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A Dream That Would Not End (Act VI)


The next few weeks went by in a blur. Dimitri took certain care not to rush things, but the more he saw Kerima, the more she became attached to him, seemingly wanting to see him more frequently than he felt comfortable. He shared with her during this time the story of Christ and the salvation that he affords anyone who confesses their sins and accepts him into their life. She seemed to drink it all in, but never seeming to understand that she needed to actually take that step, that leap of faith. He knew he also had to be careful not to overstep his bounds, lest he provoke her to think of him as she had always been taught. After all, he was beginning to love her like no other and she him. They soon realized their love for one another and with this, Dimitri put his foot down, telling Kerima one late spring afternoon that the day she turned eighteen, they would marry. She nearly squealed with delight at the news, hugging his neck and giving him a deep passionate kiss. He tried to slow her down, but her youthful desire was far out pacing his careful tentative steps to do the right thing.

The closer the day came to her Birthday, the more she became elated at each visit. Dimitri would have loved to have taken her out of this slum of a home she lived, but that would have been overstepping his beliefs. He did not want to spoil anything that would make their wedding day the glorious event it was to be. Once, when they had stopped by his apartment to try on some new clothes he had bought for her while she had been back in school. She stepped out of the bathroom having just taken a shower, with only a towel wrapped around her. Dimitri was stunned at her beauty. Kerima knew in her heart that she wanted Dimitri beyond anything she had known. Yet, she wasn’t sure if this was the right thing to do. With as much respect and dignity as he could afford, he asked her to please return to the bedroom and dress properly, for they didn’t want to spoil what God had made precious. This would be something else they would share together on their wedding day. It took all the strength of his faith and years of military training to manage the emotions of his physical being to tell her no, but deep inside, once he did, he was grateful for the wise decision.

She was worth waiting for, this he was certain.

He spoke with her freely now about his faith and he knew she understood the story of Christ, but she had not yet made that decision, the one that mattered most; if she would accept Christ into her heart or not. This, more than anything, made him wonder if he was making a difference at all.

“Was he doing the right thing, or was she just using him to escape her miserable life?” He would know soon enough.

So, it was with great expectation when Kerima’s eighteenth Birthday arrived; their wedding day. She dressed in her finest new clothes and matching attire along with the purple sash he had asked her to wear. Her one and only bag was packed and the few pictures of her family were stored neatly away in her belongings which she easily carried with one arm. In the other arm, she carried her pretty white leather bound Bible. She had a surprise for Dimitri, which she knew might be the icing on the cake; she would finally tell him today that she was ready to accept Jesus Christ into her life, confess her sins and become a Christian. As she walked out from her shell of a home, she could barely feel the ground beneath her feet. She had just read another chapter from Revelation, “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” She had been enthralled with the Word of God ever since Dimitri had given her the Bible. She was certain that God was smiling upon her as today she walked from the shambles of her previous life toward Dmitri’s waiting vehicle.

Kerima looked back briefly spying Mrs. Kushka peeking from beneath her frayed curtains, smiling and waving goodbye. She nodded toward her, waving with the hand that held her Bible in return. She turned to continue on and noticed the man-beast was not under his tree. “Odd,” she said to herself, but didn’t give it a second thought and continued on toward the awaiting black sedan.

[Thank for reading “A Dream That Would Not End” thus far. Due to the nature of the last Act, I ask that you contact me either via email, inbox or some other method to receive the link to the last Act. I apologize but cannot take a chance in inciting someone with extremists views. I hope you understand and Thank for your patronage. ( twtron@live.com )….-Timothy W. Tron]

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A Dream That Would Not End (Act V)


The car continued to speed along until it arrived at their first destination, an upscale clothing store that had recently reopened. It was one of the first in Sarajevo to rebuild and was furnished with the finest clothes Europe had to offer. Dmitri escorted Kerima inside and directed the salesmen in the dress department to help her find something suitable for this beautiful young lady. Kerima felt as if she were a princess that afternoon. She picked out a plain but elegant dress and matching head scarf. They next sped away to a fine upscale restaurant, where Dimitri spared no expense to feed her the finest food the city had to offer. She could not remember the last time she sat down at a table that was fully decked out, restaurantcomplete with dishes, table cloth and matching napkins. The waiter kept her drink glass full and was there at every beckon call for when Dimitri demanded. They talked about the lighter side of their former lives, making it easy to enjoy while they ate.

