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The Night of Shame

Najati Al-Bukhari

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

The Handkerchief of Honor

Since my last meeting with Aishah, I did not go out of my bedroom at midnight or during the whole night in general for walking in the corridors and the various salons of the big house.

In one of the mornings of a summer day, I heard the maids speaking for a long period of time about the possible and near marriage of Laila, my half sister, whom I saw during one night entering the bedroom of my father and for several times. Laila has been already of the age of twenty one years. But in spite of that, and in reality, my sister, Laila, gave the impression that she was older than that, perhaps twenty five or a little bit less than that.

In reality, my sister, Laila, was more a young married woman than a young girl. Her body has fully bloomed and blossomed. Her face, her lips, her mouth, her hips, her haunches as well as her breast, bosom, were all sources of an inexhaustible charm, seduction and sensational incitement.

Evidently, there were in the family several other young girls who were at the marriage age like Laila. However, all the other young girls were not as beautiful and charming as Laila.

Because of Laila's intimate and incestuous relations and contact with my father, she has been behaving and conducting herself as if she was the preferred female of our father. She was always dressed up with the best clothes in silk and in wool in the house. No other woman, amongst the wives and the concubines could compete with her in elegance and in dress.

Every day, Laila has been putting on a new costume, a new robe or a new vest. There was no limit to her purchase of new modes of dress.

On the other hand, Laila used to make up her face, her eyes, her eyebrows and her eyelashes, her lips and above all her hair by herself without the aid of anybody. Normally, she looked at her best when she had a rendezvous in the night with her lover, our father.

Laila never lived her daily life like the other female members of the family. She spent most of her time during the day time in dancing, in singing or in playing on the lute. She has rarely attended the social meetings and gathering of the women of the family because the young girls were not accustomed to be present in such meetings.

But more than often, the young girls were invited to attend the meetings of women specially those girls who were at the age of marriage or those who passed already this critical age.

The young girls, the marriageable, were given the chance to be seen by the visitors of the house by allowing them, from time to time, to carry to the place of the women's meeting, the tray of tea or coffee. This was how one of the visitors, Um Ahmet, has had the chance to see Laila who was permitted once to be present in one of the women's meetings and had the chance to offer tea for all the women of the neighborhood.

Um Ahmet, a prominent visitor had at that time three sons who were at the age of marriage. As it was the custom and the tradition, Um Ahmet was looking for young marriageable girls who could be young wives for her young sons. Actually, Um Ahmet was looking for young girls of reputable and high class rich families to choose from amongst them future wives for her three sons.

Laila, my sister, and the mistress of my father, was dressed up, on that day, with the best and most fashionable silk dress. Moreover, she walked in a very charming, attractive and fascinating way.

The meeting was about to come to its end when the mother of Laila asked her charming daughter to come and join the meeting of women of the neighborhood. Laila did not say any word. She kept silent while the visitors looked at her so often in trying to evaluate and appreciate the beauty of the body of the young girl as a whole and the charm of her personality.

Laila was sure that all the visitors were looking at her and were impressed by her charming beauty. The visitor the most interested in Laila was naturally, as expected, Um Ahmet. She looked at Laila for a long duration of time in which Um Ahmet looked at Laila, gave her some simple and innocent smiles. As much as it was possible Laila tried to hide the bad and the shameful aspects of her personality and her character.

The meeting, the reception of the women of the neighborhood was about to come to an end. Laila was sure that Um Ahmet would very soon come in contact indirectly with my father for demanding her hand, that of Laila, for her son Ahmet. Time was passing in this respect very slowly and nobody has come to our house for asking the hand of Laila.

Nevertheless and at last, the surprise took place in the afternoon of a hot and suffocating summer day. The summer season and specially in the last few weeks was preferred for the celebration of marriages in our community.

In that afternoon, and somewhat before the final arrival of the darkness of the night and the final disappearance of the sun, a group of elders of our quarter, the well known and respectful men of advanced age, wanted to come to our house for asking the hand of Laila for the eldest son of Abu Ahmet.

