Essay on City Under Siege

Essay on City Under Siege

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He awoke to the sounds of cannon fire. The rumbling thunder in the distance signalled the start of another day, as surely and as steadily as it had been doing ever since the war reached Sarajevo. It would be moments before the rounds hit, chipping off more of the small European city into debris. Sometimes, with Lady Luck on their side, they would land outside of town.

Things were rarely so fortunate.

A series of booms sent his ears ringing, numbed and dazed from the shock. Groups of infantrymen could be heard outside, shouting commands to prepare the retaliatory barrage. Ignoring them, he got out of bed and shook himself awake. The pain in his head subsided no less. But all things considered, he would have to make do with the fact that he was still alive.
No one could have expected that the battles would reach so far, so soon. Once rich with culture, the old city no longer showed any signs of the proud beacon it had once been. This was all that his hometown had been reduced to — a handful of damaged buildings scattered among the rubble and ash. It was hard to believe that all this had happened in a few short weeks; not when the place couldn’t even be called a city anymore.
He tried to put it out of his mind; the past was in the past. Nothing would come from hopeful wishes of the good ol' days.
He washed a mouthful of hardtack down his throat with a tin of boiled water. The biscuits tasted like dry cardboard, but he had grown accustomed to it. He'd hardly had a choice. After all, where could he find any other source of nourishment these days? He wrapped the leftovers in a clean, silk cloth, leaving them for dinner. The meagre meal did little to sate his hunger, but he'd learned to ignore the constant grumbling of his stomach. On...

... middle of paper ...

...a small thanks before dispersing back to their hiding holes. He said nothing in return. Instead, the silent cellist placed his instrument in its case, clasped the latches back down, and made his way back home.

* * *

Climbing into bed, he pulled the sheets over his head and fell into slumber. As he slept, he dared to dream for the first time in weeks. He dreamt of performing in a large concert hall, overflowing with the people of Sarajevo. He dreamt of the masses of happy faces, dressed in fine threads and filled with good food. In the front row of the audience sat the beaming little girl, surrounded by the other countless happy individuals. A symphony of notes cascaded from his instrument, filling the hall with his joy and art. All was right with the world. All was as it should have been. All was as it once was.

He awoke to the sounds of cannon fire.

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