The night was dark, and wind filled the cold winter sky. Alim, a young boy at the age of 16, was trekking outside to find more firewood for his family. He dared not travel far from his home though, for there were reports of many conflicts around his home. Alim knew, of course, that these were only because of the war. Russian soldiers began to invade Afghanistan earlier that year, causing huge fights between the people of Afghanistan and the Russian soldiers. Alim shook his head and shuddered, trying to forget about it. After a few minutes of searching, he found a pile of sticks and small logs. Alim wondered how they got there, but soon found the answer when he discovered a fallen tree not too far away. He picked up as many as he could and started to walk back home. Alim was struggling to keep all of the wood in his arms, and his breathing got heavier trying to support their weight. Carrying the load of wood back home was going to be a problem for Alim, for he was not the strongest nor the biggest person in the world. Standing at only 5’4, he was surprised that he was able to pick the wood up at all. Alim soon began to see his breath turn to mist as he got closer to home. He could see his house now, on the horizon. He wasn’t too far away from it now. After a few more steps, Alim reached his house, dropping all of the wood that he carries outside of the front door. He flopped down on the ground, trying to catch his breath. As hey lay still on the ground, he looked up at the stars in the night sky, and wished that this war would all be over soon. BANG! Alim jumped as he heard the sound of his front door slamming open.
Amil, what is all of this ruckus?!” Amils father stood menacingly at the doorway.
“Sorry Jalaal, I was just bringing some wood back home to fuel our fire.” Alim face flushed red with embarrassment as he quickly carried the wood into the house. Jalaal watched Alim trudge inside, and slowly shook his head. He didn’t know how he was going to tell his son about the bad news. As Alim walked into his house, his father slowly closed the door behind him, causing the cool breeze flowing into the house to slow to a halt. Their home was nothing special, a small shack with only a few rooms, which were used for bedrooms for Alim and Jalaal. Junk was scattered across the house, for it was hard for them to keep their house clean ever since Alims mother died. Since she has been gone, Alim and Jalaal have been living by themselves. They both had to go out and work every day to get food and make money, and it was not an easy task for them.
Alim,” said Jalaal, “I have some bad news I have to tell you.”
“What is it, Papa?” asked Alim.
“As you already know,” replied Jalaal, “The soviets are invading our country right now. I didn’t think that this would be a big deal, but it turns out that we are at war with them. And to keep the both of us safe, we will have to move somewhere else, for the Soviet soldiers are moving very close to where we are right now.”
Alims eyes started to well up. Hearing this news devastated him. He would not be able to see any of his friends again, and he would surely miss the home that he has spent his entire life living in.
“Pack your things, Alim. We need to be out of here by tomorrow.” Alim slowly nodded, trying his best not to cry in front of his father. For the rest of the night, he spent his time packing up his essentials and items that he valued, though he could not bring everything that he had. This was like torture to Alim, knowing that he would probably never see this place again. When he finished packing, he slowly flopped onto his small hammock and lay there, thinking about what stories tomorrow would bring. His eyes slowly shut, and before he knew it, he fell fast asleep. Sunlight poured into Alims eyes as he woke the next morning. Heaving a big sigh as he got up and stretched, he noticed his father standing outside of his room, waiting for him to get ready.
“Let’s go, Alim. We haven’t got much time until the soldiers get here. Try to get ready as fast as you can.” Alim nodded and got dressed in a pair of fresh clothes that were on his bed. His father must have cleaned them for him the night before. When he was dressed and has his belongings, his father sat at their dinner table and lay bread and water out for Alim to eat before they left.
“Eat up, Alim,” said Jalaal, “Try to eat as much as you can, we need to conserve our energy, for we won’t have a lot of food on our journey.” Alim nodded as he quickly ate his helping of bread and water. When he was done, Alim pushed in his chair and walked outside with his belongings. His father soon followed. Jalaal pointed to their car, a worn down pickup-truck that they have had for many years. The truck used to be a bright green color, but years of being in the sun caused the colour to fade and turn into more of a tan colour. Many dents and scratches were all over the truck, showing signs of how much Jalaal uses it everyday. Jalaal and Alim approached their truck, and opened the doors to enter. Alim jumped into the backseat, and rested his head against the door. Jalaal threw all of their stuff in the back of the truck to make more room for them inside. Jalaal then hopped into the driver seat, and put the keys for the truck into the ignition. After a few attempts, the truck roared to life, and smoke billowed out of the exhaust pipe. Jalaal started driving, and Alim looked back behind him, at the house that he has loved his entire life, knowing that he would never see it again. Tears started pouring down his face, and he closed his eyes and wept. Alim tried to lay down and go to sleep, but the bumpiness of the truck made that almost impossible.