The Happy Place

Submitted into Contest #76 in response to: Write a story told exclusively through dialogue.... view prompt


Historical Fiction Sad Contemporary

“Die train. Die trees. Die sky. Die grass. Die rain. Die camp. We go on a trip.” 

“Noa, stop, it’s ‘bye’ not ‘die.’”

“Dat’s what I’m saying.”

“She’s just a kid, Cal. She doesn’t know.”

“If I was saying ‘die’ instead of ‘bye’, you’d say I’m being dumb. Isn’t Noa dumb too then? Huh, Ari?” 

“No, she’s a baby.” 

“I’m a big kid, Ari. I know verythinks. Die scary mans. Die scary preesons. Die stripe unifoams. Die Ari. Die Cal.”

“You’re being silly. Ari and I aren’t going anywhere. Right, Mommy?"

“Mama, will we meet again? Mama?” 

“Of course we will, love. We’re going to separate for a little bit. Then we’ll be back together on the other side.”

“Mommy, my feet are wet. There’s so many puddles. It’s cold. And look at Ari’s shadow, he’s picking his nose.”

“Don’t be stu-”

“It’ll be OK, Cal. Everything will be OK.”

“We’ll be OK in our happy place and have fun? We’re going to live in a house. And there will be big trees. And happy people. And Abba will be there too.”

“Yes, Cal, now hold your brother’s hand. Ari, come on, stay in line, love.”

“Mama, Cal’s hand is sweaty.”

“No, they’re not! It’s not me sweating. It’s the rain making my hands wet. Your hand is sweaty and big and ugly.”

“Shh… you have to hold on to each other, OK? Noa and I will meet you on the other side.”

“Ari is mean. I want to be with you-” 

“Why are we not going with you, Mama?” 

“We’re just… parting for some time. Please, Aryeh, hold your brother’s hand.”

“Come on, get in your lines, Jews!” 

“Mommy, can you hole me? The big mans are coming.”

“It’s OK, Noa, they’re not going to-”

“Move parasites. Stand with the males.”

“I want to stay with you, Mommy. Mommy, please let us stay. I’ll be good, I’ll hold Ari’s-”


“Ari, hold your brother’s hand.”

“Wease, don’t hurt my bathers.”


“We’re going to meet on the other side. Cal, don’t cry my love. Ari, hold his hand!” 

“Mommy! I don’t want to go, Mommy!” 

“Cal, hold my hand. I’m with you. I’m with you. I’m with you.”

“Let’s go to Mommy-”

“Shut up, Jews!” 

“Don’t hurt my children! I beg of you. Don’t hurt them!”

“Stay quiet!” 

“Mommy! Mommy! Puh-please, let me stay. Please!”

“I will throw you onto the train tracks if you don’t shut up.” 

“Cal, it’s OK. Hold my hand, and keep walking. No, no, don’t look back. We’ll see Mama and Noa on the other side.”

“M-Mommy and-and Noa will be on the other side? Why can’t we go together?” 

“There’s too many people. They don’t have space to fit us all together.” 

“Why are we going inside the building? Shouldn’t we be going to the other side on a train?” 

“No, the other side is a special place. You can’t get on a train and just get there.”

“It’s so dark. Where are we going?”

“To the other side, Cal, I just told you. Hold my hand, so you don’t fall.” 

“There’s so many people. They’re pushing me.” 

“It’s OK. Just hold my hand. Follow the fence.”

“Follow the fence.” 

“No, don’t touch it. You’ll hurt yourself.” 

“How can a fence hurt me?” 

“It’s a bad fence.”

“Are there good fences, too?” 


“I don’t think-”

“Exactly, don’t start now.”


“Sorry. Was trying to make us laugh.”

“Well, that’s mean, not funny. Tell me, how do I know the difference between a good and bad fence?”

“Bad fences are surrounded by men like these. Holding guns and in green uniforms.”

“And good fences have happy people around?”


“Get up, old man!” 


“They’re hurting the man, Ari.” 

“Don’t look back. Don’t look. Focus on the stairs. Don’t trip.”

