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Confiscation of Liberty | Short Story

Shams ud Din

A long time ago, far from the clamor of the city, and the sight of other people, away, from where it couldn’t be heard over, nor was it possible for any natural misfortune to occur, there existed a cottage, out of the hatches in the forest, on the view of the port city of Sidon. Dark were the days, and gloomy were the nights, inside a single-roomed cottage built of the solid, but crooked woods from four sides, a small glass window, and a large door both to the exterior, with a thatched roof, fabricated of dense palm branches, and thick cereal straws. Susceptible, as it used to seem, not only from its appearance, but from the way as it was, the only cottage in the forest, that sheltered the two indifferent, and dissenting lives of Safaak, and Harrar.

The cottage was owned by Safaak, who was frequently christened with the title of “The Master” by Harrar. Being the master of the cottage, Safaak was a resilient bald man of 50, with a stretched white beard, usually with the covering of a dull, and faded white dress of length from cuff to the feet. He was a person who retained for what was existing, and even happening within the cottage, be it the ownership of cottage belongings, the provision of the foodstuff from the forest, or even the protection or fate of the life of Harrar himself.

Whereas Harrar, unlike humans, that are recognized by the way they live in the form of a community, and think for, how and what they want to, was a parrot, that neither could think of looking beyond the life, that was already confined within the enclosure of the birdcage of Safaak, nor could he make use of his wings, to sail beyond the limits of the sky. He was, a dark green winged, with a reddish-yellow peak, and a long black and shady green tailed parrot, who had been caged, since he was small, and for long been looking to escape, to fly beyond the forest.

At length, after the hard-pressed days of restrains, and constant exposure to forest light through the glassed window of the cottage, Harrar realizes to take a step for getting himself free of the cage. Living in a cage, the only convincing choice, that surfaces at the time, is to negotiate with the Master. Thus, Harrar decides to talk to the Master, to get himself out of the cage.

Thus, one day at the noon, when Safaak while coming back from the forest enters the cottage, Harrar, suddenly calls upon the Master, and starts to speak:

Harrar: O Master! You seem tired today. How’s your day going?

Safaak: It is as usual, as it used to be. However, it appears to me, that you were waiting for me!

Harrar to Safaak: No Dear Master, no I am not, rather I am tired of sitting in this cage. I have a very simply request, to let me get out of this cage.

Safaak, while slightly laughing: To let you get out of this cage! Once I’ll let you get out of this cage, you’ll fly away in the forest.

Harrar in a submissive tone: No My Master, it’s neither in my will nor in my power to fly away.

Safaak with slight seriousness: It might not be in your will, but it’s in your nature, to fly. How can a sane man trust a caged parrot, once freed, not to fly? You are a bird, you can fly anytime, and I am certain, that you’ll make use of your wings, and fly away.

Harrar while growing in conversation: My Master! a duck, a cock, and an ostrich are also birds, but they can’t fly. Trust me, I am also not capable of flying, and so I won’t, even if I want to.

Safaak: If you can’t, and don’t want to fly, then why are you trying to make me let you get out of this cage?

Harrar while describing his condition: It is just to bend off my wings, as I am tired of sitting in this narrow cage.

Safaak: If this is the case, then you can also free your wings from inside the cage.

Harrar: O Master! The cage that I am breathing in, is too narrow to move your legs freely, how come will I be able to free my wings?

Safaak: I am so sorry for you, Harrar, I wish if I could do anything for you.

Harrar: Don’t worry, My Master. Juts, let me get out of this cage, I will remain inside the room, I’ll never fly away.

Safaak: You are a parrot, not only me, but no one can trust you, for these words.

Harrar: People use Pigeons, the Parrot, and Doves as Magic Birds, and they do have faith in them. Although, I am your own, who has been here for years as your pet parrot. I won’t get back from my words, and I won’t break your trust as a pet.

Safaak: But I am not like everyone else. Although I can do one thing for you, I can help to bring a large cage for you. A cage where you’ll be able to move, and bend your wings freely, and swing too, as it will be having two carousels in its shape.

Harrar: Thank You, My Master!

Safaak: There will be everything, be it your food or water, with varying pots of buds and seeds, the red chilies, and also one for the nuts.

Harrar while inquiring: This is really pleasing, but how long will it take to take its complete shape, Dear Master?

Safaak: It might take a week or two, till then, you are supposed to live in, and use this narrow cage.

Harrar: It’s sad to see it weeks ahead of what I wanted this day. I would have been very thankful for you, in case, if you had freed me.

Suddenly, the Master changes his mind, and starts to open the birdcage, gets the parrot out, and places him above the cage. Harrar was very pleased to see for what was happening, and without showing any sign of movement, he stands still and starts to speaks.

Harrar: My Master, so finally you decided to trust on the words of your pet parrot!

Safaak while laughing: No, Harrar. It was not the case, and I don’t think will it ever be. What made me open your cage, was a sudden reminder of the fact, that I already have trimmed your feathers, and so, you won’t ever be able to fly away.

These words utterly curbed the hope of Harrar, for setting himself free of the cage, the hope of flying to dwellings where he wanted to be, which for now, didn’t appear to be possible. It was not less than the death of Harrar himself, as wings were, what he considered the only cause of hope.

What this incident did is, it made Harrar think of what he was having, which he may make use of, be it the possibility of a choice, which may not be to fly, but to make it equable to Master, to what has been done with his wing.

After a few weeks, when the narrow birdcage of Harrar was replaced with the larger one, where it had an abundance of food, in the form of seeds, the water, and chilies, with the choice of sitting outside the cage.

At the dawn of the other day, Harrar calls on the Master, and requests for letting him sit outside the cage, as the Master knew he can’t fly, so he lets him stay above the cage.

Taking advantage of the situation, where Harrar is seated above the cage, opposite to the face of Safaak, Harrar takes off one of the pots having red chilies and starts to unfurl its powder through the eyes of Safaak. This is what makes Safaak angry, but he is not able to do anything, as he can’t see for what is happening, and starts to scream hurriedly.

 While, “Dead, my feathers may appear to be, but I am not by my mind, thus far” are the words of Harrar, while looking at Safaak, losing his sight.

After several days to this incident, Safaak turns out to have lost his vision. Whereas Harrar appears to be more free to move in the room, and later on to the outside, once he grew in his feathers. This is where began the journey of Harrar, to start to live, fly, and sing, among the other parrots in the forest.

Characters names and meanings:

Harrar is an Arabic name that means, freedom.

Safaak is also an Arabic name, which means cruel, or reckless.


About Writer:

I am Shams ud Din, from Islamabad. I am a freelance writer, and a student of International Relations, from National Defense University, Islamabad. I use to write short fiction story, that indirectly represent the dark viewpoint of the society, we are living in.


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