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William King

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  1. William King

    Chapter 31

    I'm pleased you liked the book, but there will not be any sequel. I doubt I could write a refugee's perspective of life in my own country, let alone in Canada, a country I've never been to and know very little about (although I did know a Canadian girl when I was sixteen...lol).
  2. I agree with BHooper. If it's a mature story you've got your warning. You are also free to stop reading at anytime the story takes you towards somewhere you don't want to go. I doubt you open a book that starts with a graphic rape scene or violent murder, but I could be wrong. In any event I regard 'mature' as an adult library, for adults. You can easily wait for a book to be finished, read the comments and reviews, before embarking on the story. If you choose to post chapter warnings, that's up to the author, but personally I think they are in the wrong place. Who wants to get halfway through a book to find a chapter they can't read. If the book is violent etc. tell the reader in the summary using the description of the story or adding a specific warning if you like.
  3. Chapter Fifteen and the epilogue are posted.
  4. I don't think we have fundementally different ideas, we are looking at things from a different angle, that's all. "We simply ended up 'lucky' enough to have our dice rolled." I'm not picking you up on phraseology, but that does kind of beg the question - who rolled the dice! But I get what you are saying, it's random chance that we are here. However, there is one big question, do you have an immortal soul?
  5. There are only three categories of books on GA, suitable for everyone, teen, and mature. That is reasonably clear. Thus any books with descriptions of graphic sex, violence, drug abuse, rape, fall into the label mature. Meaning, for adults 18 years or over. There is no need for trigger warnings on chapters. There are no warnings whatsoever on published books and I see no reason to change things. Any warnings such as 'Some of the content of this book is graphic and includes....' should if required be at the beginning of the book and such warnings should be compiled by the website owners, whose responsibiity it is for the material published on their site. So if required a choice of warnings, or a warning, to be checked on the new story publication process. This really is up to the website to decide it's policy. I think it would be difficult to introduce given the hundreds of books already published, so there really is no debate. If you think you might be adversely affected by something you read, do not read the category 'mature.' I did a quick search of books by rating and it is roughly 50:50 split between mature, teen and everyone, so there is plenty of choice for every type and age of reader.
  6. No it isn't, I disagree. There is chance and luck and all sorts of twists and turns in life, but it is not meaningless. You have this life to live, but that is not all there is. Life is a journey from the cradle to the grave and one where it is encombrant upon you to make the best of it that you can, to not be selfish and to try to be good in all things. 'Do the right thing,' is not a few words to be taken lightly. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. William Shakespeare - Hamlet. We are all seekers of the light, and that includes everyone whether you realise it or not.
  7. William King

    Chapter 31

    I could never tell you how it would end, although I tried to hint that it would not be all bad and there would be hope. I think there is always hope for things to get better.
  8. William King

    Chapter 29

    @JeffreyL Thank you for you comments. It was written to be real, so I guess if it provoked an emotional reaction, it succeeded. It was emotional to write, and I should be pleased that this came across, although I never set out with this in mind, only to tell their story and do it justice.
  9. William King

