Natalie

i had a house at the top of the hill which stretched far away into the distance. The house was a heritage from my old family, who used to have a dream of leading an ideal and peaceful life. Unfortunately there was no Walden here. The climate was dry and monotonous—hardly there was any rain. Not many trees could be seen here, and the only plant that enjoyed my company was the Alhagi sparsi which prospered all the way from the foot of the hill to the front of my porch. this road, i called it les rue des étoiles, hasn’t changed a bit since i took this place over three years ago , immediately after the death of my great-grandma—Natalie, who was an old and lovely lady who had the habit of eating the mud. Her hands were constantly dirty, with mud between her fingers. She did not like to talk to people, so she stayed at home and imagined things. For an old lady who had never got down the hill and visit the village, imagining is a good way to know the world.

It was a happy ending, though, according to my mother, who had hated Natalie but showed surprising amount of sorrow at her funeral. She told me, it was raining badly that night, “little bit strange to have such heavy rain here in September “that was her word. Anyway, the rain was heavy, and Natalie was at home. She jumped to her feet on hearing the first thunder breaking through the silence of the night.  Imagine how happy we could be if everything out of our house had been turned into snacks. That must be what Natalie was thinking. So she danced outside to treat herself a nice mud meal when a lightening hit her, killing her in her extremely happy and contended moment.

Two weeks after Natalie’s death, my mother killed herself with swallowing the golden ring which my father bought him. Only I myself in the family understood her choice: having no one to fight with could be a heart-trenching thing, especially for people like my mom, who had  always been a lonely soul.  When Natalie was alive, it was my mom’s top priority to make her angry, to fight with her, and win the battle, thought sometimes she lost it, too. What I could not understand was the way she had chosen to kill herself. It was never the best way: the process was prolonged and painful. The heavy gold block tore up a narrow opening in her stomach first, letting the acid flowing into other organs and slowly erode them. It took hours and even days. In order to have this done uninterruptedly she had to hide somewhere, and she chose to lie behind the tall Alhagi sparsi along rue des etoiles. Her body was not found until a week after her disappearance, when my father spotted vultures diving down.

My father was greatly shocked at my mother’s death. He cursed her name at the funeral and left home the other morning, with all his old belongings. From then on, I was totally left alone.   The freedom and peace here pleased me until recently, the noise I heard at night deprived me of my sleep. I had to admit it was never total silent here at night. I could always hear the mites moving their jaws from the wooden bed which I was sleeping on, as well as the noise made by the careless rats in the house who never watched what they had stepped on or knocked down. But those noises never bothered me; they were reminders of that fact that I could never really own the house.

One night, again I was woken up by those noises.  It was as if two foreign women were talking upstairs gaily and it totally pissed me off. It was my house and I require peace at night! What was more; I hate visitors, not to mention visitors without the permission of the master of the property. I took my pistol in hand and decided to check it out.  The staircase made a scary sound when I stepped on and it made my hair stand up. Up stair was the old bed room of Natalie, from which I could see dim light. I sneaked to the door and peaked inside through the key hole. There they were, Natalie, who was laying her old bed, smiling at a woman standing before her. And the woman, with a knife and a fork at her hands, were cutting slices of meat from Natalie and then put them in a nice Cloisonné plate. They strange noise I heard were their speech, which was in a language unknown to me. I stood there and watched the woman placed the sliced meat into a shape of a blooming flower. Then with only the fork, she dug out an eye ball of Natalie and placed in the middle of the flower as its staminate. Seeing this, Natalie smile happily, suddenly she looked at the door and said something, then the woman turned back to the door and I saw the face of my dear mother.

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