By: Hisham Adam
Translated by: Hisham Adam
The winter with its nails -which look like Australia bears' claws- was scraping the fleas as bodies on his brown skin and he thought them dead skin. He assumed that he somehow turned to a reptile decided to change its skin in the appropriate season. The old lantern at pigeon-hole of his mud wall room draws rising objects from the shadows on one of the walls bare of paint, they were dancing in a primitive way outside and he was unable to guess the music that makes them move funny that way. He likened him with night goblins decided to celebrate crazy ritual in lively clamor Zar bout for a woman had to steal her husband's wealth to pay for demons in order to get a baby in the last gasp of her youth before menopause.
He sat extracted the ears-wax by a straw mined from one of the walls of his room, mumbling with inaudible nonsense. It was like filling the fuel tank of spray aircraft founded by chance in a barren desert remote. His eyes were patrolling all over around just like chameleon's eyes lurking unfortunate dragonfly, as if he expected something. Silent noises shown on the wall make him feel secure and fear at the same time: a sense of secure getting him out from loneliness and isolation, and fear of the unknown which is hidden behind those stupid dance movements.
He does not know the time and he did not strive to know, but he decided to remain awake until the dancing objects stop moving. The place for him is himself; his body which is full of suicide fleas since last summer, and his shaggy hair, and his naked legs, as if he is wearing the place!
He does not stop the firm conviction that the hole in the wooden door is leaking glances of the curious eyes, waiting for him to sleep, so he kept moving, showing he is still awake as if opening his eyes does not always mean he is awake. He was afraid not they differentiate between sleeping and death, then he decided to keep moving constantly to prove his life not waking up only; that was another battle to him!
There is no way to distinguish between living and dead people. Those who are outside see him as dead from long years ago, since he decided to commit suicide to meet his parents who died drowning in the river and never found their bodies. They said: "The River took them to the bottom of the sea!" but he believed there is no one can access the place of dead, so he jumped behind them, but they recovered him back for the first time and he repeated the attempt continuously time and again to no avail. He was thirteen years and did not stop attempting to commit suicide by drowning in the River, so they arrested him into the mud room and kept him away from sharp instrument; but he was ridiculing them because they can not feel the desire to taste the sweetness of death that he felt in each attempt.
The village that like termites home on the cortex of oak was wearing black dress of the night, as if it does not want to see the outside world, like a hedgehog wraps himself for fear of hungry predators, extreme lies on an uneven hill, humidity of the sea can be smell a league away enough to be described coastal, and let its people be proud. In the light of oil lanterns and fire torches celebrated Badrnar Day when the moon completely disappeared from the sky above the coastal village.
The myth inherited from the ancestors of the villagers says; In the Badrnar Day sky shows its serenity inherent. The sky is black or dark blue and it must be always remain. He alone locked into the mud room do not know the time only through a hole in the wooden rickety door. Light and movement are the only two languages he can understand well after he lost his hearing and since that is amused to see the world on his own way. He said: "The world is beautiful and quiet with no sounds!"Village people went him out to wash in the River just like the other members. They tied him with heavy rough chains like horse-chestnut and took him from his bare torso, and poured water on him so the dead fleas fell down without anyone knows. He looked around him to those people and things through the holes of dark night, looking to the shadow of rising objects like alive sconces. He tried to escape but he could not. He, barely, saw the glitter of their teeth in the light of fire torches fire, they were opening their mouths and close them constantly, and he was able to understand what they were saying via their expressions and disgruntled faces.
He relaxed his legs' bones and fell down on the riverside as if he wanted to inhale the smell of the death. No one have wished death as Massoud did, and perhaps for that he did not die until after the electricity entered the village and lanterns and fire torches disappeared, until then the people of the village, insisting the lights remain extinguisher in order to preserve the privacy of Badrnar nights. He (The prisoner of his room) was still watching the world through the mud hole in the damned wooden door, and makes fun of the rest who are dying one after the other and prevented him from the same.
He said: "I want to die, not to be perished!" but he could not express his message to him. He tried many times, but every time they hear nothing but only annoying screams that does not carry any meaning. How can one still alive against his will? How the human does not have the right to die how and whenever he wishes? What is the value of life that other gives it to you without your consent?
The children of the village -who did not witness the sinking of Massoud's parents-, were meeting each other at the twilight time in front of his mud room and peep on him. Their small eyes seemed complete through the hole of the damned door, and he was seeing them exaggerating to open their eyes as if they want to swallow the small hole with their own eyes. For some reason he felt that it is their new way to yawning.
In a night of very dark Badrnar nights, an elderly woman went by stealth to Massoud's mud room, she did not look at him from the hole of the wooden door, but she tended the shackles and chains then left quietly and sat not far looking to the wooden door and expect the lean brown body of Massoud come out, but he did not. After all that dancing, chanting prayers and heritage hymns, they brought their rough chains to force him to bathe in the river, but they found him dead and the effects of dry tears on his eyes.
The old woman yelled loudly and no one understood its meaning, but she passed her wrinkled hand on his body full of dead fleas and cried a lot. Men carried his body on their shoulders and wanted to bury him, but she stood in front of them: "Throw him into the river to extinguished his desire, has always lived the dream of death into it", but before they do they applied turnip oil all over his body, and put him on a boat made of thin banana leaves tied with ropes of synthetic palm fibers, and remain looking at his body withering in the water until it disappeared.