In Aarash’s last moments, where he felt heat that burned hotter than any desert sun, his fading conscious struggled to identify the unwashed girlish face that stared mutely at him. That un-speaking expression horrified him and he would have tried to change it, if death hadn’t stolen him away before his arm could rise.
Long before when his beard had’t grown in and his goats scrambled along sleepy, thick aired inclines, he was a simple man who looked at the good earth below him and no more.His retreats were isolated, un-populated passes that few knew about and fewer cared about. There he would greet rising suns and soft morning breeze while staring at the clear blue sky that sprawled all about him. He would adjust his rough brown shawl and squat motionless atop hills. A sort of unthinking meditation conducted in quiet isolation, free from the defilement of human regulation. There he would look at the morning dew, the ancient rocks and the deep fissures in the land. Lifeless and brown save for the defiant shrub, but beautiful in its vast, unceasing, frozen chaos.
His trance ended only when the sun rose higher and his goats needed tending. Often he would stroll into the town market unsure of what he had spent the morning doing. He would never admit it, but he liked to imagine his goats felt the same way he did, that they too would stop to admire the world spread before them. he remembered a wrinkled uncle who wheezed about how this land bore the marks of gods’ fingers running through soil.
He didn’t like the memory. He pulled at his white sleeves that had taken a gentle shade of brown from regular,careful wear. Long ago he had promised himself that he would always remember that the world did not care about man. Only the powerful and the dominant tribes could really be foolish enough to think the world of men a nice place. He clenched his fists and moved quickly, before other memories could surface.
Later as he walked down a dusty footpath, he heard feet scrapping and pulling up dirt as they were drawn closer. He was not the kind to go after mysteries. He was not the kind that made friends or the kind who grew to be a revered elder who had known generations. Yet on that day he peeked behind the rock where the noise came from and saw a dirty bundle of cloth that seemed to house a miserable emotionless face staring back at him.
(To be continued)