Writer Comment: I admit that the plot needs more work and that I should cut down some metaphors and similes. But If you knew my favorite writer, you would understand! lol
Anyway,I really care about your opinions.
After I had fled my home country, escaping from the ugliness of the war, I decided to start a journey to search for safety and peace.
With a camera, a backpack and a wiry smile, I roamed around from city to city and country to country till I found what I was looking for.
It was a day decorated with a radiant sun beaming in the comely cerulean sky. Veronese clumps of trees sneaking around the verdant woods. Birds chirpings were growing vertically thick. I breathed in the love and quaintness of the nature and followed a far sound of roaring drums. The sounds were coming from down the hill. I kept on haunting the sound. By the stream, there a was a girl washing her face. Her hair was a rich shade of tawny. she was spoiling the water with her long fingers. It seemed like Nothing would ever distort her serenity.
When she saw me coming toward her, she stared for a while and then walked with furious fierce steps gormandizing the land under her. just like a deer.
I waited till she disappeared and followed her leads. The music was louder. There was some tents circularly organized. At the middle there were the drummers vividly playing and dancing, adding more kaleidoscopic flavors to the day. Women were painting men chests with rose-tinged ivory colors.
I was worried to be caught. I felt that I would be completely unwelcomed.
“I’m pleased to see you, son—you’re welcome” a throaty voice and a fragile accent from behind mesmerized me for a second. I turned to see a long-white bearded old man. with hid penetrating small eyes, he looked at me and smiled. I smiled back and told him I followed the drums sounds. He told some guys that we have an honorary guest. They cheered up. it turned out that it is a good luck to have a stranger at the rituals.
The old man asked me if I want to get painted and I foolishly nodded like a five years old kid whose been asked if he wants cookies. I took off my sweat-stained shirt and excitingly stood in the line. I felt very naked. The whiteness of my skin was turning heads. The paints with the women in line finished which meant that her shift is over. The next in shift was the deer-like girl. When it was my turn, her big hazel, melt into golden rays, circling an eclipse eyes went wide for a moment in surprise. I smiled. She started painting.
After the sunset, everything was ready for the ritual. the fire was lit. men chest were painted. women wore tiaras made of green leaves. I sat beside the old man with my eyes scurrying from a view to another. Some young men danced. Wearing very little, trusting the darkness of their skin for camouflage as they danced around the fire.
Everything looked cheerful and vivacious. I asked the old man what was the ritual for and to my chock, he answered with the word that was the reason I lost everything including my family. It was a “war” ritual. I paled out. I didn’t come all the way escaping of the war to another war. the old man looked at me with his comforting metallic eyes and said ” it’s different. don’t worry!” smuggling a laugh between his words. he hushed me when I tried to ask more. We silently watched the children making a special show of singing, dancing and jumping around.
After the dance finished the metallic-eyed man told me that there is a conflict between them and a neighbor tribe over a piece of land. The land was a den for some wild animals that were hunted by hunters from both tribes, the ritual was to decide who can plant the land and take care of it.
The other tribe arrived. they were singing, dancing, and of course adequately painted. Immediately, a welcoming dance were performed by both tribes young men. It was beyond magical.
The conflict resolution was testing the capabilities of tribes’ youth by different methods. My favorite one was dancing till exhaustion. They also were asked some question and had to do some intelligence requiring tasks. The aura of excitement was forcing a wild smile on everyone’s face. unfolding their white teeth.
Suddenly, the drums rhythm changed dramatically echoing a thunderstorm. I was terrified and curiosity was burning in my veins. The drums went for a while. Then a group of young men brought a four separate cage walls. Two old men got inside, sat on the ground movinglessly. The cage was closed. The drummed drawn in silence and so did everyone else. The quietness was very intense that I was able to hear my heart beats racing. A high-note song was performed by young women. After they had finished, life was breathed again in the place, the drums were played vividly.
It was a memorial song that embodied the old way the tribes used to solve their issues. Every tribe would introduce their strongest men and they would fight in a cage till one wins. And the winner tribe decide the solution of the issue. Hundred died before and hatred was rooted in people’s hearts. They stopped the cage fighting after two men refused to fight, they were secretly friends and instead of fighting they told everyone about their friendship and how it’s not harmful to have a friend from the other side. “we can work our problem out in many ways and scarifying ourselves isn’t one of them” the quote of the young men was carved in a very big old jar. The jar contained a special drink. A peace drink.
The drink was served after the results of the competition came out, the guest tribe won! Everyone cheered that for a moment I felt they are a one nation. I asked the old man about it. He said ” of course we are all happy, the land will be take care off by good hands, they proved that they can utilize it better, we are all going to be better off”.
The winner promised to give the loser quarter of the harvest from the land annually. I drank the peace drink. And sat silently amazed by what I have experienced. I said goodbye to the people and went to lay down and stare at the sky to absorb the values I learned. ” every three years we will test the power and wisdom of our youth, come and celebrate with us” the old man invited me.
I sat at the hill watching the sky, more stars popped out as people went home. Everything went silence but for the breeze that petting the trees above me.
The last thing I had my eyes on before I fell asleep was her. On her tiptoes, like a Ballerina she stretched her legs up, deer-like girl opened her arms to hug the world. Her eyes were closed, she inhaled the night causing the earth to shrink, pulling everything peaceful and beautiful toward her.