Editor-In-Chief: Charbel Baini

No Spring Left For You/A short story by Feras Werr

(Right Protected In The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan)

 The International Housing Project, 2060 AD, Faraya Hills, Lebanon
Sophie Sparkler helped her ten year old grand daughter Tracy into bed and covered her well with three thick warm blankets. This year’s winter season began a bit colder and earlier than usual, commencing in October. At least the howling chilly winds outside said a lot about what was to come. Sophie placed some extra wood in the fireplace and then sat down next to Tracy on the edge of the bed. She brushed the child’s shining golden hair softly and gave her a warm smile. Tracy’s beautiful young blue eyes radiated purity and hope yet Sophie didn’t have a clue as to what tomorrow held for her and her promising peers. She said softly, “Sleep child, try closing your eyes and concentrating on rest and you will eventually sleep. You have school tomorrow.”
“Grandma, can I ask you a question?”

Sophie welcomed, “Of course my dear.”

“What is spring?” Tracy asked while rubbing her head in thought.

Sophie gave Tracy a puzzled look and commented, “I haven’t heard that word in a long while.”

“I heard our next door neighbors tell you a couple of days ago while we were waiting for the school bus that they met and married in the spring of 2025.”
Sophie cupped her grandchild’s face with her old senile hands and said. “You are a very attentive girl my dear.” she took in a deep breath and explained, “Only thirty years ago and earlier, there used to be four seasons in the year instead of two, summer, fall, winter and spring.”
Tracy sat up in bed and exclaimed in amazement, “Four seasons, wow!” Her eyes widened as she listened.

Sophie shook her head assuring as she informed,” spring was a season that came immediately after winter. After three long months of cold, rain and snow of course in the hilly and mountainous areas, the land would begin to liven again. There would be magnificent green grass and flowers of all colors and shapes all around. Trees would re-grow their beautiful leaves and the weather would be neither too cold nor too hot, just beautiful and fair. The temperature would be just appropriate for outings and picnics. Children would play out doors all day long and enjoy the beauty of the natural surroundings.”
Tracy closed her eyes and tried to imagine the wonderful portrait her grandmother was trying to draw for her.

“Spring would last for three months then the weather would become warmer and summer would finally arrive.”

Tracy innocently asked,” The children used to play all day long? Wasn’t’ there any school and going to bed early?”
Her grandmother giggled at the question and replied while tapping her cheeks lightly. Tracy’s baby complexion was radiating with exquisite excitement. “Yes of course honey. But good children finished their homework early and then played. When I was your age back in Aqaba in Jordan, I used to have a dog and a lot of times I played with it on the superb golden beaches. Fluffy and I were just two good friends that never split apart. As a matter of fact I can still remember the influx of tourists as they would begin to arrive during the mildly hot days of springtime and enjoy Aqaba’s spectacular weather and scenery.” Tears surfaced in Sophie’s eyes as she remembered the good old days of her hometown. She missed them greatly. “Your mother and uncle spent most of their lives there.”

“Grandma why don’t we have spring anymore? Why did all the grass and flowers stop growing?”

Sophie wiped the tears from her eyes and said, “My dear, the comfortable life we as human beings were having cost us too much. We polluted our environment a lot till we were deprived of earth’s magnificent offerings and gifts. The pollution caused the temperatures to go up too high in all the countries and places. Now to the North and south of earth there were big amounts of ice called polar caps. It was icy and really cold there because the temperature was very cold. A big part of that Ice melted because of the rising temperatures. The sea level rose and drowned most of the beaches, sea level countries and land. The high temperatures caused a big change in the weather of all the countries. That is why there is only summer and winter right now. That is why there are no springs left for you my dear.”

Sophie closed her eyes and her thinking drifted back to when it all started. She was there in Aqaba. She could still hear the mighty thunders of the waters as they announced their rule over their cities…  

Aqaba City Beach, Jordan, 2030 AD
Once the hours of darkness fell on the twenty eighth day of June 2030 The Aqaba City Hotel, which was situated elegantly on a lengthy six hundred meter beach strip, glowed and glistened like a full moon in a black night sky. Its huge projectors that encircled the whole premises lighted its full one hundred million Dollar architectural glory. Being a newly commenced hospitality venture it boasted first class services, three hundred deluxe rooms and an amazing selection of eight restaurants. 

