of the Road
By: Nisreen Edris
The enemy chased them to where the road ended. Now a
field of landmines stretches ahead of them. Having said
that, a group to which they belong is waiting for them,
because it can be attacked and wiped out at anytime if they
do not deal with the situation wisely. Only both of them
remained after their leader was martyred by a striking
rocket from which they escaped miraculously and lost contact
with their comrades.
Now, they must lie in wait while the night waves began to
break out by the very first light of dawn. Their military
outfits are almost torn. They are exhausted and out of
Each one was looking to the other – Ridha and Moussa – two
young men in their prime. They must advance to a certain
position into the occupied zone. On the other hand, the
drones were everywhere and warplanes bombed the area,
killing the leader of the group and causing a twist in their
path due to heavy bombardment.
It was a rough night, the moonlight dimmed and heavy fog
spread over the valleys and mountains. The two men sat for a
break. They haven't stopped since three days.
The cold was severe. Frightful silence spread its wings over
their faces, which were camouflaged with dirt and blood. Now
they have to defuse some landmines in order to reach the
closest point that will take them back to the right track.
However, one of them must walk through the landmines before
the other. They have been together for five years as part of
a 5-member group, which was famed for its strange spiritual
merger. Three have martyred including the leader, two (they)
remain. Now both together have reached the end of the road.
Ridha looked at Moussa with a smile that mirrored a tired
person and said firmly to him:
"Since the group leader martyred, one of us must lead in
order to cross this field. Because I am the eldest, I will
lead. And given that, I will walk through the field before
Moussa uprose with denial sparking through his eyes. He
"No, I will walk the field before you."
Ridha calmed him down and said:
"Listen my friend, I am the one who helped and trained you
with the work and engineering. This means my experience
Moussa looked down to the ground in sadness and distress. He
"If I knew earlier that you wanted to walk before me I would
have not stopped you my companion. I know you prefer me to
yourself, which is why I cannot agree. You reflect the good
side of me. I know you more than your mother knows you. We
have been together for a long time, which is why we are like
the one body. Do you remember? You and I were two of five.
Three have martyred, and we have remained. We both fear that
one might martyr before the other. I am aware of the sadness
that lives inside you ever since the time when the other
three had martyred. I am also tired from alienation. Do you
want to leave with me? How can I let you walk away to defuse
the landmines so that I can cross safely? I will doom myself
if I accept. Let my legs freeze and my eyes blind and my
soul waste if I ever let you go."
Ridha embraced Moussa, cried and said:
"Why do you make the situation difficult for me? Do you
think that I will also let you cross before me? How can I
watch you clear a landmine while my heart and all my senses
observe you in fear?
Listen, we be both began this long journey together until
the end. We both wish for martyrdom and we wish it for each
other because it is the desire of the inner soul. If we are
going to be late our companions will be at risk. The enemy
might surprise them at any time. I will accept you to lead
us, but I beg you to let me walk before you."
Ridha fastened his load tighter and said:
"No. I will divide the filed into two halves and we will
walk parallel to each other. Whoever martyrs his wish will
come true. And he who does not martyr must continue the
He eyed the field that was gaining the color of the dawn and
asked his friend to wash for the Morning Prayer. They stood
adjacent to each other, exclaimed 'God is great', then knelt
and prostrated in worship.
It is time.
They stared at each other and each entrusted his companion
with a will. They parted slightly and started defusing the
first landmines. They walked parallel to each other. No one
would step forward before his companion did. They crossed
half the field with their hands mastering the job while
uttering words that they were accustomed with.
They eyed the end of the road, two more steps and they will
reach the safe zone. Just after the last job was done and as
they yelled for each other, a deafening explosion occurred
because of a striking rocket that was launched by a
warplane. The heavy falling rain drops broke the silence
that covered their bodies, which were mixed with blood and
Moussa and Ridha have crossed the landmine field and secured
a safe passage for their companions who when they crossed
they found that their bodies scattered in pieces while
Ridha's hand held Moussa's hand—not even death could split
them from each other.