Peace at Night

Late at night I find peace
The quiet humm of the wind
The distant murmur of the city
Both soothes and excite me
I lie here in my own sweet solitude
My mind wonders
To magical memories which warm my soul
Then I begin to think of you
Thoughts which make my belly ache
I remember all the darkness I felt
I felt alone
But now I feel alive
I am truly at peace

By Ladan Musse

Advertisements

For my future qween 👑👑👑

Daughter, I want you to form the most intense, loving relationship with yourself. Only then will you realize your capacity for kindness and emotional expansiveness. Daughter, after you have formed this relationship with yourself, I want you to love others with the openness and humility that you always embodied as a child. Daughter, I want you to forgive easily, laugh loudly and never allow yourself to become the invisible, silent woman that your mother was. Daughter, this is how we soften our hearts and become better human beings.

 

By Somali poet Diriye Osman

 

saffron lane by Yasmin Musse

Poem by Yasmin Musse x

I am not a silent poet

after we scratched filigree

onto trees behind

my mother’s house

our wet fingernails

needed a break

i played at being the white lady

from countryfile

i trailed stolen periwinkles

along my sandpaper tongue

trying to taste the sea

you sang diriyam

to english pigeons

near iceland and never asked me

why

i fade like cilaan

when the sun keels over

or why

i breathe like i’m breathing

through a keyhole holding a key

or why

my ayeeyo prays to elahi

i’ll end up like girls in marka cadey

who crush cardamom with their teeth to taste honey

or freedom

or why

habaryar rubs her blackness away with lemons

or why

all the women in my family

are afraid of bufis and make fun

of my broken somali

hooyo ma taalo? ma joogto?

i tell you i hate questions

enough to ask them like water

especially on chilly days when

politicians…

View original post 86 more words

The making of a Somali Pirate (pt 1)

‘Allahu Akhbar!’

Mahad bent his back forward and bowed his head. The whole town of Eyl congregated and were praying too. Today was a special prayer. Salaatul Janazzah, a funeral prayer.  His close friend and neighbour Idriss had died yesterday whilst fishing, his body was found washed up on the beach that night. This was sad news for the whole town. Idriss was popular and a kind boy, who worked with his father to catch fish and was respected amongst the youth. Most of the boys are fishermen, so were their fathers and fore fathers before them.

‘Allahu Akhbar’

The congregation bent their knees down and prostrated, resting their foreheads on the grains of sand. Everyone was in sync. The sounds of the waves crashing and the seagulls screams, were strangely calming to Mahad’s ears. For him the sea was a place to escape his derelict town, escape the poverty and hunger. He could fish with his father and be free for an hour or two. He loved the sea very much, but it was only today he realised its true dangers. It had swallowed his friend and spat him out like sputum. The sea was merciless.

Once Janazah prayers were over, Mahad reunited with his father. It was time to venture into the cool blue. Death would not stop business. Not today. Not ever.

They made their way towards the the other side of the shore. He could see their boat from a distance. It was a blue and white just like their flag. However, the blue paint had cracked and had started to peel. It was pretty boat Hassan and Abo had spent a lot of time carving and hammering the boat in the scorching heat. It took a while to make but when complete it was the envy of all the fishermen. The prettiest boat in Eyl Abo had said.

His father pulled the large iron rod from the sand and started to untie the rope connected to the boat. They both ran into the sea and pushed the boat out. When the sea had reached their naval they heaved themselves into the boat and started rowing. They rowed further and further away from the town, before they knew it the town had become a small spec in the horizon. When they far enough, they pulled out their nets and cast them out to the sea and tied the end into the hook of the boat. This was the hard part over. Now it was time to wait.

Some time had passed. The sun became hotter and hotter as it neared midday. Mahad could feel his arsenal shirt sticking to his skin. There was no escaping the African heat. Mahad wiped the moisture from his upper lip and looked towards his father who was having a nap. How peaceful he looked. Mahad cast his eyes towards the net, It was time.

Abo soo kac”, Dad wake up.

Once his dad was roused, they both started to pull the net and its contents into the boat. Mahad could feel his shoulders and arms burning from this heavy work. When they were finally able to get the whole net into the boat they were disappointed. It was a small catch, what seemed to be just over a dozen fish. On closer inspection they counted 16 fish, a couple of them were a good size and could sell for a higher price. The rest were small. At least a shilling each.

They rowed back to the shore and made their way to the market. They sold most of the fish for a few shilling and took the rest home to eat for later. A small catch was nothing out the ordinary, it was a problem that had struck the whole town, the sea was not as plentiful as it used to have been. Times have changed.

That evening, the chief clansman ordered a meeting with all the fishermen of Eyl. Mahad attended with his father and listened in.

“… Since these Gaalo have been illegally fishing on our seas and dumping waste of our coast our fishing stock have become depleted” He stated.