    Chapter 31

    Chapter Thirty-One - Goodbyes. It's sometimes odd how things work out, fall into place, in a way you could never imagine. Something is said, something happens, one thing leads to another. The ripple effect. A tiny drop in the ocean spreads out in all directions, touching different people in different ways. They were all four there to meet Jeff and Alec off the plane. It was kind of weird, like a family event. Only Jordan and Amelie were not old enough to be the parents, but Jeff and Alec certainly qualified as grandparents. Suddenly there they were, emerging from behind a real family. Pushing a trolley loaded with two cases and hand luggage. Samir waved at Alec, who smiled back nodding and raising a hand from the trolley in acknowledgement. Soon after, they were standing around in a group, speaking all at once. “Good flight?” Jordan asked. “Okay,” Jeff replied. “You look like the photo,” Samir told Alec. “Well yes, I guess that's good then,” he smiled. “I can't believe you came,” Firas was saying. “Why? Why Not?” Jeff replied. “Because...” And now Firas went all shy. Jeff put an arm around the boy, “Because what?” He said gently. “Because it’s so far for one thing, because you only just spoke once with us, because you...” he trailed off again. “I know,” Jeff told him, squeezing his shoulder. “Because we don't know you. And you don't know us either.” “But that will all change soon enough, if you want?” Alec added. “Yes we do, we do,” Samir was just so excited. Firas was too, but he couldn't believe it was really happening. “We want, yes... please,” Firas said, bowing his head and looking down at the floor. He didn't know if he had said the right thing or the wrong thing. Alec came over and gently lifted his chin up. “Don't worry, my boy. We are here for you and you can count on us. Sometimes there will be misunderstandings. Language, life, whatever. We'll get through it all together. Okay?” He smiled his biggest, friendliest, smile. He knew it would not be easy, but this seemed like destiny. Something that the two of them had talked about, but never thought would happen. 'God it's strange how things work out,' he thought. ***** They'd arranged to eat again at the little restaurant where the vines climbed over the roof of the terrace. The food, even if it was a hamburger and fries, was simple and good. It was a place where everyone could feel relaxed and talk. There was a lot of getting to know you to be done. Amelie chatted to Jeff during the trip from the airport. She explained what Bazyli had done through the people he knew. There would be no need to attend an interview in person. It was more or less all arranged, almost a formality. But it would take a couple of weeks. Then both boys would, all things going as planned, be granted asylum – refugee status. Jeff and Alec could return to Canada once the boys had their papers. The rest was over to them to sort out. Amelie explained her time was almost up and she had to be on a plane home at the end of the week. She also told them Jordan would inevitably be going home when they left with the boys. “He could always fly back with us to Toronto,” Jeff told her. “I don't know. You will have to talk to him about it. But not when the boys are around. The separation is going to be hard.” “Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?” “Well, it depends what it is.” “Are you and Jordan, um, together or…?” “We've become close friends,” she interrupted him. “Nothing more.” “I see.” Alec wondered about that as well, but he said nothing. The boys were with Jordan in another taxi ahead of Jeff, Alec and Amelie. They passed the journey asking Jordan endless questions about Jeff and Alec, which Jordan was unable to answer. “You will have to ask them those questions. They are nice people, but I don't know much more than you do.” “Yes, but you know a bit more,” Firas replied. Jordan ruffled his hair. “What do you think, I'm hiding something?” He laughed. “No, but, why?” Firas asked. “That question Firas is like you asking me why I took you to Antalya. Like asking why Burhan let you all live with him. Why Ayberk helped Samir and Amar cross the border. I am sure there are lots of reasons. And I am sure that Alec and Jeff will tell you. Even then, sometimes we don't know ourselves why we do everything. Why we make certain choices.” For awhile there was only the sound of the engine and the music the driver had playing on the radio. Neither Firas nor Samir spoke. Until after several minutes, Firas posed another question. “Why did you take us to Antalya?” “That's easy,” Jordan smiled. “Because there were three spare places in the jeep.” “And why did you sail the yacht from Greece to rescue us and take us to Europe?” “That is a harder question. I felt like I had made you a promise. I was responsible for you in some way. So I had to do whatever I could. Actually, that sounds kind of grand. It was an adventure. One thing just led to another.” “You're a very good man,” Samir told him. “Not really.” 