It was nearing evening when they returned to the point where they had met earlier in the day. Kerima indicated to Dimitri that this was not her home, rather she’d prefer if he could drop her off in front of her building, or what was left of it. Dimitri told the driver to carry on, which he did, soon arriving in front of her bombed out building. Dimitri was shocked to see the rubble in which this precious young woman called home. He quickly got out and came around, opening her door for her. As he rounded the back side of the car he noticed the odd character at the far end of the building. The man-beast watched him from his perch under the barren dead apple tree. Dimitri felt his skin crawl but brushed if off and opened Kerima’s door. She gracefully stepped out wearing her new dress, carrying a bag full of other clothes they had purchased on this trip. Dimitri handed her another gift package, like the one she’d opened earlier containing her new Bible. “Here, if you would, please give this to Latia. I had one for her too. If you think she might be offended, then never mind but I…,”

“I’ll be happy to give it to her,” Kerima interjected before he could finish.

“Oh, ok,” Dimitri was a bit surprised at her sudden offer.

“And Dimitri, I want to thank you for being such a gracious host. I was truly blessed today. I only hope that I didn’t bore you with my childish banter.”

“You were no such thing,” he replied instantly, “I can’t wait to see you again, if you wouldn’t mind?”

She paused, smiling sheepishly. It had been a long time since there had been anyone or even the thought of dating someone. Yet, here was a man, established in life, ready to take another step with her. She felt a little embarrassed, but then looked over his shoulder at the utter destruction in which she lived, and then her eyes saw the man-thing under the tree, glaring at them.

“Yes, definitely,” she replied. The sooner she might someday leave this place the better.

“Well then, how about sometime next week after you are out of school?”

“We are off now for a couple weeks on break, so anytime next week will be wonderful.”

“How about Monday then, same time as today?”

“Yes, I will be looking forward to it,” she smiled.

Dimitri extended his hand to shake hers, but instead of grabbing his hand to shake it, she tip-toed up and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. He blushed, which made her giggle at the sight, which made him seem all the more attractive.

“I’ll see you then,” she said as she hurried into the bombed out shell of a building. Next door the little old lady was peeking out from beneath her tattered curtains, curious as to who was dropping of her neighbor.

“Ok, take care and remember, look up John 3:16 if you get time,” he said as she turned to go inside, “It will change your life.”

She looked back at this and smiled, “You already have, …you already have.”

[Look for Act VI to continue the story…]

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A Dream That Would Not End (Act IV)


The next Saturday, true to his word, Dimitri pulled up at the meeting point where he said they would be. Kerima stood alone, waiting for him, dressed in the same outfit she had worn the day they met; they were her best clothes. As the long black sedan pulled up, she could sense that she was being watched, but did not turn to see by whom. She had become accustom to eyes of the deprived and how nothing was safe anymore. Yet, she prepared to go with someone who was nearly a total stranger, someone who had before, during the war, been an enemy of her people. He was a Christian and she, a Muslim. “How in the world was this going to work,” she thought to herself as the door opened and Dimitri, stepped out, grinning broadly in the bright morning sun.

“Good morning my fair lady,” he said slightly bowing as he spoke. He was dressed in a smart casual dress shirt and jacket, looking younger than the first day they had met. “I see you remembered our lunch engagement.”

“Yes sir, I did,” she replied meekly, smiling at his overt gesture of kindness. He was holding the door open for her, but looked around.

“Where is Ms. Latia,” he said with a sincere but inquisitive look on his face?

“She changed her mind,” besides, she continued, “She has a group of women she has been starting to hang out with on Saturdays. They mend clothes and talk about men in their lives. I can’t sew and I really don’t like the gossip either.”

“I see,” he replied softly. “Well then, shall we,” as he gestured toward the open door. “Sarajevo waits.”

She smiled and slid into the backseat of the car. She could see the driver looking at her in the rearview mirror. She hadn’t noticed him before. It was the same elderly gentlemen from before. He never said anything other than when he needed direction. To some degree she felt more comfortable him being there, yet then again, she felt that he was like having a chaperon along and that this was like a date from her high school days. The thought of her father escorting her in those days that seemed so long ago bothered her, so she quickly brushed it off; today was about enjoying life now, not reliving the past.

Dimitri got in, closing the door quietly and gave directions to the driver. The car pulled away and she watched as the bombed out surroundings she had come to know as home faded into the distance. It felt good to get away, even if it were for an afternoon.

They had not driven far when Dimitri pulled out a package wrapped in gold foil. “A gift for you,” he said, holding it out for her to take.

“For me,” Kerima said shyly?

“Yes,” he smiled genuinely, “Go ahead. It’s something I feel you may need.”