“This is Xaqdaro !”,  This is unlawful.

All the fishermen from the town nodded their head and unity. What they have done to our sea and our fish is making our once vibrant and flourishing town into a hell hole.

“We need to arm ourselves and band together in order to protect fight the Gaalo.. Tommorow we will ride out and protect what is ours!”

There was a small cheer and applause from the group of fishermen. An air of hope and redemption filled the air. Finally something was about to change. Mahad could feel it and he couldn’t wait.

Retribution

 

The 2nd part to ‘The rape of Hovesep! A fictional story based on the Queen Arawelo.

Enjoy! 🙂

_____________________________________________________________

 

“Traitor!” “Hayewaan!”

The incessant cries of the mob outside filtered into the shack. What seemed like a million fists rained down on the walls causing it to shake.

“Guleed is a traitor”

Their cries became louder and reverberated around the shack. Dried cow pat flaked off the ceiling and landed on Guleed. He clasped his hands to his ears in an attempt to muffle the din. He slumped in the corner, his left leg shackled to a large rock. He was naked, exposing his toil-worn skin, which was covered in open wounds. A mass of grey hair covered the lower half of his face.

Suddenly, the door flung open and Arawelo entered, flanked by two female guards. The beads around her wrists rattled to the rhythm of her strides, signalling her arrival. The trail of her navy diraac brushed against his leg. Guleed looked up at her.

Arawelo was the picture of majesty. Her hair like ebony clouds, surrounded her face. A garland of ubaaxs adorned the top of her head. She let out a cackle, exposing her black gums.

“Do you hear that?” she said. “The people want you dead”.

Arawelo bent down and caressed Guleed’s beard. Her touch caused him to wince.

She surveyed his eyes. His irises were the colour of charcoal with a ring of azure around them. The same eyes that used to judge her, look at her in disgust and scheme against her. Those stared blankly at her.

She had finally broken him.

“Look at you, adeer“, she said, “like a danyeer, pathetic”. A smile formed on her lips as she continued stroking his beard. She enjoyed this more than expected.

“Your father would have never allowed this”, Guleed finally said to her, moving his head away from her hands defiantly.

“My father’s dead!” Arawelo shouted. She snatched the hairs of his beard and pulled him closer, her face directly in front of his. Her nostrils flared up as she inhaled his stench.

“Dont you dare mention him” Her father had died years ago and Arawelo (known to her small circle as Hovsep) had taken over as Queen of Buraan and the neighbouring villages. She was the Boqorada and he was at her mercy.

“You have poisoned them against me, you ebor woman”, Guleed spat at Arawelo and looked at her his eyes burning.

 Ebor. Worthless. That word. The gleam in her eye ebbed away. No one had ever called her that since her father. Since that day.

He could see the word had angered her.

Ebor!” he repeated savouring the word. She slapped him. The force made his head jolt back.

Arawelo had had enough of playing with her prey. She motioned frantically to the guards “It’s time, take him now!”

The guards grabbed Guleed and bundled him out of the shack. Guleed’s eyes squinted as he surveyed the baying crowd of women and men. The crowd jeered as they saw him. The guards pushed him through the mob as their jeers became louder and louder.

“Traitor!” “Traitor!”

They stopped in the middle of the crowd where a wooden platform was waiting for Guleed. The guards pushed him to him to his knees and shackled his hands to the chains.

Arawelo walked across the platform and cleared her throat to address the crowd.

“Women of Buraan, this is the face of a traitor!” Arawelo pointed to Guleed, whose hands were being shackled by the guards. The women’s cheers were now deafening.

Arawelo smiled as she looked down at the faces of all the women. She had finally achieved her dream of giving her country women a voice and a strong purpose.

Guleed looked up at his tormentor, as guard continued to hold him down. Eyes still menacing and cutting.

Arawelo raised her index finger. That was the command..

One of the guards plunged a spear through her uncle’s chest. He gasped.

Arawelo watched as blood cascaded down the crevasses of his skin, ending up in a crimson puddle on the African soil. The soil was a deep red. Her mother use to tell her that the soil of Buraan was red because all the bloodshed and war that that had happened here. The crimson puddle grew in size.

Guleed took his last gasps of breath. Arawelo moved closer and looked her uncle right in the eyes. His eyes opened wide as his gasping mouth fell limp. Thump. The rest of his body followed.

She looked deep into his eyes. His eyes were wide open and lifeless, his pupils still black as charcoal. Arawelo could see her reflection through his eyes. Her reflection was clear as day. She looked away. What had she become?

Her traumatising childhood had turned her heart black. Her anger had infected her. A monster stared back at her. The killing of a traitor did not bring Arawelo any joy. The only emotion she felt was disgust.

She needed to get away. Away from the jeering and the people, away from everyone.