Naturally, our family, as it was the tradition, accepted in principle to receive this group in question. The mother of Laila was obviously excited and was overwhelmed by enthusiasm, zeal and ardor to know that a noble, a rich and an honorable family of the quarter and even of the whole community, was seriously interested in her daughter Laila, the charming and attractive girl, as a bride for her eldest son, Ahmet.

The illicit and the incestuous relations between my father and Laila, my sister, were not unknown by the mother of Laila. She knew very well and continuously what was going on of clandestine sexual relations and contacts between her husband and her daughter that is between my father and my sister. No doubt the mother of Laila was telling herself at that time that the marriage proposed by Um Ahmet was a valuable opportunity for saving her daughter from the scandal of an approaching pregnancy.

As for my father, the situation was completely different. Really, he loved Laila, his daughter, and he found real pleasure in sleeping with her. Therefore, the mother said that she should convince her husband, the father of Laila and her lover, to let Laila marry a young man and thus liberate his daughter from the slavery of the incestuous love and pleasure. Nevertheless, it was not difficult at all to convince my father to give his approval and consent regarding the marriage of his daughter to the son of Abu Ahmet.

A day was fixed for receiving a group of elders of the community for asking the hand of Laila, as a wife, for the son of Abu Ahmet, The visit was carried out and my father accepted to give his daughter Laila as a wife to the son of Abu Ahmet.

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The family of the young man Ahmet was more or less in a hurry to finish all the festivities, the celebrations and the ceremonies that were required to be carried out and implemented according to the established traditions in order to receive Laila in the family of Abu Ahmet, their eldest son

The time specified and designated for the marriage ceremony was short. A day was fixed for the main and first activity of the marriage festivities.

A considerable time was really needed to finish all the preliminary and preparatory arrangements for the final marriage ceremony. All efforts and all money, richness and power of the family were utilized and mobilized so as to finish with the preparation arrangements in the shortest possible time.

Of course, my father was not happy for this marriage in which his daughter, Laila, or actually, his lover and his mistress, would be married to another man. The father, my father, her father has plunged in a nervous and fatal depression.

Actually, my father, was worried not because of the marriage of his daughter but because of the possible discovery by the bridegroom of Laila that his wife of the future and the mother of his children was not virgin but was rather an adulteress who has already lost her virginity since a long time.

Few days before the last ceremony preceding the marriage, my father has remembered clearly and without any ambiguity that he started to sleep with his daughter at the age of eighteen years or even somewhat before that. Therefore, the father has been having the barbarous and the incestuous relations and contacts with his daughter about two years ago.

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Certainly, the daughter, my half sister, the aggressed, did not up till now become pregnant. Perhaps, she is sterile or what? Or probably, has my father taken the necessary precautions and the effective contraceptive measures, or what?

Yet, in spite of all of that, my father was extremely certain that his daughter has lost her virginity since the first time he slept with her and had the intimate sexual relations and penetrations into her body. He had seen, and for sure, the red black blood coming out of the depth of his lover, his mistress, his daughter.

Nobody can imagine the tortuous situation in which my father was found. The impasse and the deadlock in which my father has plunged himself since two years was so deep and dark that he could not know how to save himself from it and to come out of it safe and sound.

Before the date fixed for the final ceremony of marriage and the wedding day by four days, Laila, and exactly at midnight, has gone to the bedroom of my father, her lover. The exact time for the meeting and the sentimental meeting at midnight has been fixed, in fact, by my father.

This specific arrangement has been passed to Laila by the old maid servant of the house. Of course, Laila accepted the invitation of my father and his rendezvous without any hesitation. She did not have any choice.

At the fixed time of the meeting between the two, my father was quite awake in his room. Even he was still in his daily work clothes. It was evident to Laila that he did not have the intention to sleep with her.

Indeed, my father had the intention of speaking to his daughter about important matters. As usual, the bedroom was badly illuminated. There was only the feeble flame of the small lamp of kerosene. As soon as Laila entered the room and was almost in the middle of the din of her father not far from the window which was open, she quickly observed that her father was still dressed in the robe of the working day.

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In other words, he was not putting on his robe of the night. The father, the lover, did not want to embrace his mistress, as he usually did in the past. He remained standing where he was without looking at the young girl who entered the room since few instants.

