Lithuania – Third place – To die while being ….

To die while being alive

Deimante Stankute, aged 16


His eyes are telling a story. They are full of desire to live, so he is looking at people with an open sight saying, “I want to be, help me!”

People are feeling powerless, because they can’t do anything. It is painful for them more than for him though they are only looking. Their souls are dying with his every groan and moan. They can’t change anything, they can’t return back what was damaged long ago. Everyone looking at him silently says, “We all are just people who can’t return what was lost.”

You know, these are the most beautiful eyes which I have seen in all my life. They are full of feelings and experiences and they are even speaking… This boy is feeling pain, anger, hatred but at the same time there is a burning desire to live, yearning and love for everyone in his eyes.

He is already fourteen, but he can’t speak, he can’t walk, he even can’t eat himself. Why? Because those who love money destroyed him. Oh, if he could speak, if he could tell what he is thinking… Unfortunately, you can only read all that from his eyes, from his blue eyes where millions of different feelings blend into one.

Peter’s, that’s the name of the boy, dramatic story started five years ago. Before that he lived with his mum and dad in a little town. His dad was a paratrooper. He always used to tell his son that when parachuting down you get the feeling as if you are a free bird, which can fly wherever it wants and that the world is in your hands. Trees, buildings, people – everything looks so fragile and when you are parachuting down it scares that you can trample this beauty, that you can dispel the natural peace which is in the air. It seems that no one can do anything bad to you. Just the sea used to scare him with its size because it has the beginning but you can never see its end. It looks as if the horizon continued until the end of the world. Peter’s dad Steven used to say that when parachuting down and seeing the blue sea he always remembered his son and in his thoughts he returned to his cozy home.

The same happened when he together with other soldiers jumped out of the helicopter and could see the blue waves of the sea. However, the sea was rough, the waves hit the rocks and swayed the ships returning to the harbor. In comparison with the sea the ships looked like small birds in the huge sky. It wasn’t the first time when dad remembered his son but he had a bad feeling, a tear came down his cheek because he knew that it was Peter’s seventh birthday. Until this day they used to spend all birthdays together by the river and to catch small fish which were later cooked by his grandma. While fishing dad used to tell various stories from the times when he was a child. They felt very well together. Unfortunately, dad could be together with his son during the seventh birthday.

When parachuting down, Steven closed his eyes for a while and tried to imagine how they both, father and son, were preparing fishing rods and bait for fish, how the small hands were rolling dough pieces. And not such simple ones but even with the chocolate filling, as he used to say that chocolate is liked by all-even fish. Dad agreed with his son because he liked that the boy was creative. Who knows, maybe fish like chocolate for sure? After all, more fish bit the bait of Peter than his father’s one.

And then, while parachuting down, Steven was dreaming of his home and son, so he didn’t noticed that on the ground, where the seashore was as blue as his son’s eyes, the enemies were waiting for him. When he fell onto the ground he felt a strong pain in the chest and saw blood on his hands. He understood that he will die soon and tears started running involuntarily because it was then when he realized that he won’t see his only son, his dear wife and parents any more. His head was flooded with thoughts that he won’t go fishing with his son any more. His soul was pierced by the pain which was sharper than the gunshot wound. The spiritual and physical pain combined into one. He was feeling as if he was burning in the flames of agony but he couldn’t change anything. It became dark in his eyes and Steven lost his consciousness.

White walls with strange words of an unknown language and pictures of alien religion, three more beds with moaning of some men-that was all what Steven first saw when he woke up. He couldn’t realize where he was, felt confusion as he could hear voices but didn’t understand a word. He was happy only because of one reason-there was a hope that maybe he would see his family one day.

Steven was lying in bed and waiting what would happen later. He was feeling pain. But from the screams of pain around him, he understood that those people were suffering more than him and he tried to stay calm. He could see a man without one arm, another one had a burnt face and couldn’t see the daylight. But the largest wound of Steven was longing for his family.

After some time a woman in white came into the room. Her hair was dark, her eyes were brown but what is the most important-she could speak Lithuanian, so he could ask her where he was. The woman told Steven what he had suspected himself-he is captured by the enemy. His eyes were full of tears, his cheeks went red and blood started boiling. Steven started shouting:

“It would have been better if I had died than I would torment the soul in the captivity of enemies!”

The nurse asked him to calm down because otherwise he can have many more troubles.

Steven spent two months in hospital. After his recovery the plunderers started taking him together with themselves to the military training. Of course, he wanted to refuse but they threatened Steven with the death- not only his own but also with his closest people’s deaths. As the family meant a lot for him, he succumbed to the pressure and did everything what the hijackers required. He prepared meals, did the laundry, made the soldiers’ beds, cleaned shoes and other things. He never complained because he could do anything for the sake of his family.

But one day they told him to take a gun and get ready to go to fight. After a long hesitation he agreed. At that time he still didn’t know that they would go to the town where his family was living. The lieutenant gave the order to plunder all the houses in succession and to kill anyone who would disobey to execute the commands. When Steven saw his house and his son, playing in the yard, he said he opposed the lieutenant because all the houses, streets, flower-beds around were a part of him and he would rather die than do some harm for his family. The lieutenant understood not everything what Steven was saying but after seeing the soldier’s rebellious face he took out a gun on which there were the words “Peace is somebody’s invented nonsense”, put it to Steven’s temple and said:

Shoot down this boy or I’ll shoot down you!”

Steven answered him without hesitation that he would never do it. When the lieutenant saw his obstinacy, he decided to punish him. He came up to the boy and beat him severely in the presence of the whole family, then he shot down mother who wanted to save her son, then-grandparents and, at last, until the boy hasn’t lost his consciousness and still was looking at his father pressed to the ground, the lieutenant ran the bullet straight into Steven’s head, then he went away with an indifferent look in the eyes.

Since that day Peter is feeling pain in the soul, because of the heavy contusion he became blind and will never see the rising sun or sparkling stars in the cloudless sky of the night. He became fully disabled-a living decedent-and only the most observant ones can guess what he is feeling and thinking about. Only Peter’s blue and deep eyes, but being unable to see anything , now can tell what his lips will never tell any more. Now Peter is remained alone, he will never feel his relatives’ love and warmth, he will never go fishing with his dad. He still being alive is dead together with his closest people.