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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: November 23, 2017

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Submitted: November 23, 2017





We were all crunched up, protecting ourselves from gunshots fired outside our tiny huts. I stowed my lighter back into my pocket and closed my eyes, trying to convert the spine-chilling sounds into splendid fireworks.


The first time I witnessed fireworks was at my uncle’s restaurant. I worked there as not only a cook, but also as a manager. It was a late and gloomy Friday night, the bell of the entrance door rang for the last time as the few remaining customers were leaving. From the dining room, I could hear the clinking of cutlery, the chinking of wine glasses and the clashing of pots and pans. As I was about to leave, my uncle came out of his office and called me.


“Alaak, come here. I need to show you something.”


My uncle was a puzzling man. He barely ever opened his mouth and during work hours, he would always lock himself in his office. I followed him out to the back of the diner where I knew was located a small open space. In the middle of that space were fireworks ready to be launched into the dark and drizzly sky. Without saying a word, he walked towards the fireworks, lighting and sending them towards the stars. They flew up, emitting a high pitched whistle that would ring and bounce in your eardrums. What I saw next was breathtaking; the crackling sounds of the explosion was pursued by the burst of glorious colours. Emerald green, flaming red, azure blue and lavender purple were covering the pitch black sky. But as I was dreaming about this moment, I could feel a hand stroking my chin.


I woke up, seeing my two brothers and sisters lying on my legs and my mom standing right in front of me. I looked outside and could only see the pink glow of the sun peeking over the horizon.


“How are you feeling my love?”


“I’m fine, just a bit light-headed.”


“Well, the boat is leaving soon so get ready. From Libya to Italy will last a long time so you’ll be able to sleep on the boat. We’ll take care of your brothers and sisters.”


“What time is it?”


“It’s 4:30 in the morning son, we have to be there in about an hour.”


“Okay, thanks a lot mom.”


I got up, carefully placing my siblings’ arms and legs on the stiff mattress. I silently walked towards my clothes and only started packing my most valuable possessions. We knew there wasn’t going to be a lot of space on the boat so we had to bring our favourite clothes, toys, and items. When everyone was fully prepared, we left, heading towards our destination which we believed was our last hope, saving us from this unsafe world.


Once we arrived, the first thing we saw was an interminable line full of other people looking to evade the country. Then, we saw the boat. It was made of aged oak that was painted navy blue however, most parts were either scratched or corroded. It was lengthy but very thin. Before we boarded the boat, the so-called ‘captain’ gave life jackets to everyone who paid an extra amount of money. Luckily, we were able to afford them so, we knew that we were safe from drowning if the boat capsized.


After two long and painful hours of the trip doing nothing except playing around with my lighter, I started feeling very sleepy. I leaned back against my parents and steadily closed my eyes. The stunning fireworks came back into my mind causing me to peacefully fall asleep.


After the fireworks ended, I looked at my uncle and saw him looking back at me, smiling.


“Wow! Thank you so much uncle! That was amazing!”


“I’m glad you liked it Alaak. Remember, it’s not every day that you see such beauty so if you do, always admire it and keep it in your memory. Those memories will come in handy during difficult moments.”


“I promise uncle! I promise!”


“Let’s head back inside, you should get back home now or your mom will start to worry.”


Once we came back into the restaurant, everyone was gone apart from my uncle and I. We made sure that the tables were spotless and properly polished, the cutlery was reflecting the lights back into our eyes, the plates were shimmering and that everything else was neat, tidy and ready to be used again tomorrow. But as we finished tidying the whole place, two men holding firearms aggressively rushed into the diner. My uncle told me to go hide while he would solve the situation. After hiding for ten minutes, I suddenly heard a gunshot and loud screams coming from my uncle. I quickly ran back, only to see my uncle lying down with a massive amount of blood gushing from his stomach.


“Uncle! Uncle! Please uncle, stay with me!”


“Alaak, reach down my right pocket. Keep it and think about it whenever you’re feeling down.”


“Uncle, please! Stay with me! Stay with me!”


As I spilled out my last word, his eyes slowly closed and his breathing stopped. I knew that he was now gone. I reached into his right pocket and pulled out a lighter, the same lighter he used to ignite the fireworks.


“Alaak, wake up, we’re here, we made it!”


I opened my eyes and saw that my youngest brother was pulling me with excitement. I looked around and saw that we finally arrived in Italy. I pulled out my lighter, holding it tightly against my chest. I now knew that I was safe. Safe from all the bad memories that haunted me.


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