Short Story – Plight (By Tahereh K.V. Dahkurdi)
The house of Saman and Shayan was located on a three-part street; the houses with yard were in the first part, corporate houses were in the middle and in the end there were the garrison and a military training area. Shayan until was a soldier, with military uniforms and carrying weapons was standing guard in front of the garrison was in this street.
– “I’ll go and then I will send a postal card from the city park lake for you,” said Saman with looking at cards behind the phone.
– “OK. Take care. Don’t forget that it is the last trip that you go abroad without me,” said Mona, his fiancée, and shook her head.
Saman after the call went beside packages of samovar to give them to automatic ARBAR packer to arrange them and ready them for taking in hand before their trip. Almost all of Home electrical appliances of Saman’s house were products of ARBAR Company. ARBAR was a big company in the field of automation of many of the world’s goods. The company’s products had automated many routine tasks, and easy to use, and had made it no longer necessary to manage boring works of man. The packer was placing one of the samovars in the package. Saman wanted to take some of their yellows in a couple of days. At this time the wind whipped and the door opened and the light came from outside into the room. The smell of humidity led Saman to the courtyard that had a long journey. He picked up his camera for the last time, to put a photo in remembrance of Mashhad from exquisite images. Saman wanted to smell the rain to store it for a long time to have a better remembrance of last days he was in Mashhad. He was walking and taking pictures for Panorama, that Shayan came to feed the birds and tending to the yard. The courtyard was filled with the fragrance of acacia flowers and rain. Saman liked to see Shayan in the camera in place, but Shayan refused. Saman was busy when suddenly several things happened at the same time. The first was hearing the voice of flying a fighter plane. The sound of anti-aircraft immediately got up from the base. These imply to an incident. Saman went into the house to track through the news media what could happen in a war in the official channel television. He tried to turn on the television, but it didn’t. Then he tried to turn on the radio but it didn’t too. What was happened to the radio and the television? Meanwhile, Shayan came too, while he was searching suspicious messages in channels of social networks via his ARBAR mobile. But after a few moments his phone while its screen was still bright froze, and he could not even turn it on and off again. He could only after a few attempts, took out the phone’s battery to turn it off. The only thing they could do to get information on the events was to go to the street. Saman and Shayan went to the door and opened it to the main street. Some were worried and scared. Some were looking at the point where defense pointed out. They found out that a competing country is attacking the northeastern of their country. The border cities had been occupied by enemy forces. Enemy forces were advancing on the territory of the country. But Mashhad was in a relative security. They also realized that just when the war started, ARBAR products that all belong to the country’s conflict, all had disabled.
In a few hours all over the place seemed quiet. It was night and Saman went out to buy some conserves. Most shops were closed and the lights were off. Sidewalks were calm but looked strange. Saman was walking and an old man was walking in front of him while his back was bent. One of his hands was on crutch and his other hand was in front of him, hopefully. In his extreme struggle his voice sounded as if he wanted to get paddle with coin money to solve an old noble glasses man needs. No one cared him, too. Just a girl was listening while she had passed him. Saman was thinking about Shayan that he was very good luck that he could give his guardianship exemption from military just the last month of his military service.
After much searching, Saman found a small shop. He found that the only shop owner is an old man. A few people in the shop were buying cheese, and their food requirements. About 1-2 cans of food were left. But most of the dairies and nuts were stored.
The war was different for others. Ambassadors and citizens of many countries through 2-3 days before the war had been summoned. One of the nationals was remained in the country. He and his family were from a neighborhood national, and although they were more or less aware of the war, they had not yet decided to leave it. They had a house near their consulate. Moments after the announcement of war in the country, Abubakr, a welder from neighborhood, was thinking in depth. His thought was so deep and so long that perhaps up to that point he was unaware of the presence of Mina, his wife. “Do you eat dinner? Do I bring tea? “, said Mina, while trying to look carefully in his face to find effects of his thoughts.
Abubakr eat the breakfast of carrot jam, bread, cheese and vegetables with Mina and his two young children. Then he went to Shahrood. On his way, a little close to Shahrood, Abubakr found out that the petrol of the car was over. He went to the car backward, to look for the stored petrol bottle. It was over, too. So, he with the bottle got out of the car to find one to get help. “It does not work. I must walk the rest of the way, “said Abubakr, with each passing car while he was standing next to the street.
