Naida Muratović



Count To Ten

Broji do 10




“Well, are they takin’ a break?”

“Nah, they’re blazin’ every thirty seconds now, but never mind—we goin’?”

“Aye. You wanna come along?”

They turned their pale faces to me, awaiting an answer. They expected me to break through the crowd, hop into the white Golf, and go with them. I was stiff with fear. I was looking at them silently. I didn’t feel like going anywhere. A few words escaped my lips.

“Now? No way! You said a truce was on, we could go to Breza from Zenica, and look at this! Can’t stick your nose outside, let alone drive to Breza...”

“Well, is that my fault, then? It’s not like I could’ve phoned them to ask when they were gonna blaze. Anyway, when if not now? We can’t stay here all day. It’s three o’clock already.”

“You go without me.”

I could see in their eyes that they’d given up on the idea of trying to talk me into coming with them. It was obvious that fear had crept into my bones. They nodded and ran out from under the flyover. I saw Namir hop in and start the car, and then Kole turned round and shouted out,

“If you don’t make it home by night, we’ll come back for you.”

“But, but... Oi! How you gonna find me?”

“Don’t you worry. We’ll look for you if we have to.”

Being in the crowd was comforting. I was praying for them to stop shelling and for me to make it out somehow. But they weren’t stopping. Slowly, one by one, people were coming out from under the flyover, counting to ten, waiting for the period between two blasts, and running.




four, blast, boom,




seven, explosion,





One by one, till I was left alone.

As if they’d lost their minds, they were all running down the road, and something was telling me, “Stay put, Eno, this will stop and you’ll make it home. You’re in no hurry.” And so I was left alone. Alone with this racket and the distant screams of people running to their houses. I could imagine their faces, contorted into a cry, and their eyes, full of hope for a nearby shelter. I was so scared I couldn’t even count anymore. My breath was short. There was no use counting anyway. What good was a count now, if I didn’t know when they were going to stop?

A moment of silence woke me up from the noise. I heard myself breathing deeply, heavily. Is it possible that they’ve stopped? I got up and felt pain in my rib cage from having lain on the asphalt. I counted to ten and ran out. I had to go in the direction of Visoko again, although I was on the edge of the town. The blasts warned me not to go towards Breza. The only thing I could do was go up the river, because there I was sheltered by the tall trees. At least till the next bridge. There was no time to go down the bank properly. I leapt and slid down the grass. The moment I got up, I saw a shell fall nearby, sending pieces of asphalt flying every which way. I felt sweat break through my body. I started running with the sound of shelling in my wake. Not a soul in sight. Just the gurgling of the water and the detonations. 




and something in me was saying, “Run, don’t count. Can’t you see they’re not stopping?”

The last atom of strength in me was set in motion when I saw the bridge at the entrance to Visoko. Suddenly, my boots weren’t heavy anymore, nor was I scared. My pace was now set by the thunderous bang of a shell which hit the asphalt.









couldn’t feel my legs,

and seven and eight and nine and a blast.

I leapt for cover under the bridge.

I was sitting on the wet soil, catching my breath. I was thinking about how it was indeed worthwhile to count and run after all. I had to climb up to the road. As I ran, I saw that the garage where we’d hidden the previous day when we’d set out for Zenica was still in its place. It was a perfect shelter for me. I was trying to fight off the thought that I could perhaps get killed right there on that bridge. I saw my daughter before my eyes, waving and saying, “We’ll be waiting for you to come pick us up on Friday.” That gave me the strength to keep running. I counted to twenty. No sound was heard.

I decided to set out. Step by step. It was still quiet. A glimmer of hope in me was bouncing like a wartime kid who’s just seen a bar of chocolate. “Just cross the road and I’ll be fine,” I thought. When I climbed up and set foot on the road, I had the feeling I was the only one left in this town. I turned my gaze to the garage, the windows of which had been broken by the detonations. I ran across the road and walked in. At first glance, it looked empty. Dust squeaked under my boots. Then I saw the bus repair pit. I thought I was saved and could spend the night here if Kole and Namir didn’t come back for me. If they didn’t come back at all. But I backed off a step away from the pit when a voice warned me,

“You can’t get in here. There’s no room for you.”


I took a step closer and saw frightened faces of people huddled inside. At first glance, it looked as if someone had crammed them into the narrow ditch and as if they weren’t even breathing. They started clamouring, “No room, we’re telling you, unless you want to sit on my head! Go on, someone’ll see you and we’ll lose this shelter, too!”

