Cowards Don’t Die by Terveen Gill

blog Terveen


A coward can never be a hero. I am that coward. They carried me home upon their shoulders. If only they knew the truth. But a dead man cannot speak, and I would never reveal what really happened. Asim’s burial was quick. Nothing much was left of him. His aged mother shed ample tears and his elder brother shoveled the dirt. Down went Asim into his damp grave, our secret buried alongside him.


We were soldiers. The attack had taken us by surprise. Cornered against a steep rock face, our chances of getting out alive were slim. But Asim was the optimist. He was also the brave one. As we lay flat on the ground, the stony gravel cutting into our faces, Asim reminded me that every problem had a solution. It was just a matter of finding it at the right time.

I knew death was coming. The wind whistled its tune in my ear. But Asim didn’t hear it. He was too busy finding his grand solution. Bullets zipped past us, bouncing off the rocks. Some so close that I could feel their deathly vibrations. I peed my pants. Isn’t that what cowards do?

And when Asim rose, his rifle in his hands, he resembled a fearless mountain lion. I think he called out to me. He even shook my arm. But I heard little and felt nothing at all. Everything had blurred. He screamed my name, asking for cover fire.

The ground was shaking. Or was it me? They were coming. How many? I would later find out, only three. Asim had already killed two. And he would have killed the third if I hadn’t hurled the grenade towards them. Where had it come from? Had Asim dropped it? Dead men don’t answer. Cowards live to lie.

17 Comentarios Agrega el tuyo

  1. The ending is very nice. Different people react differently to death in different situations.
    Well written!

    Le gusta a 3 personas

    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      Thank you so much! 🙂
      I see what you mean.
      Yes, not everyone is built to handle such harrowing situations. Some can never be conditioned to face and accept death.

      Me gusta

  2. BBYCGN dice:

    Everyone gets scared. Everyone.

    Le gusta a 1 persona

    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      Yes, fear is a natural instinct.
      Soldiers are trained to fight with death looming over them.
      But still, a human remains a human.
      Thank you. 🙂

      Le gusta a 2 personas

  3. Jeff Flesch dice:

    The paradox of bravery and cowardice. Well written, Terveen. A lovely story, my friend. 😊

    Le gusta a 2 personas

    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      Thank you so much, Jeff. 🙂
      It is a paradox. Sadly, lives hang delicately in this precarious balance.

      Le gusta a 1 persona

      1. Jeff Flesch dice:

        You’re welcome, Terveen. Always.😊 Indeed they do.

        Le gusta a 1 persona

  4. The Devil Unbound dice:

    You write well, I felt the fear of that cowardly soldier in the elegant simplicity of your sentence structure. Your style has a Hemingway-esq voice to it.

    I’m a fan.

    Le gusta a 2 personas

    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      That’s very kind of you to say. I try to keep it simple but effective. The soldier had to convey his fear to the reader.
      Many, many thanks again.🙂

      Le gusta a 2 personas

  5. Priti dice:

    Well expressed!😊🌹

    Le gusta a 1 persona

    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      Thank you so much. 🙂

      Me gusta

      1. Priti dice:

        😊🌺🤗❣️🌹💐🍫

        Le gusta a 1 persona

  6. johnlmalone dice:

    a powerful tale ; cowardice indeed is a confronting state, something survivors have to live with —

    Le gusta a 2 personas

    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      It can burden a person forever. A split-second decision labels one a coward. Fair or not? It’s hardly open to discussion.
      Thank you so much, John. 🙂

      Le gusta a 1 persona

  7. Rae Cod dice:

    “I knew death was coming. The wind whistled its tune in my ear.”

    I love this line…I can sense the foreboding

    Such a dark ending, a lingering story that makes me think deeper.

    Le gusta a 2 personas

    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      Thank you so much, Rae. 🙂
      It’s a tough decision to make. Not everyone is hero material.
      Death is a frightening prospect.
      But living with guilt can be even worse.

      Me gusta

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