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The Redemption of Buikhu

The Redemption of Buikhu

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Published by Brandon S. Pilcher
This short story is set in predynastic Egypt and is an action-packed tale of a young boy's ascension into manhood.
This short story is set in predynastic Egypt and is an action-packed tale of a young boy's ascension into manhood.

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Published by: Brandon S. Pilcher on May 04, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/10/2011

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Egypt, 4000 BC
Although bright morning sunlight poured through the entrance of Buikhu’s mudhut, he still lay asleep on his cowhide mat. The reason why was that the boy, who hadseen twelve rainy seasons since his birth, had exhausted himself dancing and chanting hisclan’s songs along with the other boys in his age set the previous night. That night,according to the tradition of his people, was to be his last as a child.“Buikhu! Wake up!” his father Kemnebi whispered in a scolding tone while pushing the boy’s body back and forth. “The morning of your test has come!”After being rocked for enough times, Buikhu finally opened his dark eyes andyawned. “Can you let me sleep for one more moment, father?”“No! We are already almost late. Get up now!” Kemnebi yanked his son’s arm upuntil the child was on his feet and then led him out of the hut into the daylight.Buikhu was of medium height for a boy of his age. Like most of his people, he hada lean figure, with long limbs and dark mahogany brown skin. The black braided sidelock he had worn for most of his life, a symbol of childhood, had been shaved off, leaving hisscalp completely bare. Unlike his father, who donned a loincloth cut from tanned gazellehide, he wore no clothing at all.Kemnebi led his son across the village of Nekhen until they reached its central dirt plaza, where all the other boys in Buikhu’s age set stood in a straight row. Also presentwas Mhotep, the village’s
wab sekhmet 
or healer, a middle-aged man with a shaven scalpand a leopard’s skin draped around his torso. Buikhu spotted in the
wab
’s right hand a
 
flint knife, the sight of which sped up his heartbeat. He remembered exactly what theknife would be used for this morning.After Buikhu joined the line of boys, Mhotep began, “Today marks a major turning point in your lives, young ones. Today your boyhoods shall all be cut away andyou will become men. Now promise me that you will not scream or flinch during your cutting. Show me that you are ready for manhood! Now, let us begin with this boy whohad just joined us.”The
wab
was facing Buikhu when he said that. The boy’s heartbeat acceleratedeven more and his back chilled. His test was less than moments away! He looked aroundas if searching for an escape route, but his conscience told him to stay put lest he shamehimself. He had no choice but to undergo the cutting.“What is your name?” Mhotep asked the boy.“B-buikhu, of the Mesha clan,” the child said after a quick hesitation.“And what is the name of your father?”“Kemnebi.”“And what was the name of his father?” On this the
wab
grabbed a hold of Buikhu’s penis and lowered his knife towards it. The mere feeling of Mhotep’s hand onhis organ made Buikhu tremble.“Uh…my father’s father was Senbi.”“Good. And who was Senbi’s father?” Now Mhotep was rapidly rubbing his blade’s edge against the boy’s foreskin. After enough sawing motion, Buikhu was struck 
 
 by the sharpest, most intense pain he had ever felt in his life. He knew that he had beentold to be silent, but the pain was so maddening…“DJER!” he shrieked so shrilly that it almost sounded like it would have comefrom a girl’s mouth.There was silence. Blood dripped from where Buikhu’s foreskin had been.Looking around, he noticed that everyone else was staring at him. The other boys weregrinning, as if ready to burst out in laughter, but the
wab
was frowning with disapproval.So was his father, except his glare was even sharper and heart-piercing.“That will be enough,” Mhotep said. “Now on to the next boy.”And so the
wab
 proceeded to circumcise the rest of Buikhu’s age set, with each of the boys reciting the names of his ancestors during the procedure. A couple of other boysscreamed just like Buikhu had, but most did not. That made him feel even worse. Had allthe boys reacted to their cutting the way he did, he would have thought himself normal, but instead their stoicism contrasted sharply with his lack thereof.Once every boy had been cut, Buikhu turned to face his father. “Father, I am---”“You screamed like a girl,” Kemnebi said. “You have shamed our family withyour cowardice. Now you will never be considered a man.”Until then, the boy had thought the circumcision he had just undergone had beenthe most intense pain he had ever suffered. Now even that paled in comparison to what hefelt right now inside.

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