Arawelo straightened her shoulders. She slowly  turned around and walked through the crowd. Arawelo made her way towards the Buraan plains, where it all happened many summers ago.

Where she lost her soul. Where she lost her old self.

 

The Virus

Prologue

All I see around me is darkness, swallowing me up. I’m in a small room. Behind the door of this room I can hear the continuous moaning and rhythmic scratching sounds.

They are slowly coming for me. I have nowhere to go, I’m trapped like a feral creature. My hands are empty, I look around for something to arm myself with. Anything.

I feel a sharp pain in my abdominal region. I place my hands on my side, my hands are wet with blood. I’m bleeding.

Zombies are patient creatures, they pounce when they sense weakness and right now I’m weak. But at least they haven’t infected me, not yet anyway.

The only thought that seems to comfort me is the memory of my mother.

Her eyes and her smile seem to make this situation more bearable.

That’s all I remember of her. I was only 8 when she died. My father also died. And I know the truth, after all these years I know why and who did this.

The scratching of the door has turned into loud banging. They can smell my blood I’m fresh meat to them and they are coming for their feast.

How did I end up here? I am Liam Parcel and this is what happened.

CHAPTER 1: Chaos!

I woke up on the sofa, news blaring, helicopters soaring outside the apartment.

I stayed up late last night but I don’t remember the details but flashes of moments: eating pizza from the box, my sister packing items into her suitcase, police cars patrolling and blocking off some major roads, like makeshift border crossings.

I look around the apartment praying my sister Amanda would show, but she was nowhere to be found. My mouth felt like I had eaten a handful of sand. Amanda was probably at work.

She works at a law firm and is the brains of the family, if you can call it that…

Our parents died in a car crash in the summer of 2002. I remember that day clearly like it was yesterday. I remember them driving us over to Aunty Sue and giving Amanda and I a kiss and a wave before driving off.

It was a Saturday and we spent most Saturdays with Aunty Sue. She is dad’s older sister. She is a quiet but a sweet lady who loves to bake. Her cakes are the talk of the neighbourhood.

She always allowed me to help her mix the ingredients and if I was good she would allow me to lick the bowl after. After eating our dinner and cake, we watched Saturday night Television.

That’s why I love Aunty Sue. She let us stay past our bedtime to watch TV.

At around 9pm that day there was a knock on the door, I went to get it expecting it to be dad to drive us back home. It wasn’t. Instead two police men were standing at the door looking stoic.

That’s when I heard. My life was never the same again.

We are both ‘orphans’ or that’s what the locals call us behind our backs when they don’t think we are listening. I always hated that word. Orphan. It sound like something you should pity.

We don’t need any pity or worried glances thrown in our direction.

Aunty Sue took us under her wing, she meant a lot to us and still means a lot to us. Without her we would.. I don’t know what would have become of Amanda and I. She has no kids and she is married to Uncle David known to his co-workers as Dr. David Anderson.

He was a barely ever at home.

He worked at a lab out of town as a scientist. But when he was home he was a cheery man, who would buy us sweets once in a while. We moved out once my sister saved up for an apartment downtown and we have been living here since then. I always try to keep regular contact with Aunty sue, I  visit her probably twice or three times a month.

Its 18:34 pm. I get up and go to the refrigerator, Amanda has left a note:

‘Liam, I went out to get supplies. I didn’t wake you because you were asleep. Pack your stuff we are leaving .Tonight. Manda.’

I look over at the blaring television which was making such a noise. Where is the damn remote? I can’t process exactly what the news presenter is saying but it seems urgent.

“It has been publicly announced by the White House that just over 15% of the world are infected with a virus named Zlotoria.

Reports are coming from all over the globe of the massive wide spread infection that attacks the human brain and nervous system, quickly disabling the victim and in affect re-animating the body of the afflicted.”

Moments ago Dr. Benjamin Willis who has treated the infected stated they show deterioration in bone and muscle, their skin becomes yellowed with lack of fine motor capabilities described as a drunken walk, and inability to speak.”

Dr Willis goes on to explain the virus affects primitive areas of the brain and acts as a parasite which rewires the nervous system of the host to take over functions of the body.

The infected become aggressive, attempting to bite or otherwise injure others and pass on the virus.

Shit. I need to call Amanda to tell her to come home. I rummage through the back of the sofa for my phone. I find it and dial her mobile.

I pause waiting for the dailing tone. It goes to voicemail. Double shit. I hope she’s watching this.

“This is just in – The mayor has declared a state of emergency, the police have come to bring peace on the streets and enforce a mandatory curfew of 9pm”

I walk towards the window and look down. Police sirens blare in the distance. The streets are filled with armed guards and cars beeping because of the traffic. The news helicopters still swarm the skies.

It’s hell down there. I hope Amanda is alright.

Suddenly the lights in the room flicker, it’s dim. I hear a loud bang in the distance the lights suddenly switches off. It’s dark. What’s going on?

