Migratory Birds [A Short Story]

“The next minute, a shrill cry broke at a distance. The sound was vindictive and loud enough to make the book slip off her tiny hands. It was similar for other children.”

It was the first time a subject other than mathematics excited Humaira. Today’s Geography lesson was on migratory birds. In fact, she awaited it since she first dreamed to fly.

She couldn’t fathom how these birds managed to stay in the symmetrical order when flying in large groups atop oceans. And, how come they never need a map to travel miles of distances. For a moment, she wished to become one of them, but then she realized that birds can’t solve math problems and she gave up the idea of becoming a migratory birds. In fact, her dream to become a mathematician always outranked the rest of her aspirations.


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She pressed her face against the Geography book and started to imagine herself wearing an oversized robe in the midst of a huge gathering. She had totally been transcended to the scene she had drawn on her mind. She could see herself being honored as the mathematician of the century amidst sound of claps and applause. She dreamed to understand the proof of Fermat’s last theorem.


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The next minute, a shrill cry broke at a distance. The sound was vindictive and loud enough to make the book slip off her tiny hands. It was similar for other children. Clueless on how to react to the situation, the scared children started to rush towards the exit door.

While some of the children managed to run out of the classroom, some couldn’t. Humaira was in the latter. Before her little feet could find their way to the exit, few bullets had already found a way into the room from the open window that was meant to welcome the breeze of December.

It happened too quickly and Humaira didn’t understand why death made a visit quite unpredictably. In fact, none of those 132 children during the Peshawar attack did. All they once dreamed was to fly. Or to be a migratory bird. Unfortunately, none of them could.

Ahmad Khan

I have no blood in my veins. I have ink.

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