Christ. These are cathartic.
I laughed. Reminds me of HDTGM.
By the by, seal clubbing is legal. I found this out when I wrote A Sealed Fate. It's even subsidised by the Canadian government.
Lazy Beggar fucked around with this message at Jan 11, 2016 around 16:47
|# ¿ Jan 11, 2016 16:05|
|# ¿ Jun 18, 2019 01:52|
In and a song please, Sitting Here.
|# ¿ Jan 12, 2016 16:04|
I'm in please.
112) You see the flow of information between people and things like a series of intersecting roads or rivers. You aren't all-knowing; rather, you see information when it's in transit between informer and informee. Sometimes, if you're very careful, you can dam or change the flow.
And a for not submitting my maze story.
|# ¿ Feb 11, 2016 15:40|
For my second I'll take:
35) Grimdark Urban Fantasy
|# ¿ Feb 12, 2016 17:49|
I stood in the centre of a derelict factory, looking up at a large steel hook. Blood dripped down from its rusty body into a puddle on the uneven ground. The blood rushed along cracks until its path was stopped by long-abandoned machines. The hook protruded from a disembodied leg, bursting through the calf muscle. The leg was short, about half the length of my own. Every hook was occupied with different body parts. I couldn't count all of the bloody hooks. I didn't know how many people had died, but I was fairly sure they were all children.
This wasn't the only time I had seen this sort of scene recently. But it was the worst. I scanned the hooks for more legs, so that I could get an estimation. I counted five. My cursed loudly, and it echoed throughout the factory. Of course, it was an odd number. Unsettling.
“There isn't much you can do here, detective,” a forensic said. “No need for you stay.”
He thought I had cursed because the body parts had got to me. He thought I was weak. I knew because I could see. I saw what he wanted to communicate. I saw it all. Flowing from mind to mind. I saw the moment before people spoke what they were going to say, even if they decided against it. It was this ability that made me a semi-successful detective. People told me things without uttering a word. I could see when people lied, the flow I saw contained the negatives. I would see, “Don't let him know I killed the kid. Pretend you don't even know who the kid is,” but I would only hear, “I don't even know who that is!” Knowing helps, even if I couldn't always prove it.
I shot a look at the forensic and then studied the area. No clues. No leads. We had nothing. And I'd have bet my pension that the forensic and his colleagues weren't going to find anything meaningful. This frustration made me hanker for something. Not booze or cigarettes. I didn't drink because I was always aware of being precariously balanced between functioning and shutting down. Seeing every intended communication and the failed words which skewed and corrupted those thoughts left me feeling a little less than jovial most of the time. So I didn't drink because I knew that I was an alcoholic in waiting without having ever consumed a drop. And smoking didn't do anything for me. Besides I hated big corporation and booze and smokes encapsulated that better than anything for me. But without a vice to turn to at times like these, I was often left with just my thoughts. They didn't console me much.
I left the crime scene, passing the caring forensic on my way out. I felt a pang of remorse as I stared unblinkingly at his smug face. Remorse that I couldn't conjure up enough emotion to want to boot his teeth in.
Outside it was bright. It felt wrong. A scene like that doesn't sit right positioned just beyond the reaches of a new dawn. Hope and despair side beside. I hated how well it all fitted together. I tried to think of a suitable combination of weather and time. There wasn't one. But I decided that this was the worst.
Two uniforms were consoling the kid who had made the call. At least he would have a reason to be depressed. That would be some comfort, knowing why waking up is such a blow. I suppose I knew why. I just forgot because there was no comfort. Jesus, I needed to get a grip. This kid had just found out horror stories can be very real, and I'm rehashing an existentialist crisis.
“He said anything yet?” I asked the uniforms.
“Nothing. We don't even know why he was here. There's nothing within a few miles of these factories.”
I bent down in front of the poor kid.
“Hey, your mum and dad are going to be worried about you,” I said. “Why don't you tell us where you live so we can take you home to them?”
