2020 Flash Fiction Submissions

This is the place to post your entries for the 2020 Flash Fiction Challenge: Visioning a Better World Beyond the Pandemic.

See the Challenge page for the full description and details.

Please double space your entry to make it easy to read. Then copy and paste it into a reply to this thread.
If you are not already a member of the Community Forum, you can join by filling in this form.

One entry per person. If multiple entries are made, only the first one will be accepted.

All entries should be submitted by midnight (UTC) on 01 November, 2020.
Entries will be judged anonymously and the winners will be posted on 01 December, 2020.

If you have any questions, post them in the 2020 Flash Fiction Queries & Discussion thread, where you can also communicate with other writers taking part in the Challenge.
Alternatively, email arts@systemschangealliance.org

Please note that in the spirit of collaboration and transparency, your entry will be visible here to the general public and other participants. If you have trouble joining the forum or wish to submit your entry privately, please attach it as a .doc/docx and email it to the address above with the subject: 2020 Flash Fiction Submission and your full name and email address in the body of the email.

We look forward to reading your stories!

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Covid-19 might be the blessing in disguise that our world desperately needs because it has shown us that when we really need to, we can put our differences aside and work together. This pandemic has shown us that when different cultures and countries work together, we can come up with solutions more easily than if we were to work against each other as we have done in the past. Now, I’m not saying that this pandemic will help us achieve world peace because this is not strong enough to fight an issue that runs as deep as that. Though, I do think that the virus could show people that our differences don’t have to be the reason that we are divided. We were shown that it is possible to accept the differences of cultures and think of each other as equals that are all fighting for the same cause. During the height of the pandemic, different countries were sharing medical supplies, doctors, and hope even though they were struggling just as much as the people they were helping. This is because during that time everyone was working towards the same goal, which was to save people. It didn’t matter what race or culture the people they were saving were from because a life saved is a life saved. This mentality will be exponentially helpful to the world in the future because we can tackle other issues that have plagued our world for so long. If everyone came together again to fight against pollution, then one of the biggest issues in our world could be solved, just because people were shown that it is possible to work together towards one common goal to make the world a better place for everyone. This roadblock in our lives has given us a new outlook on life because we have realized as a world what can happen when we are all in the same situation and share ideas to make the situation better. When the world shut down we all had the chance to slow down and think about the issues that have been ruining the place that we call home. These can include pollution, hate, or equality and we have become more passionate about these issues as we have more time to think about the effects that they have on us. Maybe this is what we needed to start caring more about the problems that need to be fixed, this is what we needed to ignite the inner superhero in everyone that has the passion to fight “evil.” We are finally allowing ourselves to think about what we will do to make ourselves happier instead of how to get closer to a certain goal. We now have more time to rethink our lives and the way we are living them, so that we can make them better instead of more efficient. For example, people are starting to discover new hobbies and things that make them happy in place of the things that they did to make other people happy or proud. When people are happier, they tend to be more pleasant which means that people will most likely be nicer to each other if they are happy. Therefore, when people find happiness the world will be a more pleasant place and hopefully filled with love instead of hate. Everything is connected in some way because when we are nicer to each other we are able to achieve more because we work together instead of against each other. Happiness is really the key to every problem in the world because when people are happy they are able to achieve anything they set their mind to, especially when they have the help of other people with the same ambition. For example, people can work towards ending pollution if they have a big enough force of people that have the same passion for saving the world. People find their passions when they have time to think about what is wrong with their lives and how they fix their problems, the pandemic has given people that time that they need to reevaluate their lives thus creating time for them to find their passions.
All the world needs is more joy and I think that people were able to find that during this time, since they have learned how to be happy with the little things and that anything can bring you joy if you look at it the right way. Many of the world’s problems are caused by the general unhappiness of people because people have this weird nature where they try to make other people as unhappy as them. This can be seen through hate and bullying as well as spreading negativity through social media and face to face. I think that people will come out of this time with a new outlook on life and I think that outlook will be much more positive than it has been in the past. During this time we have also had time to read more articles and learn more about our world, which has brought light to some issues that we never had time to discuss in the past which can be life changing for the people dealing with those issues. Since we have finally had time to learn about some issues that are not as prominent in our daily lives, we finally have the opportunity to spread awareness about these issues that desperately need solutions. This can include mental health which has been discussed much more lately than it ever has been before because people are finally realizing the effects of mental health on the lives of everyone, whether they have a mental illness or not. This pandemic was both the villain and the hero in the story known as our lives, we can choose to take a brighter and more positive outlook on the situation by looking at all the good things that have come out of it or we can look at the negatives. It is all up to you.

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It dawned a day without light, and there is a big cilencio in the streets, I reach the window and I don’t see the usual figures from the first works, the city, the country, and everyone tries to stay on their feet does not give up and does not stop fighting. The subject is there, Covid-19, stamped, on the face in the heart, and in the soul of each of the more than 7.75 billion people.
The covid-19 pandemic fall like a bomb on a global scale, causing each country to unite once and for all to fight together against this prague , called corona viros.
Survivors, doctors from all areas, politicians, journalists, police, traders, farmers, people of different professions, ethnicities, religions, social classes, fought bravely for everything and everyone to be even better than before.
Yes, it was worth admiring everyone’s efforts in the face of the calamity in which everyone was living at that time, and helping the victims of the covid-19, which all over the world it left sick people, without a job, without food, without the minimum conditions. possible, In the dark days, of but news bad in that that we were passing through, of uncertainties, but with the excitement of thousands of beings placed in a ray of sun that insists on not breaking with hope, there is space for joy and the chronicle.
However, Covid-19 is an unprecedented challenge and we understand everyone’s concern, the very nature of these things makes it clear, that it is nothing more than an eloquent appeal to the kindness of all those we love, at this point we encounter the conception of the way in that are formed and the way in which they develop.
While many struggle for desires, others rise up overwhelmed by the loss of their loved ones, the road that separates them, in terms of well-being and the joy of living, always goes on a track full of happy dreams, the joy of the youth of age mature, it is often regrettable, with the torments of the last disease.
And finally, despite the negative possibilities, there were positive possibilities, so everyone kept fighting, smiling, working, cooperating together until the final battle.

For anyone not yet familiar with the concept of Flash Fiction, you may find it helpful to read the article below before writing and submitting your piece.