Naturally, in such a situation, Laila advanced forwards to her lover, my father. She was dressed in a blue night robe of silk. Her blond hair spread on her two shoulders.

"I was obliged to give my approval for your marriage with Ahmet. At a father I had no choice but to behave and to react like this. You know a group of elders of our community have come to ask for your hand." said my father as he turned on his heels towards his daughter.

"There is no other solution except to stay without marriage till the time when I would become an old maid, a spinster." said Laila in looking at her lover.

"Listen to me, I tell you from now that I do not know how your bridegroom, your man, would react when he discovers that you are not virgin, that you have already lost your virginity, and that you have already slept with somebody." said my father while Laila went to the bed in order to sit on its side.

"What you are telling me now is really a source of trouble and worries for me. I heard many bad stories in this respect that are told either by women of our family or the women of other families. In all of these stories there is nothing that gives hope and a possibility to be saved. I am sure that to be a virgin is an absolute and inevitable condition for the girl who is going to be married. This is the law of our community from which nobody can escape. It is applicable to all and nobody can escape it. This is the law of our community which is equally applied to all people now, which had been applied in the past and which would be applied in the future. There is no escape from it. Really, I do not know how Ahmet would react when he discovers that I am not virgin, that I lost my virginity." Laila replied shivering.

"We are going to prepare you for the ceremony and the festivals of marriage. I have already given my consent and my approval in order that you would marry with this young man, Ahmet. We are waiting the wedding festivities and the final wedding night, your honey moon night. Let us hope that your young man would not say anything. In spite of all, there is the problem of the presentation of proofs regarding the virginity of the newly married young girl. As you already know a proof has to be presented to everybody, a white handkerchief. The wedding night is a complicated matter. It is not simple at all. This night is an important one for all the life of the family of the bridegroom and the family of the bride. Such a night, the wedding night, could have very disastrous and brutal consequences. This first wedding night could signal the beginning of a happy life, in most cases, or the end of life, in some few cases." explained my father while Laila lent him her ears and was listening to him attentively. Her heart has started to beat rapidly and irregularly. Her two frightened eyes were bulging out while she was fixing her looks on her threatening and frightening father, her lover.

"Stop, stop, please!! Don't say anything more, keep silent, and do not utter a single word. We have already spoken a lot, more than enough. I don't want to occupy myself with these infernal and apocalyptic ideas and thoughts. Please do not speak anymore of dramatic, gave, and ill-fated consequences just for having lost virginity." said Laila.

My father, the lover of his daughter, kept silent. He did not speak anymore. However, he asked Laila to leave the room, his bedroom immediately. But Laila remained where she was, sitting on the left side of the bed of her father. She looked voluptuously at him. She looked viciously as him and she started to take off her clothes until she became completely naked. Her breast was in fact shivering. But her lover did nothing but continued to gaze at her, to stare at her in such a way that he was telling her silently that he could not reciprocate. He was really angry and very furious.

In few days time which preceded the wedding hay, the entire house was busy in the detailed preparation for the ceremonies and the festivities for the marriage wedding day.

The mother of Laila was the busiest member of the family. She was really very well informed of the intimate and incestuous sentimental relations between her husband and her daughter Laila. The mother has recently heard somebody, a concubine, the blond, who made small allusions regarding the abnormal relations between the father and the daughter. Whatever was the case, the mother did not want to undertake an investigation concerning this highly sensitive and embarrassing human conduct and behavior.

The family of the young man, the bridegroom, Ahmet was all the time consulted by the mother of Laila regarding certain details of the ceremony of the wedding day. According to traditions of the community, the wedding night would take place in the house of the bridegroom, the young man, Ahmet.

Of course, and this was agreed upon by all people concerned unanimously, the house of the bridegroom would be encircled, besieged, by all the adult masculine members of the two families to be engaged in marriage. According to the traditions in application at that time, a white handkerchief was given to the young bridegroom, which was shown to all of those who encircled the house of the wedding night. All of those standing outside were sure that the handkerchief was really very white.

After the entry of the two, the married couple, into their nest of love, the tradition required that the white handkerchief stained by the blood of virginity should be brought out as soon as possible after the historic penetration of the bride by the bridegroom. The stained white piece of cloth, the handkerchief should be shown by the young man to all the men who would be encircling the house, or more specifically, the wedding room of the house of the bridegroom.