“My parents are dead.” I saw the thought, and he opened his mouth just enough for me to notice. Most people wouldn't have caught it, but I had grown used to spotting these signs. But it didn't matter. This kid's tragic luck almost sunk me. And I felt sick that I could only comprehend his plight in terms of how it affected me. Truly sick.
“Who looks after you?”
“No one,” the boy wanted to say. But something stopped him. Was he worried he would cause us pain because of his situation? Surely no child had that level of consideration, not even one who had had his life. Ten? No older than twelve anyway. Today alone would have been enough to ruin any kid's life, but for some reason he was alone and with a life already decimated.
I had to get away. This scene, this kid. I could feel something dark and heavy encroaching on my mind. If I didn't leave soon, I wasn't sure what would happen. The uniforms were looking at me with clear anxiety on their faces as I stood up.
“I'm leaving,” I said.
They didn't say anything, they didn't even think of saying something. Against my better judgement, I looked down at the kid again. His eyes were wide, imploring. Over and over he thought just one word, but refused to say it each time. “Please.”
“Goddamn it! You hungry, kid?” I said, extending my hand for him to take.
“Yes,” his mind screamed. But he just nodded and ran to me, taking my hand.
The bright day didn't seem so abrasive now. And the weight that was threatening me seemed to flow out of me through the boys hand. He looked delighted. Who knows why, but at least this ability helped me do something good. Still just reacting to the bad, but it was good nonetheless.
Prompts:112) You see the flow of information between people and things like a series of intersecting roads or rivers. You aren't all-knowing; rather, you see information when it's in transit between informer and informee. Sometimes, if you're very careful, you can dam or change the flow.
35) Grimdark Urban Fantasy
|# ¿ Feb 15, 2016 03:05|
Thanks for the crits, guys.
Yeah cheers, Pham Nuwen and Thranguy.
|# ¿ Feb 19, 2016 18:06|
|# ¿ Mar 15, 2016 15:27|
Your knight has sworn to never wear shoes again after a certain incident.
Having a Mare
Kings are men too. This ought to be obvious, but I still have to remind myself. King Alfred would often call on me. He enjoyed my tales and also valued my advice. In fact, he envied my adventures and coveted my mind. He was young still, I assured him from time to time, and soon I would call on him for fresh tales and new insights. I didn’t believe it, but he did. I wasn’t his advisor and nor did I hold any special title, but I had a good relationship with little Alf.
One day Alf called me to his throne. Alf spent as much time sitting on that throne as possible. I had tried to warn him that it would ruin his back, that it would prevent him riding a horse, and that no one could win glory if they couldn’t ride a horse. He just dismissed my concern and asked if I had ever sat on a throne. Of course I hadn’t! If my father had been a king, I would have made a much better king than little Alf.
Well that day I walked into the throne room without any boots. Before the king could ask any questions, I hit him with a pithier than usual aphorism for him to write down. Swear only when necessary. I recently had had the opportunity to learn this lesson again. The king laughed. It was a horrible, raucous laugh. When he came to, his mirth turned to misery. I could see tears in his eyes. He must have noticed my bloody, bare feet. I had found that wearing socks without boots was not very safe when walking on the stone floors of the castle and on the cobbled streets, especially when rain had made them more precarious still. My feet were rather swollen and all round not in great shape. Blisters and scrapes marred them; I winced each step I took. The king asked me what calamity had befallen me this time. I don’t know what he meant by “this time”. I suspect he meant nothing of it, but perhaps dear Alf recalls all of my plights, big and small, and just wanted to subtly remind me off this. This subtly was uncharacteristic of him. It gave me hope that Alf might attain wisdom yet.
The king was smiling now. It calmed me down. Truth be told, I was rather angry that day. I had been angry for a few days in fact. I did not want to tell the king the details of what had happened, for it was somewhat embarrassing. I told him some jesters, no not real jesters, had tricked me into a sworn oath. No, of course, I had known I was swearing an oath, his majesty. The trickery had happened to bring the oath into effect.
