Struggle. Love. Cry. Hope.
For Romanian click here.
A novel first published in Romanian (Eikon 2017), available in English (translated by Mihaela Alecu) on Amazon (click on the image).
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Ahad’s camp looked like a war area, at a smaller scale. He commanded his people to bring a few women to sweep that sand soaked with blood and to clean the place. He was again very bustling. The women were cleaning silently, hoping to escape his wrath. They had never imagined that human being could be so cruel. But violence rows from itself like fire, which grows in intensity as it burns, consuming everything it comes across.
Fortunately for them, Ahad thought of something else, therefore, after they finished cleaning he sent them back to their prison. Ahad called Aiman and Abdullah.
“You have to prepare for leaving,” Ahad told them exalted. “With Allah’s permission soon we will complete our sacred mission.”
Aiman nodded that he understood.
“You will leave for Turkey, to meet our brothers who are loyal to our cause. Abdullah, you will go to Germany. You will meet Hakim, the one that calls himself Hans, in Munich. Hakim will take you to Berlin, without problems. And there we will strike again, with more force, for the glory of Allah…”
“Allahu Akbar!” shouted Abdullah and dropped to the ground, proud that he was the chosen one.
“His will be done!” Aman shouted as well.
“And for the victory of our Jihad!” Ahad continued with his face red.
Ahad signaled Abdullah that he could leave, and he signaled Aiman to stay.
“You will have a more important mission,” said Ahad leaving his hand gently on the shoulder of his trusted man. “You will prepare our coming to Turkey. You will meet the advisor of the future Sultan, to arrange his meeting with our leaders, long be their life. Be very careful: no one has to find out of our alliance with Turkey. And when time comes, we will conquer the world from there, and Islam will triumph!”
“So, how did you like Zürich, for a first day, I mean first evening?”
Ana took Amanda for a walk on the lakeside. They fed the swans and seagulls, who came daring near the hands that fed them. They admired Zürich’s buildings off the Quaibrücke that aligned on the river’s banks and on the hills situated on both sides.
“Look there, that church with two towers is Grossmünster, and on the other side, with a blue-green tower, is Kirche Fraumünster. Its stained glass is made by Marc Chagall. We will visit that side tomorrow; there are a lot to be seen…”
Then they stopped on Bürkliterrasse to admire the lake along its length and the mountains that loomed far in the distance. They then continued walking on the lake’s shore, crossed by smaller or bigger boats, up to the statue of the lion, which scans the horizon majestically.
“The city is so beautiful from up here,” said Amanda.
“Indeed! I come here often to clear my mind, but most of the time I don’t get to cross the bridge…”
“You should thank me for bringing you here,” said Amanda.
“Ha, ha, thank you!”
Then they stopped on a terrace, for a beer. It was still hot, but it was no longer the muggy weather from during the day. The weather was good enough to chat on a terrace.
“Now indeed,” said Amanda greedy seeping from the Weiss beer she had chosen. “Now Zürich looks totally different.”
“You are lying! I know you like it. It is impossible not to fall in love with this city.”
“Yes, I like it, alright. But, there’s a long way to get to love. You know I am a dedicated fan of Brașov, and that I wouldn’t change it for any other city.”
“I know, but just wait until tomorrow, when I will show you my favorite places in Zürich.”
“I can’t wait,” said Amanda. “Anyway, I must confess that I like the fountain in the lake! And how you can see the buildings far away.”
“It’s good that you at least like the landscape,” Ana joked.
Amanda laughed. She would have liked to torment Ana a bit more, but it wasn’t fun anymore, not even for her. She felt that she couldn’t fool Ana, who could still read her like an open book.
“It is still early,” said Amanda, “although it started to get dark. What will we do next?”
“Do you want to take a boat ride on the lake?”
“Is it that simple?”
“Of course, it’s like a tram on water. Many travel by boat, it’s fast and comfortable.”
“That is so fine. I like the idea. But maybe tomorrow, or the day after that. Now I’d rather walk a little to see more of these beautiful buildings in Zürich.”
“Alright, if you want buildings, let me take you to the old city, on Lindenhof hill. We can admire Zürich from up there. And I think you are going to enjoy the ride there.”
Ana took Amanda on Stadthausquai, then by the Kirche Fraumünster, afterwards she walked her on small, twisted streets, paved and clean, surrounded by the impeccable buildings, only two-three stores high, and with all sort of shops or fancy restaurants at their first floor. They went up on Pfalzgasse and they stopped in front of a tombstone.
“This place is loaded with history,” Ana told her. “This is a replica of the famous Roman tombstone, from when Zürich was called Turicum. Here, on this hill, was the citadel built by Romans.”
“See we are brothers with the Swiss people: Romans were here, we come from Romans as well…”
Ana smiled, then she entered the beautiful park on Lindenhof and she stopped next to the statue of a woman who held in her hand a flag.
“What does it stand for?” Amanda asked Ana.
“It is called ‘Hedwig fountain’ she answered and it was erected in honor of the brave women of Zürich and their fearless leader, who valiantly defended the city during the 1292 siege.”
“Way to go girls,” Amanda shouted cheerful, applauding.
A few pairs of eyes turned towards her surprised.
“Watch out, you are scaring people,” Ana laughed.
“I don’t mean to scare them, just to praise their women. I already like this Zürich of yours more!”
Ana took her by the hand and lead her to the edge. The panorama that gave itself as an offering for the eyes was indeed wonderful, and Amanda couldn’t say another thing. She was sitting and watching from left to right and backwards, as much as she could see. They sat, next to other youngsters on the border stone.
“You are right, my dear girl, it’s fabulous!” cried Amanda.
“I told you,” Ana was happy to say.
“How can we arrange for me to move here as well?”
“Come on, you are starting again with your jokes,” Ana pretended to be upset.
“No, I am serious! You know I am impulsive–“
“I know, but this seems to be too much,” Ana interrupted her.
She stood thoughtful for a moment.
“It is not at all easy,” she said, “Swiss people don’t accept strangers too easily, especially Romanians.”
“Why? They also think that we are coming to take their jobs like the British?”
“They have something with everybody, because they want to keep what’s theirs, inside their borders, but, yes, especially with Romanians and Bulgarians.”
“That is why they are not joining the EU” said Amanda.
“Yes, they believe they would have too much to lose, and too little to gain…”
“Never mind, I am not going to beg them. It’s their lost!” said Amanda.
“It’s just as easy for you to give up as it was to make up your mind about coming,” Ana nodded.
“Isn’t it better like that? If you don’t have illusions, you won’t have disillusions.”
“You are right after all,” Ana smiled.
“Of course I am,” boasted Amanda. “After all I am coming from Transylvania, and I carry with me centuries of tradition, plus my Dracula blood.”
And Amanda started flapping her hands like a bat, towards Ana.
“I will suck your blood, my virgin.”
“So, Virgin! You mean the sign, right?” Ana laughed.
“Of course, what else. After all we know very well who of us was first to… in a certain wonderful night.”
Ana covered her face with her palms, as if she were ashamed.
“Don’t say it anymore, you are making me blush!”
“Every time is the same,” said Amanda. “You are the most… how should I put it? You are the most virgin of all the non-virgins I know!”
“What can I do? That is who I am.”
The sun set on Zürich. The city was dressing in artificial lights. Seen from above, everything looked like it was from a fairy tale. Even Ana, who knew the landscape by heart, cried:
“It is wonderful!”
“Now,” started Amanda in a solemn voice, “we just have to wait to see the witches flying on their brooms,” she concluded in her characteristic style.
“You just couldn’t say something serious,” Ana laughed at her joke.
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