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Jehenem
by Haim Kadman

I’m in Jehenem, in hell. I love the sound of that Arabic word, it’s a plagiarism in fact of Ghehynom in my mother’s tongue. You know Ben-Hynom’s valley on the east side of old Jerusalem’s wall, where the priests used to throw once a year two scapegoats down the gorge – to atone for our entire nation sins.

Well it’s a huge parking lot with a cement floor, not a car in sight and not a soul around – but me.

I played that game of walking straight on with shut eyes. I was doing fine till I bumped into the electric fence and was thrown back with such a force, that sent me flying like a missile across that damn parking lot.

I landed near it’s gate, next to the sentry’s small hut. I stood up right away, nothing happened – as nothing could have happened I’m dead you know. I peeped inside the hut and saw a huge demon sitting there without a chair, on his huge hinds and his massive tail. He looked like a kangaroo with a human face – ugly as hell!

‘Yes, haven’t you read the rules?’ He asked watching me a bit surprised.

‘The rules?’

‘Take a step back.’

I took a step back and saw a board with three rules:
1.       Back off.
2.       Don’t bother the sentry.
3.       Return to your eternal freedom.

If that’s freedom I’m a vase of flowers. I thought disappointed.

‘I’d like to cross the gate for a short while.’ I said to the demon.

‘What for?’

‘To have a look around.’

‘Is that what bothers you, the highways, the junctions, the trucks, cars and accidents outside – haven’t you had enough of it?’

‘I’m bored to death here, I want to feel again the embrace of human society, I want to satisfy my senses once again…’

‘Society, jealousy, disputes, endless quarrels is that what you miss, and I thought you were wise; and besides it’s impossible we shall have to dress your soul with flesh and bones, nerves, blood vessels, skin and the lot – it’s an impossible job.’

‘What if I sneak out and break the rules?’

‘You’ll be expelled of paradise!’ He warned me.

‘Paradise…? I thought I was in hell.’

‘Hell is outside.’ Said the demon with a chuckle.

Haim Kadman 2007 All rights reserved.