I hear scratching noises above and below me. I walk towards the TV and try to switch it back on but there’s no response.

This is officially creeping me out. I look outside, The whole neighbourhood is in the dark.

For a moment there is silence.

Then I hear it. There are movements coming from the hallway.

Someone is here alright. I run toward the kitchen as quietly as I can and rummage slowly for a weapon, I get my hands on a kitchen knife and wait.

The footstep draw closer and closer until they come to a halt.

I hear the door slowly creak open. Shit. I’m breathing like a chronic asthmatic.

That’s when I see. I see light. Blinding light. I see a figure standing at the doorway. I pounce on the predator ready to slice it open.

I get a look at it’s face. Its not a Zombie. It’s not my sister, but it’s another face.

“Let go off me!” it says. I realise I did not loosen my grip on the persons neck. I look closer at the persons face, it’s a face I recognise. Then it hits me. It’s Sara.

After our parents died. I spent a most of my spare time on the apartment roof of Aunty Sue’s flat. It was where I could clear my mind, where I was free.

On the roof I was just an ordinary boy, the birds didn’t judge me. Just me and the city view and oh what a view it was! I would sometimes wake up at the crack of dawn and sneak up to the roof to witness the sun rise.

It was my own place until I discovered Sara there one day. I was angry at her for coming to my ‘den’ at first but I kept constantly seeing her and for I while, I didn’t mind. Secretly I was happy to have somebody for company. She had lovely sun-kissed brown skin and silky black hair.

Sara had this warmth about her and these big brown eyes that have been through sadness, I could tell her anything. Sara lived with her older brother and her pet dog in the apartment below us. She never mentioned her mum and dad. I didn’t ask, I didn’t need to.

We would meet up and talk for hours. She was into karate and animal (she’s had numerous animals from a snake to a dog). Sometimes if we were feeling adventurous we would sneak into cinemas via backdoors or steal sweets from the corner shops.

When Amanda moved us to our new apartment we lost contact.

I looked down at Sara who was still out of breath after that choke hold I had just given her, I said sorry. She nodded as if to say its OK. She was wearing a leather jacket and these scuffed trainers, she looked tired.

I had millions of questions I wanted to ask her but I only came out with,

“why are you here?”

She hesitated and looked very worried, what was wrong? Sara swallowed her saliva. Seconds past until she could collect herself and finally open her mouth.

Her next words were…“It’s you Aunt, Liam…. She’s sick with the virus”

At that very moment I felt my whole world shatter before me. My dear Aunt.

I needed to find Amanda before it was too late.

________________________________________________

Part 2 to the story can be found on our wattpad, part 3 coming soon ! x

https://www.wattpad.com/12076364-the-virus-a-story-about-a-zombie-apocalypse

The Rape of Hovsep

 

Story based on Queen Arawelo…

 

Hovsep was carefully crouched on top of a branch of the last remaining timir tree on the plains. The ragged surface of the branch scuffed against her delicate toes, as she constantly shifted her tall, agile body in an attempt to maintain her balance.  Droplets of sweat, caused by the searing Buraan sun, slithered down her elongated neck, ending their journey in the furrows of her adolescent breasts.

Her right hand was clasped tightly around a wooden spear, pointing directly at an antelope grazing in the distance. Crimson fragments still occupied the sharp tip of the spear, signifying her previous conquests. Her watchful, beady eyes darted around in their sockets, fixated on the creatures every movement.  She watched as the harsh rays of the searing Buraan sun beat down on the antelopes russet fur, causing it to glisten majestically.  Hovsep bit the outer corners of her dry lips and arched her lean back, causing the ridges of her spine to become more pronounced, resembling the scales of a jaranjaro snake. She tightened her already iron grip of the spear and jerked her right hand as far back as possible.

‘’Naaya Hovsep!’’

Hovsep immediately lost her balance and plummeted fifteen feet to the ground, creating a mini sandstorm upon her landing. She watched helplessly as the object of her unadulterated attention for the past fifteen minutes scurried off in the distance.

‘’Doqon, why did you have to that for?’’  Hovsep shrieked to Batulo who was the youngest and latest of her father’s wives. Batulo was fourteen, two years Hovsep’s junior. She was the daughter of Boqor Iftin of the neighbouring   Haiwiye clan and had been married off to Hovsep’s father, the Boqor of  Buraan , a few months prior, to keep the peace between the warring clans.

‘’I was this close!’’ Hovsep continued, gesturing wildly with her thumb and index finger in Batulo’s round face.  Hovsep wasn’t too keen on her new stepmother, and hated that she had to drag her along with her on their hunting excursions. Such excursions had become very frequent in the past few weeks as a result of the drought.

