“Deep Jail” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Jimmy Rahi, Antonine Sisters School, Mar Elias, Ghazir, Lebanon.
A long time ago, war was always present. People now wonder why those combats are diminishing. They wonder how this generation changed becoming civilized. However, fear and stress of the idea of launching a new war are abominable fossils of the previous clashes. Hundreds of years, after mortal and interminable wars, society finished by calming down. What is left now from those country-conflicts is nearly forgotten, but who knows what might happen to our peaceful era.
After years of pure peace, cities and states are generating tension on citizens by introducing the idea of launching a war between countries, which might be the beginning of an unbelievable story.
Italy, a very fascinating peninsula, is famous for its fabulous sceneries that people are victims of. Blue seas around the high-heeled shoe-shaped land, welcome people in the marine full of waves sliding over the slippery surface of the water making the luxurious yachts bounce in the harbor.
Spain, one of the most ecstatic countries in the world, attracts thousands of tourists offering them pure charming scenery. Harmonious melodies enter the ear delightfully. Pleasant and aromatic scents emerge from traditional meals with an attractive impulse, and a relaxing and joyful atmosphere everywhere around you.
The conflict began one day in the 1910s after the substitution of the presidents in our two famous and popular cities: Italy and Spain. At that time, Italy and Spain were the worst enemies. It was known that nothing could go right with both of those famous countries even with good presidents. Those two countries couldn't progress nor regress.
It was popular that Italians never went to Spain; Spanish did not go to Italy. People seemed to be affected negatively by the politics' responses, opinions and plans. Some didn't like that. Presidents were sometimes jealous and other times mad. They were selfish as well as disrespectful. It was a very hard and critical period for the presidents' decisions because they might blow up like a balloon anytime and decided to launch a war. Unfortunately it was the case one day. One peaceful morning, after the golden sun of the sunrise surfed over the mountains in the sky in both countries, inhabitants' worse nightmare came true.
Waterio, president of Spain, needed to end this misunderstanding by a war. He believed that:"Miscomprehensions are solved by a quarrel." Valerio, president of Italy, wasn't a better peacemaker. He wanted a war, too. They both wanted war. All the population hated this act in their touristic countries, because such silly disagreements are not reasons to destroy people's houses. However, presidents' opinions can't be changed. Besides, some people encouraged war: After 10 years disputes between both of those populations, it was time for a war and an ending. After the presidents' decisions were declared in both countries, it was time to decide this face to face. They booked a meeting between Italy and Spain in South France. Even though both presidents wanted war, the idea of having the same opinion wasn't easy to match in such cases. They agreed on war aggressively at the end of that day…
After agreeing on launching war within 5 days, President Waterio went with his partner-soldier, Adolfo, on his colossal ship sailing back to Spain to prepare for the battle. As for President Valerio, he stayed at the French Politics Court staring at his daughter, Cassandra, among eager journalists. His companion and battle partner, Marco, stayed immobilized straight to the left side of Valerio.
The reason for the Italian President's sadness was the way Cassandra gazed at her father's eyes sadly and hesitant. As much as Valerio despises Waterio and his country, he never liked to see his sweet darling downhearted after one of his significant decisions because both of them were afraid it might be a big mistake.
President Valerio might seem determined and harsh in war and battle times, but he was on the other hand, a sweet and a caring man who was once, before being president, a chef who cooked Italia meals in an amazing restaurant with his brother. Yet after ending his job as a chef, Valerio got married, had a little girl, named her Cassandra, got divorced and escaped from Italy with his daughter, then came back to the Italian land and became president. Nobody knows what happened to his younger brother, Walter. Some say he went to Switzerland, some think he went to Spain and others say he went to England. After all, Valerio forgot Walter but Cassandra didn't. She always dreamt of meeting her uncle, a person who might not be a president, who might be a farmer, in a peaceful farm… That's what she dreamt of daily…
While President Waterio prepared guns, built vast rock fences and grouped soldiers, President Valerio was hesitating and thinking. Cassandra gave her opinion, as well as all the population of Italy:"WE DON'T WANT WAR!" Valerio knew deep inside that Cassandra was right, but what was pushing him to do the war was money.
He was betting with Waterio 100 kilos of gold for the winner and he knew Cassandra would never accept this kind of reason. That night, Cassandra came into her father's room… He wasn't in a talkative mood, even with Cassandra. His war decision making with Waterio was dragging him to depression. He was thinking, but not coming up with any of his clever ideas. Cassandra knew he was obsessed with the war when she was standing silently beside him and saw him truly helpless. She looked at him and declared…
"Hey dad! Hum… I know this is not the perfect moment to talk to you, but I can't help it, I never knew you were like this. I never thought you could do such things. So as your daughter I would really want you to let go!"