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VISIONING A BETTER WORLD BEYOND THE PANDEMIC
A group of young African musicians in the relics of their said Africa Anthem, said nobody is safe until everybody is safe. This is the lesson of the pandemic. A girl on holiday, a result of the pandemic, visited a man which her sister barely knew but had to introduced to her to quench demands for pleasure holiday from her big. She walked into the room, but came out as a roll of human dot, an Islamic styled coffin. Neighbours around the criminal vicinity were busy blaming the girl, and called her a cheap harlot, when they heard her strong cry.
Our vision beyond the pandemic start from our livelihood which formal, is classroom and office of which we made formal by its physical phenomenon. Other than is fake, and to put rightly, barely - real. This is because the taste of a food is in the eating. But then, we must use fake to test fake, and in this case all assumption is fake until tested. We are talking human. It is short standard and not fake. Yet it seems a DNA data bank for all nations. United State of America wants to give asylum sounds better. The world is troubled, and now an outcry for scientific investigation meant the bank. As it is a layman may not yet it. Later it is 5G! I don’t even get it, till I am the worse yet better in understanding. I obey.
We missed it, three days in physical classroom and office and the rest two days we should work from home. Yet we missed it, in Gambia it was four days and the other is free and it was in Benue state Nigeria for awhile. Resources is being lost and that is why I joined in the cry to say it is only among the political elite. It also matter not when a herd population created by the circumstances developed immunity.
Observation is roughly concluded as pre- symptomatic, asymptomatic, and post symptomatic. A blockage, terrorists were problematic and satellite was on the way to make surveillance to accurate single individual. Nobody question it as terrorist act yet nation was about to sue another nation on it. I hope we get it, terrorists obey.
Did the economy obey? We are government children acting stupid, salary went, for some it is half, and nothing. Some say black live only matter using the pandemic, protesters came in their multitude, and it was, yes black lives matter, but this is over doing. Stomach infrastructure is repeated.
The age is broken again, here is the age before human and the age of human. And here also is the age of the great flu and now age of covid19.

Thank you for giving such a nice vision and prompt to write about positive change for the future! Here’s my flash fiction entry, I hope you enjoy it and that it inspires many other entries. I cannot get the formatting to double-space here, all 1495 words of it.


Playing Together

Normally the children would have spent the summer away at camp. Riding horses, learning the viola and practicing space exploration were all on hold. At least from the adult’s point of view. The children never really needed camp, especially after they met Marietta.

Most people mistake Jannetta and Julia for sisters, and if you didn’t know better you probably would too. They enjoy informing strangers that they’re just best friends. Thijs, a year younger and full head shorter than either, is never far behind. His house sits right in between theirs, and so too does his life.

Marietta isn’t much taller than any of them. When the quarantine started she didn’t have any summer camps planned, but her world was turned upside down all the same. The grandchildren she knew lived half a world away. Marietta was sure even before her daughter was born, she would be ever on the move, and it was truer than she ever imagined. The lockdown meant that the summer visit they all had been dreaming of wasn’t going to happen.

Marietta and the three children met on the first day of summer, though none of knew that. The kids were already playing under the big oak tree in front of the bench with the peeling paint and sloppy graffiti. They had decided that this spot was exactly halfway between the ice-cream shop at one end of the street and the kiosk with banana lollipops at the other. Their parents had told them not to go any further, and they never saw any need to disobey. None of them were old enough yet to fully appreciate the joys of deviance.

Marietta teetered out her front door and across the quiet street to her bench, book in one hand and bag of trail mix in the other. She’d spent the morning rolling the contents under an ancient rolling pin, and then churning it by hand in an equally ancient ceramic bowl. The big nuts hurt her teeth and were too large for the birds to eat.

The children played all morning under the tree, and Marietta payed them no heed. She had her book to read. At lunch the young ones ran off for sandwiches and milk while Marietta chatted with the birds as they ate together.

Thijs was first back out the door after gulping down his food. His mother was not so strict as the others. He careened on his little legs as fast as he could back towards the big tree.

On approach, his curiosity was captured by the strange sight before him. The old woman on the bench was talking to the birds. He’d never seen a grownup talk to an animal before. He wished more of them did, and was happy to join her in a conversation with the crows and pigeons.

The girls when they arrived, and soon the whole group was having a rousing debate, discussing the finer nature of each piece of trail mix before tossing it to the cooing audience. Eventually, a motorcycle rolled down the road at full throat, scaring off the birds and silencing the chatter. Thijs, ever-inquisitive and undeterred, struck up a new conversation.

“Whatcha reading?”

Marietta looked down to the boy, sitting next to the tattered book on the peeling bench.

“A play.”

“What’s a play?” Thijs asked a lot of questions, but retained few answers.

“Well, a play is story that people tell on a stage. With words and actions.”

Thijs’s smile widened.

“What’s it about?”

“It’s a play about three friends, who go on a great adventure.”

“That sounds fun! I want to play!” Marietta smiled back at the child, savouring the innocence of his unintentional pun.

Julia piped up, “It’s called performing. I’ve done it before. I was in a play at school.”

Thijs’s imagination was already whirling. “Let’s perform a play!” Janetta and Julia looked at each other, eyes wide with excitement. They were in. Marietta smiled at the thought, not aware she had just set off an irreversible chain of events that would change the street forever.

The three of them soon ran off, thanking Marietta for the trail mix and inspiration. A few hours later they came marching back, Thijs with his head adorned in a crown of leaves, Julia holding aloft a stick that served as their sword, horse and viola all in one. They performed under the big tree in front of the peeling bench that afternoon for Marietta as her heart swelled. The children darted back and forth, redoing scenes and changing the script until eventually it was time for Marietta’s dinner. The four of them said their goodbyes and promised to come back tomorrow.

The next morning Thijs was already there, waiting for the other three. He had traced an unbalanced rectangle next to the tree. Today’s stage, he announced with exuberance when each of others arrived. The children played under the tree, trying to pick up the pieces from yesterday’s story while Marietta slowly thumbed through her pages. Eventually, their talk grew to a whisper and Marietta realised she was the topic of conversation. Janetta nudged Thijs towards the bench.

“Ummm, excuse me. We need your help…we cannot remember what happened yesterday!”

Marietta looked up with a mild smile of surprise. “Oh my, well let’s see…” The four of them slowly worked out a sketch of a script, very different than the one that had transpired the day before. Dinner time came before the children thought they were ready, and they promised to reconvene tomorrow.

Rain kept the troupe away for days, and Marietta was sure that was the end of that. To her pleasant surprise, the next sunny morning, the children were already there with pencil and paper, refining lines and blocking as only children could. By the end of the week everything was ready, and Marietta was joined at the bench by three sets of parents, watching the haphazard production.

To Marietta’s surprise, that weekend, she saw the parents back at the tree. They were discussing, measuring, and planning as only adults can do. Shortly thereafter, the small gravel patch next to the tree and in front of the peeling bench was covered with a small wooden stage. It wasn’t more than a few euro-pallets planked over with leftover pieces of flooring from the shop around the corner, but the children soaked up the attention offered by the platform. That locked-in summer saw them transform that spot underneath the big tree in front of the peeling bench into an impromptu theatre for an entire month.