The king was confused, but still smiling in his calming way. I was forced to continue my story with more detail.
“That devil,” I said, “Sir Leicester questioned my horse-riding skills, and as your majesty knows, my horse-riding skills are unmatched in this realm and the next. Sir Leicester might be able to sit atop a horse, but the horse is as much in control as he is. Perhaps more. Anyway, Sir Leicester said he would bet his boots that I couldn’t jump a fence riding any horse from your stables. I responded hastily that I bet my own boots I could. I thought Sir Leicester a fool and enjoyed the thought of him having to scamper home without any boots. I got caught up in the moment and when Sir Leicester suggested we swear an oath that the loser of this wager should not only lose their boots today but for a whole month, I managed to agree in between my guffaws. Oh how I laughed. His squire went and fetched a horse from the stables. It was a healthy looking mare, mild mannered to boot. Does Sir Leicester think so lowly of my knightly skills? I mounted the mare and trotted a distance away so we could build up a bit of speed before the fence, which was only four or five feet high, mind you. The horse was a little hesitant, but responded to my prompts well enough. We got up to a gallop and the fence grew near. I smiled in anticipation of Sir Leicester’s shame. But the horse didn’t jump. It ran head first through the fence. The poor mare sounded very distressed.”
As I told the king of the mare’s distress, he laughed again, more loudly and more abrasively than he had earlier. And then he shouted that the horse was blind and continued to laugh, almost falling from his throne in the process. How had the the king known the horse was blind? I suspected he had deduced this from the story. Despite my recent woes and my pained feet, I was gladdened by this. I was proud that my teachings were helping Alf become wiser and more shrewd. I confirmed that his deduction was indeed correct. He stopped laughing. Who was to blame him for laughing? A more considerate man might have seen the tragedy behind the comedy, but I believed Alf would become ever more considerate as his age progressed, so I wasn't overly distraught. His personal development had been incredible in recent months.
We proceed to talk the afternoon away. We laughed throughout, the king more than I, but I suspect that was down to my morose mood more than anything else. Then the king had some meetings he had to attend. He apologised that he couldn’t spend more time with me, and there was real regret in his eyes when he said so.
After a couple of weeks of not wearing boots, my feet hardened and I actually felt much better for it. My knee, which had been bothering me for years, felt sprightly, and my back felt like it was twenty years younger. I suspect the latter malady had regressed because of the limited riding I had been doing. I had found riding horses much too bothersome without boots, so I had been walking much more. I actually found myself walking for the sake of walking. The feel of pine needles on my feet calmed my mind, and my bare feet on the wet cobbles felt more secure than my leather boots ever had.
I had only been to the castle once since narrating to the king Sir Leicester’s trick. I saw the king in the castle and he acknowledged me despite being at a counsel meeting. He shouldn’t have done that, but I appreciated the sentiment. I would have to tell him that it was unnecessary the next time we spoke. Sir Leicester sat beside the king at the meeting, and the two of them talked and laughed amicably. I was amazed by how well the king could be civil and courteous to someone he most certainly disliked. He certainly was growing up.
Little Alf hadn't called on me recently. I feared that my many strolls into the open hills and peaceful forests meant that he couldn't reach me. I suspected he was doing just fine without me for now though. But I would make an effort to be more available soon. Also, I haven’t been tricked or conned since losing my boots; I am much more aware of fraudsters and clowns these days. And besides I rarely see anyone in the countryside to bother me. One day I even swore aloud, so all the trees could hear me, that I would never wear any shoes again such was the freedom I felt. No one was there to hear my oath.
|# ¿ Mar 21, 2016 01:12|
Interprompt: the worst soup
Worst soup? How about a bowl of drivel filled from the mouth of a slobbering idiot spouting outdated satirical poo poo.
|# ¿ Mar 21, 2016 21:06|
Ta for the crits.
|# ¿ Mar 22, 2016 00:40|
|# ¿ Mar 29, 2016 12:23|
I'm in, please.