As her father’s only heir, Hovsep had been delegated by the townspeople to lead the all-women hunting trips on the outskirts of Buraan, much to the disdain of her father’s advisor Adeer Ayanle who felt that her role in Buraan should be limited to womanly duties such as overseeing the goat herding. Hovsep relished in undertaking a man’s job to prove Adeer Ayanle wrong, thus taking her role as the leader very seriously.

‘’Now we probably have to go back to Buraan empty- handed because of you for the third time in a row!’’ Hovsep continued. ‘’They will probably think we’re some weak, feeble women!’’

‘’Sorry,’’ Batulo shrugged, looking down embarrassed.

As the sun set, Hovsep led the women back to Buraan, a look of disappointment etched on her tired face. They’d caught nothing.

‘’Abaayo, what are we going to tell them now?’’ Batulo exclaimed frantically, causing the other women to chime in with their grievances.

‘’How are we going to feed my children?’’ Udub, a short built woman in her thirties, inserted.

‘’And my mother hasn’t even eaten since Tuesday’’ another cried.

‘’The truth,’’ Hovsep shrieked above the drone of their complaints. ‘’We will tell them the truth. Now shut up with all of your whining and self-pity’’ she chastised. Dead silence fell amongst the women.  Hovsep had a fiery temper, which the other women were cautious of and made sure to stay on her good side at all times.

‘’What do they expect from us in these times of drought?’’ Hovsep continued, however this time her tone had become softer. The women nodded their heads in a defeated manner and carried on their trek towards Buraan.

As was custom in Buraan, the inhabitants had gathered in a flock to see if the women had caught something. As they neared closer and it became evident to them that they had not, the crowd jeered and hissed at the women.

That night Hovsep was summoned by her father.  As she entered his hut, the overwhelming aroma of frankincense, danced around her nostrils like impish sprites. She seldom visited her father’s hut, but when she did it was never good news.  Her father was sat in the middle of the hut, dressed in a dark green macawis. His head was adorned with thick white cloth, swivelled around his scalp like a cobra, a lion tooth adorning the front. Adeer Ayanle was sat to his right in equally elaborate clothing. His protruding cheekbones and hollow eyes reminded Sagal of an eagle. His iris were the colour of charcoal with a ring of azure surrounding them, signalling his eroding vision.

‘’Sit,’’ her father ordered, looking directly at her, pointing to a rug in front of him.  His iris were the colour of charcoal with a ring of azure surrounding them, signalling his eroding vision. The solitary source of light came from a flickering candle in its last stage of life.

‘’What do you have to say for yourself, Hovsep?’’ She hated the way her name rolled off his tongue, so harsh and severe, like he was spitting out chewed up khaat. Hovsep lowered her head, as she fidgeted with her fingers.

‘’Sorry father,’’ she mumbled quietly.

‘’I didn’t ask for an apology, I asked why?’’ His voice grew louder, and more irritated. ‘’The people are starving, some haven’t eaten in days’’

‘’We are trying father.’’ Her shoulders started to straighten up more and her voice become louder and more defiant.

‘’How dare you raise your voice at me you ebor woman!’’ He belowed, banging his fist on the ground causing the cup of geel milk in front of him to splatter all over Hovsep’s face and diraac. Ebor. That word rung around her ear. Nothing. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a masked grin appear on Adeer Ayanle’s lips.

‘’We are not miracle workers or goddesses, we are merely human beings father.’’ Hovsep insisted exasperated, as she attempted to wipe away the ivory liquid from her face. ‘’We cannot magic into existence beasts for us to feast on out of thin air.’’

She felt her father’s bony fingers reach out and violently grab a wisp of her hair. He intertwined the ebony lock around his index finger and pulled Hovsep closer as she winced in pain.  He reached for his kished wrapped around his waist and unlocked his sharp bilawey and held it to her throat.

‘’Defy me again and I will slit your throat like a goat, you wacal!’’

As she looked up to see her father and saw the menace in his eyes, all the fear she’d internalised from all the years seemed to melt away. She no longer feared him. She just stared blankly at him as hatred overcame her body. She loathed her father for making her feel so small, so insignificant.

In the wilderness she felt powerful.  The women were the leaders and breadwinners in the plains. But in Buraan, they were treated like second class citizens and Hovsep hated it. She hated how the men would take advantage of the women’s hunting prowess, but the women would receive nothing but indignation in return. Her mother had warned her about this as a child.

‘’Regardless of how much we hunt for them, they will never see us as equal,’’ her mother would constantly remind her.

‘’When I am Boqorada , I will castrate all the men of Buraan!’’ Hovsep would reply to her in jest. ‘’I will make them all odey biq’s.’’

That night as Hovsep slept, she convinced herself that when she was became the Boqorada of Buraan she would make the women all- powerful and punish the men for their arrogance.