This could have happened any other summer. Children are always children, and parents are always parents. But the locked-in meant everything was just a little different. Something magical began to happen. More and more people slowly came to think of part of the stage as an extension of their home.

Mr. Hinkenlooper set up his canvas there, painting grand abstract works in the warm summer afternoons. A pair of storytellers held an impromptu story circle one evening, adults sitting at a distance around the edge of the stage, swapping tales well into the night. Amir practiced his cello there on the weekends when it wasn’t too hot. The children held dozens of performance, each more fantastical than the last. Marietta soaked it all in. soon there was a new coat of paint on the once-peeling bench.

Winter eventually forced everyone inside as lockdowns came and went. Spring opened with hope of travel, but the map continued blinking orange and red. Without really thinking, the community turned back to the stage next to the big tree, in front of three benches.

The municipality held the first public meeting there as soon as weather would allow it. They cordoned off the adjacent street, spreading chairs up and down the block. More people attended than ever. Amir played on the stage, and this time people drug their kitchen tables out on the sidewalk to listen. The children put on a series of sketches, by now a well-rehearsed set of caricatures of the creatures and indviduals that filled their street. Everyone laughed. Artists and actors and citizens all gathered as close as they could. Connected by a makeshift stage under a big tree next in front of three park benches. A new thread winding through the community, strengthening their resilience. One spot though, right in front, remained conspicuously empty.

They all found out at once that Marietta had actually been a retired playwright, and that her family was so far away. The sort of things you learn in an obituary.

It was strange, one of them thought. That the just as the pandemic brought them closer, it also took her away. They decided together to honour her memory. They built a new stage, a more permanent structure. The plaque on it reads:

“For Marietta. Who inspired us to play together in these trying times.”

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Thanks for your entry and welcome to the Systems Change Alliance Community!

Thanks for your entry and welcome to the Systems Change Alliance Community!

Thank you for providing us the platform to express our views and concerns. I wanted to point out a very concerning phenomena in our societal set up especially during this pandemic, and that is the position of women. Through this flash fiction I have tried to fabricate a story to represent the women’s situation in some countries more than others. Not able to apply double spacing. The copy and pasting doesn’t work.


You deserve it!

Fifteen years old Anita was watching me make “hot Dosas” for breakfast to order, for my family of
seven; my husband Raj, his mother, his father and my three children. Eight years old Sumi, and 4 year old Tara were sitting at the dining table for their dosas to be served.

By the way,I forgot to mention; dosas are a kind of rice and lentil pancakes served in south Indian homes for breakfast.

“Yum, these hot dosa’s are so tasty with coconut sauce,” said my father-in-law, smacking his lips.

“Honey! aren’t you getting late for your Zoom meeting you talked about last night?” Raj motioned with a concerned face.

“We are not dying out of hunger anyway!” With a cheery smile said Raj.

“Let’s eat oats today and we can eat dosas for dinner.”

“Dosas’ should be eaten hot, right off of the pan for breakfast! — don’t you remember how I used to serve, back at home?” Raj’s mother pouted, with brows knit.

“But mom, Sudha has an important meeting with her client today!”

“We can’t keep her occupied in the kitchen!” Raj motioned me to leave, and get ready for the meeting.

My mother-in-law made a disapproving face and looked away from Raj, as if she didn’t care.

Raj started explaining to my MIL, that the “coronavirus ciris has already set women back a generation, and could force them out of the workforce.”

No amount of reasoning was enough to make my MIL understand my difficult situation. Raj got up from the dining table, and reached for the cereal box.

“It is ok! I can schedule an afternoon Zoom meeting; I also have to help the girls with their google classroom assignments.” I insisted.

“What about your work Raj? Yesterday I saw you up till 2:00 AM in the morning.” Said Raj’s Mom lashing out.

“You can’t take a chance ignoring your health like this.” Reiterated MIL with unhappiness and disapproved glaring eyes.

“And about helping kids with online classrooms — Anita can help them out, she is big enough.” Mother-in-law snapped.

Patriarchy is still prominently practiced in India, especially among older generations. Girls and women’s roles are not considered useful enough to contribute to the workforce or society. Their place is to take care of family, and male folks in the house without complaining at all. There is still a huge gender gap in every aspect of a female’s life; inside and outside home.

In a place like that, men like Raj, are breadth of fresh air. They are the pioneers in giving the proper value to women’s effort for what they offer.

Raj’s lips parted to say something to his mother, but no words came; the effort seemed lost.

I decided not to chime in the matter which has already gotten worse by this time. I postponed my meeting till 2:00PM and continued making hot dosas.

Within a few minutes I am constantly ladling out dosas, and people either saunter in to grab the dosas hot off the stove or I take it to them. By the time I’m done, that process has taken about half an hour, I am drenched in sweat and my own dosas are ice-cold and rubbery by now. That day passed without further unhappiness. Everyone realized their shameful behavior. However I knew that COVID-19 may make it harder for working women than it already is.

COVID-19 has already had an outsized impact on Indian Mothers. Most of us have to juggle with work-from-home, children and our extended family. Things become even worse when family members are not considerate enough to understand the perils of being a working woman in the time like this where we are being housewives and career women all at the same time without help and support. To top it off we are also those fearless superheroes in disguise who lion-heartedly go straight into the storm; from grocer to fruit vendor to vegetable guy, picking freshest greens for their family during a pandemic! While the men sit back and relax in front of their laptops, oblivious to any household duties. Women’s work is as important as mens’ work and there is no excuse saying, “mothers’ can do it better.” No book discriminates against a certain task.

All this time my father-in-law was sidelined, but listening to everything carefully, he formed an opinion and offered some creative suggestions for women in his house and society.

“With lockdown going on and pandemic hitting hard, we have to understand the difficulties of our women carrying most of the load of household work. The avalanche of domestic work is distributed very disproportionately on women — and that is wrong.” Father-in-law objected.

“Sudha can not continue work-from-home and take care of every domestic chore without our help — just because she is a woman! She is a human first, and we need to be supportive in every way we can, keeping the gender superiority misconception aside.” Father-in-law hinted looking at MIL and Raj.

Everyone was quietly listening, because FIL made it clear to everyone that if there are some silver linings to improve our family environment, it is to work collaboratively.

Raj offers to make all the dosas on the next dosa day. I couldn’t help peeking. I found that he has been making all the dosas in one go and keeping them in the casserole to keep them hot. It was something my MIL would have found profane.

“Yeah, well! Those who want hot dosas can make it themselves.” Raj showed his indifference.

While all these thoughts were going in my mind, I took off quietly, to my room and started my work. I could not ignore eavesdropping though.

“Securing Sudha’s career is important for both our future, and her self-esteem Mom!”

“I have to make more sacrifices than she has already made in this pandemic.” Raj was more firm this time.