Sophie Sparkler left the Italian restaurant open air terrace and headed for the beach strip in front of the hotel. She was terribly exhausted after a full eventful day of work and needed some change of weather. Being the GM of this establishment wasn’t at all very easy for her and involved a lot of effort. Her long office hours would make her sacrifice a lot of recreational and leisure opportunities. However the much needed generous salary at the end of every month would heal her stress and sow patience within her. Her monthly income will greatly cover her approaching massive expenses as both her young children were about to enter university. Being the only parent to support them at forty three years, after her husband’s death, didn’t give her many choices at life as her responsibilities were her only concern. Her children had to finish university and be prepared for their life.   

Sophie took off her high-heals and paced the wet sands of the magnificent Aqaba beach that lied endlessly in front of her. She enjoyed the sandy feel under her feet and appreciated the messaging of the gentle waves as they attacked in cool surfs about her.   The sound of the sea surfs was very enchanting, very relaxing; she felt a certain dialogue happening between the sea and the beach as the incessant waves rolled over the eternal like sand saturating it with its richness. The ceaseless stars and moon hovering above shined perfectly giving the portrait nature drew a touch of magnificence.   

Her mind drifted and memories of her husband surfaced within her. He was a striking personality; a distinguished general in the army and an extremely loving husband.   Sophie’s memories of her husband were blessed with enormous amounts of happiness.   The love he showed her, the kind and polite way he dealt with her and the beautiful words he used when he expressed his love to her will all last within her till her life ceased to be. He was the best possible parent life could provide for their children. It took them a lot of time to recover from his tragic death in a traffic accident.   

Warm humid breeze rich with the scent of the sea arose and refreshed the atmosphere about her, brushing against her white complexion; as the memories in her mind continued while she awkwardly managed through the demanding cool blue wetness. It was in Aqaba that they met. He was on vacation with his parents and she was an employee working at the reception desk of the hotel he was reserved in. She could still remember the powerful passion and emotions that rushed through her upon seeing him. He likewise was unable to hide his excitement and reaction towards her beauty.   

Sophie was seized abruptly from her world of dreams as she felt an overwhelming dominant force unbalancing her down to the ground. She splashed down noisily settling in the midst of the chilly vibrant waves. She rubbed off the sea waters that were dripping off of her face and head. She looked around in wonder noticing that she was totally immersed in sea water up to her shoulders. Jumping up immediately she knew that there was something strange, something wrong occurring. She shivered intensely at the coolness that infested her body. The first idea that raced through her frantic mind was that she unintentionally drifted inward into the sea while walking. That explanation proved to be untrue as she hastily measured the distance to the hotel. She was almost as far away as when she began her stroll. A sense of deep and total uneasiness sparked inside her. The sound of the waves was louder and the sea seemed more vigorous than before. Sophie’s awareness focused in on immense uproar coming from the nearby hotel. It was the sound of screaming and help cries. An explanation flashed through her head that made her paralyze with fear.   It thundered in her brain all at once. Sophie’s eyes shot downwards to discover that the seal level was well above her knees. The silent trusting sea tides betrayed their truce with nature. They powerfully swelled up and stretched, forming the image of a merciless gigantic blanket, as if yearning to feed after a long age of starvation and famine. A helpless cry shot out from within the depths of her soul, “HELP ME, SOMEBODY HELP?!” It was a total murmur lost within the crashing roars of the wild waves.   

