Short Story: Tears Of Damascus Pt 1


I’ve wanted to try a bit of story writing for a while and after some day dreaming today, I have an idea of a story in my mind, I’ll be sharing it in pieces on this blog, here’s the first few paragraphs I’ve written, hope you enjoy….

Tariq Ziyad

Harry looked down at his phone, the alarm buzzing on the floor by the side of the bedpost. He remembered his mindfulness classes and lay back on the pillow focusing on long deep breaths, clearing out the racing thoughts that were already flooding his head in the first minutes of wakefulness. Having gained some clarity, he got up, switched off the still buzzing alarm and began to get ready, today was the day, a day where a whole new journey begins and months of hard work were going to amount to something.

The trip to the airport and boarding of the early morning flight all went by in a blurry fashion, somehow, Harry was now in his seat looking out of the window as London disappeared into the clouds. Thoughts were still racing around and on top of that, a nasty case of nervous stomach meant that breakfast wasn’t happening and lunch was doubtful. Thoughts of the months spent posing as a grassroots activist on social media and the people Harry had come to know kept him busy, such caring and naïve souls, its not easy doing this kind of work, when your cover gets blown you are left with a lot of people who hate you. He recalled the recent incident of an agent provocateur who made the news when they came clean on an operation to infiltrate a group of anti frackers. He actively encouraged them to break into and damage a drilling rig, they were arrested and several of the activists faced lengthy sentences and even lengthier legal proceedings. There’s things you do, its just part of the job, things that in everyday life might bring you pleasure but in this line of work pleasure is replaced by constant anxiety and adrenaline. Things like forming relationships and being intimate and all the time knowing your ‘partner’ doesn’t even know who you really are and the people you call friends would probably put you in hospital if they knew the truth.

Without realising it, Harry got so lost in his thoughts that it was almost time to land, he had never been to Damascus before let alone Syria or the Middle East for that matter but he had done his homework, can’t leave even the slightest chance of being caught out, soon he would be meeting his new friends and employers at the NGO ‘Syrian Hands’, they were a good bunch of people, selfless, such big hearts, almost made him doubt himself a bit, it wouldn’t be the first time. But the task at hand was clear though, these people had connections with Muhsin, they knew him and over time had built up mutual trust, enough to work together and thats why Harry was coming to Damascus. Muhsin was the subject of a media feeding frenzy, daily sensational headlines talked of his vocal hatred of all things British, his treachery and betrayal of British values. Muhsin did try and clear his name via televised interviews here and there but that wasn’t anything a fake twitter account and plenty of smearing from the news outlets couldn’t take care of. Harry needed to infiltrate Syrian Hands, befriend Muhsin and gain his trust in order to open up a channel of dialogue, truth is, he could be a great asset to us, eloquent and intelligent with an impressive education and work background, yes, today it all begins and in all honesty it was a lot to take in, doesn’t matter how many times you have done this before, that feeling in the stomach never goes away, Harry wanted to be violently sick and not long after landing, he was.


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