An hour later, Raj walks in my room with steaming hot dosas in a plate with coconut sauce in a bowl. My MIL behind him with a smiling and regretful face — puts her arm around my shoulder and says, “You deserve it.”

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Wild Life
The engine stopped. Maira steps out of the car and runs as fast as she could, just like a kid who runs towards his mom after seeing her. In the blink of the eyes, she is in the middle of the ocean. A mixed of warm and cold wind blows in her face, tightening up her chest. Something has changed, she knows it. She takes a deep breath and let it out slowly. Every breathe feels more and more lively. It feels like, she was suffocating but now she is alive again. She has never felt like this before, so why now? What is this feeling?

Maira along with her friends goes on a road-trip. All of them were exhausted and they needed a break after the 'Covid-19 ’ pandemic.

"Ahh…The quarantine is over now. Its been a while I felt like this. It feels so refreshing. " Ruby says ,one of Maria’s friend .

“Yes…The pandemic. Covid-19. I almost forgot about it.” Maria mumbled.

The arrival of the unknown virus, left everyone shook. Nobody was aware of it’s plan until this virus started to take people’s lives. Maira saw her own grandparents dying slowly because of it. That’s when, she felt scared for the first time. She will never forget the feeling of losing someone close, without even saying ‘goodbye.’ That feeling is still chewing her up from inside. And now the quarantine is over, she knew the very first thing she wants to do is, visit the ocean where she used to go with her grandparents.

“We need to stay strong. We should learn a lesson from it and make a new start. But how?” That’s the only thing, repeating in Maria’s mind as she is looking in the ocean distantly. She notices that the ocean is gleaming, sparkling like pearls. Last time, this place was full of junks and dirt. Now the whole atmosphere has changed. “So that’s what has happened during this quarantine .” She says to herself. People stopped doing all the shitty things. Our mother nature has found peace again. All the answers are laying in front of us all the time, we just couldn’t see it.

The whole group are busy grilling BBQ and chatting with each other when Maria comes in, running to them. “Hey Guys!” Pant She is out of breathe but still she goes on.

“I know that we should ‘Stay home, stay safe.’ But how many days are we going to stay like this?” Maira says in one breathe.

“What are you saying? Are you saying that we should fool around here and there?” says Victor, one of Maira’s friend .

"Of course not! But don’t you think someone, in the world, somewhere will be affected by ‘Covid-19.’ We can’t get rid of it. " she snaps.

“Argh…I already hate this topic. Can we stop this and start the party already?” Ruby interrupts.

"That’s where the problem is! You people, always try to run away from troubles as if you will get rid of it eventually. But that never happens. " Maira says.

“What’s your point, Maria? Say it already!” Victor says impatiently.

"Let’s grab this opportunity. Look at the brighter side. Less Pollution. Peaceful Society. I know our economic growth and education system have fallen down. But still we can bring it back if we work together. " Maira says with seriousness.

"Are you out of your mind? What do you really think we can do under this circumstance? " Victor asks.

"We will start from the roots. Where we will maintain social distance but our bond will be stronger. A good environment, ideal society and stable economy, we can make all of those true.Just with a little bit of encouragement, help and change. A better world will be created! "Maira replies.

It is already past 10. Everyone goes back to the resort. Maira standstill. All the nightmares and sufferings, she has been through, comes up in her mind. She needs to clear her mind.

Maira is standing on the edge of the seashore. The sea water is sweeping off her feet and pulling Maira towards her. Maira feels a beam of light is rising up as the night grows cold. " A leap of hope."she says.

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AFTER

I had overslept again. The Sun was high in the sky, it was approaching 9AM. Oh my goodness what was Morgan doing. I ran downstairs to find him eating a bowl of cereal in front of the window. He loved just looking out the window at the bird feeders. “Hi Grandma”. I asked him why he didn’t wake me up. “Well Grandma everything was easy to reach so I did it myself”. As I poured my coffee I looked at my Grandson. He was visiting for a weekend sleepover. I was thinking of how just 10 years ago he had been born during the peak of the Pandemic. We couldn’t hold him, couldn’t hug his mom, we never even saw him until he was 2 weeks old. This perfect little boy. “What do we want to do today” I asked, but he wasn’t listening. He was very focused on the squirrel. It would do almost anything to reach the bird feeder. Grandpa came in then. “Time for us to bring the eggs to town”. We loaded the eggs into the car, Morgan in his seat, and Grandpa at the wheel. We brought the eggs into the shelter. The families were happy to get the eggs. Morgan went to join the other kids. It was time for music class. The displaced people from the city included some of the best musicians in the world, from Broadway. He was learning to play piano. His best friend sang and Jaxson, his cousin, was already sitting at the drums. We said our goodbyes then rounded up some teenagers to help us at the farm. These young people had lost a lot during the pandemic but had left the city to give the country a try. We needed help with the farm. They needed a skill. The housing at the shelter provided a safe place where people could get a fresh start and learn whatever was needed.

“All right I’m cookin lunch. We need fences” and they all went off with Grandpa. A few minutes later Grandpa screamed, then they came running. Jordan was bleeding. The barb wire had sprung back and caught his arm, what a bloody mess. The EMT’s arrived, saw a single person injury and called off the fire and police. Nothing to worry about here. Jordan was crying-no Hospital, please no Emergency Room. He was inconsolable. I had noticed some scars on his arms so asked if he’d been to the ER before. “Yes, before the COVID. They wouldn’t let me leave, they wouldn’t give me anything to help, wouldn’t talk to me. I can’t go back, I can’t, I just can’t. Grandpa and I told him we would stay, we wouldn’t leave him, But he must go it’s a bad injury. The paramedics calmed him down and we followed the ambulance. During the drive my mind drifted. We sometimes forgot about the before time. The shame and judgement, the behavioral health wards that were more like prisons.

As we got to the ER the usual questions, any allergies etc, then the patient advocate came and set him up with universal insurance, took his vitals and the Doctor came in. Since the Floods and the Crash Doctors were a valuable commodity. Once the wound was all cleaned up it wasn’t as bad as it looked, could be fixed right in the ER. Would be home for dinner. OMG dinner, Morgan, the other boys, I just left everyone. I called my son to pick up Morgan when he got Jax from the music lessons. I reached our neighbor who was happy to help and get the teenagers back to the shelter. Everyone helps out, everytime asked, no shame, no judgement.

