Sewed Lips

The fire crackled as its flames licked the point of the silver needle, blackening and coating it with a layer of crackly ash. A hushed murmuring could be heard, as the group of men gathered around gazed on intently at the calloused, olive hand that bravely extended itself over the unruly blaze. Cutting through the thicket behind them came a gusty current of chilly air that nipped the noses and cheeks of the onlookers…enough to bestow them with somewhat becoming ruddy countenances. The gale was also enough to send the flames of the fire dancing in its wake, like wild dancers, each blaze flung it’s burning arms towards the physiognomies of its crouched companions. It lingered upon the characters, as if searching for something, casting leaping mysterious shadows across each one. It was looking for the soul who’s limb was extended above it, holding a weapon within its scalding grip, in order to purify it. The fire found that man and shed its warmth upon him for so long that his face flushed, though he shivered in the layers of clothes that hugged his worn body. His dark brow, like the outstretched wings of a bird in flight, was furrowed in a knot of frustration, almost meeting above the bridge of his nose. His eyes were cast down, studying the sharp object in his hand, yet the silvery glaze in them, that reflected back the image of the flickering fire was enough to guarantee that his mind was elsewhere.

Suddenly, he withdrew his arm, breaking the piece of the circle with quick, jerky movements as he leaned back on his haunches. Parting his lips, he gently blew at the needle, cooling its charred tip and rubbing the ash off from between his sooty fingertips. He cleared his throat and broke the expectant silence that had fallen on the party, with a soft voice that trembled with the ardor of youthful vigor and passion. His tongue performed its eloquent melodies, but his fervor came from his chest as he spoke in his native language to the men around the fire. He reminded them of homes, and lands, people and places. He reminded them of Love and all its paths. He reminded them of sacrifice and life.

His voice rose to a shrill jolting call at some points, and then dipped to deep guttural reassurances at others. Then in mid sentence the soothing string of words stopped as his voice cracked.

His lip trembled as he surrendered to the wave of vulnerability that had washed over him and was threatening to drown him. A tear slipped down his check, slowly  trailing along his face, then falling into the depths of the beard that though it was thick where it grew, had a sparseness, betraying the fact that his existence had only been but a few  brief years. He hadn’t even had the time to proudly display it.

As the pained look slowly drifted from him, and his face was dry, he raised it to acknowledge the faces of the men as they had respectfully lowered their own. Rising, he handed the needle to a companion seated nearby him, who in turn threaded it with a string of blue fiber. Knotting the end with a quick double knot from his nimble fingers, he turned from his handiwork and looked towards his friend. He asked him if he was sure he wanted to do this, the answer of which was none but a fleeting impatient glance at the needle which he held. Finally he rose as well, his knee brushing over a couple of empty cans that littered the cluttered campsite. They went tumbling in the howling wind, clattering their metallic chimes until they were lodged inside a ditch nearby.

The friend neared the former, proffering the threaded needle and eventually confronted him, in his face. He tilted his chin up, allowing the firelight to play its game upon the boyish features it beheld. The arched nose, dark fringed brown eyes, high forehead, gallant chin and lips…the friend whispered something and then plunged the needle into them.

Not a grimace wrinkled the contour of the man’s face as the needle gracefully dipped in and out of the soft pink flesh, tearing and ripping its tight seal. Drops of red blood fell in the small cracks on his lips, staining them and the blue thread was no longer blue, but rather a deep purple. But it didn’t matter much anymore, because his friend was finished and the thread used up. This would be in the news tomorrow.



Some people choose to keep their lips closed and refuse to speak, while others feel the need to sew them together in order to be heard.

Speak up for the voiceless, because those who purposely refuse to, will one day pay for the wanton shedding of their blood.


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