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Stars - a short story

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posted on Aug, 11 2017 @ 02:36 PM
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I've been doing some more writing to keep myself busy. I really appreciate the kind words from my last short story. I just finished this one and truly hope you enjoy it. Thank you again for the continued support.

Stars

It’s a peculiar thing when your vision grows bleary by simply staring at something for far too long a time. The action of sight remains focused, but the mind somehow manages to take over completely and you no longer can see what is actually set out before you. Instead, the heart makes tiny vibrations and your mind reciprocates with soft, gentle pictures that soon play out before you in memories like film. It’d been fourty years since I’d last step foot on a train, and what began as quiet thought of my indistinct reflection within the window, soon twisted and curled into remembering the past that I so long struggled to forget. I was not the same young man that I was fourty years ago; my eyes had seen the horrors of the world and I had wrinkles like faultlines to the equivalent of each comrade I’d seen mercilessly labored and killed. It was in that moment that my head delivered the memories to my heart, and in turn, my heart carried them to my eyes in the form of images. At first it was a struggle to understand them, but it was no sooner that they came in bright flashes, beams trying desperately to escape from my eyes.

I was only thirty the very first time I took a ride on a train. It was not of choice that I should find myself there, but instead it was the choice of many who deemed myself and others like me as ill fit to be alive. We were the undesirables and we were bound for Treblinka; later in life I would realize that we were truly all bound for death.

It was an unspoken truth we all knew, but the majority of us would remain silent. I cannot recall with much certainty if this was asked of us or if it was something we all agreed to do as a means to keep what little dignity life could still offer us. The train did very little in the ways of light and comfort; but then again, what point would there be in offering basic amenities to a group considered no more valueable than the common countryside cattle? They’d brand us, they’d use us and then they’d kill us. It did very little good in hanging onto memories like this. Beyond all the horror, however, I could never seem to shake the thought of her. Her. Lonia. The way her voice sounded when she whispered her name to me that night on the train, it was soft...meek, even. She dared not make it evident thsat she would value herself highly enough with something so simple as a name. They wouldn’t dream of letting her have even that. ‘Bartosz’, I offered her my own name. Very little could I have ever known that her smile would haunt me for the rest of my years.

Now at the age of seventy, my sense of time has surely seen much better days. Though, I remember the trip to Treblinka being immensely long, which only further catapulted us into a silent madness. Not her though. They would never have her. She would silently whisper to me and tell me jokes, jokes which would drive me closer to a laughter that I hadn’t experienced in years. With every punch line, her nose would crinkle when she smiled. Something about how she failed to remain a prisoner in her thoughts when she damn well knew where we were headed, it made me envious. I wished for the duration of our transport that I could’ve lived within her mind, just so that I may have a glimpse at her inner workings.

On one night in particular, she snuck to me and told me of her plans to try and escape the confines of the train. She was a fool and I’d be damned if I didn’t tell her to her face. ‘W życiu musimy walczyć o pokój po śmierci,’ She tells me. In life we must fight for peace after death, she says. And then, she laughs in hushed tones. She wants me to both help and go with her. What I wanted to tell her was that I’d follow her to the very ends of the world and back again, but instead I can’t help but tell her she’s so far out of her own head that she can smell the stars when it rains. Again, she laughs. I wished I had just a smidge of her courage...or blissful ignorance. Either way, she seemed to wear it on her sleeve, yet I still could not take it and make it my own for a single moment. Her eyes were warm and full as they’d ever been since I’d met her, like a stagnant pond in high summer.

With a doomed fate both inexplicable and unspoken, what other option was there but to try? Somehow amidst the watchful eyes of those that guarded us and somehow miracurously camoflouged amongst guns pointed as us daily like fingers pointed to blame, she’d made a plan for us. When yet another night came to us, we waited until we were granted the small solace of sleep. She, forced to slither like a criminal, like a serpant, came to me and alerted that we must go. I followed in close pursuit, praying to every which creater or diety, just in hopes that one may hear if not my own.

Lonia’d found a portion of the train where others before us must’ve tried to escape. The metal was jagged and jutted out like broken teeth. It wasn’t without some scrapes that we were able to crawl our way atop the train car. The wind howled and whistled passed our ears, the shuddering and clashing of metal upon metal sang and stung as the train continued to carry its passengers to their imminent death. We’d made it this far and we had but a moment longer until we’d jump to the first prospect of freedom we’d ever previously tasted.

In the end, it was all we’d have. All we’d ever have was that brief and fleeting second that we even possessed a hope at changing our future. It would become a dangerous and sickening morsel of humor that we should all be controlled by such a man in power. When Lonia and I both caught sight of his men and their rifles caught sight of us, Lonia did the unthinkable. She spat in their direction, cursed their very existence and assured them they would never lay claim to her soul. I quickly jumped from the train, assuming very well that she’d follow right behind. With a roll, I landed; though, when I stood, I turned to watch as their guns began to fire at her.

She fell like a thousand soldiers fall from a garrison like feathers, stuck like geese with a hundred different arrows. That was the end of it...it was the end of her. My feet could carry me only far enough until I’d only become recaptured, bound once more to Treblinka. I would be their prisoner for what felt like a time without and end. Upon the camps liberation, most of us had perished. Myself and very few others had survived – if you could even call it that. We were more bones than skin and more dead than alive. Though, in history, when you’re counted as nothing but a number, not many stop to measure the value of life. You either live or you die, and after what I’d been through, I fail to truly comprehend who’d truly lived and who’d truly died that night...whether it’d been Lonia or myself.

[cont'd below]
edit on 11-8-2017 by ReyaPhemhurth because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 11 2017 @ 02:37 PM
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Now seventy years of age and being on a train once again, the memories flashing before my eyes helped me realize that in life, a final page ceases to make itself known for every man, woman and child. We have but to make choices; I chose to run. Lonia, as unfortunate and quickly her life ended, chose stand up and shout in the face of a lion that her life would not belong to anyone but herself. It was something neither they nor the stars in the sky could control, and that is how I will always remember her. She is a star in the sky.



posted on Aug, 11 2017 @ 03:53 PM
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a reply to: ReyaPhemhurth

Thank you for sharing this story with us. It reminds me of the star that shines down on me at night. That would be my late wife shining down on me hoping that I am getting by better than when I discovered that she was no longer breathing, that she had no heartbeat, that she had passed on in this world.

Today would have been her birthday. Happy birthday to all who have passed on for you will be missed.



posted on Aug, 11 2017 @ 04:04 PM
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Perhaps she had seen the ending . . in her tormented dreams.

Perhaps she knew . . . you'd remember.

Perhaps . . . she loved you.



posted on Aug, 11 2017 @ 04:05 PM
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a reply to: LookingForABetterLife

Thank you so much for taking the time to read it and comment on it. That really helps to make my day better. I am sorry for your loss, and I am sure she was a beautiful and wonderful woman. It's so incredibly hard to lose someone so precious..the kind of pain no one should ever have to feel. I'm sure she knows how strong of a person you are. Stay hopeful and continue to strive for happiness, it's all we can ever do.

Thank you, again.



posted on Aug, 11 2017 @ 04:11 PM
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a reply to: ReyaPhemhurth

Thank you for your warm reply Reya. That means a lot to me.



posted on Aug, 11 2017 @ 04:15 PM
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a reply to: LookingForABetterLife

You're very welcome. If you need someone to talk to, I'm a click away.



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