As we wait for the ER team to finish I was lost in thought. After COVID hit, the insurers failed, the hospitals went bankrupt. Everyone was in a panic how to fix it. The politicians, the churches, the celebrities, everyone, then it hit. The floods came, slowly at first. The ocean was rising, and it was rising for good- no turning back. Srilanka was evacuated, and Hawaii and Guam. People started moving inland and the big cities disappeared one after another, New York, Boston, Miami, New Orleans, Seattle, Sanfrancisco. The market crashed, every bank failed, what else could be done. Then the President cancelled all mortgages, everyone owned the home with clear title. All credit card debt was forgiven, who would you pay. All savings were gone, it was a worldwide reset. Refugee camps were set up in the many small rural towns across the country who had room, in Ohio, Montana, Pennsylvania, Northern NY, etc. We were suddenly all equal. There was no more rich and poor. No jobs with benefits, just jobs. Just getting bye. Everybody did what they knew, taught those who could learn, filled in the blanks, and the small towns grew. The truckers and doctors became the rock stars. The farmers and teachers were the leaders, and what teachers we discovered. when the cities were abandoned the teachers, Professors, and performing arts all filled in as substitutes until they found work. Police worried about crimes, and only about crimes. Services were linked and hospitals learned how to treat physical and mental health together. The government restarted from scratch. All laws were reduced to just the basic amendments. Future laws will be written only as needed. First was Universal Health Care, Right to an education, and to provide the basic level of security and housing for all. No more nonprofits, property tax was applied equally. If no profit for the year then no income tax owed. The businesses started reopening, jobs came back, repairs were made. Here we are just 10 years later.

Grandpa tapped my shoulder, it startled me awake. We could take him home now, wow just a few hours and we are on our way.

We had Travis and Bianca bring the boys and meet us at movie night. Sandlot was being played on the outside screen at the center . Cassidy and Ian arrived after closing the Deli. It was nice watching our daughter follow her dream. We all got back together and told of our day, watched the movie, then went home. The young adults headed to town for Live music.

The next morning I overslept again. Morgan was watching the squirrels at the bird feeder. He told me how worried the kids were about Jordan. “No worries" I said "we all help each other”.

Morgan said, “just like the President says, “Everyone do what you can, We can all do something”.

“So true” I said “So True”

I believe in miracles. I have even had miracles happening to me in my life. Just to explain that a miracle-mostly a religious term- is something unusual that happens to you. It’s more than an event. A super event. A supernatural event to be specific.

I want to declare that even Covid-19 virus is surprisingly one example.
The virus spread has worked immensely in my favor; with it the feeling of depression out of the care about humanity got to its lowest degrees. Do you know why, because humanity took care for itself naturally during the first virus outburst.

Many times I get sad and angry when I see those young boys harming birds by catching them, cutting their wings and putting them in cages. Corona virus obliged them to hide at home, and meanwhile let birds FLY FREE and in PEACE. It’s high time for all animals to feel the true sense of security while the Big Harmers – Humans- are confined and hiding and meditating the situation!
The virus then obliged us to be more respectful and responsible because things got tidy and clean. I guess everyone saw photos of the planet Before and After. Animals were safer.

I can’t express also how puzzled and perplexed I get when I see thousands of ‘believers’ in my culture rush to pray each time in mosques and when they finish the “duty” and get out, they can’t notice the many miserable beggars and needy people out there of the mosques asking for help. Why can’t we connect faith to social aid? It is because of Covid-19 that this hypocrisy has stopped when such places were obliged to close, allowing reflections then to think on how religion can meet the expectations of humanity.

On a bigger scale, the creation of a national fund in my country to aid poor people is one good favor of Covid-19. This is a sign of patriotic solidarity from the more fortunate to the less ones. Swift decisions were taken in a blank of an eye about how to treat the social outcome of the epidemic-those same decisions would take months and years to implement without Covid-19. Fortunately even, is that the fund might become permanent with taking another name after this delicate period. A strategy more than welcomed especially in a country like mine where poor people category rate is so alarming.

As a teacher, education in my country and somewhere else moved electronic, obliging millions of families to opt for online education, and giving them real responsibility in their kids education. Before Covid-19, most families would leave the task of education totally to school. I ever asked my administration to think of a medium on how to keep a link between teachers and parents. I have ever wished students who show less interest in school to be tested for another activity that might fit their internal orientation and liking. I don’t know Why we keep ignoring Gardner’s Theory of intelligence?!
One good impact of Covid-19 on education then is the thinking about how to improve this domain and reach quality in it. I am referring mostly to the less pressure students might have because they are not obliged to go to school and the possibility to study online at each one’s pace and readiness. This is freedom and we all like Freedom.

I say this because school is not the place that many students prefer much to spend time- any time. The Plan then is to enter a Challenge:

 How can we make students like school/Education

Self motivation, project based approach, free pace learning, are just some ideas. Countries that really consider themselves developed should work on the challenge. The other countries are out of this competition. Those eligible countries should make much use of online education to enhance responsible learning but not oblige class attendance. Covid-19 should not oblige you come to school, but should necessarily make you like school and education because of the ‘Freedom Option’ it offers to learners and educators.

It’s urgently then there should be a strategic policy working towards,
" Happy school- Happy Teacher- Happy Student"

Do like me then, and don’t hate it (Covid-19). Conversely, see how many good tips we can learn from it and the message it embeds. It’s an opportunity for us to work for and reach human perfection on earth.

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The many years that tired me out had come to a conclusion. I no longer needed this in my life, I was forever waking up to gloom and doom. The foundations had been cracking for some time. I was tired of all the resentment, the lies and the fabrications of the world that we knew. Life was here to be lived and with all the backlash of the pandemic, it was now time to unleash the warrior inside. I wanted to make a clean break, make it something of a revolution; for I was not the only one thinking like this.

I had spent the morning packing my bags. The countryside had dried up, the land was overgrown and the people in the surrounding towns had no inkling for what was in store. I held conviction that the world we could not see, was the world that was soaked in all its glory. I was about to find that salvation and bring forth a new understanding. I had faith that the land abound was about to make a mockery of the past, it was about to swallow it up in whole and relish in the beauty of time. Time that stood on the forefront of our minds, for that was the tale I was about to begin.

Sometimes in life you have to bite the bullet. My uncle had shed some light on the topic of freedom. He knew that I had a passion for growth and to set sail on these dreams meant a new way forward for being my own. I held the need for showing the light to many a person and with that came passion and conviction. We just needed our pure thoughts to relish in the delight of hospitality, of love and of commitment to make our time here on earth stronger. The followers of time would lead me to a change for commitment, for finding a greater hope; which found its way to love.

Love showed me the way. When I met Henry, he was the man that made his dreams and hopes come alive. We had all wanted that in the past and now sitting here over a cup of tea, it made us believe that we could survive what we all wanted; the chance for freedom. We scooped up the soil and made our way to the plot of land that held conviction. The soil was part of the plan to unravel the deceit and bring forth a revolution. We all shared a knowing and with the wealth bestowed upon us, we found freedom to begin the journey of truth.

