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The Ogre

Rashid Ben Addi July 14, 2018
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I always thought that the wide world does not go beyond the borders of our house’s walls which are on the brink of falling down; yet, I have been startled as i got out of our house one day without my mother’s knowledge. I did not scream as usual, yet I was screutinising the furthermost skyline, where the mountains were flaunting just like a thick cloud cover of a gray dust would do. I was beholding nothing but the wide plain together with the skinned highlands yonder. The village seemed barren, arid and not having the least trace of life in it. I did not see anything in front of me except a number of deaf arid mountains, as well as a couple of tattered houses just like the ours. The greater number of these houses have been partially devastated, falling down to be a mere flotsam and jetsam next to the mountains. I then determined to roam that wide plain by means of my little feet, yet I would always be taken unaware by my mother, who used to come to carry me and then to take me back home, warning me of the ogre who used to eat children, and who lives in those dreadful mountains.
I have not held such a trick as true, so that I kept for many days roaming the wide plain in spite of my mother’s reiterated warnings. I used to roam it by myself from time to time, while sometimes I would do it in the company of my father, grazing four lambs, with their bones that are as clear as the nose in one’s face from hunger.
I was five years old when I observed the surprising unappearance of my father in our house. I would ask my mother every now and then about the reason of his absence, yet she would always give me the same answer:
“ He is at Allah’s “.
I was not convinced by her answer, to the effect that i would keep disturbing her with a large number of questions:
“ Where does Allah live? When will my father come back? Why he did not take me with him? “
My poor mother however, would not find nothing to do but to look away from me, wiping her tears, and quietening me with a bare piece of bread to put my father out of my head. My father who has been stung by a black snake at a rainy night, the thing that took his life before getting to the hospital which was twenty kilometers away from our residence.
When I was seven years old, and not unlike the other children of the village, I went to school where i did not study more than five years, during which I did not learn more than can be used, before being sent by my mother to work in town. This is how our lives would start, except those whom Allah has given his mercy, those who used to be snug as a bug in a rug.
Three years of a hard labour. Three years that were suitable for me, in spite of my employer’s cruelty against me, yet at least I find a place to sleep in, as well as a little bit of food, by means of which I would restrain my hunger despite its scarcity. But the most important of all, is the amount of money, which I would send to my mother so as to save her from the hardship of life in the village. I was obedient to my employer, following all his orders. I would sometimes be beaten, but I would bear anything for the sake of accomplishing my innocent dreem, which is to study very well, and then to open my own shop to work alone in it. As soon as my situation changes for the better, my mother, who is living by herself, will come to live with me, so that I will be put at ease. Is there any other dreem that can be more innocent and more niggling than this one? Yet this abominable life insisted on turning my modest empty life upside down, even though i have not yet finish my sixteen years old. Sixteen years old were enough to make me long for death, or for going back to my mother’s womb. It would certainly be easier for me than this trouble as well as this ugliness, within which I have been thrown by my destiny.
I have been releaced two weeks ago, after spending thirty years in prison. I might have avoided these thirty long years of prison if i yelled at the policemen, telling them that he tried to rape me, and I killed him for this reason, defending my honour. Yet I did not do so. I do not know for what reason, but everything I did at that moment, is to keep quiet. I did not say a word, being favorably impressed with the sentence. I would cry whenever my mother comes to my mind, but never have I pronounced a single word.
I did not make any noise during these thirty years, nor did I speak to someone, except some sighs that would forcibly come out of my mouth. I thought that I am capable to go on in this awfull inarticulateness of mine, as well as in this relaxing isolation, even after my release from prison. Yet my impression that I am losing control over myself started making me failing to keep my mental capacities, in the same manner as wine would do. This is what was actually taking place! I started losing control over my organs. Not only over my trembling hands, but over my tongue as well as my quivering lips also. I would often find myself talking out loud, thinking that no one is hearing me. Besides, this speech of mine is a part of my internal babbling, for which I would never allow to be heard by strangers. I was aware that no one cares of what I am saying, considering me to be a mere homeless who has lost his mind! But what could be surprising in such a thing? There are too many people like me.
However, it seemed that I have been quiet for a long time, and more than enough, the thing that made me want to chatter, to bring the fierce war I have broken out inside of me since too many years ago to an end, and to break loose from this cry which has constantly been exploding within my innards. It would seem that I have harmed myself a lot. I have neglected my body, so that my nails length has become comparable to the one of my fingers, and comparable in their dilapidation to an old plough. As for my beard, it is covering my chest’s vastness, while my hair has found the opportunity to revolt, to rebel and to cross its former lines, with some creatures living within it. I became just like a forgotten forest in these ragged clothes of mine, with these small creatures who would think that I am a big tree trunk, or maybe I would seem to them as a cadaver that has not yet been decayed.
I know that my organs will not turn the other cheek to such negligence of mine, but I am compelled to be likewise. I am obliged to keep silent, to get isolated, and to die a thousand times without being buried.
Who cares?

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