It has been told throughout the historical annals of the community that the married couple, the bride and the bridegroom, could stay for more than one night in the wedding room before the sending out of the blood stained white piece of cloth.

Sometimes, as it was reported so far several times and repeatedly in the community, the young man, the bridegroom, and because of temporary and psychological impotence and because of the lack of previous experience in sexual intercourse, might have required several days to achieve the aspired penetration and thus the coming of the blood of virginity from the bride.

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At last, the ceremonies and the festivities of marriage have taken place, and as a result the most important hour in the life of any young man in our community has arrived. The newly married couple has been led by a group of the members of the families concerned to the wedding room where the bridegroom would see his bride naked for the first time. As soon as the couple have made their entry in their wedding room and closed the room behind them, a group of men of all ages have besieged the section of the house where the two married couple would try to make love, supposedly for the first time, at least as far as the bride was concerned.

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The two fathers of the married couple, their brothers, their uncles, their cousins, all were participating in the encirclement of the place where the two newly married couple would soon give the besiegers the blood stained handkerchief of virginity. Of course, at the beginning of the act of besiege everybody kept silent and nobody uttered a single word.

Whatever was the case, and at the beginning of the siege, nobody of the besiegers has manifested any sign of worry or inquietude. The members of men belonging to the bridegroom family were behaving in such a way so as to show their confidence that their son, the young bridegroom, would have the necessary erection to penetrate easily into his bride so that he would let the blood of virginity come out of the body of the bride.

On the other hand, the men of the young bride were more worried than the men of the young man because they were waiting the proof of the virginity of their daughter Laila. In reality, the members of the two groups of men were waiting the white handkerchief with the spots and the traces of the blood of virginity on it.

Furthermore, and inside the place of the wedding of the young man and his bride who were supposed to have been making love, the events that have taken place there were not at all favorable, neither to the bridegroom nor to the bride.

Ahmet, the young man, was suffering from the feeling of shame, extreme shame, of disgrace, extreme disgrace, and of some kind of sexual impotence. In fact, he has never had any sexual experience before his marriage. Thus the bridegroom, at the beginning of the wedding night, took off all his clothes rapidly, hastily, until he became completely naked. It was obvious that he wanted to accomplish his task as soon as possible; that is the penetration of his bride.

On the other hand, his bride, Laila, was already in the wedding bed and she was completely naked, nude. She was on her back and her two bosoms were like two small ivory hills that were waiting the touches of the young man.

The eyes of the bride were wide open as a sign of waiting the unknown and the beginning of a new life of daily pleasure and enjoyment. From time to time, she moved slowly her legs and tried to put them on each other. Her hair was already spread on the white pillow. Her two hands were leisurely posed on her breast, and sometimes on the lower parts of her belly. Laila was, of course, an already experienced girl in all acts of love. However, she was worried but she was waiting the attack of her young man, her husband.

Ahmet, unfortunately, and at that particular moment, was in another world. He was confused and did not know what to do. Ahmet has the first shock. He stood petrified in front of his bride, in front of this blond girl, woman, of twenty years of age. Without saying any word he thought that his young wife asked him to advance.

However, Ahmet could not believe his ears. How could his bride invite him to attack her? Therefore, the young man stayed where he was and he did not utter a single word to Laila, his bride, who was having a troubled smile on her face.

The failure to do anything on his part was a surprise to him as well as to her, the bride, Laila. For few days before this eternal night, he thought, imagined, that he would have an automatic erection and an easy penetration and that both of them, he and his bride, would enjoy this much awaited act of love.

He thought that an ecstasy would be shared at the same moment by both of them. The moment Ahmet saw his young wife nude on his bed he felt that he was struck by a shock. What could he do? Nothing!

He just kept standing in wishing that God should save him and nobody else. He looked again at the body of his wife and he at that moment looked at the lower part of the body of his confused wife.

The most important thing at that moment was that he absolutely failed to have an erection of his sex. Ahmet closed his eyes to avoid seeing the falling down of the small world in which he was living.

