February 24, 2020

A Brother’s Love

posted on: Thursday February 15, 2018

Smoke rises from two fires in central Beirut, Lebanon  September 1975, as fighting goes on between rightist and leftist elements.

Photo courtesy of mic.com

by Marisa Gonzalez ’18

 

The war raged on, and Henry was in the middle of it. Guns exploded. Smoke filled the air, and Henry’s vision was cut off. His father always warned him about going out into the war zone unprotected. But he had to. His baby sister was out there. The one he had sworn to protect. The one who just had her sixth birthday and was so full of life. The one who was now helpless and alone. He had no choice, he had to find her.

Henry stumbled over some debris and balanced himself against a fallen building. His breathing was heavy, and his face stung from the smoke, but he couldn’t think about that. His pain was nothing. He was strong; his little sister was not. He wiped away some sweat from his face, took a deep breath, and continued his search. The air had cleared a little bit, and he could see the outlines of soldiers. He wanted to speak to them. To ask them about his sister, but he knew he could not distract them. They needed to be alert. They needed to survive.

Henry watched the soldiers pass and ran across the road when he thought the path was clear. He made it halfway when a tank came barreling down. Henry quickly rolled out of the way, cutting his hands and knees in the process. Again, he couldn’t think of the pain. Pain was nothing, and his sister was everything. Another tank passed by, and he ran for cover as guns began to explode around him. More smoke filled the air causing Henry to choke. He tried to calm himself down but the loud noises made it impossible.

Suddenly the ground began to shake. Gunfire ceased. Henry, still trying to catch his breath, looked out from where he took cover and saw a dark shadow approaching the soldiers.

Feeling more panic rising, Henry took off, not looking back when he heard a terrible noise—like a roar that made the buildings vibrate—and the screaming of soldiers. There was no time for curiosity, no time for sorrow. He needed to complete his mission. He needed to find her.

Henry ran as fast as he could, tripping over debris and stumbling over bodies. He could not look at those faces. He had no time to mourn. He had to carry on. More soldiers ran past him, and another roar shook the buildings, causing Henry to fall. A tank drove past him with a large gun. He slowly rose to his feet and was about to begin running again when the gun fired. Black smoke engulfed him, cutting off his vision once more.  He did not know what was going on. He could only hear the screams, and the roars. But he still ran. He would not let his sister down.

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Short Fiction