Refugee: Part Three - The Kingdom of Heaven

by William King

Chapter 1

"But Jesus said, suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

Refugee, Part three, by William King - The Kingdom of Heaven

The following story is a work of fiction.

It is inspired by real events and based on reports from various reputable sources, including national newspapers and UNHCR.

None of the characters are real persons and any resemblance to persons alive or dead are purely coincidental.

Where place names are given, these are real, however, descriptions of activities which take place there and the people involved are fictitious.

This is for you Jay.

Copyright © - William King


The Road to Gennadi.

In front of them the long wispy grass swayed slightly in the breeze. The colour was a faded bleached out green that left the vegetation almost matching the pale yellow sand. The gentle slope of grass was lost to the beach that stretched out towards an ever more distant sea. The horizon was a long way off, somewhere almost out of view merging shades of blue left the sea disappearing into the sky. Sunlight bounced glistening off the water.

"Let's go and swim," Firas stood up, looking down at the other two boys.

"Yes!" Samir exclaimed, excited by the idea.

They had been lazing around on the beach all morning, letting their clothes dry, and just enjoying the sunshine. Amar stood up and began undressing. The next moment three naked boys were running towards the water.

The first to run into the sea was Firas. "Ah... it's cold!"

Amar ran straight past him, followed by Samir. Soon all three were nearly waist deep, jumping around, shouting and splashing each other. Firas lost his step and fell over. Amar pulled him to his feet and Samir climbed on Amar's back. Well, he tried to, but Amar twisted sideways and he lost his grip. Samir was the second one to fall in the water, and Amar purposely dived down next to him.

Amar moved further out, where it was a little deeper, and started swimming. "Come and swim!" He called back to them.

Samir turned to look at Firas, then back to Amar, who now only had his head visible above the water. "I can't," he shouted.

"You don't know how to swim?" Firas looked at the youngster.

"No, I never learned."

Amar came back to join the other two, he put an arm around Samir. "One day I will teach you," he told him.

They dried off on the beach just next to the waters edge, where the sand was still damp and compact.

"What are we gonna do?" Firas asked Amar.

Looking at the oldest of the three of them, he smiled, not failing to notice the hard on Amar was getting. "And I don't mean about that," he added laughing.

"It's the heat of the sun," Amar smiled back.

"If you say so," Firas nodded towards Samir who was lying on his stomach next to Amar, and pushing his toes into the wet sand. "But I'm not convinced."

Firas felt a stirring in himself, looking at the boy lying there naked. He was beautiful.

"I was thinking," Amar replied, ignoring the arousal and sexual vibes floating in the air. "We could put up the tent. Stay the night. What do you think?"

Samir turned his head sideways to look at Amar, then turned on his side to face them, resting his head on his arm. Despite not wanting it to happen, Firas was getting hard too, and it was Amar's turn to chuckle. Samir also had a huge grin on his face. With both of them looking at him, Firas was embarrassed.

He turned away and walked back towards the dunes. "Yeah okay," he said quickly. Then looking back over his shoulder, added, "I'm gonna get dressed."

This made Amar laugh. He looked at Samir, "I think he likes you," he said.

"I like him too," Samir answered.

"Yeah, but he really likes you."

"Oh!" Samir understood.

Amar reached over to touch his shoulder with an outstretched arm. "You do know you're beautiful?" Amar squeezed gently.

Now it was Samir who was embarrassed. He felt his face getting warm.

"Let's get dressed," Amar suggested. "Then we can eat."

Samir stood up and they headed back to join Firas.

The three boys crawled into the tent, laying side by side. There was just enough room, a cosy fit, but then it was never intended to be used for any length of time. For a night or two it was fine, if nobody moved too much.

Samir half turned his head towards Amar, who was lying in the middle. "What will we do?" He asked.

"I don't know," Amar replied. "We could do what Jordon said, go find the local police."

Firas propped himself up on his elbow, looking over Amar at Samir. "We could get a boat to the mainland. If we have enough money."

"How far is that?" Samir asked.

"I don't know, but I heard it was the best route. To go to Athens, or to a big town in the North, Fessalon, or something like that."

"Thessalonica," Amar interrupted. "It's right in the North, the route to get out of Greece and towards Germany or France. But it's really a long way and we don't have so much money."