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The young man did not know what to do. He began to perspire more than usual. All his body was covered by the drops of his sweat, his perspiration. Time was passing rapidly and Ahmet thought that the Day of Judgment was about to take place.

Therefore, Ahmet was really in a hurry for the penetration of the body of the bride because all the men of his family were waiting outside. As if he was petrified, he thought himself like a statue without life who could not act as a human being, as a man.

Anyhow, Ahmet started to move towards his bed, towards his bride, who was already lying in the bed. He precipitately put himself nearby the body of his bride. Indeed, his body touched that of his bride. He felt as if an electrical shock has struck him. The situation on the bed and inside the wedding bedroom was really improving and the bridegroom was about to make the most important discovery in his life.

Outside the wedding room and in the darkness of the night, the representatives of the two families were keeping silent and each member of the two families were keeping silent and each member of the group kept himself without movement hoping that something would take place very soon inside the house.

Nevertheless, the assembling men of all age could not, and from time to time, but to look at each other. Each realized that everyone in the group was overwhelmed by astonishment, bewilderment and even perplexity. Each was realizing that they were waiting there for the last half an hour, but nothing came out of the wedding night room.

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For sure, they were waiting the coming out of the red colored handkerchief. That was why they were there. Actually, several of them, perhaps four, have been sticking their ears on the door of the wedding room hoping to intercept, to pick up, some of the conversation that might have been taking place between the two, Ahmet and Laila.

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Those men hoped to listen to some signs indicating that the act of love making has been really taking place. For sure and certainly, nothing was heard, nothing at all. Inside the wedding room, the two bodies of the young man and his bride were thought to be touching each other. The young man was warming himself up. But it seemed that he did not say anything. So the listeners, outside, did not hear anything.

After a long waiting time, the first hour passed without any news coming from inside the house, without any surprise. And then the second hour was about to pass and the waiting of men who were encircling the house could not wait any more. The men became very impatient and nervous. They wanted to do something but nothing specific could come to their mind and spirit. Several of these waiting men began to talk in whispering to each other.

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"I suggest that the majority of us should leave this place. We should ask only two persons representing each of the two families concerned with the handkerchief of honor, the honor of the two families and that of the community as a whole, to stay here for waiting the results, that is the coming out of the handkerchief" said the uncle of Ahmet.

"No, no!! I don't agree with you at all. In other words, I disagree. I think that the other would react like me. I think all of us would prefer to rest here till the end, till the end. If we do leave then we would be blamed, reproached to have behaved in such a way which is contrary to traditions." answered another uncle.

"This is absurd. This is absurd. Why should all of us wait here the results of the sexual intercourse between a young man and his bride, his young wife? I cannot understand at all why we should trouble and irritate the two married couple." said one of the uncles of Ahmet.

"Listen to me now, all of you. Certainly we are watched and observed by all the inhabitants of the quarter and the community at large. All of them, like us, are waiting for the results of what is going on now in the wedding room in front of which we are waiting for something." said one of the cousins of Ahmet.

"-Based on what we are seeing and feeling I am sure that the two of them, the young man and his bride, are now in a deep sleep. I tell you, they are sleeping and we do not know what happened before that." said one of the uncles of Laila.

"How could you imagine that they are now sleeping? I think this is impossible. They can't be asleep. I insist that all of us here should stay till the result, the handkerchief with the spots of blood of the virginity on it, is brought to us." answered an uncle.

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While the two men, each representing one of the two families involved in the new marriage, were talking and exchanging their points of view, a third hour was about to pass. With the passing of this third hour, the men, all the men of all ages have started to be tired, to be exhausted. And some of these have begun to complaint.

Each of the waiting men was asking himself the following question: "What is going on inside the wedding room?" As a matter of fact, nobody was ready to stay there any more time.

The two fathers of the young man Ahmet and his bride Laila talked to each other. They were discussing something and for some time while most of the other men were looking at these two men, the two fathers hoping that a solution for the impasse could be arrived at. Yet the discussion between the two fathers did not last long. Because they did not arrive at any solution, not even an understanding. The solution was not a simple or an easy one so that it could be solved by the two men, the two fathers.

