The Long Goodbye

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Just a short story of an exam entry I did based on the Yugoslav Wars of the 90's. :)

I'm sorry if any of this is politically incorrect, or offends anybody who was affected in this war... :(, I understand that the Yugoslav wars is still a bit of a sensitive topic, since I have relatives who were affected.

Any names in this story a truely fictional, I mean... It's historical fiction, right guys????!!! :D

Submitted: August 06, 2012

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Submitted: August 06, 2012



Zoran Ackovic checked his watch. He was early, by 5 minutes. He once again looked around the small, enclosed, oak coloured room. It was the 20 April 1991, he was in the city of Pakrac, the soon to be Croatia. Zoran looked at himself at the mirrors that covered the left wall. “If only he listened…” he thought. Suddenly, an older woman’s shrivelled face, wearied with grief, appeared from outside. Zoran turned to recognise this woman as his best friend’s mother, Mira. “Zoran, Dragoslav is waiting.” Sighing, he snapped his pocket watch shut and picked up his jet black suit jacket to head down to the congregation at the Croatian Catholic church. Zoran fixed his dark hair as he walked down to the altar, via the side door of the church.

There weren’t many people who filled up the benches in the aisles, “Maybe 20?” Zoran thought. He turned his head to see the coffin where his friend lay motionless and his mother look with shame. Mira, whose face had been so calm before, was now distraught by many tears.  Zoran walked up to Mira to comfort her, as she cried that her eldest son would never outlive her. “At least now, Dragoslav would never have to live through more of this war” Zoran whispered to Mira as she cried in her Croatian dialect, that Zoran could not understand.

Zoran decided to look at his former friend’s face, just to relieve his grief. Dragoslav’s face had never been so calm. His dark eyebrows at rest, never to make as many unusual expressions as he did in the past. “Dragoslav...” he thought “Why?”


Zoran thought back to a couple of years back, when they were all still at school.

“Hey Dragoslav, what are you doing?” Zoran asked as eyed the curious picture Dragoslav drew.

“Drawing a flag” Dragoslav expressed with pride as he picked up a red crayon and scribbled. “It’s the new flag of Croatia!” He almost shouted.

“Dragoslav! You know not to talk about these things. Do you seriously want to be persecuted by Tito?” Zoran whispered as he squinted his dark eyes at Dragoslav.

“I hate this country! I loved it when it used to be just Croatia! Do you know why? It’s because of that Tito… he thinks he can merge the countries together for the benefit of others…”

Zoran glanced at the artistic creation of his friend. It was very impressive. The white, red and navy blue crayon colours were bold and stood out as if they were alive. In the middle was a red and white checked shield that wore a magnificent crown of 5 old coats of arms.

“The coat of arms is my favourite of all the flag” Dragoslav said as he began to finish the last check of the shield. “It means that Croatia will be a united country, and last longer than this godforsaken place” he exclaimed as he dropped the red crayon, forcing it to break in half.

Zoran sighed. There was no chance that Dragoslav would change his views, as strong as he was.


The church service had begun. Zoran took his seat next to Mira and Vesna, Dragoslav’s younger sister by a few years. Vesna too was crying much like her mother, in her native dialect, but occasionally using words that Zoran could understand. Zoran closed his eyes as he began to think back to the last time he had seen Dragoslav alive.


“Dragoslav, what are you doing?” Zoran asked as he stared at Dragoslav, as Dragoslav began to stuff his already full pockets with more ammunition.

“Going to release Croatia from the talons of Yugoslavia” Dragoslav said rather heroically, as he swung strapped rifle over his shoulder.

“Dragoslav… please don’t go, think of your mother and sister! And what about your father? Your father would never have wanted you to do something as extreme as this!” Zoran exclaimed as he tried both mentally and physically to hold his friend back from the death that was awaiting him.

Dragoslav turned his head to face Zoran. “I’m releasing my mother and sister from the horrors of those Serbs, and father… he would have wanted vengeance.”  Dragoslav turned to Zoran and smiled. “Don’t worry Zoran, I will come back alive and an accomplished man.” Dragoslav began to exit his hideout when he suddenly stopped. “Zoran, do you know what my name means? It means ‘precious glory’ and that is what I am going to give to this ‘country to be’” and with that, Dragoslav ran out of the hideout. Zoran began to stagger as he heard his friend roar the old Croatian national anthem like never before like never before. It is when this happened a whole lot more men (that Dragoslav had convinced to help him declare Croatia’s independence) sprung from their hiding places and began to do exactly the same thing. Suddenly, a whole lot of gun shots were fired and the sound of bodies hitting the ground sounded. Zoran run faster than ever trying to catch up to Dragoslav, when he heard a gunshot and witnessed the growing crimson blossom on his white shirt, as he collapsed onto the ground.

Shocked, Zoran fell to the ground and passed out, where he was later found and revived by Mira and Vesna. Zoran woke disorientated as he cried of Dragoslav’s last moments and checked his body for any unlikely signs of life.  


After the church service was over, Zoran examined the still abnormally peaceful body of Dragoslav, when he noticed something small poking out of his breast pocket. Looking around to check for trouble, he delved his hand in and took out an old piece of paper.

It was the flag he had drawn so many years ago. Its colours; as bright and bold as they were when they were first drawn on paper.

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