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*Note to editors: This is a revision of my previous submission of Rasheed's Lament. I noticed a critical mistake and had to resend. I apologize for the inconvinience.
Have I woken into another nightmare? Am I truly awake? The horrors that present themselves before me again and again cause me to question this. The magnitude of my relentless terror is rising rapidly. I can feel my sanity slithering away.
It’s not easy being alone; left to deal with one’s problems in the midst of chaos. Chaos of the mind.
The shock is mounting.
The eyesores are becoming far too painful.
My disgust swells.
So many simply left to die; scattering this hopeless, arid wasteland. But what can one man do against such reckless hatred; against the Taliban, strong-arm… of Afghanistan.
I pace in circles with nowhere left to go; no one left to love.
The ruthless sun beats upon my bare back and I stare up at it, releasing myself from the bloody images that flood my mind. Hopefully I’ll go blind so I’ll never have the chance to see the gruesome realities of death again. But still, no matter what I do, these reflections will remain with me. If I lose my eyesight, I’ll be trapped within a dark and desolate world for the rest of my days with nothing left to see except that which I seek so desperately to escape.
It’s hopeless. So I weep. Crouched over and buried in my arms.
My behavior is dishonorable for not attempting to stay alive long enough to avenge my family’s murder. Still… there are none around to see me so weak. I am happy to let myself wither away in the desert alongside the disfigured carcass of my father.
Like I said before, I would die here and allow myself to be forgotten; to rise up to the heavens with my family and remain in harmony forever, but that cannot be so. For now. Not while Ara yet lives.
Her cry reaches my ears. A cry of severe pain. And I know that I don’t want to go to her; to see her mangled body, but I do.
Oh, my dear Ara. My sweet, sweet sister lying there in the sand; in the giant hour glass of life. Her gurgled whining strikes me senseless. I cannot bear it. When I cease to look into her eyes, she sharply grabs my hair and brings me closer. I move to my knees.
“Rasheed. They killed us all. Lined us up… like goats.”
“I kn-know little s-sister,” I sob.
“They… destroyed our lives. Left us here. Curse them!” she struggles to shout.
I put my head in her chest, weeping uncontrollably.
I jerk my head up to meet her gaze.
“They live! Y-you know what… what you must do, brother,” she is now clinging to life. “I… will wait… in he-heaven…”
I bite my chapped, dried, lower lip.
She then shivers wildly.
“It’s… I… we… Ra-Rash-Rasheed…” she trails off and is now hollow.
Am I too dehydrated to continue my weeping? Too tired to prolong this senseless bewilderment? Despite my lack of energy, I find the will to stand and look to the east towards the city, then to the mountains of the west. Not long ago, I had nothing… but now there is something inside me… something wild and untamed.
“So it is west.”
I look to the East.
“And one day, I shall return to you. And you will be free.”