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short story

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#1 Offline Jedi Gali

Jedi Gali
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  • 14-June 05
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Posted Jul 20 2013 - 04:05 PM

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#000080;]STARS[/color][/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]He tried to run.[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]Once, back home, he would have flown. Now, he stumbled, scrambling furiously over the mountain of small rocks. He slipped once on a patch of yellow and landed hard on his stomach. A spiky rock missed penetrating his skull by a mere finger. He would have thanked the gods, but he couldn’t think about anything but running.[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]And he ran. He ran till he could hear nothing but the pounding of his own feet, the gasping of his own breath. He ran till the sound of the waves swallowed the shouting of the men behind him. He wanted to stop and collapse till he could finally breathe again. But he kept running, mechanically, until he left the never-ending well of water behind him and was deep within the high walls of stone. [/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]Then his legs gave way. He lied there beside the sandy path, half-covered in a tangle of greenery. His chest heaved, and his legs trembled. [/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]The sun shone weakly down upon him, its feeble rays failing to warm his body as the damp cold wind grew stronger. He licked his parched lips and reached for the water sack he attached to the rope cord about his waist. Thankfully, water was plentiful here. Warmth proved more difficult to find.[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]And without it, the man would die. [/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]He grasped at the vines embedded in the rock wall, pulling himself to his feet. The wind fought his every stride and beat against his chest. These were strong, but he had felt worse in his homeland. They were fearsome golden windstorms, stirring up the sand and blinding everyone within their paths. But there, men’s homes were stronger, their eyes sharper.[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]He finally reached the makeshift hut tucked into the side of the rock. The interior of the shelter was protected on three sides by stone. One blanket stretched over the top, and a second served as a rug on the hard, rocky ground.[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]The man lay on the blanket, his eyes staring blankly and his mind wandering on sands a desert away. His skin was warm but no longer blazing like a small fire. Perhaps the man would see his children again. [/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]He held the water pouch out. “Water,” he said softly.[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]The man didn’t seem to hear him. [/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]“Water,” he repeated, louder, as he dangled it by the man’s head.[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]When the man didn’t respond, he set the pouch on the ground. Then, taking a deep breath, he slowly un-wrapped the strip of cloth from the man’s foot. The gaping wound a finger long was still oozing a foul-smelling yellow pus. He grimaced as he examined it. If anything, it looked as though the purplish red area around the wound had grown larger.[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]He wished he could heal the man, but he was young. He could only care for his camel’s wounds as they journeyed to the villages. Perhaps his mother or one of the healers from his homeland could have drawn out the poisons that snaked their way through the man’s body. And even they might not have known which were the healing leaves or roots in this plant-laden land. [/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]After pouring water over the wound, he rewrapped it in a fresh strip of cloth and began to prepare the evening fire.[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]He made it a small fire, as he was taught. His grandfather repeatedly said a cold man was never warmed by a large fire – he was too afraid of being burned alive to crouch close to the life-giving flames. [/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]Darkness settled quickly, hanging heavily over the night like a black fog. He longed for a glimpse of the stars, but the evil men could recapture him if he ventured out.[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]He jerked alert at the sound from the makeshift tent. [/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]The man’s breathing was loud. The air fought to leave his mouth with a wheezing struggle. For once, his eyes were sharp. His gaze was alert. The man grabbed onto his hand, and his grip was strong.[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]“Tell them.”[/font] 

[font="'times new roman', serif;"]He started at the words. This was the first the man had said in days.[/font] 

[font="'times new roman', serif;"]“My son is a strong man. His body is strong. And his heart is strong.” Pride drowned out the pain in his eyes. “And my daughters…They are beautiful, as their mother was.” He gasped for another breath. “Her eyes, like the stars. Tell them.”[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]He leaned close as the man’s voice grew softer. “What do you wish I tell them?”[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]The man’s grip tightened, and the longing in his face increased. “Tell them.”[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]He felt a pang of hurt for this man he met on the ship. He hurt for the man, for his son and daughters whose father was stolen from them. [/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]The man drew another breath, painfully. “I – I will see them. Tell them.”[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]He squeezed the man’s hand and pressed it to his strong chest. “On my life.”[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]The man’s eyes were shining. “I will.” His words were faint.[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]He hurt for the man who would never see the stars again.[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]“I –” the man’s voice broke.[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]He held his breath.[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]“I am coming home.”[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]And all was silent.[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]****[/font]


[font="'times new roman', serif;"]:kaukau: [color=#0000ff;]-[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]JG[/color][/font][/font]

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