She took it into her lap. The gold foil reflected her smiling face. She could see herself in the reflection. Her hair was pulled back into a braid behind her head today, showing all over her beautiful face. Her lips were full, but without makeup. There was nothing like that around anymore, so what men saw was the true beauty within.

She shyly opened the pretty packaging, revealing a book with a white leather binder. She held it up and read the title, “Holy Bible,” she said out loud.whitebible

She looked at Dimitri with a questioning glance, “You know I’m Muslim, don’t you?”

“Yes,” he said with an apologetic tone, “I knew that when I picked you up the other day and I have no problem with that at all. We are both survivors of a terrible war that was due in part to our religious beliefs, yet I wanted to be open and up front with you about it. Besides,” he said with compassion, “I felt you might have not ever had the chance to read the Word of God for yourself.”

It was true; she had never read a Bible. All she knew was the hate and slander that was preached by the local Imams and political leaders against the Christians as long as she could remember. Yet, here was a man, as gentle and kind as she had ever known. His hospitality the previous trip was unwarranted, yet gentile in nature. “Even if he was a Christian, he was certainly a gentleman.” She thought to herself before responding.

“Why, thank you. It is true; I have never read the Bible. Perhaps I might find something in it that might change my mind. I’ll pray to Allah for it to be so.”

“That is good,” he said smilingly. “I’m sure God will smile upon you as you do.”

She returned this last with a slight chuckle. It was then she noticed the scar on his left cheek. The light was just right, making it stand out. She had missed it the other day; perhaps because most of the previous car ride, there and back, she had been seated on his right. Regardless, it was not a grotesque disfiguring type as many people that had survived the war wore; painful reminders of the anguish that came with surviving. It made her wonder how he might have suffered or what circumstance that caused him to be wounded.

Dimitri noticed her staring and was quick to respond, ‘Oh, don’t mind that,” he said now running his finger along its tract; obviously he could feel its route, “That’s just an old battle scar that looks worse than it really was.”

He was lying of course. He had spent months in a hospital bed after the attack on his unit. He was only a young lieutenant at the time and their position had come under mortar fire. There were only a few survivors left. Those that did live all had badges of courage to remind them of that day. The scar on his face was only a small portion of the signs that his body had to be put back together in pieces that fateful day. Following the battle, he was promoted to captain; why, he never understood other than their own captain had died in the attack. War was an odd commodity, one he never came to accept or fully understand.

Dimitri quickly turned the conversation to lighter topics and soon they were laughing and enjoying the ride as if the previous trip had never ended.

[Look for Act V to continue the story…]


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A Dream That Would Not End (Act III)


The long black sedan pulled away, leaving them standing in the glow of the red taillights. The pair turned and walked back toward the ruins of the apartment complex that stood farther down the street. The rubble was all that was left of their homes. Like their lives, nothing could seemingly get much worse.

Kerima walked back toward the place she called home. The dwelling was barely inhabitable. It was once a two story apartment building before the war. All that remained were part of a room where she stayed, next to one complete apartment where an elderly lady lived, Mrs. Kushka. She watched out for Kerima, taking treats to her when there was enough food to eat. She was Kerima’s guardian angel. Although she had a roof, nobody had windows, so curtains were the only thing that added any privacy or shelter from the outside winds. Mrs. Kushka’s curtains had been blown and whipped so much that they were mostly shreds of faded cloth, little more. It only added to the sullen appearance of the place.

At the far end of the bombed out complex lived a man that was nothing but skin and bones. His hair was long and scraggly, having the look of not having been washed as was the rest of his body. The man looked as if he could have easily crawled out of a grave, such was his haggard appearance. He sat on the ground during the day under a dead apple tree that was on the far end corner of the building. He had spent so much time under the tree the ground was worn bare. The trunk of the tree was also void of bark from where he had continually hugged it, as if being chained to the dead wood. When he fell asleep, he curled up like a dog and slept head against his knees that would be pulled up into the fetal position. All the man wore was an old dirty burlap cloth sack. His private parts would hang out in disgusting displays of sheer destituteness of being; for the man was no longer human.

Each time Kerima would walk up the broken walkway to what use to be her front door, the man-beast would stop whatever he was doing and run to his tree, hugging it and watch her intently until she disappeared from his sight into the remains of the building.

She gave him the creeps.

Kerima made it to her little room, barely free from the elements, but covered enough to provide shelter for her to sleep, rain or snow. There was a small cook stove that had a chimney which was vented just above what was left of her ceiling, which now sagged and hung limply from the few rafters that remained above. There in the stove she burnt fragments of whatever wood she could salvage from great heaping piles of bombed out buildings in their area, which there multitudes to choose from. The UN Peace Keeping forces had left the year before and with them, the international clean-up crews had also departed. Now it was up to the local authorities and their fellow countrymen to put a country torn apart by war, back together with little or no resources to do it with.

