The Broken Doll: Chapter Ten.

by | Jul 3, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

as the bones and snake skin crumbled into the surrounding sand.

Zahhak slithered away from the pile of clean bones he had excreted, entered a cave nearby and curled up in the corner. His skin proceeded to split longitudinally, from mouth to tail and peeled back revealing the naked body of an old man. The fellow was covered in a white sticky vernix-like material akin to a new-born baby.

He stretched and yawned, his joints cracking as he did so. There was a spring bubbling from the wall of the cave, next to it a neat pile of folded clothes. Zahhak stood under the freezing shower and washed away the slimy deposit. He dried on a small cloth and donned the blue and gold outfit and gold hat. Groaning, he pulled on the boots and picked up his stick.

There was no evidence of the slick creature or its barbaric acts, as the bones and snake skin crumbled into the surrounding sand. The old man leaned heavily on his stick and tottered out of the cave. The desert wind blew up a cloud of sand and he limped into the haze and vanished.


Mustafa tied the little mare to the rear of the carriage. He took a shovel from the toolbox and then found a suitable sheltered spot. His new found tears fell freely as he heaved at the heavy sand, fighting a losing battle. Eventually, sweat glistening on his massive torso, he had created a hollow deep enough to hold a tiny body. The shattered soldier returned to the carrige and picked up the sorrowful bundle that had been Caria. He trudged across the sand to the hollow and gently placed it inside and covered the young woman with sand then a pile of small rocks. As he was placing the final stone on the grave, Tahir bellowed from the carriage.

“Mustafa! Here immediately. I want answers.” Without waiting for a reply, he turned and slammed the door. The giant Turk still held the rock in his massive hand. It became blurred through his tears and he closed his fingers around it imagining it to be the Governor’s head. When he opened it, the resulting pile of sand ran through his fingers.


Shadid trembled at the events that had transpired in the desert but was relieved that Soraya had escaped the serpent. He quietly thanked the three Oghuz heroes and said a silent prayer for the beautiful twins. He had lost site of Zahaak and a cold hand gripped his heart. The young woman was safe for now, safe to face her own terrible fate, such was the paradox of her task. He gazed into the carriage to see the Governor pacing up and down. Soraya sat cross-legged on the cushions.


“Where is that lazy Turkic bastard? Forgive me Jamila, these infidels drive me to distraction,” Tahir turned to the young woman and forced a smile. The door opened and Mustafa entered, sand clinging to his sweat covered body.

“What is all this? You’re a disgrace man!” The Governor looked the big man up and down, his face crumpling in disgust.

“Im sorry Your Excellency, I had to lay Caria Hanim to rest before sundown.” He addressed Tahir but looked towards Soraya.

“Yes, yes. I see. It’s over now, they’ve gone and I’m sorry for your loss. I shall miss them too. They entertained me on many occasions,” Tahir replied, a perverse smile crossing his face. Mustafa clenched his fists and felt his knuckles crack. Soraya interjected, seeing the hatred in the eyes of the Turk.

“Please, Your Excellency. They saved my life while sacrificing their own. Mustafa is a hero. If it wasn’t for him and the twins, I would be where they are now,” she pleaded with the Governor.

“Perhaps you should be. I am beginning to think you are more trouble than your worth,” Tahir snapped at the young woman. Mustafa took a step forward, his hand reaching for the scimitar by his side. Soraya quickly intervened and threw herself at the feet of the Governor. She glanced at Mustafa with a quick shake of the head. The giant Turk stood down.

Tahir placed both hands on Soraya’s head pulling her towards him. He glared at Mustafa.

“That will be all. Prepare to move out. The tree will be in Samarra in two days. I want to be there to welcome it with the Caliph.” He lifted the young woman gently and held her close, ignoring the big man. “You, Jamila, will have to be three times as good as I anticipated. I was looking forward to a nice little game with you and the unfortunate twins.”

Soraya turned to Mustafa, her eyes pleading with him to leave now . The giant Turk got the message and turned on his heels.

“Now, Jamila, let’s bathe before we begin. I have been looking forward to this.” He led the young woman into the smaller chamber. Not for the first time, or the last, Soraya steeled herself for more sacrifice.


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