’re part of LaVernism. It really couldn’t be easier.”
“Ok,” he resigned himself, “Let’s me read it, and then I’ll sign.”
“You know what?” LaVerne put away the contract and pen, “I shouldn’t be pressing all this onto you now, you’re really not well. How about you sign it when you’re feeling a little better, hmmm? Now, do you like Hot Chocolate? I bet you do! Stay right there and I’ll get it.” She leant over, kissed him lightly on the forehead and bounded out the room.
Darren lay back on his pillow and mused. There was something a little strange going on, but he couldn’t quite grasp what it was.

The days went by. Darren had pretty much recovered. LaVerne however, persistently came everyday; tentatively beginning the subject of the contract and then deciding half way through her sentence that he just wasn’t strong enough yet. She disconnected the phone for him and discouraged him from getting up and leaving his bed.
“You wouldn’t want to make yourself more sick, would you?” She’d ask.
It was a quiet grey afternoon. “Now,” LaVerne was saying, “do you want something else to drink; tea, coffee, herbal tea, hot chocolate, mocha, a highball, mint julep, a vesper, Irish coffee, Earl Grey, gin with or without tonic, Coca-Cola, Fanta, Frappachino, absinth, Jack Daniels and Coke, Flaming Homer, hot Ribena, mulled wine, mulled claret, mince pies liquidised-”
“No thanks,” he replied, to stop the endless flow.
“Ok.” She kissed him on the forehead.
Maddie burst in.
There was an incredibly awkward silence.
“Er…” Darren and LaVerne started simultaneously.
“Get out,” said Maddie.
Darren got up, feeling relieved.
“Not you,” she snapped.
LaVerne left quickly.
“I can explain everything,” Darren began.
“DAMNATION!!!”
He shut up.
“Did you sign that contract?” She shot at him suddenly.
“What er… no. Why?”
Maddie threw herself into the wicker chair with a sigh. “Do you know who LaVerne is?” She asked eventually.
“One of the Andrews Sisters?”
“Try Ammit.”
“Who?”
She took out a Dictionary of Egyptology. “‘A devouring monster with a crocodile head and a body composed of lion and hippopotamus, waited nearby in case the judgement should be adverse.’ The judgement of what happens to a soul. Your soul. She’s been preying on the damned. That contract states quite clearly on page 15 that your soul belongs to LaVerne once you have signed the contract, i.e. she eats your heart and you thereby relinquish all claims to a soul and you fail to exist.”
“Oh.”
This was even more awkward.
“So…” he began tentatively, “what you been doing?”
“I killed myself.” She showed him her wrists matter-of-factly.
“Then… how is this conversation taking place?”
She shrugged.
He got out of bed and walked over to her and took her slashed, messy wrists. He examined them carefully.
“Your phone was disconnected,” She said.
“I’m sorry,” he began.
“You’re sorry?!” She stood up furiously. “You’re not the one who cut your stupid wrists open. You haven’t been trying to make life better for yourself. You’ve been sitting here on your arse receiving tainted health care!”
“I got beaten up by-”
“I know! I’m dead, I know these things.”
“Oh yeah. Is that how you knew that LaVerne-”
She gave him a decidedly sarcastic round of applause.
“So…” he drummed his fingers on the his knees, “what else have you been doing?”
She took a poster out of her pocket and gave it to him.
“‘The Damned have Rights too.’” He read. “You spelt rights wrong.”
“Well what have you done?”
“Ok, ok!” He sat done on the bed. “I’m a selfish idiot, ok? I’m stupid, ignorant bastard and as good as a murderer. I’m a blasphemer, fornicator, unpunctual, biased fiend. I’ve not worth anything except pity.”
“You think you’re worth that? Really?”
“Ok, not even pity!” He sat down on the bed. He sighed. Life was so complicated.
She sat down beside him. “I love you,” she studied the ceiling.
“Humph.” He replied.
“Come on,” she got up, “I want to show you something,”
“Isn’t LaVerne still hanging around?”
She laughed bitterly. “I think she has bigger fish to fry.”
He allowed himself to be led out of the dull, faded bedroom, down the shabby, stained staircase, and out the door with the broken hinges and the paint peeling off. They stood outside in the stinging cold, and looked back at the dilapidated semi-detached.
“‘PENDING.’” He read aloud. “I swear they choose who gets in randomly.”
“It probably looks like that from the outside,” she agreed.
It began to snow.

Rand Tahboub
القدس لنا
بقلم:رند"محمد حيدر"طهبوب

نكتبها على جدران منازلكم
نكتبها على أعلامكم
نحفرها في قلوبنا
وعلى صدورنا
نصرخ بها على كل حاجز
نغني بها في كل عرس
نرقص على ألحانها
نغمض العيون فنراها
تضيء الطريق
تشع في ظلمة الليل
ترسم البهجة على الوجوه
فيها يكمن السر
المجد والقوة والأمل
تبعث الدفء في القلوب
القدس لنا
منها تبدأ مسيرتنا
و إليها تكون وجهتنا

 

