DARK TEARS OF BABYLON
I didn’t know the state of the sky above me,
but I knew that the day was bright and
sunny. I checked my wristwatch, the time
was a second after 1:37pm. I didn’t know
where I was either, but I knew I was at the
bank of a river.
I saw a fisherman adrift on the river. I
watched him curiously as he cast his net into
the deep and hurled it up moments later. His
net caught a few fish struggling to get out of
their entrapment. The old man seemed
contented with his little catch. He raised up
his head, saw me and waved as if he knew
me. Courtesy demands that I return a friendly
gesture, so I waved back at him. I didn’t
see his face clearly from the distance because
he was wearing a large fisherman’s hat that
shielded his eyes. The hat cast a gloomy
shadow on his face.
I didn’t know what I was doing in that
strange place. Whatever had brought me there
must have been important. I felt like an
amnesiac staring at his childhood pictures. It
was only me and the old fisherman in this
silent place. The elderly man must have known
what godforsaken thing had brought me to this
godforsaken place at the bank of a godforsaken
river. With the intention of finding my way
away from this strange place, I turned around
and saw the most beautiful girl I had ever
She must have been about twenty years old.
This girl had a perfectly defined figure; the
right curves stayed at the right places, and
her complexion was bright, silky and smooth.
Like waterfall, the hair on her head flowed
down to her back, almost touching her petite
rear end. I felt like I was seeing the whole
world in her eyes as clear as two orbs of
crystal. The girl was simply stunning. She
was wearing a blue gown that draped down to
her feet. Blue – my favourite colour. I felt
my heart on fire as I watched her approach.
I was disarmed and speechless by her beauty.
I just continued staring at her with mouth
When she finally reached me, she regarded
me curiously and said, “I have met you
I heard myself saying the strangest thing in
reply, “Let us sit and weep.” But
somehow, those five words seemed like the
No sooner had the words escaped from my
mouth than we sat at the bank of the river.
She rested her head against my chest and
began to weep copiously, almost like a
banshee. I didn’t even know why she was
crying, but it seemed like the right thing at
the moment. Just like that time when Adam
could twist a lion’s tail and still live to tell
A short while later, I stood up to get us
something to nibble on. A few treks brought
me to a kiosk that housed a middle-aged
woman who sold apples. The woman looked
slightly familiar but I couldn’t place an
identity to that face at the moment. She was
surprised to see me staring at her.
“Do I know you?” I asked her.
She looked scared, like she had seen a
ghost. She brought her hand to her mouth to
cover a rising scream.
“Are you all right, ma’am. You’re not
looking well.” I said, genuinely concerned
“You’re not supposed to see me!” She said
aloud. “This is a bad omen! You’re not
supposed to see me!”
What was she talking about? I didn’t
understand what she was saying. I was getting
worried and scared. I was about to keep
myself away from her as far as I could when
she asked me what I wanted from her.
“I only want to buy some apples.” I said
She immediately packed a dozen apples for me
and told me to leave. She didn’t even accept
payment. It was as if she wanted to get rid
of me as fast as possible. I shrugged my
shoulders, thanked her charity and returned to
the girl of my dreams. She had stopped
crying. We ate the apples silently and stared
at the river. The old fisherman was no more
there. He had canoed away, or literally
I was on the first bite of my last apple when
I remembered that I needed to take pictures
with the girl. I searched my pockets but
couldn’t find my phone. I became panicky. I
couldn’t bear to lose that phone. We
searched everywhere but couldn’t locate it.
Then a thought struck me; I must have
misplaced it at the fruiterer’s. Without ado,
I rushed to the place. The woman was still
there; this time, she was weeping. I was
helpless. I didn’t know why she was crying
but I wanted to console her. But then again,
I didn’t know how to console.
“Why are you crying, ma’am?” I asked
She slowly raised up her head and said,
“You shouldn’t have come back. Don’t come
back the third time or the damage will be
Again, the understanding of her lametations
escaped my befuddled oblongata.
I said, “I think I lost my phone here. Did
you help me to come across it?”
“Go away! I didn’t see any phone!”
“Can you at least help me to call the
She regarded me with arms akimbo, frustrated
by my stupidity, then brought out her Nokia
and dialled the number I gave to her.
“It’s ringing,” she said. Then she put it
on speakerphone and placed it on the apple
stand before us. I could hear the call ringing
but didn’t hear my ringtone anywhere. This
was hopeless. It was evident that my phone
was not anywhere here. I apologised to her
and left. I would have to search the river
bank more carefully.
“I will continue trying the line.” I heard
the fruiterer speak behind me as I walked
I was only half-way back to the riverside
when I saw a dirty, bearded young man
approach me. I heard my ringtone as he
walked closer. There was no doubt that my
phone was with him. I was overjoyed. The
man must have helped me to find it. But the
man was not smiling. He dipped his hand into
his pocket. Instead of a phone, he brought
out a gun and shot me three times in the
I didn’t hear the gunshots as I fell, I didn’t
even feel the pain. All I could hear as I
closed my eyes was my ringtone.
*By the rivers of babylon, there we sat down
Ye-eah we wept, when we remembered Zion*.
A story by larrysun
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