The event of the night before repeated in her mind that morning as she set out before the crack of dawn. She decided to go alone this time, sneaking away from the group as they were getting ready to leave. Hovsep decided to hunt further into the wilderness, near the Hawiye village. Her father has warned her never to hunt near there, but Hovsep didn’t care. Not anymore.

The bushes near the Hawiye village were unforgiving. As Hovsep trekked through the uneven, bumpy trail, the thorns of the bushes tugged at her baati. In the distance, she could just about make out the silhouette of a man. Sensing danger, Hovsep decided to retreat back to her usual hunting spot several kilometres back.

As she continued to hunt, Hovsep heard the sound of leaves rustling, the sound growing closer and closer. Thinking it might be a lion, she placed her right, which was gripping tightly on spear above her head in an attempt to scare any beasts away. Suddenly, she felt something grab at her.

Idaaf!’ Hovsep shrieked. Her cries fell on deaf ears.  The sweaty grip tightened on Hovsep’s delicate wrists. She could feel ragged fingernails dig deeper into her skin, causing her to drop her spear. She looked up and saw in fact that it wasn’t a lion but a man. His face resembled a hyena, saliva foaming from the corner of his open mouth which cased his limp tongue. His dilated pupils, surrounded by a sea of blood red were staring intensely at Hovsep.

‘Please!’ Hovsep continued. She reached out her free hand and frantically grabbed a chunk of his dry brittle hair and pulled as hard as she could, but the more she fought back, the stronger he seemed to get.

Hooyo!’ ‘Habaryer!’  Hovsep called out again, as tears cascaded down her cheeks. Her voice had turned into a piercing shrill.

He clasped his hand firmly around her mouth in an attempt to muffle her cries. Hovsep bit down on his hand as hard as she could but it didn’t seem to affect him.  He pushed her down onto a raqay bush. As Arawelo fell, the thorns ripped through her baati and ravaged her thin legs, leaving a trail of burgundy in the forest bed. Arawelo tried to get up but she was quickly overpowered as he aggressively forced himself on top of her.

He ripped open her baati, exposing her bare, full breasts. Hovsep frantically kicked out her legs, the thorns pushing deeper into her skin, but she was numb to the pain. As her energy started to fade away, Hovsep could feel his rough hand travel aggressively up her left leg. All she could muster at this point was a meagre sob. She’d given up.

As his hands reached her thigh, Hovsep could feel his long, drawn out breath  permeate her face  as  saliva escaped his mouth and splattered on her  cheeks, merging with her already tear stained face.  A grin emerged on her attacker’s mouth.

‘’When you return,’’ he said pointing in the direction of Buraan, ‘’you will be nothing but a wacal.’’ He started to laugh, exposing a set of brown, rotting teeth.  Wacal. The word rang in Hovsep ’s ears. An immoral. Her mother had warned her about girls like that, and now she was going to become one.

An abrupt pain jolted through Arawelo’s naked body, causing her to shudder. She gasped for breath, but he continued. She tried to close her eyes but the pain was too intense. Hovsep could hear the shimbiro chirping peacefully in the distance. To Hovsep they were merely by standers to her demise. And again.  As she looked up, she saw a tufaax tree, which as a child she’d climb to taste the sweetness of the fruits. Now the tree appeared distorted and hazy. Each branch now resembled claws, whilst its leaves resembled countless eyes, glaring down on her, judging her. And again. Hovsep closed her eyes again, and kept them closed this time, as he continued to ravage her.

When what felt like an eternity had passed, it stopped. She could hear the faint sound of footsteps and leaves rustling in the distance. As she opened her eyes, the harsh rays of the sun came blistering down, causing her to blink repeatedly. She looked down at her sore and bruised body. She could barely make out a thin trail of dried blood down her inner right thigh. Running into the dry barren ground. She grabbed her half torn baati and attempted to conceal her weak body. She mustered enough strength and ran in the direction of Lake Jubba.

She collapsed at the foot of the scarce lake and crawled into its murky, shallow contents. She frantically started to wash herself with the mud .Wash away the shame. She dug her fingernails into her skin and started scraping at her arms, her legs, the thighs, he face. She let out a long continuous scream as she continued to grate at her skin, deeper and deeper.

She hated how powerless she had felt, how small and worthless he had made her feel. She hated men, all men.

 

_______________________________________________

 

Hope you enjoyed it!

Also, check us out on wattpad under the user MusseSisters, Ciao! x

The Cut (short story)

A short story shedding light on the cruel and savage cutting (female genital mutilation) of young girls in Africa…

 

As the sun set on the Indian ocean, the monotonous drone from a congregation of shimbiro reverberated as they flew majestically across the sky, their jet black wings resembling gushing waterfalls of tar. Sagal was perched on top of an eroding  stone wall opposite Habaryer  Shamso’s house, her gaze never wavering from the spectacle, as her thin, restless legs constantly scuffed against the wall.

