Sand Waves (1)
They were whispering, or at least they thought they were whispering, but he could hear everything they were saying, calling his mother a whore, a slimy concubine who gave birth to her lover’s son. He wanted to stop pretending he was asleep, wield his cudgel and strike them all down so they would know not to gossip about his mother and him, those spineless bastards. He wished they would say it to his face like they often whispered in the street corners that his mother was a gold digging no good *Kafir* they could all do without. Even though they claimed it was because they were kind, he knew that it was because they feared the sharpness of his *sakin* and knew that he wouldn’t hesitate to soak the earth with their blood, his fingers were already twitching for the familiar handle of his loyal companion which was forged most carefully by his mother.
They didn’t know his mother, a woman most merciful and wicked when the moment calls. A born warrior and commander of men. He knew they feared him, but he was sure they become jittery at the footstep of his regal mother. They didn’t know how hard it was to be the Sheikh’s concubine in a society where zina was punishable for death and still be alive.
His mother was a built woman, strong, and gave commands not even the Sheikh could overrule. She refused to wear the burka and the veil, the custom wear of the women because she claimed she was not married and never would, she belonged to no one, only herself, and Allah is the greatest judge, if they had a problem with it, they should face her like men, otherwise, they should manage their wives and she would deal with the Sheikha, the Sheikh’s first wife. She always dressed in black and wore what the men wore, handled the knife and sword the same way the men did. She didn’t live in the Sheikh’s harem, she had her own court, with her own guards and warriors, the best in the whole region of *Amdhala*.
There was always a constant show off between her and *Fatimah*, the Sheikh’s third wife, great granddaughter of *Idris An-Nur* of the *Samgha region,* the one they called the *Defender of the Faith.* They said he single-handled held back the *Shiites* when they wanted to match into his town. That he stood his ground even when great warriors fled. They said Allah gave him strength that day and he walked amidst them, cutting them down as if he was a thousand men and when they saw that Allah truly was with him as He was with the Prophet himself during his time, they fled. Those were women tales he should neither enjoy nor listen to, his mother had told him.
Growing up, his mother had made sure that he was schooled in both the Arabic way and the Western way despite protests from his father. She claimed he was her son and no one could change her decision. Besides, he was not in line to be the Sheikh and as a man must survive, she would equip him with ways in which he could be both well respected and powerful. The Sheikha had taken it as a direct challenge to her sons and had declared that; “If any man of the house of *Miriam Al-Qayum* is found in the *Daba section* belonging to my family, then his legs shall be hacked and if it is a woman, she would be taken in by the Daba men and she shall become their woman”.