'He wasn't any kind of hero, just an average American,' he told himself. “When I got pulled from the rubble after the bomb. When our apartment was destroyed. The doctor told me ‘We will take care of you.’ But it never happened. Amar and you did though. You both took care of me.” There were tears in the young boy's eyes and also in Jordan's eyes. He hugged them both. ***** “Amelie's gone with the boys to see Halil and Rifat. You remember I mentioned they were all living together in the camp?” Jordan was telling Jeff and Alec. “She wants to give them Bazyli's number and also to say goodbye.” “Will this friend of hers be able to help them too?” Jeff asked him. “I wish it were that simple, but I don't think so. You see their situation is quite different. Their family is living in Turkey, so it's more complicated.” “Because they're not orphans?” Alec asked. “You know I am far from being any sort of expert in all this. Amelie probably knows a lot more than I do. But yes, I suppose because they aren't orphans. Halil is an adult. It could also be argued they are safe in Turkey. It may not be the best place in the world for them to live, but it's not a war zone.” “I guess everyone wants to come to Europe,” Jeff added. “The land of promise they call it. Yeah it’s the dream, the goal.” “So what about you?” Alec asked him. “What about me?” “Do you want to come back with us to Canada?” “Oh, I see. No Alec, I don't think so. You and Jeff will be more than able to look after the boys and to give them a great new start in life. I can't really imagine it working out better than with you.” “You will come and see us won’t you?” Alec asked Jordan. “The boys will want to see you, Amelie would like to see you, and so would Jeff and I.” Jordan smiled. “My whole life,” Alec continued, “I've had one ambition unfulfilled. I always made excuses, not enough time, no inspiration, I won’t be any good.” “And what was this great ambition Alec?” Jordan posed the question. “To write a book. But you need a good story don't you?” “I imagine you do,” Jordan grinned. “And I'm sure you're about to tell me you've got it.” “Too right I am, and what a story. One that deserves to be told. So I need you to visit us to check up on how we're doing.” “With your book? You could email it.” “Not with the book, idiot,” Alec smiled gently. “Oh I see.” ***** Athens airport was becoming as well known to them as the port and town of Piraeus, Jordan kissed Amelie on the cheek and hugged her. Samir and Firas hugged her, and made her promise to visit when they followed her home to Toronto. Alec and Jeff thanked her for everything and said they would be in touch soon. It should not be long before they were all back home. Jordan watched her go through the gate into the departure lounge. He wondered about his feelings. He felt a pang of loss as she walked away, but he told himself he had let her go. He had made a choice, he could have done things different, but he hadn't. ***** “Are you both happy to go and live with Alec and Jeff?” Jordan asked the boys. “Of course we are,” Samir told him. “Yes, definitely,” Firas added. “But...” He didn't know how to say what he wanted to tell Jordan. Jordan looked at Firas, something passed between them that was indefinable, but they both felt it. They looked each other in the eyes. “I know,” was all Jordan could say. Samir felt it too, there was an emotion floating just out of reach. He loved Jordan, he could never repay him for what he had done, but he knew for Firas there was something more. It made him think of Amar – ‘we made it Amar, we all made it, just not maybe quite how we imagined!’ □ □ □ THE END.
  10. This really is an American thing (problem?). EXAMPLE a survey shows 35% of Americans read Bible verse at least once a week, one third of the country! Compare that to 6% British who read the Bible, attend church, and whom you might define as practicing Christians. In summary: most Europeans don't pay any attention to the Bible and are not concerned by what it says or doesn't say. Whereas a very large number of Americans might be viewed from this side of the Atlantic as religious fanatics that pursue a life style influenced excessively by Christianity, something difficult to relate to in the 21st Century.
  11. William King

