The Stars Were Full Of Pain And Agony

a Short Story by Parker Emrich

The village was quiet that night, even the birds were silent. That's how you knew something was coming. My brother Imad and I were sitting in our hut relaxing by the lamplight playing our favorite game, Tushla Baazi, while our mother paced around the room. I decided to ask her, “Is there something wrong mother?” She had a despondent look on her face, then she said “They are coming for us as they came for your father! we must leave tonight.” My brother and I were nervous, we had never left home. We packed our things and left but before my mother closed the door I asked “Why must we leave mother? Imad and I have friends here.” She looked at me with guilt in her eyes and responded “There is a revolution going on in Afghanistan, we must leave before we get swept up in the bloodshed.”

“But won't the Americans get rid of the bad guys?” I said innocently. “Not this time Mufama, the Americans are too busy fighting the other ‘bad guys’”. My mother said with a slight hint of spite in her words. We walked along the road for about three hours till we saw a car approaching. It was so dark we could only see the headlights, my mother told us to go wait behind the bushes until she was done talking to the driver. She went up to the vehicle, “Hello sir, I was wondering if you could let me-” She gasped as three men got out of the truck. They were wearing outfits kind of like dad used to wear. “Look what we got here Akmal.” One of the men said. “What are you doing out this late young lady?” Another said. “I’m just trying to get to the port.” My mother said warily. “ No one leaves Biladuna on my watch.” I saw a flash and a loud bang, then the men got in the truck and drove away.

I ran over to my mother and saw she had been shot. “Mama,” I said, shaking and crying. “Don’t worry my son, one day you will make it out of this country.” My mother continued. “Go to the Gwadar Port and beg for work in exchange for a boat ride to an airport in Greece, it is safe there, then ask for a job there. Save all the money you can and buy a plane ticket to Delaware, that's where your Uncle Omar lives, he will help you. And remember, never lose hope whatever you do, I love you.” She exhaled very slowly after that. I kept trying to talk to her but she wouldn't say anything, my brother Imad reminded me that we need to keep moving. I stifled a sob and we arrived at the port by dawn. We talked to the boatman and he said we could work for him by unloading things on cargo ships in exchange for a ride to Gorduras Airport in Greece. We took the offer and worked relentlessly for a year and a half until he finally agreed to take us to Greece.

It was a three-week-long journey but we eventually made it to Gorduras. It was Beautiful. The boatman convinced one of the rich people who lived near the airport to let us work for them as cleaners for their private jets. It was hard work but after a couple of months, we finally had enough money for a flight to Delaware. As we were sitting at the gate with the boatman who had decided to stay with us until we got on the plane, we saw on the news that the uprising had succeeded in overthrowing the Afghan government. Imad and I were only twelve so we asked the boatman to tell us why they were overthrowing the government. He said to me, “ some people just like power Mufama, they don't care about anyone else and would rather watch the world burn than let anyone else be happy.” He said with anger in his voice. “Flight 773 to Delaware is now boarding, enjoy your flight!” Said a perky woman on the intercom. Imad and I both hugged the boatman and said goodbye. As we boarded the plane I felt proud that we had made it this far. After fourteen long hours in the air, we arrived at Cape May Airport in Delaware.

“Please fasten your seatbelts and put your trays in the upright position, we will be landing soon.” Said a chipper pilot. “ I can't believe we finally made it Imad,” I said excitedly. Once we got to the gate we saw a tall Afghan man about six feet tall, we knew it had to be Uncle Omar. Standing next to him was a small woman, white as a lily probably Aunt Rebecca. We ran and hugged Uncle Omar, he looked sad and said to us

“ I’m so sorry about what happened to your mother. She never really liked me but let’s not talk about the dead. I'm just happy you two are safe.” We got into his car and drove out to his ‘Casa El Macho’. It was so much bigger than a hut, it even had a second floor.

Imad and I lived with them for about five years, we went to school in Delaware and were even able to get a car. Since we lived in the U.S. for five years, Uncle Omar told us that we could be ‘citizens’. So one day Imad and I decided to go to the immigration office in Delaware and apply for citizenship.

“So that's how we got here Ms. Smith.” I said “Wow Mufama that's a lot to carry after all these years.” said the immigration officer. “So does that mean we’ll get to live here?” I said eagerly. “ I can't say for sure, but it's very likely you’ll be granted asylum.”She said, “Thank you so much for listening to us Ma’am.” I said, “No problem, it’s my job.” She said nicely. After that I returned home and saw Uncle Omar sitting on the couch, he is fifty-three now and so is Aunt Rebecca. I woke him up to tell him the news. He was ecstatic. “You’ve done it, my boy! I can’t believe it.” Said Uncle Omar. Aunt Rebecca was just as happy, if not more so. “ Good job hun, you did great.” She said. This was the start of a new free life in America.


Eleven years later, “ I still can’t believe it got published, babe!” Said my wife, obviously in a good mood. “ Will Imad be joining us for the celebration?” Said my wife “ I’m honestly not sure honey, he’s so busy with Lockheed Martin these days, it’s no wonder he doesn't have a wife.” I said. “ What about your Aunt? Will she attend?” She said curiously “ I don’t think so, ever since Uncle Omar died last year she hasn’t done much of anything other than cook.” I said. My book has been a huge success ‘The stars were full of pain and agony’ or TSWFWPAA for short. “Rrrrrring” Went the phone. I picked it up wondering who could be on the other side. “ Hello? Who might this be?” I said, “ Why Jeanine of course!” Said, my energetic assistant. “ Oh hi, Jeanine, What's up?” I said breathing a sigh of relief. “ Nothing much, we just broke 3 million dollars in donations for Journey 7000!” She said nonchalantly. “ Really! That’s great news, awesome job Jeanine.” I said, “ Thank you, sir, it's a pleasure.” She said, then hung up. “

I’m so excited for what's next, honey.” I said, “ Thanks babe, me too.” Said, my wife.

I think I’m finally happy.

About the Author

Parker Gray Emrich, Is a 13 year old highschool student for the Lakeland Institute For Learning, He enjoys writing, playing chess, and watching scary movies. His short story The Stars Were Full Of Pain And Suffering is based of his own father's struggle to escape Afghanistan during a revolution.