My father was more irritated, disturbed and annoyed than the father of the young man Ahmet. He was the father of Laila. For my gather, the handkerchief could come out of the wedding room completely white like the snow unless Laila could have found blood from a wound that was self-inflicted either in one of her fingers or on her leg, any leg and with the complicity of her husband, the bridegroom.

My father believed that Laila would not be capable of inflicting on her body a wound the blood of which would be used for staining the handkerchief of the virginity. My father has prepared himself to confront such an eventuality.

At the end of the fourth hour of torturing waiting, the door of the wedding chamber of Ahmet and Laila was opened. Ahmet came out of this room with the handkerchief being carried in his left hand, while in the right hand he was dragging his bride, my sister, Laila.

The moment the two were outside of the bedroom, the young man cried in a loud voice that "Laila was not virgin! Nothing has come out of her body after my penetration which I repeated for several times." All the members of the crowd who were waiting impatiently for the good news outside the room were struck by some lightning and thunder of the horrible news.

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Somebody cried, "kill her, kill her, she is an adulteress, kill her, she is an adulteress. She has dishonored all the community." All of a sudden, the regards, the attention and the looks of everybody were fixed obstinately on my father, the father of Laila, who has been discovered to be an adulteress. Through using their eyes to communicate with my father they sent to him the message of all men of the community.

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The men wanted from him, from my father, to apply immediately the rules of the traditions on the one who committee the horrible crime of adultery. My father stood motionless in front all of the men around him not knowing what to do and how he should behave and conduct himself to face this impasse.

My father was really extremely surprised to see a member of the family of the bridegroom giving him a dagger or rather a big kitchen knife. My father without being conscience of what he was doing took the sharp knife in his right hand and then he proceeded towards his daughter, Laila.

The men around my father began to push him by his back. They were obliging him to hurry up towards his daughter who was looking at him demanding the clemency, soliciting the pardon and begging the forgiveness.

The spectators, little by little, have become agitated and excited. They have totally forgotten that they were in the midst of a wedding ceremony and not in a barbarous festivity for the sacrifice of a human being. The spectators started to utter cries of savage animals.

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Naturally, Laila, the bride, at that moment, could not imagine that she was caught up in a trap prepared to her in the jungle of the savage man. The father, as if he was manipulated by an invisible Hand, rushed hastily in a high speed towards his daughter, his mistress, and he slaughtered her, cut her throat by the sharp knife which he was carrying in his right hand.

After the crime and the murder of Laila by her father, the men who were standing at that moment in the courtyard of the house began to dance and to sing traditional songs. My father could not do anything except to witness those men who were dead drunk of their savageness and of their monstrosity.

At that particular moment, I discovered myself not very far from the place where my sister was slaughtered. Indeed, I watched and observed the conduct of my father in this horrible, macabre and ghostly atmosphere. I thought that my father was really the executioner of the quarter. This was not the first time in which my father committed such a horrible crime.

After the end of the ceremony of sacrifice of my sister Laila, all the members of the crowd who were standing in front of the wedding room, have dispersed, each has gone to his home. Ahmet, the young man, the husband of Laila, was still carrying in his hand the white handkerchief. He stayed all alone nearby the slaughtered sacrifice, Laila.

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My father has taken all the necessary measures in order to burry Laila in the cemetery before sunrise. The blood of Laila that was shed in front of the wedding room was totally cleaned the moment the place of that crime was empty, deserted.

The feeble light that was visible in the house of the bridegroom has been extinguished. Each slept in his bed as if nothing monstrous and savage has taken place.

Only Ahmet stayed awake in his bed during all the night. He saw in the darkness of the night Laila standing in front of him in the middle of the room. The blood was coming down abundantly from her body.

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Ahmet was asking himself whether it would have been preferable to throw the handkerchief of the virginity in the wastebasket instead of showing it to the idiots and to the imbeciles who were waiting throughout the night the result of the wedding night outside the room of the two. Ahmet thought that it would have been more honorable and more human if he had saved, by whatever means that was possibly available, the life of the victim, Laila.

The children, both boys and girls could not have understood at all the events of the preceding night. The majority amongst them were still asleep at that time of the morning.