After hearing this phrase from Cassandra's mouth, Valerio reacted aggressively:"No one asked for your opinion young lady so I'm asking you right now to get out!"
President Valerio yelled brutally at Cassandra. Under all the pressure about the money and war, Valerio's words hurt Cassandra. That was an exceptional event that both of them could never imagine. The little teenager got out miserably. Cassandra and Valerio didn't know how to deal with this kind of situation since it was the first time they face such a complicated conflict with each other.
Leader Valerio stayed in his room feeling that he did something appalling, with a pain in his stomach and a hard twist inside. Cassandra dashed through the spacious streets of Italy desperately ignorant of what she might do.
Later on, after shedding tears of sadness, Cassandra decided to go and visit her old grandma, Maribella, the only person in her family she knows, living in Italy. She dashed in the streets facing the yellow sunset throwing golden-haired rays at her wet eyes full of tears, hoping to see her grandmother in her old mansion. She knocked on the wooden door thrilled to see Marie-B (Maribella) standing with love and affection in front of her. After few seconds of anticipation, Cassandra hugged her grandmother with worship.
They started chatting about their past since Cassandra stopped visiting Marie-B. Cassandra then mentioned what happened with her dad and his opinion about the war with Spain. Marie-B didn't say anything. She went to her room while Cassandra lingered patiently in the sitting room. Old grandma brought a diary, opened it and showed it to Cassandra:"It's shameful that I'm the only one to know that my kids Valerio, Valentin, and Waterio, Walter, now are two presidents having war. I hope they know that."
Cassandra ripped the page thanking her Grandma and went off to Spain to warn "Uncle" Waterio of his wrong decision to fight with his brother-- since always liked to visit Spain. The cold and freezing hit her delicate face when the paper of the diary fell from the pocket of her wool jacket while she headed to the shore.
After a couple of minutes, Cassandra arrived to the shore. At that moment, president Valerio was unable to find his daughter in his palace, so he sent Marco to find her in the dark streets of Rome under the black starring sky. He started searching on the sidewalks, roads, corners and while searching he found the paper that fell from Cassandra. Because he found it near Marie-B's house, he decided to go and ask the old lady…
Marie-B declared that she had gone to warn President Waterio in Spain. Therefore, Marco took the paper and ran to the port to catch Cassandra who might get caught by the Spanish. He arrived to the shore recognizing the huge and luxurious ship of President Valerio written on it: The Millwards *. Cassandra was sailing the ship and heading to Spain. She was very far from him, so without wasting time, Marco hopped in a small wooden canoe and started rowing as fast as he could…
Two hours later, Cassandra arrived parking her massive yacht in an abandoned harbor full of historic vessels. She got off the boat, walked on the sand nervously then went hopping to the sidewalks gazing at the brilliant sunrise centered between the rocky architecture. *The Millwards: the family name of Cassandra's family.
Unluckily, even in this beautiful country, no one respected her. They quickly recognized her as the vicious daughter of their opposite nation leader. So, they violently pushed her, mocked her, and treated her as a minor little bug.
After moments of discomfort for young and poor Cassandra, she finally managed to arrive to the front of Waterio's elegant villa. When she bounded on the granite steps before the principal door, people showed her faces of wickedness, eager to see the reaction of President Waterio when he will meet her. There, she repeated with confidence in her heart: "Don't react Cassandra, they are just stressed out about the war!"
When she went up the stairs and arrived to the high platform facing the door, she moved her hand to the doorknob, when two terrifying guards appeared holding their sharp swords. They looked at her with a creepy grimace when she tried to outsmart them with a fearless pose. It was normal that they refused her entrance since it was the night just before of the war and that it was a president's decision that no one was allowed to talk to him…
After the guards refused Cassandra's presence in the big domicile's gate, they discovered that not only she was an Italian, but also the daughter of President Valerio. After the shocking discovery of her true identity, they maliciously let her in with a fake smile.
They knocked weakly on the door of Waterio's room, they guided her in and quickly hid behind the room's entrance enjoying the scene's introduction. She initiated her speech with a calm "Good Evening!" said by a calm voice. After hearing those words, he was alerted and looked around recognizing his visitor. At first, he was ignorant that his guest was Cassandra, but later he was aware that it was his enemy's daughter. Waterio got then the idea of tricking her. He turned around her spitefully and he held on her immobilizing her defensive moves with the help of Adolfo. They threw her in a small elbow room and locked the door…
The next morning, the sun was rising rapidly over the town full of soldiers and anxious inhabitants. Whereas for Marco, it was a stressing and exhausting journey to Spain, sailing over the waves of the Balearic Sea and for Cassandra it was a hard and uncomfortable night stuck in the narrow storage room between cleaning utensils. After an interminable night in the disturbing darkness, a little thin spot of light grew bigger as the wooden door opened leisurely…
"Get out! Its time!" said President Waterio with a harsh voice.
