A donkey

mu29@hotmail.com العراق بعقوبة ص ب 29

A donkey


By:Alahmed Muhammad

I was walking as if I was a sleep, breathing deeply, and thinking of many things, blaming myself for events that took place, events that were fatally involved with things and became things. I watch my feet with every step, but I don’t hear their rhythm. No time is  fixed , no place to occupy. Heavy losses in both time and space. I look at the directions and their interchanges, but they do not astonish me. I imagine these roads while I am brooding in an indefinite world; a world of things floating on a timeless time. I feel it fragile under my feet despite the solid paramount. I walk only . I float like a thread of smoke among people, listening to their contradictory jargon. I laugh to tears, or cry without knowing that I am moved. I do not realize that I become a creature that exists occupying a space with two feet, a head and an abdomen.

While I was walking I heard:

- A murdered corpse was discovered in a bag left by the river. I listened carefully because I used to go there every day. Fear possessed me. My limbs trembled. I could not move a step. The voice was still heard: “ I heard that the murder put on gray clothes, accompanied by three men who waited him in a car that was parked behind tree”.

I said to myself “this man is lying because I was by myself”.The second man said: “ I heard from my wife reporting the words of the wife of the man who discovered the corpse that the crime was committed with a small pistol that was thrown away into the river and noting was known about it”.

I said to myself “ I was not carrying anything in my hand. I have never carried a weapon”.

The first man said again” Many of us used to plan to trap him!”

I said to myself before they leave: “ True, there is more than one motive”


That evening I heard a cry for help from a child. I went to the source of the voice. I found him over her hanging his underwear upon a trunk of a tree , throwing his shoes among the weeds. I had not though of what to do. No sooner had I dropped a big stone over his back the raperuttered a painful cry that raped the virginity of absolute silence.


She was not a child but beautiful girl of twenty years old tied to a trunk of a tree. He was standing before her inserting a big branch into her body. When she saw me before he sees me, she cried appealing to be saved. The blood flowing on the grass aroused me; I took the branch from his hand and started to hit him with it until his voice waned like that of a dying donkey.

The girl was astounded. His blood sprang on her tidy dress that was hung on the nearby tree. I released her, and run towards the trees.


Darkness overwhelmed everything, yet. I saw a big hatchet whose blade was shining. The carrier of the hatchet was sitting on a half-buried rock. Before him there was a little body . Lighting every now and then, revealed to me what darkness hid. I snatched a broken branch and stabbed him with it.


She was an old woman begging him to let her go after taking whatever he wants. However he mocked her and laughed at her in a crazy way. Before laying his hand on her neck, I knocked him down, and ran towards the trees.


Sorry I remember very clearly…

     I saw a man trembling and begging him: I won’t tell any one that you raped my daughter and stamped her with an unforgettable shame. Release m and I promise I won’t ask you to marry her. Release me for the sake of my young children and their crippled mother. The criminal held the man from the ends of his robe pushing him down to be hidden among the thick weeds. He took out a sharpened knife as if he had not heard the man’s begging. I did what I did, run towards the trees, freeing the man.

*   *   *

After a long suffering I reached my dwelling place, hiding myself from every eye. I took off my gray clothes as if I was getting rid of something that arouses suspicion. I said to myself “ it must be burned so as to eradicate the only evidence. I might have remind naked and trembling. Just after putting the clothes in the fireplace, murmurs arose and around my fear. I may have gone to see what happened from a hole in the window over looking the river.

*   *   *

They were coming towards me led by the mayor, followed by the officer and some policemen, each carrying a gun, accompanied by armed men from the neighborhood. The mayor was not armed, but he carried his big register, while he was pointing to different directions.

*    *    *

They were eager to identify the murdered. No one had disappeared: businessmen, politicians, merchants and workers, the Mayor’s sons, their uncles and cousins, the police officer and his men. All of them checked their families.

Everybody wants to know whose this corps is cut, hidden in a bag and left near the river? No one dared to open the bag on which flies were buzzing. The scene was horrible the blood oozing from its two sides. The young officer, who put back his pistol into its place, opened the bag slowly and carefully. When the opening widened, he began to laugh loudly violating the silence. Men moved to look into the bag. There they found a head of a donkey, its by-product, and hysterically saying: “ This is the deed of my neighbor, the butcher!!”

*    *   *

I breathed the air deeply once again , thinking of many things, blaming myself for events that took place and became fatally involved with things and became among the thing events.

Translated from Arabic by

                     Shakir Hasan (M.A.)


Author's Notes/Comments: 

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