The fresh air had a nice way about it. I had spent many a night wondering about the earth as the sun faded from the distance. Fires, death, destruction and mayhem had been part of the pandemic and now looking ahead in the future, I saw our life mapped out in ways where we could all live harmoniously. The seeds of time had been planted for this crop. Could we all live a life of worth by growing our own seeds? Being completely free from the mayhem of disease? Could we all live a tale so grand that the people of the land had some type of worth?

Fran had been by my side in all of this, she was a friend that had hoped living life to its fullest, would hold her own. She sided with Henry and they went about town welcoming the followers into their lives. They held a great partnership and in no time at all the townsfolk had a new bundle of joy on its way. It was a delight to see the growing bump, the joy and the foundations for growth. The lights of hope found grounding and the western world of civilisation brought forth a new understanding. I was there in the making; I was there holding it strong. The forts were up, the freedom to live was cascading through the mountain tops. The land abounds held conviction, we were making it work and now the numbers came in droves.

People abound, people alike, people smiling and the best bit of it all; we were all one. The sounds of life could be seen. The wealth abound was here. Life was swirling with love, with hopes and dreams. I found that hoping and dreaming could muster the courage to make it work. People held their own professions; they held their own worth. They made it work and now that the time to make the land profitable held significance. The sounds of wonderment filled the town. Living off the land, soaking in all the glory and submitting ourselves to the fact that we were here as one, made us all part of the package. I held gratitude that the community was part of the plan. The plan was working and now to get the town into overdrive held a sense of timing on their part.

Sharing this wealth meant that the man abound could selflessly be, could welcome the community into their humble home and be willing to share the load. It was not just yours but what you had was theirs. It was part of the plan to show the wealth and live in a community that brought justice to all. Sharing was caring and now with a community benefitting from all, we found that it could work with just one admiration, trust. Trust held out for all and in that time, communities were thriving. Sharing in the wealth meant that it came back two-fold.

I had the belief that we could all make this work. We could all muster enough courage to keep the crops flourishing, keep our salvation moving forward and having the strength in numbers to heighten our sense of wonderment. The towns moved forward. The effervescence of slavery was not on our agenda. We held people accountable for their actions, for their lives and for their deceit. It was a win made for all; the situation drove people to strive for more. They had the belief that growth held resilience and the strength in numbers showed respect; respect for all.

There was no money needed, no greed. There was an understanding of what man could do which showed the versatility in any situation. Sustainability came within, we grew our own food, water came from the land and shelters were made. The hospitality of freedom set in, as the sun set down on the horizon. I could feel a sense of nostalgia walking around. The people of the land soaked in rays that held them for a new way forward. A way so precious that when I looked on, I could see hope.

Hope was a juggernaut of disease if not done right. It could show the man weak; it could show the man testing his boundaries. With this it held conviction, it held us steady. With the help of the locals we had made our mark. We had survived the backlash and we had prospered to the ninth degree. We had found that the light shone brightly, and we had made our own future. I longed for the times of grandchildren wrapped snuggly up in my arms. The times that they would be furnished, fed and looked after with no hint of worry. These were the times but for now I just had Henry and Fran’s bundle of joy to take on, for Matthias was born into a land of dreams.

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Visioning a better world beyond the pandemic

The covid-19 pandemic has left a trail of destruction across the globe as no one was ever prepared for such a catastrophe. However, amidst the footprints of economic depression a wave of innovative adjustment to suit the new normal emerged. True to the saying that, failure is the mother of innovation. There has been a surge in brilliant innovations across all industries to counter the failures and losses during the peak of pandemic. Also, on the social side the pandemic has had positive and negative effects on family units that lessons for a brighter tomorrow can be learnt. With the advancement of the pandemic provoked by Coronavirus, many cities around the world adopted quarantine stimulating people to not circulate without necessity. The fall in the movement in big cities caused direct effects in the environment, like the decrease in the emission of pollutants in the atmosphere and the increase of domestic and hospital waste generation. The expansion of cash transfer programs has underscored the need to broaden access to the financial system as never before. The most notable impact of the pandemic had been an increase in the use of bank accounts by the poor. In many countries using digital tools, more than a million accounts have been opened since the start of the outbreak in order for people to receive the cash transfer. Companies and individuals have quickly adapted virtual tools to carry out activities that were previously face-to-face. This means greater access to information and knowledge, as well as productivity gains. However, it has also exposed the gap in access to ICTs. Quite a number of public-school students either do not have a broadband connection at home or, if they do, do not have a computer or tablet to connect. Investments in ICTs are urgently needed, as they will help revive the economy and may even contribute to the environment, reducing transportation needs. That is why digital connectivity was highlighted among flagship COVID-19 recovery programs in a study published by the University of Oxford. The pandemic has highlighted the time we waste travelling, not to mention the economic costs associated with it. Video conferencing technology is now a much friendlier and more acceptable substitute. This crisis has also been a sort of vindication of the public sector. In the past, scandals associated with corruption or government inefficiencies have generated lack of trust and a negative perception of the public sector. Amid this crisis, the state apparatus has been seen as a source of solutions to the consequences of such a large shock. The public sector has responded rapidly on a number of fronts, from public health to preservation of incomes for households, and offered a lifeline of support to businesses. If it remains, this will be a positive legacy because the public sector is indispensable when it comes to externalities and other market failures, and typically has a longer horizon to plan than do private agents. In the context of solutions to problems as diverse as climate change and inequality, the state is needed. The pandemic has brought a reduction of carbon monoxide and other polluting emissions; a reduction in crime and road accidents; there is also less use of paper; increased punctuality, no more excuses to arrive late to a meeting, blaming the horrible traffic and there is enhanced family life, and this is a double-edged sword. Families are able to bond together for a longer time. Children can help with chores and spend quality time with their parents. Intra- family violence, unfortunately, has also increased as individuals living together with opposing thoughts do not get along are most likely to get into fights. Running businesses remotely is no longer something that we think is impossible and can also bring about this massive wave of change in Real estate, especially in the tier 1 cities. With businesses as smoothly as ever, the demand for ‘hot’ places is going to come down. The ones who do need physical spaces are going to stick with smaller spaces and it would not matter whether they reside. Distances are no longer a challenge; companies get to hire talents beyond zip codes as long as there are enough resources. When the need for physical buildings drops, naturally, the demand for it does as well which dips the prices. Thus, it becomes affordable to all. Investing in blue-chips stocks does have a reputation for being plain boring, stodgy, and is sometimes considered a little outdated. It is not an accident that they are overwhelmingly popular amidst the wealthy investors and almost every rock-solid financial institution. The current trend suggests that the blue-chip stocks have minted money in store for owners who are prudent enough to hang on to them with tenacity through thick and thin. Economists predict that you might be able to double your money in just two years. The reason blue chips stocks are considered relatively safe is that the dividend-paying stocks tend to fall less in bear markets. The economic impact of COVID-19, as we know, is severe; like the blow of a sledgehammer. Even if the economy comes to a standstill, blue-chip stocks become somewhat a relatively safe harbor. Wise investments are one of the ways to ride the COVID-19 economic crisis, safely. COVID-19 is likely to have a significant impact on the implementation of interventions to reduce child marriage, in particular as a result of the social distancing requirements implemented in many countries. Not all interventions are expected to be equally affected but on average a delay of one year could be regarded as conservative . It is still too early to determine the pandemic’s lasting effects, but the bottom line is that crises allow us to make decisions and implement policies that are difficult in normal times. The biggest mistake would be to not take advantage of this situation to resolve issues that will impact our future.

