Fatemeh.

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic


Her pregnant belly is rubbed in milk poured from a clay vessel. Pictures are engraved on its outer face, the cuts swirl into images like goddesses and farmlands, lambs. The tlamatlquiticitl combs the womans golden hair with oil, pulling it through a wooden comb. Her hair falls aside like a sheet and her legs are spread wide. She looks away from the people, at the tapestry and wall hangings. Her eyes are unfocussed and wet.

‘A woman is a giver’, says Shahryar, rubbing her forehead. ‘No nomad to her men, a woman is of her men, maker of the men.’ He thumbs her blood over her forehead. ‘You will give me my son, you will die to give me my son.’

Fatemeh screams once more and he holds her head in place. The midwives come closer to dab water on her lips as she goes quiet. The chatter continues quietly as her breathing becomes shallow, her head droops but his thumbs concave her cheeks to keep her still.

Eyes half mooning, her blood pours through the red linen which no longer can contain it, and it grows on the floor. The elder sees and slowly wriggles her fingers through the ripping opening, pushing her hands into the flesh until she feels the childs feet. Fatemeh is quiet still when the babe cries, and the elder cradles it in her arms. Fatemehs head lulls back and her mouth droops open slowly as if she was in shock.

‘She’s quiet grandmother’, says a boy.

Shahryar opens his arms for his child.

#

The responsibility of the woman for her funeral is that she must look living. She is washed with towel and salted water. Her organs are removed, the prolapsed uterus is cut first. The tlamatlquiticitl must remove it from her and stitch her closed; as when her blood started, her labia removed, in death her uterus eaten. It should be broiled with healing herbs for her husband, cooked with nutritious ghee and fat.

 Before the sending, her thighs are cleaned and her hands are oiled for softness. The elder carefully dabs paint on her lips, a light red made from crushed beetles. Her lips are sown to keep her jaw closed. Her eyes are closed, and coins placed over her lids. Before she is lowered onto her shroud she is put in a white dress for her sending. Those known her are allowed to kiss her forehead, and place flowers in her hands.

‘Fatemeh was a delicate flower’, they say, ‘Fatemeh the child of the gods.’


Submitted: July 13, 2022

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