Rand Tahboub
بين عالمَين
بقلم : رند "محمد حيدر" طهبوب
 
  بجانب سريرها جلس منحنيا يمسك بكفها الذابلة بكل رقة وحنية، يتأمل وجهها الملائكي بتفاصيله الأنثوية، يستشعر في نبضاتها مقاومة لم تعهدها البشرية .
     كانت حب حياته، في أحضانها وجد ملاذه، وفي صوتها وجد كل الدعم الذي يحتاج، جعلته ينظر إلى العالم بمنظور آخر، يحب كل ما فيها، و يشعر بجمال الأشياء من حوله، حولته إنسانا آخر، جسدا هواؤه الأحاسيس .
     طوال الفترة التي قضاها معها لم تفارق الابتسامة وجهه، لقاؤهما اليومي، وانتظاره لها بلهفة شديدة، ثم كلماتها التي تلامس الروح، كلها أسباب سعادته . كانت في كل مرة تلقاه فيها تشعره أنه يملك الدنيا، تعطيه من الأمل الكثير، هي التي حولت حياته من الجحيم إلى ما هي عليه اليوم، حولته إلى إنسان سعادته تفوق الخيال، لكن عالمنا لا يخلو من المصائب، وفي أحد الأيام، حين كانا واقفين خلف مبنى عملها المطل على أحد المواقع الإسرائيلية، مدت يدها داخل معطفها، وإذا برصاصة غادرة تباغتها، سقطت و إلى جانبها وردة حمراء، كان الدم يسيل من عنقها، لم يعرف ماذا يفعل، أسرع إلى مكتبها يطلب النجدة، يصرخ، يبكي، يرتجف خوفا، تبعها إلى المستشفى، وانتظر هناك ساعات وساعات على باب غرفة العمليات .
     و أخيرا خرج الطبيب المسؤول ليخبره أن حبيبته ما زالت على قيد الحياة، لكنها في غيبوبة لا يعلم نهايتها إلا الله. رافقها إلى غرفتها وجلس بجانب سريرها ولم يفارقها، كان جل اهتمامه أن يراها تعود إلى عافيتها .
     ما زال يتأمل وجهها الملائكي، يحاول الدخول إلى عالمها الجديد، طرق كل الأبواب، حاول جعلها تتوجه إلى نوافذ عالمها علها تراه فتفتح الأبواب، لكن لا فائدة، أميرته النائمة لا تستجيب .
     توجه إلى النافذة، يتأمل قطرات المطر المتخابطة بالزجاج، يتأمل شفافيتها الآسرة، يتفكر في سر جمالها، رأى فيها أجمل اللحظات التي قضاها مع محبوبته، تذكر يوم التقاها أول مرة، كيف أسرته بجمالها، بروعة عينيها والشمس تعكس نورها خلالهما، تذكر كل الأشياء الساذجة التي علقته بها، كل المواقف المضحكة التي مرا فيها، كم عنت له كل لحظة معها، كم غيرت فيه معرفتها .
     عاد ليجلس على كرسيه قبالتها، حملق في الأجهزة التي تحيط بها، ما أصعب أن ترى من تحب بين يديك لكن في عالم آخر، ما أصعب أن تجد من تحب على حافة هاوية ولا تستطيع مد يدك إليه .
     كان مرهقا، تائها بين احتمالات عدة، أفكار كانت تحوم في سماء فكره، ألغاز حيرته، شظايا خوف مزقته، ماذا يفعل لو رحلت؟، من يحميه من برد الشتاء لو لم تعد؟، ماذا يقدم لها لو عادت؟، تصارع وذاته، حاول أن يهزمها ويقضي على احتمالاتها المخيفة، لكنها في كل مرة تعطيه نهاية مفتوحة، ما الحل؟. جلس ساعات و ساعات، تذكر فيها أحلى الأمسيات، و أجمل اللقاءات، تذكر كل القصائد التي أهداها إياها، وكل الورود التي قدمها لها ...
     عاد إلى النافذة يتأمل المطر المنهمر، ثم لاحت له صورة أميرته تلبس فستان زفافها، تقترب منه، تمسك بيده وتمشي معه إلى باب منزلهما، تطمئنه أنها له مدى الحياة، و أنهما لن يفرقهما إلا الموت، أحس بدفء مشاعرها،بحنانها وحنوها . عاد إلى وعيه من جديد، كم أحب اللاوعي، فبه يعيش الإنسان دون أن يزعجه أحد، دون أن يأبه لرأي أحد، التفت إليها و إذا بها تحملق فيه، اقترب مبتسما، تأمل وجهها الجميل، ثم خرج مسرعا يطلب الطبيب المسؤول، وحين عاد اقترب ليمسك يدها، و إذا بها تبعدها عنه، رأى في عينيها الخوف، أحس أنها لم تعد أميرته التي عهدها، قال : كنا سنتزوج، عشنا قصة حب لم يعشها غيرنا، أنت الحب الذي لا يتكرر مرتين، أنت نور حياتي وسبب استمراري . نظرت إليه باستغراب، ثم نظرت إلى يدها، تبحث عن خاتم يربطه بها، لكن أصابعها العارية منعتها من محاولة تذكره .
     شعر كأن الدنيا فارغة، كل الصور التي كانت هناك بدأت بالتلاشي، لم يعد باستطاعته فعل شيء، لم يعد قادرا على قول كلمة أخرى، التف مبتعدا واختفى في الأفق يفكر في ما آلت إليه قصة حبهما، يفكر في الاحتلال الذي اقتلع شتلة حب من جذورها، هذا الاحتلال الذي لم يترك جانبا من جوانب الحياة إلا وعمل على تدميره، حتى المشاعر الإنسانية عمل على تدميرها والقضاء عليها.
     رغم عدم تذكرها له إلا انه ما زال يحبها، يحب ابتسامتها، شغفها، ورقتها، غير أنه أدرك أنها و إن كانت تكن له مشاعر فإنها الآن دفينة بفعل رصاصة غادرة . تذكر أن هناك في هذه الحياة من يحبه ولن ينساه، هذه الأرض التي يعيش عليه وينتمي لها، الأم الأولى له، المحبوبة الشرعية التي لا تحتاج إلى خاتم يربطه بها، لا تحتاج إلى عقد أو مأذون، فحبها فطرة فطره الله عليها، حبها مغروس في الروح، في القلب، في خلايا الجسد

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