Story Contest 2020 #2 Results »

Senior 3rd Prize Winning Story - A Friend

“A Friend” by Sabia Irfan and Zakia Irfan, Colonel By Secondary School, Canada, is the Third Prize winning story in the senior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2020.

Sabia and Zakia Irfan are 15 years old and in grade 10. They are honor roll students and loves to read, write, and draw as a hobby. Apart from studies, they like to be mentally active and therefore, play chess. They tied for first place in the Eastern Ontario chess tournament twice. They hope to share their created stories with the world and immerse more youth into writing.

A Friend

Crimson blood slowly trickled down my hip, soiling my khaki tunic. The sweltering heat brimmed a waterfall of sweat to my forehead. Starvation gnawed and growled within my stomach.

My skittish fingers reached inside of my battered duffel bag for my most safeguarded treasure; a half-eaten tin of kidney beans. I carefully lifted the raw riches to my mouth, but my grip loosened, spilling the pellets in the muck. In shock, I sprawled myself in the mud, frantically gorging every morsel, dirt, and all.

My trembling fingers swirled patterns in the slippery earth as it caked itself upon my skin. As I wallowed, a man appeared from the rosy horizon. I blinked repeatedly to remain conscious. He wore a spotless black suit, had cropped blond hair, a satchel, and a gun carried in his leather holster. A red Swastika crest was wrapped to his arm: a Nazi soldier.

“What are you doing there, friend?” he asked. Friend? He must have known I was the enemy. His eyes shifted to my wound. Crouching beside me, he suspiciously began to dress my injury with a torn cloth. “Are you a deserter?”

“Yes,” I breathed. “I was a Polish soldier on the front lines. I was shot in the hip as I ran away from the battlefield.”

“How old are you?”

“19. Do you have any water?” I asked quietly. The wanderer uncorked a wooden canteen. I noisily gulped as the stream flowed down my chalky throat.

“My name is Hermann Abendroth. I was general, but I fled my battalion when I realized the hypocrisy of it all. I’m just like you. Where is your family?” I turned my head to the scorched ground.

“Dead.” He lightly touched my face. A surge of tingling warmth rippled across my face.

“I’m sorry,” he said sympathetically. Aware of the uncomfortableness he created, he retreated his hand. The flaring heat lingered on my cheek. “Your injury is severe. I know a Red Cross camp not far from here. We could go together,” he offered.

“I-,” I exhaled deeply. There was no other choice. “I’ll go.”

Hermann gently hauled me to my feet. Acting as my crutch, we trudged through the vacant wasteland. Corpses were littered at every step, the ground forever stained scarlet.

I gazed at my traveling companion as we walked. He strutted with authority, his bulging forearms resembled cannonballs, and his gorgeous complexion was flawless. How little I seemed compared with my crippling walk, bone-thin arms, and pale face coated in throbbing scabs. My scrutiny was halted abruptly- we stood before another Nazi.

His eyes swelled with hate… for us. The rogue soldier steadily held his gun, his finger placed on the trigger. Hermann pushed me behind him.

“Stay behind me,” he whispered quickly, glaring into the Nazi’s snakelike eyes. In a split second, Hermann shot the man in the neck. I stumbled backward in surprise, a thunderous noise echoing in my ears.

The soldier fell to the ground, the look of death etched upon his face. “Are you alright?” Hermann asked, concerned.

“Yes, I-I’m fine,” I stutter.

“That was my last bullet.” Hermann calmly threw his gun into a clump of barren bushes. “I don’t have any more use for this. Help me move his body. This will plant a false trail.” We dragged and shrouded his corpse in the weeds.

I averted my sight to a small corn poppy, drooping to the soil. A smile curled onto my cracked lips. A piece of beauty still existed amongst the ugly of war. I stroked its tender petals, brushing their silky texture against my scarred flesh. I timidly reached to pluck the flower from its fragile stem. “Don’t,” objected Hermann. I paused my quivering hand. “Enough has died.”

With nothing to be said, we continued on our way. I longingly eyed the poppy until it disappeared from view, forgotten.

“That poppy was beautiful,” I say softly, turning for a final glimpse of its vibrant color. Hermann laced his fingers with mine.

“I know.”

The setting sun illuminated a well amid the area. The broken stones were coated in soot. Hermann dropped the bucket into the dormant waters. I cupped my palms together as he poured. I instantly spewed the flaming liquid across the turf; blood.

I looked to Hermann; he unsheathed a knife. His conflicted eyes shone with remorse. “My duty is to the Fatherland first. Our friendship-,” he bit his lip, “comes second. At one point, I believed my lie, that we were going somewhere,” he confessed. “I’m sorry, but this needs to happen.”

He curved the edges of his slender lips as he neared the dagger to my neck. My norm expression twisted into a sly grin. My eyes rapidly fixated on the dainty blade.

“I’m sorry, too.” I lunged at Hermann, grappling him to the ground. “I was assigned to murder you!” I laughed. “The great general of the Nazi party! I shot myself in the hip, starved my stomach until I appeared like a walking corpse, planted myself in your path, and pretended that I cared about YOU!”

I thrust strike after strike. Hermann punctured my wound with the blade, driving it till its hilt. I gritted my teeth, stifling an agonizing cry. I ripped the knife from my hip and plunged it into his chest.

His body fell limp as his sparkling blue eyes fluttered shut. I rested my palm against his chest, awaiting the rhythmic tone of his pounding heart. Silence. My mission was complete.

I peered above to see a veil of luminous stars. I could hear a shuffle of feet treading against the dirt. I strained my eyes in its direction. Pacing figures were visible in the distance. My brigade had come to collect me. “Over here!” I called. “I’m by the well!” They began to rush to my side. “I completed the mission!” I hollered. They heightened their speed. “HE’S DEAD!”

Pairs of beady yellow eyes gleamed against the darkness.


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