Fiction * Support * FAQ * Write for
* Editorial policy
All, but indifferent
Short story

By Reza T. Saberi
August 1, 2002
The Iranian

The sounds of shots were successive and sudden. I didn't even have time to react. I tried to stand up and get out of the bed, but I couldn't. I felt that under my legs were wet. I put my hand under my leg and felt warmth and humidity.

When I took my hand out from under the blanket and looked at it under the dim early morning light, it was red. I couldn't believe that the bullets had hit me. Where from? Nobody except my old mother slept in this room, but she was crippled and didn't walk. It was strange. I didn't even feel the pain.

I tried to stand up, but I couldn't. I sat on the bed and removed the blanket. The bed covering under me was bloody. My mother was now sitting beside the bed, stunned, looking at me. She had a worried expression on her face, but didn't move. The windows were closed and the glass was intact.

I slowly got out of the bed, opened the door and pulled myself through the corridor. Moving was very difficult and painful. Who and why had shot me? I opened the door and got out of the house to the little alley, barefoot. My pajamas were red from below the waist. I thought I got shot under my belly and thigh, but I didn't feel any pain.

Everyone I asked didn't pay any attention, as if they didn't care. I was frightened very much. Every second now counted and I had to get to the hospital. Didn't they see my blood-soaked hand? Didn't they see that I needed help? A man stuck out his hand in my direction.

When I got to him with much difficulty, he put a quarter in the palm of my hand and pointed to the public phone. He told me that if I called 911 they will quickly come to help me. I hated him a lot. Is it possible to be so much indifferent toward a wounded man?

I saw my brother. All of a sudden I felt happy. Now, he was my only hope of survival. In this early morning he might have come to visit my mother. I pointed to my bloody hand and pajamas. He looked at me and said that he was in a hurry to go to clinic to have his injection and that he will come back and take me into the hospital.

A sense of hate toward him overwhelmed me. I was getting weak every second. Standing was getting difficult more than before. I begged two other men, but both looked away. Did they think I stretched out my hand for money? No, probably not. They must have seen my bloody pajamas.

My heart was beating slower and weaker. I was filled with fear. I thought what would happen if I fell down on the ground. Then who was going to take me to the hospital? I couldn't walk any more. I sat there. My heart beat was dying down. I looked around and saw nobody.

I felt like something was leaving me. Like a balloon which gradually loses air. Something was separating from me. Somebody who looked like me. He separated from me and stood up. I tried to grab his legs, but my hand passed through him. I filled with more fear. Was that my soul leaving me? Was I to die right here: on this alley without a friend or family beside me? Was I to die lonely?

I put my hand over my heart, it was beating fast and hard. I touched my legs again. I could feel them all right. I touched my belly and thighs. There was no pain and no blood. I looked around. My mother was sitting beside the bed praying.

I took a deep breath, pulled the blanket away and sat on the bed. My mother looked kindly at me and asked "Are you all right? You were moving a lot and talking. Did you have a bad dream?"


Reza T. Saberi is the author of The Vicious Circle (Ibex Publishers, 2002) -- the story of a young physician whose life becomes interwoven with those who participated in the Iranian revolution (see excerpt). Saberi, is a pharmaceutical scientist born and raised in Iran. A former university lecturer, research scientist, and editor of medical journals, he presently works as an editor in a scientific publishing company and contributes regularly to the Persian literary magazines. He has written and published several other works of fiction in Persian.

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment to Reza Saberi

By Reza T. Saberi

Out of the fog
Everything started and ended with Jamshid




* Recent

* Covers

* Writers

* Music

* All sections

Book of the day

Zani ke Mardash ra Gom Kardeh Bood
By Sadegh Hedayat

Copyright © All Rights Reserved. Legal Terms for more information contact:
Web design by Bcubed
Internet server Global Publishing Group