A party under another sky

A party under another sky

A short story

A long time has passed before the three prisoners managed to get rid of the idea that their bodies were enlarged. They kept feeling them during their stay in the solitary confinement for more than a month under the pressure of the sticky and thick atmosphere that cramped them down between the four walls and the low ceiling of their small solitary cell.

The only pleasure that made them forget the delusional idea of their bodies’ enlargement was derived from a small hole at the top of the cell wall through which they used to converge and enjoy the pleasure of peeping out at the world outside the cell. One day a rare incident happened that made them elated with joy.one of them has discovered near the corner of the cell door a cigarette and he almost cried loudly with joy (Eureka, Eureka!) but he controlled himself at the last moment.

It was long and has a white filter, soft and graceful. Each one of them extended an index trying to touch it, unbelieving the cigarette has fallen into their hands. Despite the stiffness of their bodies, they were able to perform a dance inside their six square meters cell. The dance was nothing more than circling around themselves for three times, but silently to avoid the bite of the (hyena). The hyena was that long –faced sharp-eyed corporal from the jungles of perdition, who caught them once smoking a roller of paper stuffed with dry tea leaves.

 They would never come to forget that incident all their lives. On that day the (hyena) led them into another world created by his terrible imagination. Inside that world he made them taste all of his favorite tools from his high voltage cable to black hooks and finally hand drills.

The memory of that world was still fresh in their heads when found their precious cigarette in that safe corner. Another idea, however, popped up in their head immediately. They needed a match to light the cigarette.  They relapsed into deep silence and went on searching in the dark for a match without any success. Despair took hold of them for many long nights as they could not find anything to light the cigarette with and they began imagining the white smoke floating up in the air with them sitting with friends smoking and drinking evening tea somewhere else. Those teatimes have become an impossible dream now. The long sleepless nights they had inside the cell brought them another idea, except it was more terrible than any other. They began feeling afraid of rotting to death in this lonely place where none of them was allowed even the grace of remembering in those long and sleepless nights, until that day when they first discovered the hole. One of them pointed to it, suggesting they should climb on each other’s shoulders to check out what might be hidden there and bring it down. 

When the third prisoner reached the opening he found two matches and the remnants of a match box peel, all stiff with age.  They could not believe their eyes at this great discovery and began planning for their future party with utmost care and patience.

The night of the party was a very cold winter night and the icy cold has crept to

their unprotected limbs, except by flimsy rags. They were looking up at the skylight and listening to the sound of thunder that seemed so intimate in that late hour of the night. The heavy iron door of the cell was their biggest concern, lest the stupid hyena unlocks it and come checking on them. “ Don’t come sniffing now, you stupid fucker!” one of them said in a low voice, hardly audible to the two other inmates, as he lighted the match, which produced a thundering sound, mixing up with   the flash of  lightning and the rumble of thunder. They lighted their joint and began passing it back and forth among the three of them with great relish and enjoyment.

With each deep breath they took from the cigarette they felt they were being lifted up on the wings of the white smoke to the cell skylight, through which their imagination slipped away to sunny cities and nice moonlit nights with tea drinking friends gatherings missed ages ago. They began dreaming of happy times with children, women, noisy wedding parties, marketplaces and kisses from women they never had enough of under another sky.

By: Khazal Al-Wisal

Translated by: The translation department of Nanar