Revival | Teen Ink


November 15, 2020
By Azra07 BRONZE, North Hollywood, California
Azra07 BRONZE, North Hollywood, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

     I crawled out from under the wooden cart. I inhaled deeply, only to invite fumes into my lungs, but it was somehow reminiscent. A scene of destruction surrounded me: fires to the left, collapsed structures to the right, bloody soil beneath my feet, contrails in the heavens above. So this is what war is like, as described in the records. The one rare day I sneak out, this happens.

     Under the concealment of my hood, I decided to walk around and observe the ruins. The ruins of a village that knows me, yet one I know not. A sharp cry nearby caught my attention, and I turned to see an elderly man and his granddaughter staring at what they once had. They looked so helpless. Luckily, I had brought a pouch of money intending to buy treats and trinkets at the market. I kept my head low as I approached the victims and offered them the pouch as a relief. They gratefully refused at first, the man explaining he could never accept so much money in exchange for nothing. So much? Not understanding his point, I continued to insist until finally, I handed the pouch to the girl. The elderly man blessed me and kindly asked for my name, which I was unable to say. The sudden sounds of heavy footsteps alerted me, for as the soldiers were summoned to check upon the villagers. I madly dashed into an alleyway and took my novel secret route back home.

     In my favor, the whole palace was in too much of a frenzy to notice my absence. In my quarters, I quickly took off my cloak and brushed all the ash and soot off before any of the maids came in for their regular check-ins. The less evidence of the outside world, the better. I went into the powder room and extensively washed my hands and face of any contamination from the spontaneous attack. Such cleansing rituals exhausted me, and I inhaled deeply, only to invite the all too familiar stuffy air into my lungs. I took a seat at my bedside, staring at the floors in despair. It has been 8 long months since the declaration of war between my nation and the enemy, and that marked the day everyone’s realities would change. Taking a single step out from the door’s threshold jeopardized your life. I closed my eyes and recalled the good old days, days when I freely ran around the courtyard and accompanied royal officials on numerous trips around the land. There used to be the warm summer nights when I climbed to the pavilion rooftop and stargazed for hours on end, not worried about anything but getting caught. I dearly missed interacting with the people of our kingdom, especially those who I have been able to call friends. A small tear trickled down to my lap.

     I scoffed at myself; how could I be complaining from behind the safety of the palace walls and guards when there are civilians out in the open who are struggling to make ends meet and are in constant danger of another attack at any moment. My forehead creased while my head violently shook. No, this can’t be the way I carry myself. I must do something, anything at all, to help my people.

The author's comments:

The pandemic has broadened my perspective and has inspired me to give back to the community, even if my efforts are negligible compared to the many sacrifices others have been making to keep life running. As a result, I decided to write a historical short story that parallels the coronavirus pandemic and my personal growth.

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