September 11, 2040
The two men faced each other. Around them lay the bodies of tens of thousands of soldiers, their flesh rotting in the humid air. The sky was dark red, as if it were a testimony to the amount of blood shed that day. In war, it is often said that there are no winners or losers, just lies and deception. Honor. Fame. Glory. This is what they thought awaited them at the end of twenty years of fighting. Who said it was righteous to die for one’s country? Dulce et Decorum est pro Patria Mori. The only thing we fight for in war is the right to live for another day. But the irony of this was lost upon the two men. There they stood, at the crossroads of the battlefield and their lives. Not a word was spoken and yet they knew exactly what the other one was thinking.
August 30, 2045
Alan stood there, shocked. It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. He was justice. He was supposed to be the saviour of mankind and yet, somehow, things had not gone his way. He clenched his teeth. Goddammit. He had to face the truth now. If ninety percent of the world population was now dead, he had been completely wrong. Tears stung his eyes. Those bloody Muslims. It was supposed to be so simple. After everything they had done to his beautiful homeland, it was them who were still suffering. What did others see in them that he couldn’t? No. It’s not that he couldn’t see, he had refused to see. Sobs wracked his body. Hatred blinded him and now the world was suffering.
Men, women, children. They’re all the same once they’re dead.
The sound of gunshots being fired could be heard in the distance. It still continued. He stared into the eyes of the small girl he had just shot. They were bright blue. Completely innocent to the horrors of the world that she used to lived in. The eyes. They were pleading with him. Within those eyes, he saw the truth.
He had been wrong.
Even then, the massacre never stopped. It was too late to stop. Alan let out a heart rending scream. It is usually during the darkest of times that the true nature of a man is seen. But, it’s also when he is the most vulnerable.
Alan lay there, sobbing over the girl’s dead body. The past cannot be rewritten, only confronted.
That’s what he thought.
September 11, 2004
A boy sat in his room, watching the television. The towers burned, along with his hatred. Tears streamed down his face, but he was unaware of them. His mother and father, gone in an instant. And he had seen it happen. His nails bit into his palm, making them bleed. They would pay. Every one of them. They would understand the meaning of the word grief. “Just wait”, he said to himself.
A boy of ten crawled up the last few steps to the house. His hair was caked with mud and his clothes were in tatters. His eyes had a hardened look, as though he had seen things no boy should have seen at that age. He knocked on the door with everything he had left.
The door opened and a woman stood at the doorstep. She had black hair and she had a faint smile on her lips. She looked at him and he looked back. No questions were asked. She gently took him by the hand and led him into the house he would later call home.
June 6, 2020
(America has just invaded The East, launching a Holy Crusade against all Muslims due to the terrorist activities of the R.O.I. a.k.a Republic of Islam. All the Eastern countries have united together to form a country called Islam. They were supported by the European Union and Russia, who were against America’s radical approach to Muslims )
March 3, 2025
His home lay in ruins. The sound of warfare filled the air. Iqbal couldn’t stop the flow of tears. The person he had come to call his mother lay before him, dying. He took her hand in his and squeezed it gently, to let her know that he was still there. She opened her eyes and looked at him.
“Iqbal,” she whispered, “you came to my house with no name and now you have to leave because you have no home. I’m sorry.”
“There’s nothing to apologize for. You were there for me when no one else was. You gave me a place I could call home. And for that I will be eternally grateful”, he said.
“You were always good with words.” She looked into his eyes. “I am glad that I could call myself your mother.” Her hand went limp as she moved on to a better place.
Iqbal sat there, rage and grief coursing through his blood. They would pay. Every one of them.They would understand the meaning of the word grief. “Just wait”, he said to himself.
October 15, 2031
( Iqbal has become a general in the Islamic army, the main force against the Americans. There have been severe casualties on both sides. However, the tide of the war is swinging America’s way due to the American military leader, Alan. Iqbal vows to kill him. )
August 30, 2035
For the past 31 years, Iqbal has been having the same dream. The bodies of his brothers and sisters, heaped across the battlefield like trash. A fire rages in the background, burning a once beautiful city to the ground. Amidst the chaos, Iqbal is holding a girl who resembled the woman who raised him in Baghdad. But she is already dead. Iqbal screams in agony. He was unable to save her, yet again.
The past cannot be changed, but the future is another matter.
September 11, 2040
Iqbal and Alan faced each other. Around them lay the bodies of tens of thousands of soldiers, their flesh rotting in the humid air. The sky was dark red, as if it were a testimony to the amount of blood shed that day. Neither believed in destiny and yet they both knew that their lives were entwined.
There they stood, at the crossroads of the battlefield and their life.
Alan pointed his gun at Iqbal, laughing maniacally.
“Your life ends here.”
Iqbal chuckles.”The past cannot be rewritten, only confronted.”
Alan looked puzzled for a moment, as if remembering a long lost dream.
Iqbal looked at Alan’s perplexed expression and bursts out laughing. Alan turns furious. “What are you laughing at, you dog?! If you don’t behave I’ll put you down!”
Iqbal smiled sadly,”Maybe when you’re older, you’ll understand.”
“Don’t mock me!”, he pointed the gun at Iqbal’s head.
“Hatred only begets more hatred. I’ve come to understand that now.” Iqbal calmly replied. He sighed and said, “I wish I’d understood it sooner.”
“Enough of your nonsense!” Alan pulled the trigger.
During that moment, one second turned infinite, and the world stood still. Not a word was spoken and yet they knew exactly what the other one was thinking.
After all, they were the same person.
Alan lay there, dead by his own hand.
When the chaos is over, and the wind dies down, the truth is always in front of you. We are the monsters under our own beds, but it takes a look in the mirror to realize that.
Aravind Anand is an aspiring story teller currently studying Electronics and Communications Engineering at NIT Calicut. An avid fan of Japanese culture, he can be found binge watching the latest anime and shooting hoops at the nearest basketball court.