    Chapter 29

    Chapter Twenty-Nine - We are the Bearers of Light. Things became hectic over the weekend. Amelie phoned Bazyli who gave her the number of a friend with a cheap apartment he was leaving. They needed to contact him soon to go and look at it, because if it was okay for them, that would solve the accommodation problem. Doctor Jukas called and arranged for them to come and see Samir at the hospital. She thought it would be a good idea if they spent the afternoon together as a group, and if they could tell Samir about the death of Amar. That was going to be difficult, how they would ever manage to do it neither Amelie nor Jordan knew. Doctor Jukas would of course be there, but she said it would be so much better if this came from friends. If, and it was a really big if, everything went well, she could fix a date for Samir to be discharged from the hospital. With all this going on, Amelie had no time to talk about Mrs. Westmuller and Jeff and Alec. They wanted to spend as much time as possible with Firas, which meant all weekend. He, after all had no one. Rifat and Halil had each other and their family, even if their family were back in Turkey. They met Firas Saturday morning at the camp, had tea together with Rifat and Halil, then the three of them went into town. Jordan wanted to get clothes for Firas, nothing special, just new jeans and a t-shirt. He thought it would take their mind off things, sort of get everything more normal. During the shopping trip, and over lunch somewhere, they could talk about what was going on. The shopping went very well, Firas was over the moon to be with Jordan again, and he soon found a pair of Levis he liked. They were a compromise between classic jeans and that washed out with holes look. So they were a little faded, but smart enough to look presentable on a sixteen year old. The t-shirts were easy, Jordan just insisted they ignored the provocative slogans, so no I'm F**king Great! or Suck This. How parents would ever let their kids walk around with slogans like those blazoned across their chests, Jordan couldn't imagine. His own mom and dad would have a fit. Firas took a fancy to one of those hoodies that are ever so popular. Amelie and Jordan decided it was okay so long as he didn't walk around all day long with the hood over his head. Firas laughed and pulled the hood over his head. “You mean like this?” He danced around in the shop until they caught hold of him. Jordan pulled the hood off and Amelie playfully slapped his butt. “Ouch!” He said feigning injury, but Jordan and Amelie laughed. He had to promise to not put the hood up. They found a little café-bar-restaurant for lunch, and sat at a table out on the terrace shaded by a wooden pergola with twisted vines growing all over. Little green bunches of grapes hung down here and there, but it was too early in the year for them to be ready. Nevertheless, it was quite picturesque; they could almost be a family on vacation. “Firas,” Jordan began, having decided to broach some serious stuff. “Yes,” he replied looking up from his burger and fries. “I need to talk to you about some important things, serious things, and man to man.” Amelie remained silent. Firas stopped eating for a moment, looking directly at Jordan. “Don't worry, it’s nothing bad.” He seemed relieved to hear that and went back to finishing off his fries. “First I...” he glanced over at Amelie. “We, need your help. The doctor looking after Samir would like him to be able to leave the hospital. Before he can there are some things that need to be done.” Firas finished his plate, took a drink of his Coke and turned to regard Jordan. “We need to go and see some accommodation that Amelie has sorted out for us, to see if it’s okay.” He smiled at Amelie, then turned his attention to Firas. “Then, and this is where we need you, we have to go and see Samir, and...” He paused, thinking what, or rather how he should say the next part. Firas who had been silent up to this point thought he knew what Jordan wanted to say. “And,” Firas interrupted. “We need to tell him about Amar.” Jordan looked away, this was difficult, he was still emotionally raw. It was hard to look at Firas and still keep things together. Despite the reassurance from Amelie, he was unable to believe he was not personally responsible for what happened. In some way, he blamed himself because he brought the boys to Greece and left them alone on the island of Rhodes. “It's not your fault, Jordan,” Firas told him. Was this boy psychic, or what? ‘How did he know I was thinking like that,’ Jordan said to himself. “We will do it together. It will be all right. You will see. It will.” Jordan could have cried, but he held his emotions in check. This boy was just... simply, completely, too much. Amelie intervened to ask Firas if he wanted dessert, and when he understood what dessert meant, he smiled a huge grin and nodded his head vigorously. Over chocolate, vanilla, coffee ice cream, with chocolate chips, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream, it was