The door bell rang but it didn't register in Arash's head as anything to worry about. It's probably my cousin coming back home, that's all, he thought. His mind was too exhausted and too close to sleep for him to respond appropriately. The door bell kept ringing but they were pounding the door and forcefully jiggling the door handle. His aunt went to the door. Arash stayed back in the room.
"Sir! Do not push the door open. My hair is not covered!" she said.
This is a stupid joke, Arash thought. She jokes too much. He walked down the hall and got closer to the living room. He stood next to his aunt. She wasn't joking.
And then the door opened. Sepah dressed in civilian clothes entered with Uzis drawn.
Arash looked at the armed man who called his name. He just looked at him. It didn't matter what he said.
"Let's go," the man said.
Arash was relieved. He felt relaxed as if he had finally lay down to sleep. Finally, it's over, he thought. Finally. The relaxation made him more confident. He felt no shame. He is now a man, a 14-year-old boy man. He felt proud.
The armed men got behind Arash and told him to walk outside. His aunt-in-law and cousins are standing against the wall in the living room. Everyone's crying.
"Where are you taking him!" his aunt yelled.
"We just have a couple of questions for him. We'll bring him back."
As Arash stepped outside he saw a sea of about a hundred men, Sepah in civilian clothes, armed with machine guns, mainly Uzis. They were everywhere. On the street. On the roof of the next door neighbors' house. Everyone was outside, staring at Arash. The Sepah weren't just at his uncle's house. The entire neighborhood was under military siege.
All this for me, Arash thought. I'm just 14. But he couldn't decide if it was pride he was feeling after all or if he was just numb from the terror and trauma of having a modest-sized army at his uncle's front door escorting him to his death.
They tied his hands together and opened up the door to the backseat of one of their cars. But there was something there. A white sheet, moving and moaning. A ghost. They had arrested a girl earlier that night and covered her with a white bed sheet. Then they blindfold Arash, threw him in the backseat with the ghost. To make sure Arash wouldn't get rowdy and try to escape, the Sepah sat on him. He was no longer unsure if he was proud of getting arrested. He was terrified. They drove off.
Facundo Rompehuevos is an activist, writer, husband, father and recovering alcoholic and drug addict born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. He writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction. His work has appeared in zines and literary magazines and poetry journals, such as Rusty Truck, A Thin Slice of Anxiety, The Rising Phoenix Review, Red's Not White and Delirium. He has two books of poetry: Irreconcilable Contradictions (2017) and Grabbing the Stars from the Sky (2021), both published by Fourth Sword Publications. He is currently working on his debut novel and a collection of short stories.
Arash Pouyan was born in 1966 in Tehran. By the age of 12 he participated in the 1979 Iran Revolution. Later on he was arrested for his participation and support of the Fedaii. After three years as a political prisoner, he was released and left to Europe—where he continued his political activism against the Islamic Republic. Afterward, he moved to the U.S. He returned, briefly, to Iran in 2009 to participate in the Green Movement. Today, he continues to keep up to date with the popular movements not just in Iran but all over the world.