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Chistiye - A Moment

by Plagious 

Posted: 06 September 2005
Word Count: 858
Summary: A little "Cold-War" or totalitarian short story. Perhaps too dated?

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So soon after, she welled with nervous hysteria, laughing and weeping, clutching her stillborn. It was taken from her and when her nausea had subsided she was returned to her cell.

She stood with only the towel around her and swayed gently. Her eyes rolled until only the whites were showing. She was looking into herself, all those nerves and fibres, how clever. Soon they focus on an egg in the corner. She thinks it is hers. She thinks of pain and is frightened. Below she still bleeds, so bathes and rests.

A hot night and her skin glistened. Her head moaned from side to side, her breasts heaved and the fever was upon her brow. Maybe she will die, but no such relief; it is only a nightmare. She sees rats, hundreds of rats, scurrying around the cell floor. In a frenzy, they have already licked dry the stains of blood and crave for more. Her plank of a bed is no refuge, for eyes wide in the darkness; she feels small bodies on her blanket running towards her face. She throws off her bedclothes and lands on the sea of greasy fur. She only whimpers as she stamps her heels, but soon she feels their claws as they climb her legs and only when she cannot shake them free, does she scream.

She awakes, breathing frantically as she stands in the corner with her hands against the wall. She moves away and feels the egg drooling from her left heel. She picks up her blanket, but, before she can reach her bed, the light dazzles her. The doctor is in. Gives a quick injection and is out. She collapses, unmoving.

She has illusions of her lover in the adjacent block. She had seen him just once in the canteen. His eyes were bandaged, many teeth were broken or missing and he had sores from cigarette burns on his face. She called out his name, but he turned away, not wanting her to see him in his awful state. His voice a whisper, he murmured,
“Don’t look, please don’t look at me . . .”
But she never heard and felt herself die inside as he looked away. She was overcome with confusion, thinking that she should hate him and even cursed him in an angry moment. She thought she should be pleased that his child did not live, but she wanted more. He had ignored her. That was the real sting and as her mind moved, she dreamed of stealing a knife to plunge into his chest if she saw him at a meal again. Cruel revenge filled her drugged brain until she came to. She regretted her thoughts for somewhere in her there was still a trace of love. She then remembered the poems he had written for her in kinder days.


That night the poet was taken for more torture. He would admit to anything to stop them, but they never said of what he was accused. They beat him until he again lost consciousness.
He came to in his cell, coughing and spitting blood from his mouth, but the more these sharp motions, the more the blood. He was never to know a broken rib had punctured a lung, but sensed this was his last night.
A wry smile came to his aching face, then using the one unbroken finger on his right hand, he gathered enough sticky crimson to write a brief epitaph on the wall. He lay back down on his stomach so the blood would not drown him. It dribbled from his mouth and nose and his breath became rouge bubbles. He wished her, “Adieu”, and then taking a broken bedspring, scratched two initials on his forearm.
His face was but a dying mask as he watched the crimson drying. “What a child I am,” he thought. The eyes were open, but the life long gone.


It was two weeks before she heard of his death. A nurse came to take out the stitches. She had been with the doctor who had noted the official details concerning the poet’s death.
There had been a change of mood. People were campaigning for his release. The authorities had agreed, but too late a decision.
The nurse recounted the words above his bed, something about, “a oneness with all and a leaf moving on a river, whatever that is all about?” She could remember no more except the two initials, “obviously written with his dying breath,” she said, casually and for effect as she pulled out the last stitch, slid in the needle and pressed the syringe.

Chistiye’s eyes were empty for days. They gave her clothes back, some money and released her. She sat by a lake, staying many hours. It was dusk when she arrived back at the flat, but little had changed in their long absence. Her eyes were moist and she looked across the gloom into the dusty mirror. She saw his reflection over her shoulder. Quickly turning, there was nothing. A chill came upon her and without quite knowing why; she sat, and began to write.

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Comments by other Members

Dee at 22:47 on 07 September 2005  Report this post
Ooh! I like this. The imagery is wonderful. I like the way you launch into it as if we’re in the middle of a story.

Only spotted a couple of tiny typos:

they never said what of what he was accused ~ a surplus what.

A wry smile came to his aching face and using the one unbroken finger
Comma after ‘and’

This is good. I love the style. Do you have any plans for it?


Plagious at 23:51 on 07 September 2005  Report this post
Hi Dee

Have made the changes and thank you for spotting them!

Glad you liked it, but no plans, as yet.
Just wanted to keep it short and sweet.


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