A Walk Along The River

My entry for the prestigious writing competition which was unfortunately, submitted later due to forgetfulness  and was sadly rejected.

A Walk Along The River.

By Mohammad Nurullah.

The scarlet sky contrasted heavily with the deep blue stream; the image was so beautiful it hurt my eyes. I looked up at the sky again. The sun was about to set; its last rays shone along the horizon. With a few more steps along the bank, I stopped, focusing on the mango tree in front of me. The tree had grown pretty large since the last time I saw her; her branches extended, casting shadows on the ground beneath. This tree had a name – Auriel. Just a few feet from Auriel’s trunk was a tombstone. I headed towards it and placed the black velvet rose I was carrying, on the earth before it. Underneath the ground, lay my mother.
I got up and started walking, my eyes on the water which glistened with the last strokes of sunlight. Twenty-five years ago, the same water had the color of red; the color of the sky a few minutes ago. The holy blood of the innocent people filled the river. The river ran red. After a few feet of walking, I stopped for the second time. This was the place where my parents were killed. Both of them were standing along the bank, the immense fear in their eyes was unmistakable. Before them were two Pakistani soldiers pointing their rifles at them. A slow push on the trigger and my parents would be dead. Just before they started shooting, my mother bent down and begged for her life, crying hysterically. The brush of bullets hit her a few moments later.
My father was never found; the rush of water carried his body somewhere far away. They decided to hand over my mother’s body considering her last minute begging and we buried her under Auriel, protected by the tree’s shadow and company. Bringing my mind to the present I looked around, the area was deserted. No one of the village came near the stream unless it was urgent, the villagers considered it a curse. I continued walking wondering how temporary life can be. A slight breeze blew over bringing a little peace to my mind. And then I saw her.
The first thing I noticed was the dark black hair. She was wearing a light blue Saree, a traditional dress of the Bengalis. With a big jar beside her, she walked slowly up the river. When she reached the bank, she noticed my presence. A pair of deep brown eyes that emitted the longing to live looked at me. That was my mother. With a startled mind, I reached for her and she was gone, like the wind.
1971 was a painful year for us, the Bangladeshis. Many lives were seized. Husbands were killed, mothers were taken away. The water in the stream still carried the symbols of our tortures, carried the blood of the sufferers. The slaughtering of innocent people will never be forgotten nor forgiven. I kept on walking, feeling the tears welling up in my eyes.


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