I technically have no debt (plenty of debt to those who have suffered through my writing), so I did these in judge mode and picked them randomly. Was going to do a third (http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=758), but the audio file wasn't there. Sad. I was looking forward to the different format.
Fumblemouse – The Old Monk and the Mouse
This wasn't bad at all. After a bit of difficulty at the start, I was fully engaged throughout. Probably I'm to blame for that, not the writing. I wasn't long out of an Olympics-induced coma. The writing was good enough that I wasn't aware of it most of the time. Found the monk's anger a bit off. But I guess it made him more interesting than a stock monk with buckets of tranquillity. And it did work with setting him for his fall. The monk's dismissal of the mouse's fears and his lack of belief in the words of the mouse worked a treat. I enjoyed the ending, even if it was expected. I'm glad the mouse could scurry home, having learnt something of the value of prayer. Nice wee story, full arc, characters, and dialogue that didn't scream dialogue.
Welcome Back – Sterileton
Uhm. A dickhead cleared the room? The protagonist cleared the room? The story is just a series of insulting comments made by the protagonist. Devoid of humour. Would comedy have saved such a piece? Not convinced. I wonder what the prompt was. Some of the writing itself wasn't to my liking. But it wasn't woeful. The main problem was that for such a short story, I feel there were a lot of redundant words. An example:
“Her disappearance left a hole in the circle causing everyone to move closer together to close the gap.”
Everything after circle could be dropped and it would be enough to show the awkwardness. Anyway, this was dull and its saving grace was its short length. Might have been more interesting if J. realised he was a dick? Someone told him? I mean you have four characters who hate your protagonist. Plenty of conflict to be had there.
|# ¿ Aug 10, 2016 18:07|
|# ¿ Aug 19, 2016 21:11|
My mind wasn’t what it used to be. I had been a scientist. Real smart kid. I read rather than watched. Had friends, knew people when I walked down the street. Now I just tried to stay clean. The council helped me. Well they created something to help. First time I saw it, I thought I was high. It’s about as long as my bony forearm. It has the body of a whale, but with just one enormous eye covering most of its head. No mouth and a pair of feathered wings.
“What is that?” I said. I might have peppered my question with some profanities. You don’t forget them.
“Your new best friend,” said some double-glazing stinkyhole from the council.
Aye, but he was right. This little monster was my guardian angel. I didn’t want one. Who wants an eye on them all the time?
I got used to that eye. Had to name it. My parole officer suggested Moby. Moby seemed to like it. Sorted. When I watched TV he would land on my lap and lie there all night. He would get frightened when I watched sports. Couldn’t help myself. Something about an athlete messing up gets me going. I would apologise and he would come back, mollified for a while. Until the next mistake made me boil. I stopped watching sport. Wasn’t fair on Moby.
Moby’s back felt horrible to stroke, but his wings were pleasant to touch. It wasn’t long until I was stroking those wings compulsively while my ego was replaced with that craving. One time when I almost gave in to it, Moby, flew at me and my poison, knocking it on the floor. I cursed. I swiped at him. Still regret that. But before I could get on my knees, he had knocked over an open bottle of beer. No chance of a high now. I had a good greet. It took a while before I could talk to him again. When I did, I apologised. And thanked him. He came back to my lap.
I worked at a local college in the evenings. Sweeping and the like. Sometimes I would linger at the door of at teaching room when there was a night class on. Didn’t take long before I felt like an idiot. Especially with Moby about. People knew what he meant. A fall from grace. I tried not to resent him for what others thought. But I did. I also knew he was the only thing stopping me from falling further. He could tell when I was upset with him. I tried to console him, but he would be sad for days.
I walked to work. I wasn’t permitted to drive with my record. No harm. One evening, I walked past a group of dolled up girls. I avoided looking at them. I didn’t want to cause offence, and didn’t like the thoughts in my head when I looked. But they saw me.