She had been away at school when the Serbian army came through her neighborhood and apartment by apartment pulled all the inhabitants out and marched them down to the city square where they were shot and then piled in massive mounds of death and set afire. Mrs. Kushka had been away visiting her sister when they came for her husband, a retired carpenter. He along with Kerima’s family were all slaughtered that sad day. In many ways Kerima had wished she had been there with them.

After she got the fire going in the stove, she lit a small candle on the sink near her bed. She looked out through the boarded up window in the corner of the room as the light in the sky faded. “May Allah find me something better in this life,” she prayed openly as she took a small piece of bread from her pocket that she had wisely saved from their unexpected trip into town. She sat there on the edge of the tiny bed, eating the remnants of another meal and then quietly and softly tucked herself into the bed, alone; so all alone. In the hopes of a distant dream, she wondered if the Dimitri had been a dream or if she really would see him again on Saturday.

Nothing seemed for real anymore except the grim realities of life; these were all too painfully obvious.

[Look for Act IV to continue the story…]

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The Dream That Would Not End (Act II)


Dimitri watched her as she pointed, giving directions. She was the essence of beauty, reminding him of his former wife. She too was an attractive woman, beyond compare to any other. His heart ached for the loss but could not help to feel as if this young lady was simply the embodiment of his late wife. Her mannerisms even resembled his dear beloved Katrina. He couldn’t help himself when he blurted out, “We are going shopping in Sarajevo and we would love you to join us. Maybe you and one of your friends might light to escort us?”

Kerima was bit stunned by the sudden proposal. It must have shown in her face because he came back quickly with, “I’ll be happy to pay you for your time.”

The thought of women who were known for working the streets after dark, preying on innocent soldiers came to her mind and she was disgusted by the comparison. She dropped her arm and stepped back in disgust. Again, he tried to show her he meant no harm, “I mean it, I don’t want anything from you other than your company and conversation. You can bring anyone with you that you want.”

Kerima looked behind her to see who might be interested, if anyone. Latia stepped forward, a stocky dark skinned girl with thick black hair pulled back in a pony-tail, who like Kerima, had lost everything in the war, including her fear. She too was dressed in a skirt with a shawl draped about her shoulders which did little to cover the ragged sweatshirt she wore. She had found it in a trash pile somewhere among the many mounds of refuge that were all over the city. She didn’t care how it looked. Latia was about function, not style.

“I’ll go,” she said, jutting her chin out at the fancy car before them, “What do we have to lose. Besides, we could use the money. C’mon, I’ll protect you.” She grabbed Kerima by the arm and stepped forward.

Dimitri welcomed them into the back seat with him, gladly scooting over to make room. Latia stepped inside first, scooting close to Dimitri, followed lastly by Kerima, who softly closed the door behind her.

Dimitri called to the driver once they were safely inside to carry on. The car sped away as the remainder of the girls scattered, some heading home to tell of the latest event that had just transpired before them. Others merely followed the others to the places where they had found shelter; homeless since the war.

As the car sped back to the main road as Kerima had directed, Dimitri got to know more about the young ladies as they traveled toward Sarajevo. Latia was only sixteen at the time, but very bold and determined for her age. Kerima, just a year older, was the class act Dimitri had envisioned from the curb. She sat mostly quiet, interjecting in Latia’s tales only when requested. She smiled politely and offered little more than what was asked of her, which left Dimitri wanting to know more. Latia was glad to tell enough about them both, so that Kerima merely had to nod in agreement for the most part.

It was from Latia that he learned they were both Muslim, which he expected, both had lost their families in the war and both had lived alone since, surviving on the kindness of their neighbors and friends. They too, like himself, had suffered much and were still trying to recover; as were they all.

The drive was mostly uneventful along the country roads, passing by the occasional wreckage from the war, remnants of a bitter history. They finally reached the shopping district of Sarajevo, an area that had been restored since the war. Here, vendors sold everything from food to clothing and everything in between. Dimitri asked the driver to pull over where they could get out and made arrangement for him to pick them up after a couple hours. They spent the remainder of the afternoon going from booth to booth, sampling various foods, clothing and enjoying the time away from the harsh realities of the recent past that still remained as vivid reminders all around them. The light soon waned reaching the edge of the mountains that surrounded the city and the driver was waiting for them when they returned to the rendezvous point. They all loaded back into the car, and where soon whisking along the roadways back to their home, enjoying cups of ice cream along the way. It was nearly dark when they pulled up to the end of the street where Latia had directed them to go. Dimitri honored his deal with the two, pulling out two crisp twenty dollar bills, handing one to each of the young ladies whose eyes widened at the sight of money. They thanked him and as they slid out of the car, he motioned to Kerima to come close again.