Thank you to everyone who has submitted their work so far. We have have also been receiving entries submitted by email.
Please note that in order to meet the challenge criteria and be eligible for a prize, the piece must be a work of fiction ie. a fictional story, with a narrative, characters etc. and not an essay or opinion piece.
Winners will be notified personally and announced on both our website and this forum.
Thank you!

When Home Felt New

Grace’s hand hovered over the Return button on the ticket machine. Would she be coming home after her date tonight? Did she want to?

She was feeling good in the outfit underneath her coat, a gem she found buried after a particularly fruitful rummage in her local charity shop. It was very form fitting - too much?

Does it matter? These were the nights she didn’t have to care about that sort of thing. It was an occasion and she felt good.

She heard the train coming, got the ticket and ran for it.

Derek thought about cycling along the new bike paths they’d opened where the old pandemic-measure markings used to be, but didn’t wanna risk turning up on a first date smelling a bit funky.

He compromised and walked his bike to the train station - he’d ride it back later that night.

Just as he was about to get the train he got a breathy voice message in his ear piece:

missed my train, will be 10 mins late

He smiled and sent one back:

it’s cool, you’re worth the extra wait ; )

He immediately prayed that it wasn’t too cheesy and tried not to sweat about it.

The air tonight was warm and wet and amber gold from the solar lights.

She liked getting the train. People watching, overhearing the hum of conversations, catching languages that took her mind back to holidays abroad.

There were a lot more tourists these days, she’d noticed. Made sense now that the borders had opened up for people to move around freely.

They’d put a lot of effort into making where she lived an attractive destination. The local council had started planting edible fruit and veg near the stations. She spied some thyme - judged that there was plenty there to share and pocketed a sprig for later.

Her eyes wandered over the community notice boards: another film night, a new dance class opening up nearby - she took out her phone to snap a picture of that.

She listened to the bird’s evening song. Noticed the trees surrounding the station waving at her in the breeze. She felt like she was standing between worlds, on a gateway to the city.

Derek was feeling nervous as he waited amongst the crowds. Then Grace’s bright headwrap and intelligent eyes locked with his and he felt at home. Be chill, his mantra went. Just be normal.

“Busy day?” he said, and thought: ugh, not that normal!

“Not today - it’s standard for teachers to work 3 days each now, ever since the craziness ended, y’know?”

“Is that what we’re calling it now? The Craziness?”

“Well, a lot of things make more sense on the other side of it, the 3-day work week for one…”

“Does the salary cut bother you?”

“Nah, that’s what Basic Income is for isn’t it? If I wanted to I could live off that and retrain, get better qualifications, get paid more…

Right now I’m happy just taking time for myself. Our building recently did that whole green energy switch thing, insulation and everything, so now I pay less for bills, too. I don’t even need a car because we have Eber.”

“I hear you. Remember when this street would be chocka block with cars at this time of night?” They’d just left the station and he flung his arm to gesture to the city centre streets where herds of people were walking, cycling and sitting beneath rows of newly planted trees.

A new taxi app had revolutionized the transport industry. Not many people needed cars guzzling up their money, space, time and energy when all it took was a tap on the app to summon an electric self-driving vehicle to your doorstep. They were safer, quieter, cleaner.

“I call this progress,” Grace said approvingly.

“Well I think we should progress onto food. Do you have a preference?”

“The Greenhouse?”

Derek smiled and held out his arm for her to take.

It was one of those restaurants with vertical agriculture along the walls. They made their way to the rooftop greenhouse, lit up with fairy lights and surrounded by leaves and vines. The city streets were so quiet you could hear distant music, chatter and birds across the city.

The solar powered heaters made it warm enough for Grace to take off her coat. She was satisfied by the way Derek’s eyes went over her body.

He went for the most expensive dish - the only meat option on the menu. “This is an event”, he said in explanation.

“I still love meat to be honest with you.” Grace admitted, “most of the Jamaican food from my childhood was chicken, goat, ox…you know what I mean?”

“I think being vegan 98% of the time is just as good as being vegan all the time.” He confirmed.

A conversation with Grace was a meal for Derek in and of itself. She was as open and willing to explore the real stuff as he was. As usual with first dates, the conversation started to turn towards the most shared human experience of recent memory.

“What did you miss the most? During, y’know…the Crazy times.”

Grace laughed, and her eyes flitted down as she thought about it. Was it weird to kiss her right now, Derek thought?

“I missed dancing.” She said.

“You could have danced at home? Put on some funky beats and get down with it”

Grace liked his weirdness.

“I mean, I guess I could have? It would have helped. Back then I’d sit for hours working, or just watching Netflix or something in-between, too drained to do anything. Sometimes I’d be browsing Instagram or Facebook or a news site and I’d catch myself holding my breath, like I’d somehow forgotten how to breathe.

All I could think about was: “I should be doing more” and at the same time "what’s the point?” I had this constant feeling of shame in my stomach, but I felt trapped, y’know? All I could do was sit, work, watch shows. Dancing was the last thing I felt like doing.”

“I hear you,” Derek said.

“Sometimes when I caught myself getting like that I’d catapult myself out the door for a walk. Go to some green spaces.

There’s a soft fascination in local parks, y’know? Nature doesn’t call for your attention, everything is humbly getting on with things. You start to feel like you’re part of everything, just getting on with things and everything will keep going once you’re done getting on with things, and that feels…okay. Peaceful. Like, I’m doing what I can with what I have and that’s enough. The world will still be here, whether I’m here to appreciate it or not. And right now, everything feels new.”

After dinner he walked her to the station, then realised his mistake - a train was just now pulling up onto the station - he didn’t have much time left…

“Hey, do you wanna-”

“Actually I -’”

They both huffed a soft laugh and Derek looked at Grace with soft, patient eyes. He blinked and nodded a slow you first.

“Actually I… only got a Single,” she said, holding up a train ticket, sounding bashful. “Do you fancy watching a film? At your place, maybe?”

A smile rose on his face like a sunrise.

“Sure,” he said. “Let’s go home.”

