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“THERE ARE NO OTHERS. JUST ME” (standard:drama, 3716 words)
Author: siromahAdded: Oct 30 2006Views/Reads: 1792/1276Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A story about the national Bulgarian hero Vasil Levski
 



“THERE ARE NO OTHERS. JUST ME” 

"O you, my Mother, my Native Land, Why is your cry so sad and
heart-rending! And you, O Raven, accursed bird, On whose grave croak 
you of ill impending?" Hristo Botev, The Hanging of Vassil Levski Ali 
Saib Pasha looked up and gazed inquisitively at the chained giaour. Not 
that the man could escape. No living creature could escape from the old 
fortified prison and its armed-to-the-teeth guards. Not that Ali Saib 
Pasha was afraid of the man. He was not simply afraid; he was terrified 
by the mere mention of the rebel's name. "The Flying Dervish", 
"Jingibi", "The Elusive" - he was known by so many names. They said no 
bullet could hit him, not could a sword hurt him. One day he was in 
Tarnovo, establishing clandestine committees; the next day he was in 
Sofia, muddling the subjects' minds; a day later, he was in 
Philippopolis, teaching the local rebels how to load their flintlocks 
and how to cut the Turks' heads like cabbage. The ex-grand vizier had 
sent many men to the gallows or into exile in Diyarbakir, never 
hesitating for a second. If one asked him about the names or the faces 
of those he had sentenced to death, he would simply grunt. The Deacon's 
face, however, would be engraved on his memory forever. Ali Saib Pasha 
crossed his hands behind his back and slowly approached the Apostle.. 
The infidel's face was pale and unshaven. A dirty bright-coloured rag 
was bandaging his right ear. Seen from the side, one would say he had 
toothache, but a closer look revealed a dried streak of blood on his 
neck and his blood-soaked hair. The enemy bullet had reached him by the 
Kakrino Inn. The strings of his oxhide leggings got caught on the 
fence, leaving him to the mercy of his enemies. Some treacherous soul 
had tipped the Turks that the Deacon would be there, and they captured 
him. When they told the sultan about it, he rubbed his hands 
contentedly and immediately dispatched his ex-grand vizier Ali Saib 
Pasha, the mayor from the General Staff and ex-aide de camp to Mithad 
Pasha Shakir Bey, and the Bulgarian member of the State Council Haji 
Ivancho Hajipenchovich. The sinister trinity were acting as judges, 
prosecutors and investigators - all in one. To give the court an 
impression of greater authority, Ali Saib Pasha added six jury members 
from Sofia: the Bulgarians Haji Marko Stoyanov, Mityo Karamakchiisky 
and Pesho Zhelyavsky, and the Turks Dervish Mustafa, Mehmed Salih and 
Sadullah Sarri. The sultan's orders were clear: "Do as you please, just 
get the rebel hanged as quickly as possible." "Who are you," Shakir Bey 
asked dryly and gave the prisoner a stern look. The Apostle did not 
hear him. His right ear had developed an inflammation from the wound 
and the cold, and he was nearly deaf. The guard kicked the Deacon 
viciously. "Answer the great bey's question, scum!" Levski's grey eyes 
stared at his face, and the guard stepped back in panic. "He's the 
devil himself," he mumbled, and instinctively reached for the amulet 
protecting him from ill luck and evil spells. "What's you name, 
scoundrel?" Haji Ivancho Hajipenchovich raised his voice. "Rebels like 
you make me feel ashamed that I'm Bulgarian!" "Don't worry, Haji 
Ivancho, no one questions your loyalty," smiled Ali Saib Pasha. Haji 
Ivancho smiled back obsequiously and clattered his string of beads. 
"Now tell me," the ex-grand vizier stepped closer to the chained 
prisoner, "what's your name?" This time the Deacon understood his 
question and met his gaze. "Vassil Ivanov Kunchev. My friends call me 
Deacon." "Deacon, ah!" Ali Saib Pasha turned to avoid the Apostle's 
intense gaze. "Is it true that you are muddling the subjects' minds?" 
"Where injustice reigns, revolts are inevitable." The Apostle coughed 
and his chains rattled. "Yes, it is true!" Haji Ivancho gave a sigh of 
relief and looked triumphantly at Shakir Bey. "The scoundrel confessed, 
Shakir By. He's sure to go to the gallows!" The Turk shook his head and 
frowned. "There's no haste, Haji Ivancho, no haste..." The six jury 
members in the background murmured quietly. They had heard the 
Apostle's words. "Why is he doing this!" Mityo Karamakchiisky's face 
was worried. "He's sentencing himself to death!" "Please God," Haji 
Marko Stoyanov whispered, "Save the Apostle's life! Don't take away our 
hope!" He leaned forward and furtively made the sign of the cross. "So 
you admit, ah?" Ali Saib Pasha smiled mockingly and went on. "Is it 
true that you have founded clandestine committees in each and every 
town and village?" "Yes, it is true. I even founded one in Istanbul." 
The Apostle smiled so widely that his molars could be seen. "Pity I 
didn't have time; I would have paid a call to the sultan... and would 
have saved you the trouble to come all the way here!" "Shut up, 
giaour!" The Turk slapped him across the face with his gloves. The 
Apostle's eyes were glowing angrily, and he rattled his chains. "Aman!" 
Shakir Bey screamed and jumped in his seat. "He's a dervish!" The 
giaour had swung his chain and if Ali Saib Pasha had not been quick 


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