“Please don’t think it rude of me, but I would be thrilled if you would do me the honor of joining me for lunch this coming Saturday. I will take you to the restaurant of your choice in Sarajevo. All I ask is that you be my friend.”

“What about Latia,” she asked, looking back over her shoulder at the brash girl who now stood waiting with her hands on her broad hips.

“Certainly she is welcome to come along,” he said smiling and nodding toward her.  Latia smiled back acknowledging his attention.

“Ok, we’ll meet you here. What time?”

“How about eleven in the morning,” he said grinning broadly.

“That will be wonderful.”

“Great, we’ll pick you both up then.”

“Do we need to wear anything special,” she asked, knowing in the back of her mind that her wardrobe consisted of only a couple other pieces of clothing. Nobody had much of anything left, so what they did have was scavenged from the debris that littered the town.

“Whatever you chose will be fine,” he replied, “We’ll have a wonderful afternoon, like today.”

“Great, we’ll see you then,” she said, stepping back from the car and waving goodbye.

[Look for Act III to continue the story…]

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A Dream That Would Not End (Act I)

The young girls had been playing on the street corner, lingering in the warm spring sunshine as they made their way home from school. Life was just beginning to return to a semblance of normalcy bosniafollowing the bloody Bosnian-Serb Civil War. The school had opened for the first time since the end of the war in Sokolac, a small town on the outskirts of Sarajevo. For most, returning to school was something to look forward too; a return to something that felt concrete, something that felt as if life would finally begin again. Many had yet to heal, physically and emotionally from the brutal conflict that left most of the country in total destruction. And so it was, with the young seventeen year old Kerima.

Kerima was tall for her age and strikingly beautiful. She was slender and carried herself in a mature manner, placing her demeanor well beyond her youthfulness. It was this mannerism which singled her out to the onlooker, who was passing by in the chauffeured officer’s car. Colonel Dimitri Dogov was a retired officer of the Serbian army, having commanded troops in and around Sarajevo. He was living alone, like so many in this war torn region. He lost his entire family to artillery shells one afternoon while he was away serving his country. He lost everything in the blink of an eye; all that he fought for had been taken away. A shell of a man, he continued on like the others, but when the war ended, his life seemed near its end. So it was on the bright spring afternoon when he saw the beautiful young lady amongst girls on the street corner, his heart skipped a beat; a flicker of life returned to the gray soul of despair.

“Stop the car!” he demanded of the driver. Fearful something bad was about to happen, the paid driver slammed on the breaks. The screech of rubber on the road caught the attention of the youth; all looked in the car’s direction.

Dimitri shyly lowered the window half way, peering over the tinted glass, his face partly obscured by the dark tinting. The girls collectively were fearful that they had done something wrong and were about to run when Dimitri called out to them.

“Hello, can you please help me,” he shouted as he rolled the window all the way down, calling out to them trying to relieve their fears, “We are a bit lost and need some directions.” He of course was lying but wanted to calm the nerves of the frightful youth that stood before him. Most of the girls were Kerima’s age or younger. None looked as mature as her, which is why he felt compelled to call to her directly.

“You, young lady in the pretty purple shawl,” he said now pointing toward Kerima, “Please come closer so we might speak to you without having to shout.”

Kerima realized this was an official, in what capacity he was here she did not realize, but with her covey of friends behind her she boldly stepped toward the car. Standing there, she could see herself in the reflection of the shiny black exterior. She looked awkward, stretched as if her body was out of proportion. Her head scarf had slipped behind her head now exposing her long brown hair that she kept in place with braids. She bent slightly toward the man, whom she could now see was obviously someone of wealth or position. He wore a dark gray suit and tie, his hair was neatly trimmed and was graying at the sides, while thinning on top. He looked to be in his mid to late forties, but then again, the war aged people, so his true age might be even younger.

“Where are you going,” she asked, while placing an outstretched hand on the car, balancing herself as she stood on one foot.

“We are headed into Sarajevo and must have gotten turned around somewhere at the last crossroads. There were no signs so we were trying to remember from past trips which way to go.”

“Oh,” Kerima replied, now somewhat relieved to hear he really was asking directions.

She pointed in the direction of the road to their left and said, “Follow this street up for two blocks then take a left. That is the road to Sarajevo, as far as I know.”

[Look for Act II to continue the story…]

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