Panicking Sophie took a mad dash in the direction of the hotel trying to escape the incoming sea water. She leaped swiftly, raising her knees very high in an attempt to release herself from the growing power of the captivating waves. Her plight was endless; the sea was everywhere engulfing everything; she felt as if she was in a bad dream; “I will wake up and it will be all over in a minute,” she kept convincing herself over and over again. Her heart beats raced wildly and her breathing got heavier and harder.   Titanic amounts of excitement and horror lashed within her shaking soul. With every step of her sprint reality crashed on her and it became painfully obvious and clear that this was not a dream; there was no waking up. Sophie screamed out loud for help but her voice dissolved in the midst of the distress cries in the nearing distance. By the time she had reached the hotel, the beastly breakers had already crashed into the hotel lobby and sodomized the entire area. Even after Sophie had crossed the distance to the hotel, the water remained above knee level alarming her of the speed the tide was coming in. The lights were out and the dark was devastating. She barely struggled through the tables, chairs and wreckage that the waves tossed about her. A chair slammed into her stomach making her imbalance and fall down on her back. Her body involuntarily cringed from the pain while she swallowed bitter sea water. She was totally sunk and submerged in the depths of the waters, fighting with the pain of suffocation, thrashing about like a helpless fish caught in the painful hook of a fisher’s rod. After a horrifying struggle for life she miraculously managed to firm her feet on the ground and rise, desperately grasping and grappling for air. She inhaled deeply as if trying to suck back-in her almost departed soul.   A forceful surge made her swivel wildly again, swallowing more saline water, coughing and inhaling uncontrollably until she managed some swim control aloft of the energetic waves. Sophie rubbed her pale face firmly with both her palms while taking in deep drags of air, unbelieving the fact that she was still alive. She gave a gasp as she noticed that she was totally suspended with no touching grounds for her feet. She hastily swam to the nearest emergency stairs and climbed up to the elevated roof area above the ninth floor.   A huge crowd of frightened, panicking and screaming people met her as she opened the roof door, breathless and worn out. They all crowded around her to check to see if she was suffering from any harm. She broke lose and ran in the direction opposite the sea view and looked at the awesome, historical biblical-like tides as they continued to flood inwards into the city with a terrorizing scoop, plunging the city into a nightmare. The majestic thundering of the seas was petrifying and sent bursts of chills up her spine. The waves were beginning to sway light vehicles from their places; telephone and electricity poles vulnerably shaking. The whole city was in total panic and turmoil; the SOS screams were unbearable and piercing. Half the city view in front of her went dim as the tides surely began to damage the generators. The moonlight illuminated the people that were swarming on the roofs of the houses and buildings; the unlucky still fighting for safety amongst the lively breakers. Sophie picked up a cell phone from one of the hotel staff members. It incredibly still had transmission in it. She called the emergency brigade office and screamed out the panic and hysteria she was in, “Help!!! Does anybody know what’s happening here?! The sea is swallowing up Aqaba!!!”
**********

            “Grandma, Grandma!” Tracy got up from her coziness under the blankets and shook Sophie, “Why aren’t you talking?”

            Sophie regained her awareness with a jump from the cries and hugged her grand child. “Calm down honey. I’m ok. I was just day dreaming.” She caressed her softly in between her arms and tucked her back in bed. She stood up and kissed her goodbye while saying, “Goodnight child. Sleep well. Tomorrow is a school day.” Sophie approached the fire place that was just a couple of meters away from the bed and fed the fire with more wood as the winds rose again and sounded in the backgrounds. The electricity cut abruptly and a series of lighting bolts lit the bedroom. A deafening thunder clap sounded filling the entire atmosphere. Tracy shook from the storm and ran up to Sophie. “Grandma, please stay with me, I’m scared.”
            Sophie hugged the child and walked with her back to the bed. She tucked her in and lied besides her. She wrapped her arm around her and comforted saying, “Don’t worry I will sleep with you tonight.” 

In a couple of minutes Tracy dozed off into deep sleep dreaming of the beautiful flowers, green grass, fair weather and fluffy, her newly wanted friend. Sophie was in deep thought about the outcome of the future. One question kept scrolling in her mind. “Will their children be able to survive without some spring in their lives?”

The story events, characters, places and some cities are totally imaginary and created by the author of this article.  Any resemblance to any real life situations and characters is totally unintended. 

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