difficult for Jordan to stop smiling as he tackled the next big issue. He briefly explained, keeping things simple, about the programme to go to live in Canada. Sponsored by a Canadian couple. “CANADA!” Firas almost choked on his ice cream. “Yes,” Jordan said calmly, “but nothing is certain yet. Don't get your hopes up too high.” “I don't understand,” he looked at Jordan. “It might happen, but it is not definite, not yet fixed, arranged.” “Oh,” was all he said, but he sounded a little sad. Jordan wasn't sure if he was doing this right. If he wasn't just building up hopes that might never materialise into reality. It suddenly occurred to him what a huge change this would be. He hadn't properly considered things. He wasn't looking at it from Firas’ point of view. It was so normal for him, the idea of living in Canada, but for Firas it would be life changing. “I'm sorry. I didn't mean to build things up and tear them down again.” “It's all right, Jordan. You're doing your best. I know.” Firas pushed aside his dessert, stood up, and came around to wrap his arms around Jordan and give him a big hug. Amelie looked on, only she could have seen the tiny tear in the corner of Jordan's eye. “Well,” Jordan had an emotional quiver in his voice he could not hide. “There are a couple of elderly, retired, men who might like to talk to you and us about this.” “What is re...tired?” Firas asked. “To be old enough that you no longer work.” “How old is that?” Firas wanted to know. “I don't know. Sixty, seventy years old.” “Wow. That's old. A bit like Burhan, he was old. But I'm not sure how old.” Jordan smiled. “You said they are two mens?” Firas questioned. “A gay couple,” Jordan watched, searching for his reaction. “Burhan was like that. But I didn't mind. He was nice.” There was silence as Firas went back to finishing his ice cream. Then he glanced up again. “Is this for me and Samir?” “Yes, it would be a home for the two of you.” “Would we have to sleep with these men? I don't mind... really, it’s okay.” Tears came into Jordan's eyes, and this time he couldn't control his emotions. All he could do was bury his head in his arms on the table and try to cry silent tears. Amelie moved over to comfort him. She too had tear drops glistening in her eyes. “Did I say something wrong?” Firas looked a little worried. “No, Firas, you said nothing wrong,” Amelie told him. “Jordan is just... feeling a bit sad.” “Oh, I'm sorry,” Firas was not sure why Jordan was crying, but if it wasn't because of him, it must be because he is thinking that Amar will not be with them in Canada. ***** Doctor Jukas led them along the corridor and into a room, which had comfy chairs set out in almost a circle. The wall on the far side was made up mostly of windows. Those large metal framed ones that didn't open. Amelie and Jordan walked around the room, Firas followed behind Jordan, then he moved to look out the window. There were tall trees whose leaves covered the car park, providing great swaths of shaded parking; it was difficult to see more than the tiniest glimpse of the cars below. They were on the third floor; it was quiet, with the exception of the cool air blowing into the room from metal grills in the wall near the ceiling. Old discoloured blinds covered the top half of the windows, lowered at different heights and odd angles. The one on the right sloped down on one side at such a degree as to scrunch up the opposite side into uneven folds. They waited. Doctor Jukas had gone to fetch Samir. When the door next opened, Doctor Jukas stepped into the room with Samir. There was an initial silence, then Firas walked over and hugged the boy with both arms wrapped around his back. “Look...” He told him. “Jordan came back to get us.” Samir, who had not reacted to Firas hugging him, stood with his arms at his side, watching the floor. When he raised his eyes, Jordan smiled and went to join in the hug. He gently brushed his hand through Samir's hair and kissed the top of his head. He felt Samir raise an arm and his little hand gripped Jordan. Doctor Jukas had been watching this initial encounter, and satisfied everything was well, she spoke quietly, “I'll leave you and come back later.” She closed the door behind her, the click as it shut seemed unnaturally loud in the silence of the room. “Come and sit next to me,” Jordan told Samir. He moved two chairs so they were side by side, and they both sat. Firas and Amelie took chairs at each side, Amelie next to Jordan, Firas next to Samir. “How are you, Samir?” Jordan immediately thought what a stupid question that was. “It's so good to see you.” “I've really missed you too,” Firas added. Samir raised his head. He regarded first Firas, then Jordan. “It's...” This was the only word he managed before tears filled his eyes. Jordan kneeled down in front of him, hugged him again, stroked his hair, and held his hand. “You can cry, it’s okay... it's okay.” For the next four or five minutes Samir bowed his head and sobbed. “You don't have to talk. Only if you want too,” Jordan told him. “You