First Steps (40)

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).

Here you can read in on free, so don’t forget to Follow my blog to stay updated with all episodes.


Azade spared her voice, although she felt she was recovering it. She needed it, for the final strike she was preparing. Every day, especially when she was raped by one, two or three of Ahad’s men, she understood she had no more chances to live. The truth was that she preferred to die.

She knew that Ahad was now leaving her alone, to leave time for her mouth to heal, to then force her to do what she refused. She could feel him, she knew him. When he started again asking for women, she knew which one he would chose. When he would send her back, she knew what he had done to her, how violently, and especially how much he thought of her while tormenting the poor women he had chosen. She knew, but now she couldn’t do anything, she had to wait for the right moment.

Azade looked lost to everybody. She acted like a ghost, like a crazy person undergoing a treatment that was transforming her in a remote-controlled robot. She had no more tears, she had no more protests. She wasn’t speaking, although she was nodding when the women asked her from time to time:

“Are you alright?”

The question was, of course, meaningless, how could she be alright in the middle of Hell? But, it had however a point, because it showed their concern, how worried they were for Azade.

She understood, and would have wanted to tell them she was grateful, that she loved them and that she was sorry they got to be as they were. She sometimes wondered if they would have escaped if she wouldn’t have come to save them? Or would they have all died there, and the, without suffering so much? Anyway, this way, if they didn’t die shot, weren’t they dying each day a little bit? Weren’t they dying worse like this?

What would she have done if she knew? Would she have chosen differently? But how could she betray her calling, the oath she took? She couldn’t have taken a different decision, although that meant reaching the same point where she was now.


Ramstein Air Base is an Air Force and NATO in Germany. The base is in West Germany, less than four hundred kilometers from Zürich. When Bryan landed, he though how close she would have been to Azade, if she would have stayed in Switzerland.

Before being detached, Bryan studied a bit the map of the area. He was surprised to see how many little countries there were on the old continent of Europe, countries he hadn’t heard of before, like Liechtenstein or Andorra. He knew that Vatican was a suzerain state, because it housed the Pope himself, but he knew nothing about The San Marino Republic. He was surprised to learn that a piece of land a little larger than sixty square kilometers and with a population of almost thirty-two thousand inhabitants could be considered a suzerain state, a parliamentary republic, but soon he got used to the Europeans’ quirks and started loving their diversity and relaxed way of life.

Every time he got a chance, when he caught a free weekend, he would run to different European cities, bigger or smaller. Bryan preferred the small ones. For example he liked a lot Konstanz, situated on the bank of the river with the same name. Or, Neuhausen am Rheinfall, which harbored Grosser Laufen, or the majestic waterfall of the river Rhine.

He would call Azade after each trip, to tell her where he had been and what he had seen. Azade was particularly happy to learn that Bryan liked Brașov, which he visited only because he knew from Azade that her best friend, Ana, was from there. Bryan liked Bastionul Țesătorilor the most, the impressive wooden building, older than Columbus’ discovery of America.

Of course, Bryan, didn’t miss the chance to run to Bran, searching for Dracula, among the walls and secret spaces of the famous castle!

“I would have liked to be there, with you!” were the last words Bryan heard from Azade.

When Azade didn’t answer Bryan’s call the next day, he knew it wasn’t the case to be panicked right away. When she didn’t answer the phone, she would usually call back as soon as she would get the chance. But today it didn’t happen.

Next day Bryan tried again, unsuccessfully, to talk to Azade. His face changed when he suspected something was wrong. He tried to encourage himself, saying that maybe her phone was dead, maybe she had surgery to do, maybe a new wave of refugees had arrived and she was overwhelmed, maybe she had forgotten her phone in a jacked that stood hanging in a forgotten hanger. Or, who knows what else could happen to a phone, that doesn’t necessarily mean that something happened to her as well.


2016 was a topsy-turvy year from the beginning. Instead of snowing, on the 1st of January it rained. In February there were a few almost blistering days. Snow only came in March and then replaced spring up until April, it rained throughout May, causing floods throughout Europe.

When she found out on March 14, 2016 that the last victim from Colectiv died as well, Amanda couldn’t take it anymore. This time she called Ioan, who, every time he spoke to her would end the call with the same message:

“Take care of yourself. And don’t hesitate to call me if you need me!”

“I need you!” Amanda told him instead of hello.

“I’ll be there with the first flight,” Ioan answered briefly.

It was the sign he had waited for a few months, since they saw each other again, when he realized the huge mistake he made, leaving her for an illusory anguish, which he mistakenly took for a profound need. Not for another woman, not for something like that, but for “my stupidity as an artist”, he haggled himself. Since he realized the mistake, he couldn’t stop from representing her in all his paintings, in different shapes and faces. Maybe that was why his latest creations were hugely successful, because they reflected his sorrow. And after each success, Ioan was more and more unhappy and the more unhappy he was the more appreciated were the paintings he created.

Until now, when he rushed to the airport, without stopping to search online the time of the first flight.



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Published by dorin

Full time husband and father; full time writer; full time artist (#fineartphotography). And in the free time, I like to travel, to read and to learn new stuff.

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