Saman and Shayan had a business visa. They were planning to fly from the capital to abroad, to avoid the days situation were so chaotic and to their business thriving. So they went to capital with their taxi. They saw a car near Shahrood that had been stopped and the driver was walking 100 meters over with a bottle in his hand. Saman that had the sense of duty decided to help the man. That man seemed be very tired and annoyed. Saman asked that man:
- “Where is your destination?”
- “It is Shahrood, which is 200 meters ahead.”
But the man said that a bottle of petrol solves his problem. Saman got out from the taxi and then with a small hose from the fuel tank flew petrol into the bottle and gave it to the man.
Shayan in the taxi found a chance to call with his friends in the garrison by his ancient phone that was not ARBAR. He called Saeed, who was guarding beside him in their military service. Saeed said that many injured had been come so far from the border camps to “Imam Reza” hospital of Mashhad. He worried about a friend, Afshin, who had met in soldier training. Shayan had heard a lot of admissions about Afshin before. Afshin was on military service in a cross-border camp of the conflict, at the same time. Saeed had told the memories with this guy, to Shayan a time when in their military service. Afshin fate was unknown for him.
Two soldiers roamed a lot of their time spent behind the levee of camp, and they watched the activities of cranes, bulldozer, and motors. Akbar and Afshin took two large muffins with raisins.
– “What a joy if we jump to a bulldozer and run away with it to the other side of the camp.” said Afshin.
– “Yeah, it was pretty good.” said Akbar while he was turning away his Nunchaku.
They didn’t speak anymore. Afshin was a nineteen years old boy, tall, brunette, calm, friendly and a little lazy. Always a smile on the corner of his mouth was visible. He was loose and perfunctory. All of his body was two long legs with flat feet and wrist. But for others he was good and brave. The story of his bulletproof prayer was already in the heterogeneous group. He claimed that with a prayer wrapped in a paper, and with leather wrapping his arms around does not hit any shot to him. Even a few times also in the embankment he was passing from the enemy gunshot and did not hit any shot to him.
Abubakr entered the streets of Shahrood. He chose the path that led to the city center. Then he passed an alley behind city mosque that was near the city center. While simultaneously he also was feeling tired, he reached to the old wooden door of a house. He knocked the door and then an old woman opened the door and when saw immediately knew him. He took the metal box in front of her and said that he had reached himself there for this that is of the late husband, and he plans to leave the country within the next few days. The old woman released her breath. Then she offered to the man to “Come in, the outdoor is not good.” Abubakr entered and a bit later said about the goodness of her husband that was his employer. He said that his today successful life was thanks to the efforts of his youth beside the old man. After that Abubakr was offered a place to sleep for the night. But Abubakr who knew politely refused. He said goodbye and left.
Abubakr slept the night in his car. He with a bottle of water performed ablution and prayed, when the air felt incandescent and before the sunrise. At 7 am he looked at his watch while a cold wind blew and still there were lack of pedestrian traffic. Then he went in a café in the city center to eat something. He hadn’t hurry, ate his breakfast and returned to Mashhad.
It was the day of operation. In the plains, the sun was shining from the highest point in the sky. Suddenly an explosion shook the rocks and the sand. Afshin crawled spiraled into the embankment, for avoidance of being in the reach of shooting. Chirp was a deep wound on his right hand. Among the groups he and his friend were left in corrosion resistance. Without his realize, he crawled towards an empty bottle, to drink water. He realized that the bottle is empty, in his first attempt. Afshin quickly moved back and take another route. Then he pushed forward the gun with his left hand. Little by little, the eyes of Afshin went black and went to sleep.
A little later he woke up to the sound of friendly forces. They had found him, and said happily that found one that is still alive. Two men came to the scene to look Afshin.
Saeed finally was able to take the news of Afshin. For a moment he was depressed. Although it was planned that night the dinner be roast chicken, he could not even eat a mouthful. He thought that if Afshin die, then who’s going to say his family his testimony news. In the meantime, he heard that an old man was saying with a loud voice:”Huh? Who has parked the car in front of my car? “. Saeed went down to help. When he was passing from the foods he smelled the food and felt hungry. He said with himself that I now go down for a minute, then I’ll come back to eat my food.
By Tahereh K.V. Dehkurdi
 – A city between Mashhad and Capital of the country
– A traditional Okinawan martial arts weapon consisting of two sticks connected at one end by a short chain or rope
Tahereh K.V. Dehkurdi lives in Mashhad of Iran, where she studies a computer student.