“Disgusting. Why are they allowed to be out alone?”
“If only he was alone! That slimy gremlin is an abomination.”
“Tell me about it. I feel sick.”
I marched past them as quickly as possible. Moby wasn’t for it though. He stayed behind. He swooped about their faces and tangled himself in one of their nests of hair. She screamed. The other two laughed, keeping their distance. Moby struggled to free himself, but couldn’t. The girl slapped at him. No luck freeing him either. I ran back with a belly full of crushing sickness. I didn’t need any more reminding that I was a low life sack of poo poo. I set about freeing Moby from his hirsute prison. It didn’t take long.
“Don’t touch me! Ugh. Get away from me!”
I apologised and fled the scene. Who knows what sort of trouble I’d get into if I lingered. I was furious with Moby.
“It's quite cute actually,” one of the laughing girls said before I escaped. “Abnormal? Yeah, but still cute.”
I turned around, and she smiled. At me. I know it didn’t mean much to her. But god, it meant a lot to me. Probably smiled at Moby actually. Either way it reminded me of kindness. I didn’t fall in love with her or anything. But it felt like it. Aye, and I remembered those highs too. Those scummy episodes forever intertwined with happiness. I forgot my anger for Moby. I felt lucky for the first time in a long time. You just have to remember it isn’t all poo poo, all the time. I wonder if Moby was upset that they thought I was disgusting or he was an abomination? Probably a bit of both. He can be quite sensitive. And protective.
|# ¿ Aug 22, 2016 01:33|
I planned on critiquing all the stories. I managed one. Did this in judge mode. So your lucky, The Cut of Your Jib, that your story was next after s7ndicat3's, which already has a lot written about it.
Last Light - The Cut of Your Jib
I found this difficult to read. I don't understand what happened. Well, I do. But didn't understand certain scenes. I didn't really grasp the point of the story? Not much in the way of characters? And there are lot of words that are really wanky to me. “filigree” and “resplendence” stand out. Maybe I should have known the meaning of filigree, but I wonder why it was chosen instead of engravings?
Word choice isn't what caused my confusion though. The unclear generational and seasonal hops sorted that out for me. Can you stack chaff? Did Magdalena leave her baby in the garden with a dragon-like beast? “Fen towered over the baby.” “There was no malice in Fen” Fen sounds awfully menacing in the way he is acting around the baby, so much so that you need to tell me that it isn't intentional. I guess changing the readers perception of the situation isn't a bad thing, maybe even a good thing, but this is just heavy handed misdirection. “ Fen charred grass with each footfall, unable to control the ferocity of his power.” - this conjured up images of Fen marching on the spot because, last I heard, he was towering over the baby. I found following what was happening a little strenuous at times.
“Gideon had put the cart in the barn and was walking back to the house when he saw Fen fly overhead and out of sight.” – what's this line for?
“She hadn’t thought of Fen in many years.” – unlikely that she wouldn't have thought about the magical beast which was her constant companion growing up?
“She cautiously reached up to stroke Fen’s beak and smiled when they met.” – is the highlighted phrase necessary?
“She went to wake him and saw that it was frost.” – the white hair was actually frost? Did Gideon die and freeze while her pinky was intertwined with his? I feel like I am being dumb. What does “that” refer to? And she had already tried to wake him. Did she try and shake him, boot him, prod him awake? And found him frosty?
Are you a carpenter? Should I know what a shim is? Is the shim important? Does it suggest that the box is a lovely version of the one Maggie had as kid? What the ruddy hell is Gideon's curtain? Ah the curtains his mother made. Odd how confusing a singular curtain can be out of context.
“The light was not the morning sun” – what light? I suppose I should have known there was alight source casting the shadow of the tallest tree in the grove. Certainly wasn't thinking about it. Does that mean it is night? Or does it mean that Fen is brighter than the sun and it is morning? Has Maggie lost something? Did something happen that stopped the tree from producing eggs? Did the tree produce them? Was Fen meant to lay some ova, but didn't because she saw what a dick Maggie became when she had a kid? Was it a protest because Maggie disowned her and Fen didn't want that pain for her offspring?
