The Shadow of the Sun

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
He is behind bars.Why? He does not quite know. What has he done? It's to be seen.

Submitted: September 13, 2016

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Submitted: September 13, 2016

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The Shadow of the Sun

( Note: You may need to read this story twice.)

When he opened his eyes, the first thing that came into view was a row of iron bars. It was not very close to him but it seemed to be the only thing visible… in the whole world.

He slowly got up and looked at his stone-hard bed. It was made of bricks covered with a layer of cement. There was a thin mattress over it and a couple of sheets. He had a blanket too but he never used it since "it smelt of cow dung," as George had once put it.

"Poor George!" he thought, "He is probably fast  decaying  by now, buried deep underground, only God knows where!"

He got down and walked to 'the door with iron bars'. The bars were few but there were enough of them to give him a view of the narrow corridor behind them. The passageway was pitch black.

"Either it's still night time or…the bastards have closed the entrance door again!" he told himself.

He took a long breath. The air coming through the bars contained various appalling odors. He shrugged his shoulders. "It smells of air at least!" he told himself, "It's much better than the suffocating gas which has filled the cell.

"Hi!" suddenly said someone from somewhere behind. "Why the hell are you up so early?".

There was a pause before the voice spoke again, "Are you goino go somewhere?"

"I don't know!" he said still looking at the wall.

The iron bars seemed to have suddenly disappeared. "What in the hell is happenin here?" he mumbled to himself.

"What is it?" asked the voice. "Have you had another nightmare or somethin?"

"Who the hell are you?" he asked blankly after a while.

"I'm one of the giant cockroaches you saw hanging over your head in the toilet yesterday," said the voice with a giggle.

He shook his head. He seemed to have a faint memory of the incident. "Was it really…just yesterday!?" he mumbled as he turned around. There was no one on the cement platform where his bed lay. The cell was as quiet as a grave. 

He glanced at the iron bars again. Some sort of light seemed to be coming through them now. "The fucking guardsmen must've got up!" he told himself. "They've opened the door to the corridor. I'd better get some fresh air before they close it again!"

He got up once more, put a stool behind the door, climbed it and took a long look. There seemed to be two or three men in uniform coming and going. "Get down you son-of-a-bitch!" someone suddenly shouted. "You're goino fall  down and get your ass torn up!"

He quickly climbed down and returned to bed. "It may be the guy with the lash," he thought.

"Why don't chu go back to sleep!?" he heard the voice speak up again."It isn't  mornin yet!"

He gently turned and looked in the direction of the voice. The blanket was bulged up but there were no movements in or around it. "It must've been a segment of my imagination," he thought "Like that day when I smoked grass."

He gently moved back to bed and looked up. The bars had disappeared again. He could hear the sound of someone breathing. "Who the hell could that be!?" he asked himself. "It's been quite a while since they took George away! He must 've long  settled down in Heaven or Hell … for all I know."

"Will you stop making so much noise, you nut!?" groaned a voice from under the blanket. "I'm trying to get some sleep!"

"Damned you!" he said, suddenly remembering a few things. "You slept all through the night before and all day yesterday. You've slept for more than twenty four hours already. It won't hurt if you get your ass up a bit earlier today!"

"What in the hell for!?," mumbled the guy from under his blanket.

"It's Geroge," he thought. "They must've given him the life sentence instead of death! But how did he return without my noticing it?"

He looked at the window. Some rays of light were now coming through. "It's the shadow of the sun," he mumbled to himself," like the poem I once wrote. "Oh yeah! It's The Shadow of the Sun!"

He thought about the last time he had seen the sun. "It was ages ago, it seems," he sighed.

He gently rose and moved out of his bed. He didn't want to bother George again. "The guy looks pretty sick," he told himself. "The deep black lines and the shadow around his eyes may be signs of fast approaching death!"

He tip-toed to the window and pulled the curtain back a little. "The damned landlord shouldn't see me," he thought. "He'ill kick us out the minute he finds out!"

He took a long look at the street. There were very few cars coming or going."It must be early in the mornin," he mumbled to himself. He took a long look at his own right hand holding the curtain. The scratch marks could still be seen on his wrist. "The son-of-a-bitch grabbed it so hard that his nails cut into my skin," he thought. "I should've strangled him to death right then!"

