December 6, 2022

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Short Story: The Hills They Climb by Nayan Sayed Jibon

2 min read

Nayan Sayed Jibon’s story attempts to tell some hushed-up issues regarding the marginalized ethnic minorities living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region of Bangladesh.

Suddenly a pungent stench of wood smoke pervades her nose. She coughs, opens her eyes, and stares into the burning ceiling through the gray smoke. She hears the crackle of flames and feels the heat of the fire as it was spreading in the room. She hastily runs to the door and tries to open it. But the door is locked. “Fire! Fire! Open the door! Open the door!”, she wants to say but is not able to. Her mouth is sealed with something. She keeps banging her fists on the door.

She opens her eyes. Still panting. There’s no fire around her, but the fearful sound of “fire!”, “fire!” that she couldn’t speak of, is still echoing in her mind. She realizes that it doesn’t dawn yet. She gets up from her bed and looks at the mirror in which she looks like an old lady and wonders how old she has to become to get rid of the memory of her burning childhood home. Nothing haunts us more than the memory we can’t say. Then she looks at her two children beside her, sleeping. There’s just no time for her to think about the dream now. There are just two half-opened mouths to feed. Hence, pulling her hair up into a bun she goes to the kitchen to boil rice and cook some curries.

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