“last light of the day reflecting off the gravestones of her parents.” – lots about light, eh? Time ticking. People dying. But I don't care at all. I know very little about Maggie. Not much about Fen. And less still about Gideon. I know nothing about Dalia. And gently caress having the gravestones of your parents within sight of your loving kitchen.
What I was hoping for when you opened with a weeping Maggie was an answer as to why she was so lachrymose. I thought she was scared to do whatever she had to do, especially as her father made her to it on her own? Ok reading it back I guess those were the ashes of her mother. Should I have realised that when reading it the first time? I guess. But why did her father make her go alone? I guess I thought it was a previous pet. Maybe her father's dragon-ish pet. You know, trade in your old one for a new one sort of deal. Is that why Dalia didn't get a new one? What happened to Fen after Maggie died? And how come you spent so much time showing me that Maggie was sad in the opening couple of paragraphs, and didn't describe either Dalia or Maggie being sad when Gideon's curtain was buried? Is the curtain symbolic of Gideon being a poo poo? All this light imagery and he is associated with something that's sole purpose is to block out light. Ah gently caress it.
|# ¿ Aug 23, 2016 11:37|
Decent prose. Open section is a bit clunky. I only had to a read a few sentences more than once. Had a plot. I felt some satisfaction when Sir Father was mauled by Midnight. However, the level of violence made me cringe at times. “Shona didn’t eat lunch or pay attention for the rest of the day,” - made me sad, the circle and all. I'd avoid over using — in your dialogue. Pretty sure the speakers weren't interrupted most of the time you used it, once when she was slapped by the crop. I think you could have elicited the same emotional response without so much violence. I know it is notoriously difficult to tell when a child is being abused, but in this instance I'm pretty sure her teacher would have noticed. Midnight noticed as soon as he met Shona. Dialogue and tags were maybe the weakest aspect of this story.
How Feathers Fall
“with each feather seeming to have its own idea as to what color would best suit its host” – made me stop reading during my first attempt.
“His pantry grew bare. Though he had acquired a lingering fondness for the bird, Nargir's hunger persisted.” – could have spent more time working up to Nargir being so hungry that he would eat his only friend.
You had loads of a words left to work on the relationship between Shaffers and Nagir. I wasn't so shocked that the decided to eat the bird. Maybe shocked that it took so long.
“he required nothing of his Nargir, his caretaker” - I first thought Nargir was a technical term for caretaker in this world of yours because of the possessive adjective qualifying Nargir. Turns out Nargir doesn't care for the bird at all.
Why didn't the magic work before? Did he desire the companionship of this lifeless bird more than wealth?
I found it odd that Nargir struggled to get by for years and then, only as his pantry grew bare and wasn't yet empty, he decided to ring Shaffer's neck. Also, he had wood for fire. That isn't not rock bottom. Come back to me when he uses the floorboards.
IV reads as four to me without context. Took me too long to realise it was an intravenous stand. loving write the word out.
I struggled through this one. I didn't help that you had some friendly monster that was probably an hallucination and multiple dream sequences. It didn't help that your protagonist didn't do anything. Not sure what Swiss is doing at the end. Could have done with another edit or you used odd phrases. “Cleaner air that fills his nostrils.” – unfinished sentence? Remove 'that'?
“She turns her head and smiles as she picks at her cafeteria chicken and, after a moment of fussiness, puts down her half-eaten meal before walking into Tory’s room.” – needs to be one sentence?
“Before she leaves, she scratches Tory’s head. It’s dull and soothing.” – is Tory a dog?
“Tory sees over the heads of the other children, which makes it easier to bear when they ignore him.” – something jarring about this.
“He missed recess,” this tense shift messed me up. I thought this was a flashback to Tory's childhood, explaining the significance of Swiss.
