As I vigorously ran the streets of our little village, sweat flowed down my face like water, I heaved breathless sighs out of me, felt my heart rise up, and I thought I was going to vomit it out. I glanced right and left and saw a couple of houses fall down, screams of men and women emanating from crevices of the flames; the flames that brightened the dead of the night. I heard the thumping of my enemy’s feet close on my heels during this night of terror. The sound of gun shots sparked my dread while bullets flew to my front missing the target. I, the target.
Just when my fright rose up to its peak, I saw him. My man, my savior. My macho best friend, who was surrounded by his friends. Relief rushed throughout me. All the running. All the panting. All the sweat. All the fear. It was all over. I smiled widely and cried out, “Oh! My Love!”
I ran faster, this time not thinking of who ran after me but who I ran to. I extended my arms when I got closer and fell into his. “Oh my God, Bahati, thank you so much for coming to my rescue!” I sighed, and hugged and kissed him. He lifted his hands in a slow motion, held my hands and pulled them off his cheeks, giving me a long dead stare. Taken aback and setting to get out of the way, I said “Right, men need to settle their war!”
He chuckled and said holding my hands in tight painful grip, “Yes. Yes we do, honey. But apparently not the kind of war that you think, Fatma.” I then realized that something was deadly wrong. No wonder his friends didn’t smirk or whistle when they saw me kiss him.
“What’s going on?” I said in a half whisper. He let out a whistle and the men who had been running after me came forward surrounding us. They put their guns and weapons down. The leader, Saleh, known as the King of the county, pulled me to himself with a cruel and half-satisfied glint in his eyes. He chanted praising himself tearing my clothes off, while I struggled and pleaded. Even though I knew how pointless that was, I did it anyway. I was forced down to the ground and sprawled naked in the eyes of all these men; some of them, I highly respected as much as I respect my father. Bloody tears poured out of my eyes for a fate worse than death stumbled upon me. The king of the county was the first one to fuck me to the curb. I cried out for help as men went on me in a heartless succession. I guess that is what happens during wars. Women and girls are raped. Men are killed.
The torture went on and on until numbness spread throught all my senses, all my veins, causing blankness in my soul but with my eyes open wide. In the morning that followed, vultures surrounded me to suck my blood and feed on my flesh. One of them struck its beak on my forehead and I regained consciousness. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak; a carcass I was, and I couldn’t shoo the voltures away.
I may not have been able to move a muscle, but I could damn well feel them. I felt every throb of pain as beaks of vultures tore open my wounds. I felt the untouched blood in my veins burning. I felt the excruciating pain between my legs. I bled. With the uselessness of my body, the only thing that I could do was to think; ponder about what got me there, examine what I did to be sentenced to such fate; the evilish, despicable fate. With my eyes staring upon heaven and my mind thinking of hell, I felt like they were telling me, “Look.”
“Watch how I feed the birds. I give them food after all,” said heaven to me. But, hell also said, “Watch the birds feed to a person I made for myself. This is my trophy.”