The New Life by Henry Bladon

 Another jolt resonates from the creaking axle and wakes me from a light slumber. It’s hot in the back of the lorry; hot and airless, but at least I know we are on the final leg of our journey. At first, we walked away from the noise, the two of us together, father and son. Then we ran. Samir asked me where we were going. I told him we are going to a better place where you do not have to fear attack and where you can work hard and enjoy your family. Of course, I will have to rely on Samir to bring new family members into the world to replace some of the ones we have both lost.

 They tell me that the air in England has a chill, but I know we will adapt to our new life. We may miss the warmth of the land and the sunsets of home, but we will not miss the dust or the struggle, and certainly not the bombing and the fear. Too many days were spent waiting for another explosion, and too many nights were passed without sleep.

 My mouth is dry, and my throat is parched, so I feel around for my tiny water bottle. When I take off the lid and tip it towards my lips, nothing comes from a vessel that is as arid as a Syrian summer. I also have a pounding headache because of the fumes. Not much longer, I tell myself. Although my legs are cramping and the smell of urine is overpowering, I remind myself once more that it will all be worth it in the end. I call to Samir. The last time he spoke his voice was feeble. I wait for his response from the darkness, but it does not come.

Henry is based in Somerset in the UK. He is a writer of short fiction and poetry with a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Birmingham. He is the author of several poetry collections and his work can be seen in Poetica Review, Pure Slush, Truth Serum Press, Lunate, and O:JA&L, among other places.

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