For Whom the Light Shines
7 months ago, 27 Nov 00:00
The boat drifted slowly on the endless turquoise sheet of the sea and it was impeded by the weight of the few remaining passengers. When the fuel was exhausted, the sea carried them on its bosom for five days now, sometimes lulling them, sometimes throwing them violently into the hot Mediterranean air. The unforgiving sun watched them from high above and tore at their skin and burnt their eyes. The boy looked straight ahead, amid the excitement of the desperate mortals around him, and could not see The Island. “Look, the shore. See it?” the woman sitting next to him said. She looked oddly familiar to him. “I see the lights,” the boy said. Her eyes were ashen-grey. “They are bright and orange. They keep shifting and jumping.” “They do?” “You are still seeing things.” The woman gazed him. She could see the scars of the journey all over his face. The boy remained silent. His mouth had not had any moisture for three days now; his tongue was too weak to rally any more words into speech. His stomach had stopped growling two nights before. Since then, it has been a hot piece of rock inside his body. The dinghy rolled on. The men sent up prayers. The child fell off the arms of the other woman. And soon she too fell on The Connector’s lap. “That child had been sleeping for days,” the woman said to boy. She had noticed the child’s iridescent skin turn grey. “I wish for sleep,” the boy said. The sea opened its mouth. No splash came out. Just a quiet plop followed by a smaller one. The Connector laughed. “Behold the Promised Land,” The Connector said. His belly heaved up and down and rocked the boat from side to side. He outstretched his thick arms and the silver Longines timepiece sparkled beneath the layer of jet-black hair. “How does land feel like?” the boy asked the woman. The bright orange lights still danced in front of his eyes. The sun was ruthless. The turban that he wrapped around his head was ablaze. The woman gazed towards The Island. Her memory of land felt like red coal beneath her feet. And it smelled of blood baked in hot sand. And it looked like blinding light. But she said, “Like home.” The tiny boat crawled on its belly. It had a mile to go now. It faltered under the weight of the occupants and their hopes and dreams and scars and memories. And they held on to it with all the strength they had left. “Yaa Muhajiruun,” the Connector said in Arabic. “We part ways here. Pleasure doing business with you.” The sea beckoned. There were wide eyes and lowered heads and terror in the deep recesses of their brains. And the stillness of time fading to black. One after the other they went. Soon the boy and the woman were the only ones left on the boat. A soundless breeze whispered. The Connector waited. ...
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