“You’re holding me too tightly. I’m not a toy.”

“I don’t want you to fall.” 

“Walk faster! All of you inside!” 

“At least it’s not wet in here. I don’t see your shadow anymore. How can I tell if he’s picking his nose?”

“Cal, shadows don’t pick noses. Come on, we’ll get to dry off.”

“I’m tired. Can we sit down? Why is the room so dark?”

“Let’s go sit in the corner.”

“Ari, who’s crying? Some kid is afraid of the dark. I’m afraid too.”

“Look at me, Cal. Don’t look at the others. Don’t cry, OK? Look at me… that’s good. We’re going to be on the other side. Then it won’t matter.”

“With Mommy and Noa and Abba? And food and clothes and kind people?”

“Yes, that’s right. Let me button your shirt.”

“Can’t they keep the door open? So, people don’t cry. Why are there so many sad people?”

“No, don’t look.” 

“Don’t they know we’re going to-Ari, your fingers are cold!”


“It’s OK. Should we tell him we’re going to a happy place? He doesn’t need to cry.” 

“Hold my hand, Cal.” 

“Ouch! My fingers. Stop you’re stepping on my fingers.” 

“Hold my hand, Cal. It’s okay. There’s no space. He couldn’t see your fingers. It’s OK. Think about the other side.” 

“It’s so hot. I can’t breathe.”

“Close your eyes. Think about the other side. With Ma and Noa. And Abba.” 

“It smells like-like onions.” 

“You’ll get used to it.”

“When are we going to move? I want to get to the other side quickly so we can meet Mommy and Noa. Someone’s crying again.” 

“Look at me.”

“Why are your cheeks wet? Are you crying too?"

“No. Don’t look at me.” 

“You said to look at you. Make up your mind!” 

“Just close your eyes and think about your happy place.” 

“Isn’t it your happy place, too? Is it, Ari?”

“It is.”

“Woah! What’s the noise? Is that a train? Look at the top!”

“Don’t look, Calev.”

“No, look. They have something. Do you see the smoke? It’s smoking! It’s raining! Ari, don’t pinch my nose.” 


“Ari, I’m afraid. Why is there smoke? I-it’s making me cough.”

“Don’t be, Calev. R-remember, Ma said we’re going to meet her and Noa on the other side.”

“Will there be food? Butter and bread? And cakes?”

“Lots of it.” 

“Even clothes and toys? And gardens and lakes? And people who like us? And-and Abba?” 

“Yes. Abba is waiting for us there. We’ll be happy and… free-” 

“Ari, wh-what’s wrong? I don’t feel so well. Why are people falling?”

“Come on. Sleep. W-wake up in a new world.”

“Are they dying, Ari?”

“No, they’re… sleep…”  

“Are you sleeping, too? Ari? Can you hold my hand? Ari… Mommy said to hold on… Ari, please hold my hand…”

January 12, 2021 18:50

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Karen Mc Dermott
23:06 Jan 17, 2021

A really unexpected, harrowing take on the prompt. Distressing but very well done. Thank you for putting it out there.


Fiza Hasan
00:57 Jan 18, 2021

Thanks so much!


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Nicole Lam
06:32 Jan 15, 2021

Wow, this was so gripping, painful to read because of the children’s innocence, the foreshadowing and the tragedy of the scenario so well encapsulated in a handful of lines. Good job!


Fiza Hasan
21:32 Jan 15, 2021

Thank you so much!


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Ash Cullen
14:03 Jan 26, 2021

Beautifully written 🤗 Do check out mine too.


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Sarah Mumtaz
04:22 Jan 19, 2021

Nice one!


Fiza Hasan
06:24 Jan 19, 2021

Thanks for reading!


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Sarah Mumtaz
17:48 Jan 19, 2021

Ahan......Hey read my story, hope you'll like it.


Fiza Hasan
21:03 Jan 20, 2021

Sure, will check it out soon.


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Anaya Saeed
18:42 Jan 18, 2021



Fiza Hasan
20:19 Jan 18, 2021



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