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Shirin Tahmasebi

The long nights and days merge into one as Navid journeys through severe conditions, positioned at all heights of the Zagros. His friends follow closely behind, weary and tired. They try to stay as quiet as they can, their every move hunted. Only their slow and silent steps will save them from the wrath of those who wish to fight against them. The base they ambushed just hours ago lies burning in the distance behind them, on significantly less rugged ground. The green, white and red flag stays high in the sky. The red coat of arms replaced with a proud golden lion.
            The air is cold at night, but the sun burns their skin during the day. There is no escape from the heat, only the dusty cloths they wear around their faces can protect them. Six years ago, Navid left England and joined a group courageous enough to stand up for his country. But in those six years, he has seen his friends fall, enemies rise and a haunting amount of torture and murder. He wonders every night if it will come to an end soon, or if he will see many more bodies lying still. He had never known that one human could endure so much pain.
            The mule he grasps onto, carrying the only supplies they have, becomes restless. The clouds forming over the mountain provides a slight chill in the air, a minute to catch their breaths. But only a minute.
            They heard it before they felt or saw it.
            A boom sounds from behind them as a swift turn of the head reveals the mountainside plunging into the abyss below. They’ve been found. Within seconds their legs are taking them as fast as they can, within minutes his friend’s decapitated body lies broken and bloody at his feet, and within hours he has made the decision to leave. They eventually escape through a pathway unknown to most. The others beg him to stay, but the memory of his friend’s mutilated body lies fresh in his mind.
            Navid boarded a plane back to England, his new home, five days later and never looked back.