Naked Houses

Mostafa Abd Rabbu  |  The AFAC Novel Writing Program  |  2014  |  Egypt
A young teenager commits suicide for a reason unknown to everyone except his friends. However, they had no idea the issue will take such a tragic turn. They did not tell anybody that they entered the cemetery at night, drunk on their happiness for achieving a great victory, and the cemetery with the surrounding streets became their own play area. The street residents were terrified after the tragic incident then soon found their old rhythm again, as if nothing had changed: Oum Fawzi would recite Coptic spells as she prepared falafel; Oum Issam would tell her dreams and visions to passers-by; some people would say they saw Mohammed Zakariyya, who was killed in Afghanistan, standing on the roof of the house; Fawziyya returned to her father’s house, abandoning her husband and leaving him incapable of playing the violin and incapable of loving her, instead he spends his time drinking brandy and babbling; and rainwater in winter still leaked through the cracks in the walls caused by the earthquake in 1992, and the spirits of the Dead still passed through the same walls in summer on their way to heaven.