NEW NOVEL ! In the Shadow of My Eyelashes

PART ONE/ THE LİTTLE GRİL KİLLS HER MOTHER I killed my mother. Just a little while ago. After I did this bad thing I left the gun beside my mother’s head. I shot my mother in the head. It was as if a rose had bloomed on the pillow over which her raven-black hair had spread. Her eyes opened like those of a doll, her mouth half open in pain. She didn’t cry out or moan, she died quietly. I went out of her room, leaving her as she was. My brother, who’d been woken by the gunshot, popped up next to me. He asked what had happened. He was sleepy. His eyes were bloodshot, and his thing was sticking straight up. I was afraid he’d rub himself against my legs again. He wanted to go in, into my mother’s room. I told him that the window was broken so he wouldn’t go in. He looked at me as if he didn’t believe me. His forehead and the sides of his nose were slightly darkened with soot. He reached out his damned hand to open the door. His hands were even more smudged with soot. I wondered if he’d tried to extinguish the fire his friends had set for fun last night. “Don’t go in,” I said, “I did something very bad.” Grandma stood up on her bed in the living room. Her snow-white hair was gathered in a fuzzy bunch on top of her head. Her only remaining tooth stuck into her lip like a rusty nail. She didn’t say anything. I left the house we had inherited from my father the forest warden. The hut that we thought was a house was in the middle of the forest. The town, whose only source of income was healing waters, was not far away. The spa hotel where my mother worked, and where I also worked after school, was very close to our house, to our hut. I know that the world is a very big place. I learned this at school. I know that I am in this world. I know that I am close to Istanbul, which is on the other side of an inland sea. We could see the sea from the other side of the hill where the forest ended. The forest was full of old trees and healing springs. It even had a large and secluded swamp. At one end there was an apple orchard that was as quiet as a graveyard. So you can see what the part of the world I lived in was like. But there’s also the world we carry inside us, isn’t there? How could you know about the state of a little girl like me, what she experienced in a corner of the world such as this? We all live our lives without being aware of each other. The world inside us is much bigger and darker than the outside world we live in. The thing is, I killed my mother in this part of the world. When I left the hut I felt as if I had been flung into the middle of the world. Sometimes fox cubs get lost in the forest. I felt just like that. Birds fall from their nests and don’t know where they’ve landed. All they know is that the world is a big place and they’re scared. Larger animals come and eat these birds that can’t fly. I saved so many of these birds. Once when I was taking one of them away from the oldest jackal in the forest I inadvertently squeezed it too hard, and the chick I thought I was saving died in my hand. My poor mind wanders all over the place. I was afraid when I heard my brother crying out. Maybe now he’s afraid of the little girl who killed her mother, of me, of his sister. Because I’ve done something that would frighten anyone. I feel a trembling, a tingling in the fingers that pulled the trigger just a little while ago. When I stepped outside, I was scared even of the forest where I’d been born. It was night. The darkest moment of the night. I felt as if I would dissolve gently into the good night. I didn’t want to get lost or to die. I had killed my mother but I wanted to live. I started to run. The birds, which had been startled into flight by the sound of the gun long before my brother, flapped their wings above me as if asking what I had done. If I didn’t imagine things like this I would not be able to console myself. The birds and the forest were sorry for me. “Poor girl. Did you kill your mother? You poor girl.” There are all kinds of sounds in the forest. Sometimes there were noises that no one but my grandma could hear. Then she would stand up on her bed, just as she had done a few minutes ago, and make a sound like a crow drinking water. When crows drink water, they sound as if they’re slurping up the entire world: “Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuush” When she did this, my brother would jump up from his seat to slap her: “Old hag!” My mother would stop him. But sometimes she was lost in the smoke that came from the end of her cigarette and she wouldn’t move at all. Then my brother would give grandma a sharp slap on the face. I tried to stop him once. There was a heavy price for this. From then on I too was afraid to try to stop him. But I wasn’t afraid to kill my mother. I thought all night in the little room that had been roughly put together in the woodshed not far from our hut. Before that there had been a big fight in our house. Between my mother and I. My brother had been at a meeting of the political party he belonged to. He’d brought a stuffed wolf to the meeting. He’d worked on it for nearly a year. He’d trapped and killed it, cleaned its fur, skinned it, removed its internal organs, treated its coat with the right medicine and made a wire model of a wolf standing as if it was howling to put under the pelt. The wolf in his party’s emblem. He was going to present it to the Party’s District Head, who would be attending the meeting. He combed his hair, put on his suit and the shoes with the toes that curled up. When my brother left home for this important meeting, holding this wolf that was as stiff as a board, the wolf on which he’d worked for days to get its head thrown back to look like it was howling, it was as if the wolf whispered to me. “Bad things are going to happen tonight.” There were now two black holes where its eyes had been. The light in its eyes had vanished in the past week because he’d used the wrong treatment. It was losing its fur quickly because he’d used less medicine than he should have, because it was expensive. Nothing could keep it on its feet, it was dead. But still, like a living creature, it stared into my eyes with its pitch-black eye sockets and whispered. My brother had said that when he’d trapped the wolf to kill it, it had sworn at him. This had made him angry, and he’d pumped three more bullets into the skinny wolf, making it harder to stuff. There was a bigger surprise waiting for my brother when he took the stuffed wolf to the party headquarters in town. I couldn’t take any more. That’s why I left my tiny room and killed my mother. But before that, as I was leaving in anger after the big fight with my mother, my brother returned from the party meeting. He was still carrying the wolf he had stuffed. But it was burnt, it had been burned. With the help of the very medicine that had promised it eternal life, because it certainly made it burn faster and more fiercely. Now it was like a statue made of tar. When they realized that the wolf was female, the party members had made fun of it. Then they’d tortured the lifeless she wolf. They burned it, starting with the tail, which they had dipped in alcohol. It was as if even in death, even after it had been destroyed, the wolf had something to say. Long before, before it had been skinned and treated with medicine, while my brother was cutting off the teats with which she had suckled her cubs so that they would think the wolf was male, this ill-fated wolf had told me to go find its cubs and feed them. I found the cubs where she’d told me they’d be. I believe in miracles with all my heart.