My father, like Ahmet, did not sleep at all. He was awake in his bed. He remembered all the crimes which he has so far committed throughout his life of fifty years.

My father shivered, trembled, when the images of his victims passed in front of his eyes. For sure he had many victims, many innocent and helpless victims.

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In the morning of the next day, my father took his breakfast early in the morning and then after that he went to his daily work. As usual, he gave his smiles to everyone as if nothing has taken place during the last night.

Inside the big house, nobody spoke at all about the killing, the slaughtering of the sister Laila, as if all of those who witnessed the act of killing and the barbarous ceremony that followed have forgotten the crime of yesterday.

"As for me, Rajab, I remained in my room almost paralyzed by my witnessing of the acts of barbarity which I have witnessed, or of which I was the main witness. Naturally, I considered all of those who were present as spectators as the real accomplices in the real crime. Frankly speaking, I would never ever, forget the crime of last night."

This was the story of Rajab as it was told to me by him. I, myself, Amin, his faithful and trustful friend, listened to him telling me his tragic story that ended with the killing, the sacrifice, the slaughtering of his sister Laila. After telling the story, Rajab has indulged himself in a complete and absolute silence. From time to time, Rajab looked at me as if he was looking for, in my face, the effects of his words and, in the final analysis, of his tragic story.

Certainly, it was not difficult for him to see in my face what he has been looking for. Actually, my face did not show, reveal, but the stupefaction, the astonishment, the bewilderment and the confusion.

I, myself, Amin, admired immensely my friend Rajab and I was fascinated by the way he narrated to me his tragic story and the events of which he was most of the time a witness, an eye-witness. Of course, Rajab has also heard of some horrible events which he heard from others, the wives, the concubines, the maid-servants and the close neighbors, etc. etc.

His rich and superb way of presentation of episodes, anecdotes, incidents, adventures of his story and his marvelous knowledge of our traditions and customs, laws and principles that govern our daily life and behavior, have fascinated me, have captivated me.

We, I, Amin and Rajab began to go down the hill and we were going to our quarter. The midday was somewhat far from us. For me, I still had some time before going back to my house, in the evening.

My mother gave me something to eat for my lunch. I chose to go to the square of the mosque so as to play and amuse myself with the other small boys of the quarter. As for Rajab, he has chosen to go to his house, the big house of the quarter, our quarter, without coming to the square of the mosque. After having told me all his story, Rajab went back to his house with a new and activated spirit and mind.

At the age of ten years he felt that he was in a mental and physical condition which permitted him to take important decisions concerning life in general and life in his house in particular.

As far as Rajab could understand the whole situation, there was not a single boy who had a story like that which he narrated to me. However, he became sure that what has been taking place in his house has never taken place in any other house in the community. This tragedy was only taking place in the family of Rajab, where there was, there existed, the monster, his father and where many horrible crimes have been committed every year.

Rajab was absolutely certain that his father was the enraged monster and that the time has come for him, for Rajab to take a decisive action so as to get rid of his father and to save his family of this savage monster.

es/ Lightsoul At A Blackhole Manhole
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Rajab has decided in an absolute way that it was his duty to put into action the plan of getting rid of his father, the criminal. Yet, the time was passing slowly. Rajab stopped his frequent visits to the square of the mosque because he has grown up in age and in body, in mind and in spirit. He could see more and more and beyond the horizon. His world was no more that of his house and that of his quarter. His world embraced the entire universe which he could see in front of him night and day. He became a boy thirteen years or perhaps of fifteen years old. Perhaps he has already become an adolescent, a well built adolescent with his aspirations and plans for his future life.

Two years after our meeting on the summit of the hill, the news of an expected important and critical event has come to us, the small boys of the quarter. We were at that time in the square of the mosque in the morning, when a grown up boy, Ali, the neighbor of Rajab has come to us excited, incited and provoked.

As soon as he was near us, he declared in a trembling voice the following: "Rajab killed his father with a sharp and long kitchen knife. Perhaps, this was the same knife used by the father in killing his daughter Laila. The dead father would be buried this afternoon in the cemetery of the quarter."

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The Night of Shame

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© 1980-2024 by Najati Al Bukhari, Mont de Marsan, France

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