The Stoned

The Stoned image

“I’m dead,” snorted the giant mammal as it crushed me. It fell on me wailing and crying before silence pervaded it. The world suddenly ceased to exist as a hush fell over everything. Over me.

No more of the savage howling of the wind, or the crackling sound of broken bones as stones rained from skies. I am crushed, not more than goo anymore. And I am lost in the abyss of its huge eye pressing onto me.

“I’m dead,” she says.

She pauses. Searching for words she can’t find.

“What about me?” I ask.

She ignores me, as if I don’t matter enough. That’s so typical of humans, so condescending.

“Ants do matter” I try to assure myself.

“If only I could hide in that crack on the wall. Who knows, I might have found myself in wonderlands,” she snorts with bitter laughter.

She pauses, searching for the look of contempt on my face. I realize that the deep nothingness inside me has dwindled. I can see and remember, as if I have always been part of her, present in all moments of her existence. My imperturbable face assures her.

A streak of light invading the wall from the corner of the curtain illuminates the cracks on the wall. It creates the image of a lonely thunderbolt frozen in time among the dried leafless brunches of a jungle. There is a new crack on the wall. It appeared last week. But it seems so familiar now, as if it has always been there, one of the crowds.

She feels a burning sensation as the cold tip of the knife cuts through the skin on her forearm. The world starts moving again. She licks the cut and tastes the salty metallic taste of blood on her tongue and contemplates the millions of bacteria that might have just entered her blood stream. With a faint lopsided smile on her lips, she imagines herself shrinking and entering the narrow crack on the wall.

The feeble light of an old lamp lights the sombre mud walls of the room. The nails holding the old and heavy blanket that covers the window have bent. ‘People talk,’ her mother had thought when she had nailed the blanket to the wooden frame of the window. She had told her, “It keeps the cold away”. The air outside this gloomy room is pitilessly raw. Stars have long forsaken its haunted sky.

Her frail body is crouched in a corner. Her pale complexion and the weariness in her eyes make her look out of this world. She is nostalgically listening to the tinkling of the stars as darkness infiltrates her skin.

Her heart is not beating. She puts her hand through her neckline, her skin feels hot against her cold sweaty palm. She has the look of someone teetering on a cliff, looking for something to hold on to. Anxiously moving her palm around to feel her heartbeat, she slightly brushes a nipple. Her hand violently jerks and withdraws itself of its own accord, creating a rush on the skin on her neck. Her heart is drumming in her ears as fear and disgust cling in the stifled air. Fear of stepping into forbidden territories.

She imagines beyond the curtain the sky changes colour. A storm roars. Rain impinges on earth washing away the walls like paint. The wind howls and uproots the dried up trees sending logs of wood dancing into the sky. She looks up. The gods are feasting and playing and the world is dancing all around her. Incessant needles of rain kiss her skin and she relishes in the pain of it all.

Clinching her fists so tight that her nails tear into the flesh of her palms, she screams. From the bottom of her lungs, with all the power she can gather in her fragile body. And for the first time, she hears her own voice.

Her sound is lost in the whirlwind of all things that should matter.

“I’m dead,” she reiterates calmly; “it really doesn’t matter, not anymore”.

Her corpse is pulled up as her eyes stare blankly into nothingness. A cold drop of tear washes me away from her. And as I fall into the dirt at the bottom of the pit, I see the question in her eyes. ‘Does it?’


(Image by Leeda Mehran)