"Now tell the members of the jury how you strangled the guy!" he heard someone say standing a few feet away from him.

There were lots of other people around too. The place looked very much like a crowded courtroom.

"The guy had a gun pointed at me" he heard himself say. "He was goin'o kill me! …. I just grabbed his neck to stop him…"

  "And you squeezed the neck until the guy was good and dead, right!?" asked the man who seemed to be some sort of a prosecutor.

"Objections your honor!" someone shouted from somewhere further away. "The assailant was armed with a gun and a dagger! My client here used his bare hands to defend himself. It is a clear case of self-defense!"

"What about the robbery then?" asked the prosecutor taking a few more steps forward .  "Tell the members of the jury here why the man pointed the gun at you!"

  "I….I was goin'o get…. some food stuff….from the store…"he heard himself say."I was…broke and …starved! My friend, George, too… He wanted to break into  one of those vending machines and get … a couple of sandwiches or something but…"

"That's enough, man," shouted the prosecutor,"just tell the members of the jury what happened at the supermarket and how you murdered the poor shop-keeper!"

 

He shook his head, let the curtain fall and turned around. There was more light coming through the iron bars now. "I hope they'll  let us get some fresh air today," he mumbled to himself, "like they did last Tuesday,"

"What time is it, Al?" asked George gently sitting up.

"What difference does it make?" asked the man called Al softly. "We've got nothing what-so-ever to do!"

"Yes we have!" said George irritably. "Like I said yesterday we're goino fuck up one of those vending machines and get us some sandwiches!"

He suddenly rose to his feet and got off the bed. "We can't sit on our asses doing nothing until we turn into stinking shit! We've got'o do somethin about it now!"

"Yeah," said Al nonchalantly, "but…,like I said, it's much easier to get food from a…supermarket. You take a smaller risk and you've got a much wider choice."

"Oh yeah!?" said George with a grimace. "What if  the man at the store has  a gun and rushes at you like the guy in the movie we saw last week? Are you goin'o grab his neck and strangle him, like the dude in the film? Or are you goin'o turn your ass around and run like hell?"

He stopped and stared into Al's eyes for a while before he spoke again, "You can always trick or get the better of a vending machine. I have done it a dozen of times before when I was broke and in need of food…. There isn't much to it!"

Al shrugged his shoulders while staring at his right wrist on which there were no signs of scratches.

"Do whatever you like if you're so damned sure," he mumbled shrugging his shoulders. "Just don't get me into the kind of mess I was in before!"

"Don't worry, buddy," said George shaking his head, "In this country no one can torture you  or string you  up for criticizing or even opposing the government, how could they possibly do it to you for grabbing a sandwich from a vending machine!?"

He was quiet for a while staring at the wall in front of him, "Right now," he then continued," the most important thing in the world is for us to fill our stomachs.We  haven't eaten for almost three days! That's why we are having all these nightmares and hallucinations."

He stopped for some seconds before he suddenly shouted, "Enough is enough! No one has the right to starve me to death when there is so much food lying around everywhere!"

He paused again and looked at Al's pale face for a few seconds, "Sorry old boy," he then said, "I didn't mean to remind you of the horrible things that happened to you when you were in the old country. All I was trying to say was that we have a right to get food from the society. We have a right to have a job, a place to live and enough food to eat. No one has the right to stop us when the society has no jobs to offer us and can't give us a place to stay!"

Al was now shaking his head and walking slowly towards the window.

"I know what you are thinking of!" said George. "The first thing for us to worry about right now is how to sneak out of this damn joint without being seen by the fucking landlord! I know that he's been on the watch to catch us in order to throw us out if we don't have the money to pay his rent!"

He stopped to catch his breath. The wide black circles around his eyes had now become darker. He swallowed  his saliva to moisten his throat and took a long breath before he continued, "Once we get out of this lousy place safely and solve our hunger problem, we will get some cash out of someone in one way or another and pay the fuckin landlord's rent so we can stay here and not become  homeless again."

"If our first problem is to get the landlord out of the way," said Al with a faint smile, "Then we no longer have much to worry about!"

He then took another look out of the window and added, "The fuckin landlord has just had a little car accident across the street. I bet you he won't notice it even if a hundred people walk out of  this building right now."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Herman Azadi. All rights reserved.

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