The luminous sphere gradually dipped underneath the ocean, but not before it briefly transformed the ocean into a mass of blood orange. She squealed in excitement. This had become a routine for Sagal, whose zeal for the sight never faltered.

”Kaale Sagal!”, her mother called out to her, as she popped her head through the kitchen window.  A forced grin appeared on her lips. ”I have someone I want you to meet.”

Sagal thought it odd that someone would visit their home at this time. They barely had visitors,  apart from Edo Amino who came weekly  from central Bosaso, but even her visits were restricted to daylight hours. She hopped off the wall and dusted herself off. As she approached the front door, distant murmurs of hushed voices where audible.

As  she entered, she was abruptly met in the hallway by her mother’s passive aggressive murmurs, usually reserved for when someone of importance came to visit.

”You look a mess  naaya,” her mother  whispered,  wiping the dirt from Sagal’s  face with the corner of her garbasaar. ”She’s going to think that I don’t look after you,” she continued, as she let out a disgruntled sigh. Sagal could sense her mother’s edgy disposition, as she hastily ushered Sagal into the living room.

An elderly woman in her seventies was intently stirring a cup of shaah and failed to notice the two of them come in. Sagal’s mother cleared her throat to get her attention and pushed Sagal towards her.

”This is my daughter Sagal,” she said hesitantly.

The woman lifted her bony hand signalling Sagal to kiss it, to which Sagal obliged. She was a peculiar looking woman. Her features reminded Sagal of an eagle; sharp and refined, with an intensely penetrating gaze. Her russet complexion was etched with a plethora of wrinkles, most notably on her forehead.  She pursed together her wrinkled lips and took a long sip from the shaah,  her  gaze never wavering from Sagal as she surveyed her from top to bottom.

”She looks very young for an eight year old, Fartuun” the elderly woman finally said to her mother. She reached out her cold, wrinkled fingers and gently pinched Sagal’s right cheek. Sagal flinched from the contact, finding it strange that someone from such a warm country could possess hands so icy.

Sagal started to grow evermore suspicious about this woman and her intentions. Why was this woman even here? Was she one of her mother’s relatives? Had she come to sell her mother material for her baati and diraac stall in the market?

”This is Edo Ijabo,” her mother said nervously, putting any of Sagal’s doubts to rest. ”She’s the Edo that’s going to be doing your guditaan tomorrow.”

Guditaan? Sagal froze. She turned to her mother, whose face looked ashen and defeated.  Everything started to fall into place. The subtle hints, the awkward conversations about womanhood with her mother the past week all made sense now.

”Tommorow?” Sagal repeated. Her usually loud voice, had turned into a mere whisper.  It all felt like a cleverly orchestrated ambush, and Sagal had been none the wiser. She felt betrayed and couldn’t believe her mother could be so calculating.

”Why not?” Edo Ijabo said nonchalantly, ”The sooner the better,” she continued, taking another sip of shaah. She quickly gauged the horror in Sagal’s face and attempted to assure her.

”Now, I was speaking with your mother and she told me that you were a girl with adaab and sharaaf, are you not?”  She flashed hera wide grin, exposing her brown, rotting teeth. Sagal nodded hesitantly. ”So what have you got to be afraid of, eh?”

Sagal had a lot to be afraid of. Most of her friends had already been cut. They spoke of their experiences as some sort of badge of honour. Simple playground conversations would descend into a pantomime, with each girl describing in full, gruesome details about what guditaan entailed.

Asho, Sagal’s best friend, had recalled the day she got cut to Sagal one day. She claimed that four habaryers held each of her limbs so she was unable to run away, before passing out from her exhaustion,  caused in part by her hysteric screams. This story replayed in Sagal’s head as she got ready for bed that night.  She had tried to dismiss her claims as childish hyperbole at the time but her words   failed to escape Sagal’s mind, and she decided to confront her mother.

She loitered outside the kitchen door for what seemed like ages, contemplating how she should confront her. Should she plead with her? Or assert her grievances in a calm manner?  Before she could fully comprehend her thoughts, she burst into the kitchen.

‘’Guditaan marrabi!’’ Sagal asserted in half scream. As she looked up, she deciphered a look of shock on her mother’s face, who dropped the carrot she had been peeling for the maraq  the next day  and stared blankly at Sagal.

‘’I don’t want it, you can’t make me get it done!’’ Sagal continued, this time her voice had turned into a loud shrill.  Her mother’s once caramel complexion had turned bright red. She raised her hand and slapped Sagal with an intense ferocity that shocked even her.

‘’Amuus!’’ her mother shouted, ‘How dare you raise your voice at me you ungrateful wacal!’’

Tears started to well up in Sagal’s eyes as she stood in stunned silence. Her right cheek turned crimson red. It wasn’t so much the slap that shocked Sagal, but what her mother called her. A wacal? An illegitimate? As she looked up at her mother she saw a look of regret on her face. They stood and stared at each other for what seemed like hours.

