Wednesday, July 16, 2014


As Smooth as the Palm of a Hand
By Chuck Oliver

She could never forget those words, or the men that made it so, nor the women that stood silent and allowed it to happen, all conspiring to make such an act of barbarism seem as natural as learning to tie one's shoes.

Her sister would ultimately come to die because of it. She had never loved anyone so much and likely never would. They shared the same bed their entire young lives. It was from that shared bed that they came to be awakened in the middle of one dreadful night.

It was their uncle that had come into the room and was standing above the bed when they awoke. His sister--their mother--stood silently in the shadows of the room. Together, they took her and her sister into the kitchen where three other men were waiting. She knew them all including the village holy-man. They placed her on the kitchen table which had been covered in white linen sheets. Their mother held her sister to prevent escape. The men then removed all her lower clothing exposing her most private parts. She had never been so frightened or felt so exposed.

Having heard them so many times before, she recognized the chants with their themes of purity and obedience to the will of God. Like all the girls in the village, she had spent her early life striving to demonstrate complete submission and believed in the rewards derived from a life dedicated to chastity and decency. She had a deep faith that she would be rewarded for her commitment and sacrifice. But, none of that prepared her for the suffering that was about to fall upon her and her sister.

As the knife sliced the flesh between her legs the pain was indescribable, beyond anything she could conceive. Her screams so severe that anyone hearing could have only thought the most horrific death to be among the possibilities, that is only death or the ancient ritual of torture and mutilation that was the fate of so many girls in her village. She passed out and never heard the horrid wailing of her sister when it came her turn.

Afterward they bled so badly that they couldn't leave the house for many days, as rag after rag became so soaked with blood it would drip onto the floors every time they moved across the room. Eventually it stopped and the wounds began to scar.

However, some wounds simply refuse to heal. Her sister never moved beyond that night. Trapped in its powerful darkness, she would awake each night wailing as she relived every second of the hideous trauma that pierced her young soul. And as the scar tissue formed, she ceased to be able to urinate. Eventually, her bladder became so distended that the slightest movement was agony. Then came the fevers; the delirium that soon followed stole what was left of her sister away until she finally ceased to take another breath--and for the first time since that night her screams were finally silent.

In some ways, she thought her sister the fortunate one, being able to finally escape the constant reminder of such evil. She knew in her heart that all the suffering surely allowed her sweet angel the peace and rewards of a martyr. Eventually, she learned to urinate while standing and pushing hard against her bladder forcing the urine out in bits and dribbles until she was empty. This could take as long as an hour, and all along she would look down to see if any more could be seen to dribble out across her genitals now, "as smooth as the palm of a hand".

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Registered Nurse, try to be writer and a minor poet, just keep scratching at the paper to see what kind of freaky shit flows.


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