Tasfia Tasneem Rafa
John remembers the first breath of Neverwinter, the aptly named nuclear winter coined by the locals of his fallout shelter, had greeted him as he opened those bunker doors after sneaking past everyone. The stale airs of the bunker could never compare to that burst of air that filled his lungs. It felt as if Pandora’s Box had released its contents to be welcomed inside of him. But instead of feeling trapped inside the box, he was finally free. The first sight of Neverwinter was a sigh of breathless wind onto the withered trees. John remembers thinking that these were the famous trees that roamed the surface, setting their gargantuan roots down due to old age. A melancholy rich suspense held the scene in place as he took the first steps outside. The Moon was up there in its full form, a clear night sky radiated its light on the ash-ridden surface of the devastated Earth. He walked, somehow his feet put itself in front of the other, admiring the scenery. It felt like his body and mind were working independently from each other, the mind using the eyes to wander and dance across the horizons, the sky, the stars, and the trees, while the body carried him through these unfathomed destinations. John walked till the skies flooded in crimson flames by the fabled Sun that greeted Neverwinter every morning. Something about its light felt different from the artificial lights he was oh-so accustomed to. It conveyed a certain warmth that he only felt in mother’s arms. By now he was growing tired, and the Sun changed all that was dark and brought it to life. And by the corner of my eye, something jumped his attention and took it by the scruff of his collars. It was a yellow carnation, or so he thought it was a carnation from all the books that had pictures of flowers. In the grey emotionless backdrop that surrounded it, the flower was a welcome relief. His eyes grew weary and the aches of the body reaching the surface, but he kept looking. John was engrossed at the yellow vibrancy slowly whispering sweet nothings upon his eyelids, lulling it to sleep. As his body gently hugged the ground, face resting on the patch of green by the flower grew upon it. And there he lay as motionless as the trees, in a breathless sleep embracing the glory of Neverwinter.
The writer is a student of AIUB