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THE WORLD AFTER CORONA: I NEVER IMAGINED

The 225th day, after the first appearance of the malicious Coronavirus in the Chinese city Wuhan, life is bleak, the world is experiencing unprecedented turmoil, countries that have ended their journey with the virus and countries that are still struggling.

Here, Morocco Here we witness everyday record numbers of cases. We cannot be sure whether they are the only cases, or the mysterious truth is more difficult. The state of emergency is announced throughout the kingdom, and fear and panic prevail over everyone.

I feel aches and pains in my joints and back, and I cannot breathe properly, fear is gripping me while I’m waiting for the results of the Covid-19 analysis, my day passes between taking sedatives and trying to walk inside the house.

The sky is black, it’s ten o’clock, I‘m going to sleep, so I cannot bear more, because even the sedatives didn’t work with these sharp pains that hurt me psychologically more than their physiological impact.

My head is on the pillow and my sick body is trembling, and little by little until I fell asleep without feeling the last details of my miserable day.

After a few hours of sleeping I woke up, but the strange thing was that I was in my full strength and Sound healthy, Car horns explode with loud sirens after the streets were less popular, and the sounds and laughter of my younger brothers and their running was heard in the whole house after they were In a state of complete depression, they never leave their mobile devices, my mother is banging on the door of my room while she is carrying a pan full of delicious eggs whose scent settled in my nose after my sense of smell was weak: “Wake up. You will be late for class” and even my father’s car engine who has been standing for a long time It was running that morning.

I didn’t understand anything despite my many attempts to remember the logical thread of events. I pinched my right hand with my left hand to make sure that what I was living was real, “Oh my God, this is painful.” I really live reality, but I did not understand how? When? Thanks to whom or what? The nightmare of the coronavirus that has ravaged the world for months and months is over.

After I began to comprehend it very slowly I pounced on my phone eagerly and spontaneously on the control device of the TV, I activated the Wi-Fi signal and turned on the TV, my phone was vibrating by the incoming notifications, I started browsing to check whether they were notifications from my private message box, or They’re notifications from news pages and websites that provide me with updates every day and that my interest in them has decreased recently due to negative news and it increased to my message box as I used to share voice messages with my besties to alleviate the boredom that marked my days. But the shock was strong, and the surprise was not as easy to absorb as the details I noticed after waking up.

(NOTIFICATIONS)

  • “Giant projects between China and America after the united effort to find a vaccine for COVID-19”
  • “End of the Palestinian war“
  • “Elimination of armed terrorist organizations in the Middle East”

I switched TV channels, looking for a news channel, in order to verify what my eyes saw, because I didn’t believe, and if for a while, I was shocked in my shock with other happy headlines.

(TV NEWS)

  • “ The World Health Organization is organizing a celebration to mark zero cases of Coronavirus in countries around the world“
  • “South Sudan, Chad and Burundi achieve record numbers in human development indicators
  • “The increasing demand of young people for academic education and the decrease in the unemployment rate in third world countries “

You can imagine the amount of joy that I had with successive and rapid overdoses after the world was struggling with its last thorn, here it is regaining its strength, prosperity, and peace.

I dressed scattered , although I am elegant in my normal life, but the shock affected my elegance as well, I went down the stairs and opened the door and as soon as I put my feet in the street until I remembered that I forgot my beloved mask that was my protector, my shield and my dear sterilizer Which was my weapon against the dreaded virus, I went back to take them and walked along our narrow alley, but I was surprised that people don’t wear masks anymore and that Most of them are graceful joys singing the joy of the morning as if they were little birds at a time when frustration, tension and unhappiness were the title of daily life in the era of the coronavirus, I turned to my left side and caught my eyes, a scene as if I was seeing it at first glance, the trunk of the car is open, two suitcases inside and the sound of the wheels of the third bag approaching, a warm hug and words of goodbye and peace are loud in the air, I do not know these people, but what caught my eyes is my conclusion that Traveling between countries has become permissible and that travel between cities has never become an obstacle. What added to my surprise is that The hug that we longed for and its warmth returned to be a natural thing.

Suddenly I met a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen for a while and I asked him about his news, and I was surprised by the news that he had passed the medicine university test after he had always wanted to leave the school in order to master the football in which he was talented, it was not easy to understand I asked him about how and why? His beautiful answer was as follows: “This pandemic that we have gone through showed me personally that the world needs me as a doctor, engineer or teacher, and I will not benefit him much if I am an athlete, singer or artist. That is why I decided to repass my baccalaureate and major in medicine and leave football as a hobby"

On my way to discover the new world, I passed by the neighborhood restaurant, near which there is a shopping center owned by a Jew, but what surprised me was what I saw, the owner of the restaurant is an elderly person of German origins sitting at the same table with the Jew drinking tea and laughing after they were The toughest enemies.

Yes, every event makes me forget the previous one, and from the intensity of my curiosity, I wanted to go to the university in order to know the situation there, and while I was waiting at the station, I was very surprised that people were lining up in organized rows waiting for their turn to ride, but the bus stations were famous earlier for the flying dust and screaming and shoving while riding, so I saw on the side a bus company sticker stating the possible payment methods (phone payment, bank card payment, digital currency payment) It was absolutely unusual and at the same time I found another in my pocket that I remembered buying it 7 months ago, I sat by the window and went down thinking and thinking, “The world has changed, my God.”

I entered the university and found some friends reading books in the café. I continued on my way and then entered a grandstand. The system that prevailed or the modern teaching equipment that had been put in place did not surprise me, but what surprised me was the subject that was taught in that class “Ethics, Values and Social interactions” where the professor was explaining the effect of smiling on the general atmosphere in the workplace and then moving on to talking about social solidarity, sexual harassment and major issues which were ignored by most of the people.

I never imagined that the world would become so beautiful, and I never imagined that the great powers would prefer peace and alliance rather than war, nor that the countries of the third world would prosper one day. I never imagined that life would return to the way it was and even better. I never expected to see young people like me strongly accept academic learning and the search for culture and the love of knowledge, or to see enemies becoming lovers and friends, and I used to exclude too much that I see manifestations of awareness and urbanization present in my community, or I find the latest technologies that serve us with a purely future outlook at this short time. I never imagined that I would study in my university, which was outdated, the latest sciences and its advancement. I never imagined that the responsible would pay attention to the importance of morals and values and Social interactions, I never imagined that this invisible virus would make our dreams, aspirations and ambitions visible and tangible.

Yes, COVID-19 robbed us of a lot and turned our lives upside down, killing hundreds of thousands of human beings, but it gave us a beautiful gift, it woke us from our deep slumber and showed us how beautiful the life we live is so beautiful that we are strong, and we can unite and grow up And we go on, thank you, Covid-19, Thank you, Covid-19, without you the painful past would continue.

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