We had to keep looking ahead, keep moving forward, for there was nothing left behind us, nothing but death and destruction.

Uprooted from a land on which generations of us had taken birth, lived our lives, and prospered. Our lives shattered on the whims and fancies of one man, whom they worshiped as a saint.

Banished, forever, never to return.

Our future generations would never be able to frolic in those green pastures, nor would they ever get to drink the rejuvenating fresh water from those bubbling brooks that could bring a dead one back to life. Aah, the sweet taste of home.

But no, there was no time to think of those happier times. We would get plenty of time to dream, to get drunk on nostalgia, but first, we had to survive.

Survive this arduous journey through lands that had been uninhabited by man or beast since centuries.

Survive the baking hot sun by taking cover in whatever caves we could find.

Photo prompt courtesy Sue Vincent

Survive the total lack of food or water on this cruel land.

Survive the vultures that were circling overhead, waiting for some of us to give up and stop moving….so that they could move in for the kill.

We saw sons losing their fathers, and mothers being forced to leave their sick or dead progeny behind.

We saw strange sickness take over the bodies of our loved ones, and our numbers deplete by half, and then half again.

We saw some of us go mad with hunger, and anger at what had become of us, and attack one of their own. We all had to collectively put these poor souls down.

We would have cried, but there were no tears left any more, we had seen too many horrors, too much pain, too much loss.

And then, finally, after what seemed like years, but was actually less than a fortnight, we reached the neighbouring country.

Our faces lit up as we saw the walls surrounding the city.

There were only a few of us left, but at least we were safe now. We would rebuild our lives from here, we would grow again, we would allow love to grow in our hearts again.

But this turned out to be just another cruel joke that fate had played on us.

The residents of the city saw us, and shut their gates.

They attacked us even as we went up to the walls to ask for help.

They poured molten oil on us from the walls, and lit us on fire.

They poisoned the wells outside the walls which would have helped us survive a little longer.

But still, some of us survived, for our will to live would just not allow us to die.

And we fought back, and won.

For we had no other choice but to keep looking ahead, keep moving forward, for behind us was nothing but death and destruction.

They would forever blame us, call us evil, but no one would ever think of laying the blame on the feet of the one man who was responsible for what we had become- St. Patrick, who drove all of us out of our home, Ireland!

*************************************************************************************Written in response to the Thursday Photo Prompt – Ahead at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Click on the link to read other stories inspired by the above image.

Note: The first time I ever came to know about there being no snakes in Ireland was through a Jeffrey Archer collection of short stories that I had read while I was in school. Over the years, I also came to know that St. Patrick was the one credited with driving away all snakes from Ireland (as per legend of course). So when I saw this picture, it somehow led me to thinking about what the snakes would have thought of his noble act. After all, snakes are people too 🙂


About anuragbakhshi

At the age of 40, I decided to exit the corporate world, and enter the world of stories as a full-time writer. Wish me luck!
This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, mythology, Thriller, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Banished

  1. Suzanne says:

    That’s a good story. St Patrick does have a lot to answer for though I do like the Celtic Christian buildings in west Ireland.

  2. Meena says:

    I learnt something new today. I never knew about no snakes in Ireland! how surprising!
    Good one!

  3. Iain Kelly says:

    Given my irrational fear of snakes, I can’t help but feel I understand where St. Patrick was coming from! 🙂 Well written.

  4. Another nail in Saint Patrick’s coffin! Thanks for giving us yet another reason to hate the bleeder 🙂

    • Ha ha ha. Know absolutely nothing about him, except the snakes part, and the St. Patrick’s Day part, which, coincidentally, us today it seems. I had no clue about that, but obviously, the snakes who wanted me to write this story to steal his thunder, did 🙂

      • Apparently there never were any snakes in Ireland. After the Ice Age, the melt of the glaciers cut Ireland off from continental Europe, so when the snakes started to repopulate Europe, they didn’t get a chance to reach Ireland. Another myth bites the dust 🙂

  5. Pingback: Banished – Anurag Bakhshi #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  6. Great story enjoyed it very much!

  7. Sue Vincent says:

    Nicely done… I agree, snakes have a right to a homeland 🙂

  8. Pingback: Photo prompt round-up: Ahead #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

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