remember a long time back, I told Firas and Amar not to bother you. I told them you would speak when you were ready.” Samir looked up again; Jordan wiped the tears on his cheeks with his hand. “Amar?” Samir said. Jordan cupped his hands under Samir's chin, he looked him in the eyes. “Amar didn't make it. He's in paradise with Burhan and all his family.” Jordan didn't know if this was too soon, too brutal. Would it make things worse or better, he had no idea. Should he have told him? No one else spoke, or even moved. It was strangely quiet again. Samir did not cry. “I...” Samir whispered. “I thought...” He stopped, he didn't cry, just fell silent. Jordan couldn't tell what he was going to say. At least, he thought, he is talking, sort of. After a while, Jordan decided the only thing to do was to speak to Samir as if everything was normal. As if none of this had ever happened. For the next twenty minutes, he introduced Amelie, explained about going to look at temporary accommodation, told him about Jeff and Alec and maybe going to live with them in Canada. At the mention of Canada, Firas chipped in, “They are two re...tired mens, gay mens, but you don't have to sleep with them. They are nice like Ayberk and Burhan,” Samir gripped Jordan's arm, “I killed him.” “Samir,” Amelie interjected. “You did not kill Amar. It was a tragic accident. Not exactly an accident. But what I want to tell you is that the guy Rushid was going to run you over. He was crazy. Amar pushed you out of the way, but he couldn't save himself.” Samir stared at her. Perhaps because they didn't know each other, perhaps because she was a woman, or perhaps simply because of the way she said it, he believed her. “I spoke to the police. They know exactly what happened. They know everything. So what I am telling you is what they said to me. And it’s what happened. Do you understand? It was not your fault. You cannot blame yourself for something you had no control over.” He nodded, but did not reply. “Everyone here is blaming themselves for what happened. Jordan thinks it’s his fault. Firas too thinks he played a part. You think it was because of you. Terrible things happen. Sometimes you can do nothing to stop them. Or, what you do is not enough.” Jordan felt Samir gripping his arm. “You have to move on. You have your lives to live. You have a chance. Jordan told me that Amar once said to you back in the camp in Syria, that if he didn't make it, you had to go on alone.” She paused, looked at Samir holding tight to Jordan. At Firas who was still as a statue. “That's what you have to do. Go on. It is what he would want. He didn't do everything for nothing. He didn't save your life so that you can throw it away. Be strong. For him. For yourself. For everyone.” The whir of the cool air escaping through the grills was the only sound that disturbed the silence. Doctor Jukas returned to collect Samir and they said their goodbyes, telling him that they would be back to collect him when everything was sorted out. Samir hugged each of them, including Amelie, then left with the doctor. “This world may bring deep darkness, but we are the bearers of light. We'll join our flames together, and shine in the blackest of nights.” John Mark Green
  12. The remaining chapters of Refugee are scheduled to post over the weekend (with the pre-requisite eight hour new chapter delay). The book will be complete for Sunday.

     

    Should you be wondering, there will be no sequel, the journey and the book I wanted to write, ends with the final chapter.

     

    Thank you for reading, and I hope you have enjoyed the story.

  13. William King

    Chapter 26

    There is hope, keep reading and you will see.
  14. It's nice to see some stats. Probably a large majority of stories are labelled with romance and drama, don't most stories have a romantic interest and are dramatic? Whilst the prompts stories inclusion is interesting, it's not a genre, the same could be argued for free verse. If you were going to play around with the figures some more, I would be interested in only including in romance and drama those stories which have no other tag. Commenting on the numbers, I find it odd that Sci-fi is so low, comedy so high, and historical is perhaps skewed because you don't have Arthur's Drummer Boy series, which was a huge success, although it's now been taken down and published commercially. Thanks to AJ for the stats. and to you for making them available.
  15. William King

    Chapter 26

    @JeffreyL it is a tragedy and what happened is hard and difficult, but even though this story has such terrible sadness it is not without hope. @Trevin Behrens I know it is very difficult when a person loses their life, but Amar's death was a sacrifice and a redemption, it was not in vain. Sometimes we would like to go back, to change things, to take a different path, but destiny steps in. The story is written, what has happened has happened and there is no going back, we can only try to move forward.
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