“Tory almost loses his grip in Swiss’ oily mane. For once, Tory is thankful he has no hair to flop into his face.” – Tory is thankful that he has no hair to flop into his own face? I first read this as Tory being thankful that Swiss didn't have hair to flop into Tory's face. Which was absurd immediately following “oily mane.” Why is Tory thankful for no hair in this situation?
“They make it to the front of the lobby, where Abi chases out of an elevator.” – just another example of a jarring sentence. I'm pretty sure “chases” needs an object.
“He looks toward the IV and he punched the bag weakly, it response it swings.” - in response?
A cancer-ridden kid dreams of taking a bus? But needs a Swiss-Army-knife monster to facilitate this dream? This wasn't obvious to me on the first reading. Might be my fault. Might not be though.
|# ¿ Aug 23, 2016 13:04|
Hey, 'domers I'm soliciting flash rules.
Your protagonist wants to be the lead singer, but he can't sing.
|# ¿ Aug 23, 2016 15:49|
Find Out What Went Down When We Were Conducting Sacrifices for Passover in Sudan
I hate that site. In.
Lazy Beggar fucked around with this message at Aug 23, 2016 around 22:17
|# ¿ Aug 23, 2016 22:11|
Thanks for that. Some effort.
More creativity in your dissection of the work than in the work itself.
|# ¿ Aug 25, 2016 11:28|
|# ¿ Jun 18, 2019 01:52|
Gam Zu l'Tovah
“We can’t just leave,” Ibrahim said. “This is our home. Not Britain, not France. And not Israel.”
“Khartoum. Sudan. They're just places,” Lina, his wife, said. “And it isn’t safe for us here any more. You know the stories of life under the Mahdi’s rule. Forced into Islam, practising our faith in the shadows. My grandfather was even forced to take a second wife.”
“If it comes to that, dear wife, I will run in any direction you want.”
They walked down the street past the many different shops of their small community. Textile shops, food outlets, Maurice’s ‘First Class Opticians.’ Some of their children trailed behind, whom Lina told to hurry, and others ran of ahead, whom she told to slow down. She had even scolded Ibrahim when he had chased them earlier.
The community in Khartoum was small, numbering in the hundreds. But they were bound tightly to the neighbouring groups, who all came to Khartoum for the synagogue each week and for festivals. Today was the last day of Pesach. In addition to the festivities, Rabbi Elbaz had requested a meeting. Sudan had escaped from their British shackles only a few months ago. Uncertainty permeated their small community.
They arrived at the synagogue, a simple building but one that instilled pride into every member of the community. Built from their collective resources to replace the initial shack, it reminded them of their strong connections. Ibrahim and Lina entered. He saw the rabbi and the other men collected to the side. Children ran freely, between chairs and under tables. Their excitement concealed the tension among the adults. Ibrahim kissed Lina’s cheek as she peeled off to join the other wives and older girls.
“Shalom, Ibrahim,” said Rabbi Elbaz. “We can begin now.”
The rabbi told the men that they had to decide whether to stay or to leave. He invited them to speak their minds. Some spoke of their fears that they would be treated the same as the Jews in Egypt, where there was a state sponsored boycotting of Jewish businesses. Others spoke of the growing animosity against their people in Africa and the Middle East ever since the West established Israel as a state. That they were no longer welcome in countries where they were once integral members of society. They pointed to the fact that the only civil servant left among them was Ibrahim. The rest had been forced to leave their positions.
“The very reason the British trusted us is the very reason the Sudanese distrust us,” one said. “We are outsiders.”
Another spoke of the difficulty of obtaining matzah for Pesach. The Sudanese dock workers wouldn’t deal with the shipment because they had a large Magen David on them. The Magen David meant Jewish, Jewish mean Israel. So they had left them.
“Ah, but that was easy to rectify,” said Rabbi Elbaz. “I just went and removed the Magen David from the crates. They were just stickers. And without them, the dock workers were happy to help me load them up.”