"So the police or a ferry?" Samir asked.

"A ferry!" Both Amar and Firas replied in unison. Samir smiled.

With something now decided, it was time to get some sleep. The only sound was the rolling waves, and they drifted off with that constant unending rhythm in the background.

As dawn broke the three boys woke up slowly to the new day. Samir was lying halfway across Amar, who had one arm and a leg over Firas. It was impossible that whoever moved would not wake the others.

Outside the tent there was a chill in the air, with a strong breeze blowing in from the sea. The water was more choppy than the calm of yesterday. The clear sky promised a warm day later. Quite quickly they packed things up, took the tent down, and were ready to set off.

They walked back up the dunes away from the sea and almost immediately came to a sort of track. It didn't look well used, but it was the only man made thing around. To the left and beyond was wild barren land. Almost flat, it was sandy and interspersed with scraggly low lying bushes. The track led off to the right following the coast. They set off in that direction.

"How will we find the ferry?" Samir asked as they walked.

It seemed to Amar that since landing in Greece, the once totally silent youngster, the boy who never said a word, had suddenly found his voice. Why? To that question Amar had no answer, but he was happy the boy was talking.

"By the grace of God!" Amar exclaimed, and ruffled his hair.

"That means we have no idea," Firas added.

Samir smiled. "That's okay. We just keep walking."

"Yeah. Until we find somewhere." Amar told him.

"Or someone," Firas said.

"If it's someone, I hope they speak English." Amar replied.

The sandy track was at times difficult to distinguish from the scrub land all around them. They were above the shoreline. The beach where they had landed, had long since disappeared to become rocks, or just a drop down to the sea.

After about five kilometres the track turned inland to cross an almost dried up river bed. It was there they came across an isolated house. Quite a large building, it was next to the sea. A long rectangular, single storey whitewashed house. The barking of a dog made them give the place a wide berth and carry on quickly past.

They were following the coastline until at one point they found themselves heading almost back the way they had come. Perhaps it was not the best idea, because the land jutted in and out, it couldn't be the most direct route to anywhere.

There was a long stretch of beach that curved around, stretching maybe a kilometre or more. Totally deserted.

Finally, at the far end of this beach they climbed back up and found themselves next to a low lying wall and a group of three houses. They peered over the wall as they walked past on the dirt track. There was a sign, in English, just past the last house, 'Nerida Beachfront Villas' it announced. There was no one around, the houses looked empty and closed up.

A group decision was made to follow the small track that led away from the houses and continued out of sight of the coast, but on what was a more used track. This brought them at last to a proper road. They turned right and carried on walking. They passed an occasional house here and there, all looking like rather grand properties.

They must have been walking the best part of the morning, easily for three hours. They had seen no one, no cars, nothing, except a few houses. Samir wanted to take a break, Firas agreed. As they reached what looked like some kind of holiday hotel complex, they stopped at the junction ahead. Right was a beach and the sea, left the road led inland again.

Amar threw down his backpack, and Samir and Firas sat down at the side of the road. The sun was way up high in a clear blue sky, there was no shade, and it was hot. Firas was drinking from the last bottle of water when the sound of a car approaching made them look.

Back down from the direction they had come, an old van had left the hotel complex and was coming up the lane towards them. Amar stood up and held out his arm, with his thumb up, looking at the old van as it approached.

The driver stopped, said something - in a language they didn't understand - probably Greek. Amar asked him, "You speak English mister?"

That made Samir and Firas giggle as the old man took off his cap and scratched his head. Then, as if the man had decided something, he gestured to the boys with a wave of his arm, to get in the back.

They clambered into the back of the empty van. The only place to sit was on the floor. The motor started, the van moved forward and turned left, up the lane, away from the beach.

Amar and Firas were sitting together with their backs to the cab and their legs stretched out. Samir was peering out the back, sitting on the floor and holding the back panel of the van. After a short distance the van stopped, waited, turned right, and slowly picked up speed.

Samir's thoughts drifted back to the ride in the truck that took him away from his home. Although nothing was left of his home, and the city was mostly in ruins, almost totally bombed out. 'That,' he thought to himself, 'was the start of a very long journey. And he was still travelling. Would he ever arrive?'

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