Story Contest 2019 #2 - Highly Commended Stories »

Highly Commended Story - Roses And Rags

“Roses And Rags” by Zymal Bilal, Lahore Grammar School Phase V, Pakistan, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2019.

Zymal is an 11 year old who likes writing and making up stories for fun. She enjoys arts especially painting and she has put up his own paintings. She is also fond of literature and history. Zymal enjoys reading the series ‘Who’s Who’ because of its interesting facts about the famous people from history and present. She sometimes reads the books by Jacqueline Wilson. She likes to research on space and NASA too.

Roses And Rags

‘Mulan… Mulan! Get up, it’s time to pray.’ She sluggishly got up listening to the same phrase every day. The campgrounds had nothing new this morning. The birds as usual chirped in cold and chill. The distant horrendous noises were regular. Thorns of gloom, blues, loneliness and dismay had urged for incessant support. Mirth lay under the earth. The clouds continued to hide the despairing sun.

Mulan trailed the crowd towards the place of worship and then the common dining. The quarter loaf of bread, stiff and cold, was arduous to swallow. After everyone had done with the morning meal, they would rather do whatever they wanted to. Mulan rushed back to her shabby shelter to catch sight of her best mate. She grabbed her ragged doll and sat near the burning ashes envisioned to be logs. Clinging on to her doll, she somewhat never felt lonesome. Mulan rubbed her messy face with her ragged blouse. The same blouse she was wearing since few days. She would always keep away from what to wear. All she had around her, from dawn to dusk, were ragged fellows, ragged amenities, ragged bits and ragged pieces. Nothing new would happen but… there was something new today.

Mulan, along with her loved ones, had no other option but the refugee camps. They had to flee their homes because of ongoing conflicts and massacre. Mulan had brought with her nothing much but a jar. A special jar gifted by a special person; her grandmother. Her grandmother loved roses. So, Mulan had decided to collect roses in the jar. Soon, her fate betrayed her. The roses fell, but the thorns remained. The deserted territory of the refugee camps had no greenery, no orchards, no floras, no flowers, hence no roses. So, she collected gravels instead.

Today Mulan was over joyed. She could not stop grinning. She reluctantly felt proud. She reluctantly felt confident. She had something amazing to share with her best mate. Something she could not put in words. The jar with gravels was almost filled, awaiting the last gravel. She gazed in awe at the jar. ‘Look at the roses. Let’s put the last one together.’

Roses were hope. Hope for rejoice, hope for cheer, hope for whoop, hope for bloom and hope to be free. Free to run, free to dance, free to sing, free to sway, free to shine and free to smile. Mulan believed that she would be free to rule… She wore the crown of rags, one day she would wear the crown of roses.

Oh! How could Mulan forget her best mate; her ragged doll. She would get her a huge dollhouse, more like a mansion. A mansion with a closet so big that it would array countless outfits; an outfit for mealtime, an outfit for school, an outfit for extracurricular, an outfit for friends, an outfit for tea, an outfit for ballet, an outfit to hide, an outfit to seek, an outfit just for fun and an outfit to live.

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