Ibrahim took the opportunity to convince them that they should stay. He highlighted that the issues they had faced were nothing compared to what their people had faced in the past. He was sensitive towards the men who had lost their state jobs, but focused on the support they received from their friends and family here in Khartoum and the other nearby towns like Omdurman. He spoke at length of the difficulty of reaching Israel or Britain. Of having to leave their property, their businesses, and their Sudanese friends behind. Because they were also still part of a wider community here with many friends outside of their religion.
“Whatever we decide,” he said. “To leave or to stay, we must do it together. Preserving what we have here, that is what is important.”
Rabbi Elbaz called a vote. The remain vote won by a smattering of hands. Ibrahim had done enough, but only just. Relieved, he went to join the children to enjoy what remained of Pesach.
Half a year had passed since their Pesach vote, and things had gotten worse for Ibrahim’s community. People refused to serve them in shops, bogus crimes were created to arrest young men, and Sudanese newspapers were full of antisemitic propaganda. Ibrahim’s Sudanese friends retreated from him. This was repeated across the whole community, so that they were more isolated now than in any recent time. But Ibrahim was still convinced they made the right choice. Despite the increasing volatility towards them, they had remained together. Yet some grumbled, and talk of leaving was often heard.
Ibrahim entered the governmental building where is office was situated, having walked thirty minutes from his home in the blistering heat. He still had his job, but he was training a young Sudanese man to replace him. He wasn’t happy with the arrangement but he was the only shohet in Sudan and their was plenty demand for meat, so he had work outside of his political commitments. Abdo was a quiet and well-mannered man. He treated Ibrahim with respect despite the current acrimonious climate. He was smart and tried to learn things properly. This all tempered Ibrahim’s disgruntlement towards his early retirement.
“Morning, boss,” Abdo said.
“Have you heard the news?”
Ibrahim shook his head and sat down at his desk.
“Last night Israel shot down an Egyptian plane.”
Ibrahim sank further into his chair. He feared he knew what this would mean. But there was always hope that it wouldn’t develop into a full-blown conflict.
At 1500 that day, Israeli Air Force P-51 Mustangs attacked multiple Egyptian position in the Sinai Peninsula. The ground invasion began when Battalion 890 of the Paratroop Brigade were dropped near the Mitla Pass. Ibrahim’s hope had dissipated.
Ibrahim rushed home that evening. On his way he saw the Abboudi family frantically collecting their belongings. He had expected the rabbi to call a meeting tonight for them to discuss leaving. He knew he would not convince them this time. He was no longer convinced himself. He had resolved himself for this eventuality. But he had never imagined that anyone would think of leaving so soon. He called out to Shalom Abboudi, imploring him to wait. Shalom pointed to his eldest son, who turned to face Ibrahim. His right eye was swollen shut and crusty blood covered the majority of his face.
“Already they’ve turned to violence,” Shalom cried. “We should have left at Pesach.”
“I’m so sorry,” Ibrahim said. “I understand your pain. But we should all go together, can you not wait a little longer? We can leave within days. Together.”
“No point in waiting. We’re going to Israel.”
“I’m sure most of us would choose Israel, if we must leave. Why can’t you wait?”
“We've discussed it already, while you were working for them. The same thing happened to David’s son. So the Annis are going to Britain, and so are the Tammans,” Shalom continued. “The Ashkenazis are going to France, they have family there. We can’t stay here any longer. We won’t.”
Ibrahim arrived back at his home. He found that his family had not suffered due the swift increase in antisemitism. Relieved, he sat down at the kitchen table. Lina sat across from him.
“We have to leave,” she said.
Ibrahim knew she was right but he couldn't utter a word. He stared out of the window. Out across the only land he knew.
Vice Shite: Find Out What Went Down When We Were Conducting Sacrifices for Passover in Sudan
|# ¿ Aug 28, 2016 22:38|