Tales of War

​”Enemy forces are continuing their attack. The brave men of our national military are doing their best to stop their advance. The Prime Minister urges us to stay strong and united in these times of peril.”

 The breaking news on the radio could be barely heard over the sounds of bullets in the distant. The young woman sat in the middle of the room holding her daughter tight. There were some girls crying in a corner. Two old men were praying to God, asking for forgiveness for their sins in this life. The young mother too, started praying, asking God to protect her husband in the frontlines.

“Mama, what is happening?”, her daughter, who would turn five this spring, asked.

“It will be alright.”, she replied, as planes dropped bombs in the distance.

“Mama, where is Papa?”, her daughter asked again, with eyes full of innocence.

She could not reply. He was in the military, and was fighting in the frontlines. It had been over two months since she last got any news of him. She didn’t even know where he was right now, alive or in the afterlife. She didn’t know if he would ever return to sing a lullaby to their little girl like before, who expectantly waited for him to come back. She looked at her daughter who was still waiting for a reply. She would have to answer this question with a lie again.

Her reply was muffled by the sound of an explosion nearby.

“Mama, what was that? Why is everyone running? I am scared. I want to go to Papa.”, the little girl screamed with tears in her eyes.

“Its all right, dear.”, her mother said, holding her close to her chest. “Papa will return soon.”, she said, as enemy aircrafts flew over them.

“You know what? Lets play a game.”, the young mother said, with a broken smile. “Close your eyes and count to three.”

The little girl closed her eyes and started counting.

“One… Two…”

There was no three.

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Your Mom Called

“Hey, its your mother.”, the personal assistant said, while holding on to the call that had just come through.

“Oh.”, replied Richard. “Just tell her I am busy right now. I will call her later.”, he said.

“Yes sir.”, his assistant replied.

“Don’t get me wrong,”, Richie said to himself, “its not that I hate her or anything. I absolutely adore her. Its just that I find her interest in my life, a little too suffocating.”

Richard loved his mother. He just didn’t find it necessary to answer all of her questions and calls. He was a believer of personal space and a very busy man. His mother would call every now and then to check on him, as if he was little boy who was going to school for the first time, and he found this a little annoying. He liked that she cared, but he didn’t like how much she cared. He saw it as unnecessary.

Richie used to answer his mother’s calls at the end of the day, every now and then, but it soon felt too bothersome. That plan was failing. He soon started letting his assistant answer the calls. His assistant had become his perfect backup for this job. The assistant would answer the call, and inform him, and would give a reply according to his instructions. Most of the time it would be an excuse that Richie was busy. Very soon, the assistant stopped bothering him about what to reply. He already knew the drill.

Richard would go around doing his work. His assistant would handle all of his mother’s calls, and at the end of the day, tell him about it. This system felt perfect for Richie, and he got really used to it. Soon, the calls from his mom were less frequent, and he felt the system worked pretty well.

But right now, as he stood outside of the ICU, he regretted this system. His mother was inside, fighting for her life, and as he realised the probability of losing her, he realised all the calls he had ignored and skipped. He was angry at himself for not talking to her directly when he had the chance, but instead relying on his stupid assistant. His mother had probably called recently, and he didn’t even know what she had said. He felt a deep pain in his heart.

“Please God, help me…”, Richard prayed, his thoughts scattered all over the place.

His chain of thought was interrupted by the sudden vibration of his smartphone. He answered the call. It was his assistant.

“Sir”, it was his assistant, ” Today, your mom called. She wanted to ask if you would like to have dinner with her tonight. She also asked me to tell you that She loves you.”

Richard dropped his smartphone, accompanied by tears from his eyes, the pain in his heart too strong for him to keep it inside anymore.

This is the continuation of the story that started with “No backup”. Please do read that story too.
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No Backup

“Its always good to have a backup.” Richard said, tossing a coin. “Everything has a backup. It will help you actually succeed, unlike prayers. “, he preached, as the coin landed on the table.

His friends nodded in agreement. No, they were not really his friends. Richard just viewed them as an accessory, a bunch of people he liked to hang out with. He wasn’t attached to them, nor was he addicted to them. If they left him, he had another bunch like them ready. After all, he was a man who felt the need to have backup for everything.

“Sir, here is the bill.”, the waiter put the bill on the table.

“Richie, I guess its your turn to pay.”, one of his ‘friends’ asked.

“Sure.”, Richie replied as he opened his wallet. There was not enough cash in it. It barely covered half the payment. 

Richard sighed.

Richard Symphony Palmer, better known as Richie among his peers, was a man who had a backup for everything. He was ready for any situation, and if they fell apart, he was ready for that too, as if he was expecting it. You could call him a pessimist for this, but he was simply obsessed with backup.

This obsession started back when he was in primary school, where he was a great and hardworking student, but one day had been punished severely for failing to submit an assignment because his notebook got torn. Ever since then he started having a backup. It made him feel safe. There was a running joke among his peers that even his backup had a backup. Nobody knows if this is true, but no one dared to say it to his face because Richie had always managed to overcome his obstacle and succeed due to his obsession with backup.

“Not enough cash, Richie?,” one of the ‘friends’ asked. 

“Yeah.”, Richie said in a small voice. “Good thing I always have a backup plan.” he said, as he handed the waiter his credit card.

“Its always good to have a plan B.”, he said with a grin. The whole table burst into laughter.

Their laughter was brought to an abrupt halt by the ringing of his phone. He answered the call, still smiling, tossing a coin into the air. However, before the coin could touch the ground, Richie was out of the restaurant dashing towards the nearest bus stop.

That call came an hour ago. He was standing in front of the reception in the hospital ten minutes ago. Right now, he was standing outside the ICU.

“Please God, let her live.”, he prayed for the first time in his mature life, as Richard the man who wholeheartedly believed in backups and plan Bs, realised he had no backup ready to replace his mother.

(If you like my posts, remember to like them, comment what you think, and follow my blog for more. You are also welcome to connect with me on other social sites. Stay awesome. 😊)