After centuries of subjugation and oppression, the Independence movement was growing in Tamiriland. Like so many of the younger, more educated generation of Tamiris for whom tradition was not the beginning and end of everything, I got involved – inevitably.

The Espolamian government was having none of it, Tamiriland being blessed with extreme wealth, rare minerals required in manufacturing some of the world’s more advanced technologies, which stimulated our desire for independence even more.

When one’s countrymen are held in poverty by a government that’s sitting on countless trillions of dollars of assets, whose members and buddies are ostentatiously flaunting symbols of obscene wealth like huge mansions and private jets, forever accuse them of envy. We wanted a decent slice of the cake.

They have also been trying, since the decolonisation of Espolamia, to suppress our ancient religion, shoving theirs forcibly down our throats.

The demonstration was therefore two-pronged – financial and cultural.

I reckon fifty thousand people thronged City Square when I mounted the podium to give my carefully rehearsed speech that afternoon, by which time they’d been very warmed up by the preceding speakers.

I was raising the pitch very nicely when I saw a flash from a top floor window of City Hall, which was opposite the podium. I knew instinctively that the flash came from a firearm and that if the aim was accurate I had about one second to live.

I seemed to be held immobile by an invisible hand but was quite calm as the projectile struck my heart and I died.

The light changed to red, then pink, amber, yellow and luminous blue as I fell to the platform, hearing the staccato rattle of automatic weapons.

A calm, quiet voice entered my head but not through my ears. ‘Do not be afraid, Anoush. Your name is eternal because you are never-ending. Your martyrdom was planned and soon Tamiriland will be free. Your time has come to be the force that will achieve that freedom. Those that are dying here and now are part of the plan and will be forever celebrated in our country’s legends.”

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Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
7 months ago

Allan, I enjoyed the futuristic flavour of your tale and how martyrdom can break tyranny.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
7 months ago

A warm welcome to Voice club, Allan. I was thrilled and amazed at your first story here in Voice club. Anoush is truly brave and a martyr. His heroic deeds for the freedom of his country need to be remembered. I am wondering if it is from a real story, Allan? Great story.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Allan Neil
7 months ago

You’re most welcome, Allan.

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
7 months ago

I’m so pleased that this story has been shortlisted Allan, but not at all surprised! I love all the detail in your writing and this story really encapsulates your talent for that. Good luck in the competition.

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Fuji
Fuji(@fuji)
7 months ago

Hello Allan, and welcome to the Club! This story is very powerful, even more so because it is set in a fictitious country. The reader can think of many parallels in history and current events, without needing to take a side, since this is “fiction”. Excellent writing. I look forward to more of your writing in future.

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Sandra OReilly
Sandra OReilly(@sandra-oreilly)
7 months ago

This was so well written that I thought for a moment I was reading about an actual real event that took place – well done.

Sandra OReilly
Sandra OReilly(@sandra-oreilly)
Reply to  Allan Neil
7 months ago

No problem, well deserved.

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
7 months ago

You managed to fill the limited space with an incredibly rich and dramatic content, Allan! Your story is applicable to all times and places where there is suppression and injustice and Anoush is the great symbol for the few who dare to stand up and risk their lives for the benefit of others. Very well done!

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
Reply to  Allan Neil
7 months ago

PS After I sent my comment, I did a search for the name of your protagonist and found out that Anoush means “immortal.” That’s a great choice for somebody who, as you say, will be “forever celebrated.”

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Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
6 months ago

Allan, while reading this, it felt like I was watching a movie scene! Like Lotchie said, Anoush was truly brave. I like how you chose a meaningful name for your protagonist. Great story.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
6 months ago

An interesting and original take on the prompt. Those who become martyrs certainly become timeless for their deeds. I found your story very gripping. Well done.

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