‘’You know I didn’t mean that haani’’,  her mother finally said in a muffled whisper, breaking the silence. She reached out her hand to wipe the tears from Sagal’s eyes, but Sagal batted her hand away. The damage was already done.  Sagal stormed out of the kitchen, slamming the door behind her.

The next morning, her mother  prepared Sagal  for the day ahead.  She delicately brushed out the kinks in Sagal’s thick mane of hair and gently massaged coconut oil to act as a lubricant. Sagal sat in a subdued state. Her mother always made sure she looked presentable, especially today. She braided her hair into two pigtails which she meticulously wrapped in thin white cloth in the shape of a bow. She dressed her in a white frilly dress, which she only reserved for special occasions.

The car journey to Baladi, on the outskirts of Bosaso was a long and bumpy one.  Sagal already felt physically sick and this was only heightened every time the car drove past an uneven bump on the sandy road.  Baladi was a place of nothingness and sand, worlds  away from the hustle and bustle of northern Bosaso.

As they arrived at Edo Ijabo’s hut, the searing midday  sun blazed down on Sagal, as she wiped the glistening  sweat that had accumulated on her brows with the back of her hand.

Ten other girls sat outside the hut, waiting for their turn as their mothers sat by their side. The sweltering Bosaso heat started to intensify as some girls would routinely pester their mothers for water. Sagal’s mother made sure to hold onto her hand tightly, for fear of an unexpected outburst.  All morning Sagal had barely said a word and that started to worry her.

One by one each girl entered the hut, the youngest looked around four. Some of the girls waiting were blissfully unaware, especially the younger ones about what their day would entail. However the ones that knew, the older girls in particular, sat with solemn, helpless looks on their faces. The muted screams from the hut could be heard outside. Each time this happened her mother would hold onto Sagal’s hand a little tighter.

One particular girl stood out to Sagal, Habaryar  Shacniye’s daughter, Hawa, who lived two doors away from them. They gave each other a knowing nod in solidarity. As the previous girl came out whimpering and holding onto her mother for support, Edo Ijabo, popped her head through the door.

‘’Sagal Maxamoud’’

Sagal thought about running as she eyed the vast swathes of desert outside ,  but her feet  betrayed her as she shuffled slowly into submission, her mother not far behind.

The hut was dark and grimy. The stubborn smell of camel excrement still lingered in the air like an unwelcomed visitor, regardless of someone’s vain attempt to mask it with copious amounts of frankincense. Edo Ijabo was in the corner wiping a razor with the back of her baati as she prepared several other strange looking utensils.

There was a battered and stained bed in the middle of the room, where four other women had already positioned themselves on each corner. One of the women, a large plump woman had a look of annoyance on her face, as if this was all an inconvenience to her.

Sagal made a rapid bolt for the door, but her attempts to run away were dashed when one of the women got up and clasped her large sweaty hands around Sagal’s arm. She was quickly joined by the other women , who grabbed each of her limbs. Exactly how her friend Asho had described.

Sagal’s began  to writhe around in a vain attempt to escape their iron grasps, as they carried her kicking and  screaming onto the bed.

”Hooyo!  Hooyo!” Sagal screamed, hysterically pleading with her mother as waterfalls of salty tears streamed down her face. Her mother sat in a dejected, helpless state in the corner of the hut.

”Don’t resist them, please!” her mother insisted, but this fell on deaf ears. Sagal wildly bit her teeth into  one of the women’s arms , but it seemed like the more she resisted the tighter their grips became.

As Sagal’s energy started to wither away, Edo Ijabo approached her with the razor in her hand, and pulled her fragile legs apart. All Sagal could muster at this point was a mere whimper. She’d given up.

A sharp, instantaneous pain jolted through Sagal, causing her whole body to convulse uncontrollably.  She’d never experienced pain this extreme before.  She gasped for breath, as she fell in and out of consciousness. The faces of the women now resembled a mass of distorted haze, becoming more and more unrecognisable as the seconds passed. As she looked up, wisps of sunlight forced through the tiny cracks in the roof.

This was the last thing Sagal saw before passing out.

She woke up the next morning humiliated and sore. Her legs were bound together tightly with a piece of rag cloth, and as she looked down she noticed that she was still wearing her white frilly dress from yesterday. Dried specks of blood on the dress reminded Sagal that what happened wasn’t a figment of her imagination, but a terrifying reality. Every slight movement caused her to wince in pain. She felt powerless, and she hated it.

Her mother was fast asleep on a chair opposite the bed. Her face looked a picture of serenity, her chest rising and falling  as she breathed melodically through her nose.

The weeks went by and Sagal’s body eventually healed. As the sun set one evening, she reclaimed her position on top of the eroding stone wall opposite Habaryer  Shamso’s house.

This time the shimbiro never came.