بخش 90

کتاب: ملت عشق / فصل 90

بخش 90

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 9 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی سخت

دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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متن انگلیسی فصل

The Killer


Bastards! Idiots! I told them not to come with me. I explained to them that I always work alone and hate to see clients meddling in my affairs. But they insisted, reasoning that since the dervish had supernatural powers, they had to see him dead with their own eyes.

“All right,” I conceded in the end. “But make sure you don’t get anywhere near me until everything is over.”

They agreed. There were three of them now. The two men I knew from the earlier meeting and a new guy who sounded just as young and tense as the others. They all had their faces wrapped in black scarves. As if I cared about discovering their identities!

After midnight I was outside Rumi’s house. I jumped over the stone wall into the courtyard and hid myself behind a bush. My clients had assured me that Shams of Tabriz had the habit of meditating in the courtyard every night, before or after performing his ablutions. All I had to do was wait.

It was a windy night, unusually chilly for this time of the year. The sword felt heavy and cold in my palm, the two coral beads that embellished its handle rough under my fingers. Just in case, I had also brought with me a small sheathed dagger.

There was a pale blue haze around the moon. A few nocturnal animals hooted and howled from afar. I caught the sweet whiff of roses in the wind buffeting the trees. Strangely, the smell made me uneasy. Even before I reached the house, I hadn’t been in the best of moods. But now it was worse. As I stood there, wrapped by that overly sweet odor, I couldn’t help but feel a strong urge to drop the entire plan and leave this spooky place at once.

But I stayed, true to my word. I didn’t know how much time had passed. My eyelids began to feel heavy, and I kept yawning despite myself. As the wind’s fury intensified, for some reason unbeknownst to me my mind kept raking up memories, dark and vexing, of all the men I had killed. My apprehension surprised me. It usually didn’t make me nervous to remember the past. Pensive and withdrawn, perhaps, even sullen from time to time, but never nervous.

I whistled a few songs to boost my morale, and when that didn’t help, I fixed my gaze on the back door of the house and whispered, “Come on, Shams. Don’t make me wait here too long. Come out into the courtyard.” No sound. No movement. Nothing.

All of a sudden, it began to rain. From where I stood, I could see over the slanted walls of the courtyard. Soon the downpour was so hard that the streets turned into rushing rivers and I was completely soaked.

“Damn it,” I said. “Damn! Damn!”

I was considering giving up for the night when I heard a sharp sound over the clatter of rain on the roofs and roads. There was someone in the courtyard.

It was Shams of Tabriz. Holding an oil lamp in his hand, he walked in my direction and stopped only a few steps away from the bush where I was hiding.

“It is a lovely night, isn’t it?” he asked.

Scarcely able to contain my confusion, I gasped. Was there someone else next to him, or was he talking to himself? Did he know I was here? Could he possibly be aware of my presence? My mind was boiling with questions.

Then another thought occurred to me. How could the lamp in his hand keep burning despite the mighty wind and the heavy rain? And as soon as this question crossed my mind, I felt a shiver down my spine.

I remembered the rumors about Shams. He so excelled in black magic, people said, that he could turn anyone into a braying donkey or a blind bat by simply tying a piece of string from that person’s clothes and uttering his evil incantations. Though I had never believed in such nonsense and wasn’t going to start doing so now, as I stood watching the flame of Shams’s lamp flicker under the heavy rain, I couldn’t stay still, I was trembling so.

“Years ago I had a master in Tabriz,” Shams said as he put the lamp on the ground, thus taking it out of my eyesight. “He is the one who taught me there was a time for everything. It is one of the last rules.” What rules was he talking about? What cryptic talk was this? I had to decide quickly whether I should come out of the bush now or wait until he turned his back to me—except he never did. If he knew I was here, there was no point in hiding. In case he didn’t, though, I had to measure well when to come out.

But then, as if to deepen my confusion, I noticed the silhouettes of the three men waiting under a covering outside the garden wall shift restlessly. They must have been wondering why I hadn’t moved to kill the dervish.

“It is Rule Number Thirty-seven,” Shams continued. “God is a meticulous clockmaker. So precise is His order that everything on earth happens in its own time. Neither a minute late nor a minute early. And for everyone without exception, the clock works accurately. For each there is a time to love and a time to die.” In that moment I understood that he was talking to me. He knew I was here. He had known it even before he stepped out into the courtyard. My heart started to race. I felt as if all around me the air were being sucked away. There was no use in hiding anymore. And just like that, I stood up and walked out from behind the bush. The rain stopped as abruptly as it had started, plunging everything into silence. We stood face-to-face, the killer and the victim, and despite the strangeness of the situation everything seemed natural, almost peaceful.

I pulled out my sword and swung it with all my might. The dervish dodged the blow with a swiftness I did not expect from a man of his size. I was about to swing again when suddenly a rush of movement swirled in the darkness and six men appeared out of nowhere, attacking the dervish with clubs and spears. Apparently the three young men had brought friends. The ensuing battle was so intense that they all toppled to the ground, rolling around, regaining footing, and falling again, breaking spear after spear into splinters.

I stood watching, shocked and furious. Never before had I been reduced to playing witness to a murder I was paid to commit. I was so angry at the three young men for their insolence that I could easily have let the dervish go and fought them instead.

But before long, one of the men started to yell hysterically. “Help! Help us, Jackal Head! He is going to kill us.”

Fast as lightning I threw my sword aside, pulled my dagger out of my belt, and dashed forward. The seven of us knocked the dervish to the ground, and in one swift move I stabbed him in the heart. A single hoarse cry came out of his mouth, his voice breaking at its peak. He didn’t stir again, nor did he breathe.

Together we lifted his body, which was strangely light, and dumped him into the well. Gasping loudly for air, we each then took a step back and waited to hear the sound of his body hitting the water.

It never came.

“What the hell is going on?” said one of the men. “Didn’t he fall in?”

“Of course he did,” another said. “How could he not?”

They were panicking. So was I.

“Maybe he got caught on a hook on the wall,” the third man suggested.

The suggestion made sense. It took the burden of finding an explanation off our shoulders, and we gladly embraced it, though we all knew there were no hooks on the walls of wells.

I don’t know how long we waited there, avoiding one another’s eyes. A cool breeze crossed the courtyard, sprinkling thin, brown willow leaves around our feet. High in the sky above, the dark blue of the morning was just beginning to break into violet. We might have stayed there until long into the day had the back door of the house not opened and a man walked out. I recognized him instantly. It was Mawlana.

“Where are you?” he yelled, his voice heavy with concern. “Are you there, Shams?”

At the mention of his name, all seven of us took to our heels. The six men jumped over the garden walls and disappeared into the night. I remained behind, searching for my dagger, which I found under a bush, covered with mud. I knew I should not linger there, not even a second, but I couldn’t resist the temptation of looking back.

And when I did, I saw Rumi stagger into the courtyard and then suddenly lurch to his left, toward the well, as if guided by an intuition. He leaned forward, peered down, and stood like that for a moment, his eyes adjusting to the semidarkness inside the well. Then he pulled back, fell to his knees, pounded his chest, and let out a terrifying scream.

“They killed him! They killed my Shams!”

I jumped over the wall and, leaving behind the dagger with the blood of the dervish on it, ran as I had never run before.

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