Golden fields stretched all down the hills and in the distance as far as the eye could see with one or two green, purple and other coloured fields dotted within the site promising a good harvest this year which was good news for the crumbled economy of Lamak. Admiring the view and good fortune, was a young man in his twenties taking a small break to watch the other tireless workers. He wiped his forehead and sighed, turning back to the pea plants to gather the ripe pods and put them in his basket. His bronze skin, tanned from the hot climate and work in the fields was glossed with a thin layer of sweat and his medium-brown hair was greasy as was the custom for farmers.
“Amal!” A soft female’s voice called from the top of the hill, catching the man’s attention.
“Narin,” Amal chuckled back, watching his friend run down the hill. Like him, she had two light brown plats and eyes the colour of rich soil and was wearing a simple work dress. There was little variety in the genes of anyone Amal know; they all had similar facial features and various shades of brown hair, some lighter than others but only by a marginal degree and everyone had the same ark eyes which his mother found quaint because it proves they’re a community.
“I just went to check the roster and we’re switching shifts. You’re now working with the pigs and make sure no more run off!” The girl ordered.
“Great! I can finally relax and sit down. Here have my basket; I only emptied it a while ago so it isn’t that full.” Amal nonchalantly dropped the basket into Narin’s arms, her underestimation of its weight causing her to drop her arms to the floor. “Ha. When did you get so weak?”
“Shut up! You said it wasn’t heavy!” The girl whined as her dexterous fingers swiftly picked a few peas that fell out back into the basket.
“Correction: I said it wasn’t full,” the man waggled his finger, mockingly at Narin to which she turned her nose at.
“You said it in a way to make me think it is light. Now go off and watch over your pig kin.”
“This will be news to my brother.” Amal’s younger brother Fellah had always been good friends, being in the same age group with only two years between them: Fellah being seventeen and Narin being fifteen. Without giving Narin a chance to say anything back, Amal started walking up the hill towards the sheep pen on top and the pig pen down on the other side.
They kept the sheep at the top of most the hills where they prefer to be and allowed their faeces to roll down the hill and fertilize the crops nearby, using the rest in the parts it didn’t reach which was an efficient system. The crops which required the most sunlight were on the rest of the hill tops. These crops weren’t common in Lamak as they were too expensive and hard to grow but since their harvest was so promising, they decided to plant some of the more ambitious fruit and vegetables and they also planted some trees: dates, figs, avocados and olives to name only a few which were planted on flat ground, facing way of the morning sun. As for the rest of the livestock, they lived in the shady areas below the hills to block the afternoon sun and prevent them from falling down the hills and hurting themselves which was a terrible problem for cows especially.
The shade from the hill was welcome to the young man but the humidity still meant that he was hot and sweaty. It was a feeling he was used to by now.
“Amal, you’re on pig duty,” one of the other farmers told him.
“I know,” he replied bluntly, walking towards the sty. Keeping watch over the animals was the closest thing the farmers got to a break in harvest season as their only job was to clean it out when it got dirty and make sure none of them got out of their pen as they would eat the crops if they got loose. Amal took the opportunity to eat the rest of his lunch that he’d been snacking on throughout the day to keep his energy up. It had gone four when he got to the sty so there was only a bit left, some beans and dates, but it was enough to fuel him for when he got back into the fields. It was a lot cooler by the time he went back to harvesting and the fields gleamed in the evening light making a majestic and peaceful sight with the wind gently pushing the illuminous wheat strands from side to side. In the distance, Amal could see the crystal stream glittering, taking part in the natural light display the farms were giving. Without a second glance at the scenery set in front of him, the farmer automatically picked up a sickle and an appropriate basket and headed towards one of the wheat fields and started hacking down the radiant shoots that he had worked vigorously to grow. All was silent, made only alive by the sound of rustling and cutting as Amal and the others ripped through the yellow garden with cold, silver steel until darkness spread over the fields and the workers were drawn back to a hamlet of shacks and barns where they lived.
Amal slumped down a wall of a converted barn. The walls were
splintered wood worn over the years but still firm and strong enough to be
lived in and the floor was cold concrete covered in straw and occasionally
patches of cloth and textile except from the center where a great iron pot
hovered over a fire where his grandmother and the few other elders that lived here
were making enough stew to feed the large barn of approximately 50 people.
Contrasting to Amal and the other workers who were lifeless after the day’s
work, the children too young to work a full day ran and played about, exited by
the full barn of people and their upcoming meal.
From the stew pot was a young worker walking towards Amal holding a wooden bowl. He wore dirty checkered working trousers tucked into dark calf-high boots. He wore a white tank top and a bandanna across his forehead that made his light brown hair spike up. He was considered the most fashionable out of all the workers he knew of and knew more people than could be counted. His brother Fellah.
“Your food,” he said, forcefully shoving the bowl at him with a grin on his face
“It’s disturbing how you keep smiling like that.” Amal took the bowl and began drinking the meaty broth.
“No point in being depressed like you lot.” His grin widened as he got up and turned back to talk to other people, giving a wink to a few girls close by before he left. The girls blushed furiously and sung praises about his looks and personality. ‘There’s always one’ Amal thought, finishing his meal alone.
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