who can escape hell

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
this work was a project due for my humanities class and i was inspired by the horrible gas attack that hit syria a few months ago. one thing i did try to avoid was bringing politics into the story being that its not focused on politics but more so focused on empathy for the syrians stuck over there.

Submitted: August 11, 2017

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Submitted: August 11, 2017

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Although I had difficulties getting my seven year old son Zyan to follow our prayer ritual five times a day, he started to get the hang of it after surviving the ongoing Syrian Civil War. By the grace of Allah, there have been so many close calls to death but we managed to survive to see another day. Living in a rebel held region, anxiety became our next-door neighbor and PTSD developed amongst all of us in the household. Being able to wake up and go to bed felt like an accomplishment because life out here wasn’t promised tomorrow. But despite all of the tragedy that surrounds us, my family managed to stay in faith and love eachother like it’s our last day. Our life was a daily struggle however we had one another to help us all to remain solid at times like this.

With each one of us having different responsibilities we developed a system to survive until we initiated our escape route to the refugee camp. Alab (father) and I would go get the food and water supply that came alone twice a month. It was out duty as men to bring food to the family. My wife Uzma made sure everyone’s clothes were clean by going to the nearest gas station that had running water in the bathroom and handwashing each piece individually. The food and water supply lasted for a good amount of time thanks to my Ami (mom), she knew how to stretch our meals to last longer than the serving size intended. Even Zyan contributed to the house hold by finding valuable remainders that was left behind after our village faced the attack last year.

Thursday afternoon Ami was cooking pita bread and lebni, which was Zyans favorite. Just like every meal she’s made within the last five months, she complained about not having all the ingredients. Regardless of whatever ingredients she used Ami knew how to make anything taste good, she was just that talented. Dancing around the kitchen, Zyan couldn’t wait for Ami to finish with the pita bread.  As we sat down and had dinner Uzma turned off the radio so we can have a moment together and forget about the war between the Assad regime and the rebel groups. Passing the lebni sauce Alab asked Ami “Did you use the mandatory ingredient?” She giggled and replied “Yes I made it with love…” as she stares at Alab affectionately. Breaking my parents PDA Uzma then offered Zyan the rest of her pita bread. I knew she was hungry, but she wanted to make sure Zyan was full enough to have strength for the day of our escape.

Time was going by and we were counting the days we had left here. When the day finally arrived, we started counting down by the hours. Knowing it wasn’t the safest plan, I had to make sure the coast was clear from the local rebels for the safety of my family. Three hours remained and outside was pitch black, I proceeded to put on my black pants and shirt to reduce the chances of getting caught by the rebels. Reaching for my knife I looked over to Uzma while she was helping us pack all of our bags, not looking so ecstatic I asked her “Habibi, my love, whats wrong? Why you look so worried?” She couldn’t get the words out right away so I gave her a moment and tried my best to read her facial expression as she pauses staring blankly into the wall.

“What if you don’t make it back or we don’t survive?... I’m worried, the rebels are all over the place.”

“I’m going to make it back but we need to do this. You rather stay here and continue to live in hell or go strive for a better life?”

“I rather have the life of my family”

“I know but we need to leave, I’ll make sure nothing happens to me or us. Okay Habibi?

It was time for me to check the back roads but prior to leaving we all prayed for me to make it back. Before heading out the door I gave everyone a hug and kiss, hugging Uzma she held onto me tight as if she didn’t want to let me go. And by the feeling of her heartbeat on my chest I was secretly hoping this wasn’t the last time I hug her either. Putting my emotions to the side I gave her another kiss and made my exit.

Moving through the backroads carefully and strategically I was 40 minutes away from the house when I noticed a jet flying towards the village. My heart dropped and my adrenaline kicked in. Immediately I turned around not having any concern about anything that was going on besides my family.  I just knew I had to make it home quickly.

“ZYAN… UZMA… AMI… ALAB!!!” calling out for everyone there was nothing but a frightening silence. My hands started to tremble and as I walk through the house I’m praying nothing’s wrong.  But just as my intuition told me……..; I was hoping that the outcome would turn out different. Looking around seeing my family’s lifeless bodies scattered throughout the house I still was in denial. This couldn’t be real, I didn’t think another gas attack was going to happen. Shaking each one them I cried out “Please tell me you’re still here!!! Please tell me, PLEASEEEEEEE!”

???

Dealing with progressing pain things didn’t get any better, my motivation to head to the refugee camp had perished once my family was gone. It’s been days since I last ate, slept and gotten up from the floor. Finding the strength to make my way out the village was hard, and at this point the little that I had left wasn’t going to work to my advantage.  Living in this condition was worse than hell. I lost my son, my wife, my mother, my father and with the rebels ready to kill, tonight I might as well lose myself right with them.


© Copyright 2017 leilav. All rights reserved.

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