Editor’s Note: Here is a short story by a 14 year old girl shared by her proud mother meenasankaran. Her choice of words, her perceptions and the genre will most surely impress you. Enjoy the story and share your comments here.
He stared at the candle. A sudden blast of cold wind shot through the window and threatened to blow the light out, but he blocked the cold with his hand.
Four years. Four years since he had seen light. The blasts of bombs, and the yelling and screaming and shooting, the harsh barks of commanders issuing hurried orders to their men. His unit had been stationed in the mountains of Afghanistan for two years now. Huddled in a corner of the rickety one- roomed cabin, he stared at the candle.
One of the men who had been playing cards in the table got up and walked over to him.
“Sorry ‘bout your loss, Ben,” he said softly, laying a rough hand on his shoulder. “Jack didn’t deserve to die.”
“No one does.” Ben’s throat croaked from lack of use.
The man looked like he might stay, but then changed his mind and left his comrade alone to get back to the card game.
Ben’s eyes had not left the candle. In its light he suddenly perceived a mirror through which he could see his own gaze; the gaze of a young man stripped of family and feeling. There was a crazed look in his eyes, the look of a man who had given everything, including his memories, to go through hell.
His commander’s last words to him echoed in his brain. “Ben, there’s still light. Remember that. There’s always light.” Jack had placed the candle in his hand and squeezed his shoulder before turning to make a poor soldier’s life miserable.
Now, staring at the candle, he was plagued by memories. His wife weeping as he left to join the service; his three- year old daughter clasping his neck as though her life depended on it. He could not even remember their names anymore.
“Come back soon,” they’d both called to him from the doorway. “Come back soon.”
At first, Ben had replied to every letter they sent as soon as he could. Now he did not even bother to open them. He knew that all he would find would be pleas for his return, pleas that he had no answer to. He no longer controlled his fate; war did. War decided when he ate, slept, fought, and died. Around him he could dimly hear the insane laughter of his comrades at the table beside him, as if from far off.