Cassandra was guided to a black car and driven to the harbor with metallic chains in her hands. She was pushed into the underground cabinet of the timber ship. Cassandra was lead to the harbor in a black car with her hands stuck together behind her back. She heard the sound of the powerful waves smashing into the boat's shell annoyingly.
She stopped moving for a couple of seconds. She gently started shedding sad tears thinking of what she was living now, compared to her life as a princess. She later, by chance, heard President Waterio murmuring a speech about a plan to Adolfo.
As for Valerio, he was in front of his immense castle giving orders sadly, missing his daughter.
Marco dashed in the water rapidly with his little kayak when he spotted the huge ship of Waterio heading towards Italy. So Marco turned around towards Italy and running away from the Spanish. He paddled quickly when his enemies behind him recognized him as an Italian therefore, they started launching at him heavy and large cannon balls. He moved around and searched for the safest place when Italy's vast borders caught Marco's attention. He skated on the surface arriving with Waterio's ship. He left his paddle under the boat's bench and decided to go find President Waterio, to show him the paper hoping he might change his decision about the war. All the Spanish soldiers ran from the shore to the populated town and hurtled their Italian enemies. Waterio was maliciously searching for Valerio who was innocently watching the conflict. The Spanish boss marched slowly near the Italian's chef palace and then attacked him brutally! He kidnapped the man unaware he was his brother…
Adolfo appeared immediately in front of the brothers in a black car. Waterio threw Valerio in the backseat, while Adolfo drove swiftly. He took them in a blink of an eye to the giant and famous Colosseum. He tried to escape from the evil trap of Waterio and Adolfo but he only shook in vain. They drove him to the center of the Colosseum that was surrounded by mixed soldiers of Italian and Spanish. They quickly set him in a tight box before burying him underground. They dug, pushed the box and filled the large hole with the excavated sand. At that moment, President Valerio was buried underground like a dead person. After planting the poor man in the ground, President Waterio went to end his famous war with his large team. He bounced in his old plane heading to the Tower of Pisa to finish his project.
Now, Valerio was underground, Cassandra locked in the Spanish ship, and Marco was dumbly searching for his opponents' leader. He ran between warriors, bend under armor and guns searching for President Waterio. After several tiring and long jogs, he finally noticed President Waterio aiming for the famous Tower of Pisa with his canon. He sprinted towards him hurtling powerful soldiers trying to stop him in time. He lit a match and leaned it towards the thick canon. He flamed the cord of the big gun who was about to launch when Marco arrived suddenly raising the end of the canon towards the sky bursting a big ball to the high atmosphere. The ambience was now calm, peaceful and saved. Following this heroic action, Waterio recognized Marco, one of his main rivals. He took out his pistol and pointed it to Marco's head:
"Any last wills?" he asked threateningly.
"Yes" he replied briefly, scared. He took out his paper shivering. President Waterio directly thought that it was important due to the signature of his grandma written with an ink with a thick black color. He read it sadly and didn't say a word. His soldiers stared at him unconscious of what he read in his notepaper. The war started calming down and suddenly ceased. After reading the note, he yelled the news aloud, standing on a bench just before hopping back in his aircraft and flying back to the Colosseum.
He took with him Adolfo and Marco and they glided and landed safely near the Colosseum. Waterio ran without wasting time to the heart of the Colosseum and started digging with a shovel until he found the upper surface of the box. He opened sadly hearing the sound of Valerio's suffocation. When Valerio first saw Waterio, he attacked him painfully and started twisting his shoulders painfully. Marco and Adolfo quickly interfered and separated the brothers. Waterio then removed the paper from his pocket, to calm his brother, and showed him what is written. Now, both heroes were aware of the mystery and went off to save Cassandra. The four men went in the vehicle of Valerio and found Cassandra in the ship. She was extremely glad to see her uncle and dad together not fighting…
All this misunderstanding of war came from confusion in a family. And to celebrate, they gathered around high flaming fire on the sand and invited Maribella to join them in their happiness. Cassandra a teenager had decided to admit satisfying secret and finally say that she admires Marco. The loud joy unexpectedly stopped. Grandma Maribella laughed shrilly and walked towards Cassandra hugging with love:
"Oh my sweetheart! You are growing so fast!"
That's when Marco replied to Cassandra shyly:
Everyone chuckled merrily when Valerio instantly suggested to leave his career of president and to reopen his old restaurant as a complete family business, and "Yes!" they responded!
And they lived happily ever after!