Fear was taking me over. I got out of the garage and started running down the road leading to the nearby suburb. I was praying for my feet not to falter. In the distance, I heard explosions again. I had only one little bridge to cross to get to the next shelter. I saw the bridge and stopped to catch my breath. Shells were falling as if someone was keeping me in their crosshairs, saying, “Look at this one. Let’s have some fun with him.” They were dogging my every step. Or the fear gave me that impression. A loud bang startled me. I saw an abandoned house and walked in. My heart dropped into my heels. The blast of a shell which fell near me shattered all the windows in the house. I had no more doubts: somebody was surely watching me. I had no choice but to run through the suburb. I had a plan, although I would’ve never thought, not in my dreams, that a man running for dear life could even think in such moments. I was running, the houses sheltering me. I heard people inviting me into their homes, but I didn’t dare hide anywhere, lest the shells find me in someone’s house. I didn’t even turn at their shouts. I left them behind like the thud of my steps. Kole’s voice was ringing in my head and his promise that they would look for me. I wondered if they had made it home.

I had to reach the river. The Bosna was beckoning. Weeping willows grew on both banks, and I could hide there. I had a shelter. I could even leap into the water if necessary. It wasn’t deep anyway. The sound of the detonations was moving away while I was sitting on the river bank. I couldn’t feel my body anymore. My ears were roaring and my vision was blurred. I tried to get my hands to stop shaking. I focused on the gurgling of the river, and I drifted away in my thoughts for a moment. Those moments of peace were interrupted by the terrifying thought that I wouldn’t be able to get out of here before dark, that I might faint and break the promise I gave to my daughter. That I would come back.

After all those explosions and all that running, I was shaking with panic. I lowered my eyes and saw that my clothes were covered with mud. There was a hole in my right trouser leg. My torn knee was showing through it from that first fall under the bridge. I remembered I had two cigarettes left. I took one and lit up. I was thinking about how I’d press on along the river, then cross the railway tracks, and hopefully make it home by morning.

I made it to the railway when dusk started to fall. At that moment, I realised I had spent the day running from death, which seemed more and more certain. I was getting more and more scared.

“Don’t you worry. We’ll look for you,” Kole’s words were ringing.

I couldn’t go over the hill to Breza because of the landmines, and on the road I had no shelter. I had to decide whether to cross the railway and go over the hill or cross the bridge and take the road. I knew that if I went over the hill, my hair would either turn white at age thirty-something or I’d get killed. The movements of her tiny white hand were flickering before my eyes. I didn’t want that to be our last moment together. I had to save myself at all costs.

Repeated detonations were heralding the night round of shelling. I crossed the bridge and hid by the abandoned kiosk. From my shirt pocket I pulled out my last cigarette. I lowered my eyes and lit up. I realised I was hungry. The cigarette only made me want to be sick. I heard the sound of a car approaching. For a moment, I thought I was hallucinating after all that running.

Their faces terrified, Namir and Kole waved at me to get in the car. I couldn’t believe they’d come back for me.

“Eno, Eno!”

“Hey, Kole, we’ve found him! Come on, hop in!”

I ran towards the car and got in.

“Well, where have you been? What have you been doin’? We’ve been searchin’ for you like crazy! We didn’t even go home...”

I looked at them and said, “I was countin’.”

“What?” they said, both at the same time.

At that moment, a shell hit the kiosk where I had stopped for a smoke. The old Golf groaned, and Namir stepped on the accelerator to get us out of there with our heads on our shoulders.

A few cusses and a smile on Namir’s face seemed to say, “Hang in there, Eno. We’re making it out alive.”

“Oh, but certainly,



ka-boom, crash, bang,






Translated by Mirza Purić



"Pa prave li pauzu?"

"Ma jok, rokaju sad svako 30 sekundi, ali nema veze, hoćemo ići?"

"Može, hej hoćeš ti s nama?"

Okrenuli su svoja blijeda lica prema meni iščekujući odgovor. Očekivali su da se probijem pored ostalih ljudi, uskočim u bijeli golf i krenem s njima. Ja sam se ukopao od straha. Gledao sam ih i šutio. Nije mi se nigdje išlo. Otelo mi se par riječi.

"Ma nema šanse, sad da idem?! Ti reće da je primirje i da možemo danas iz Zenice krenut' u Brezu i vidi sad, ne možeš nosa pomolit' napolje kamol' do Breze da se vozimo..."

"Šta ja mogu?! Nisam ih valjda mogo' nazvat' da pitam kad će rokat'? Ionako kad ćemo ako sad nećemo, ne možemo ovdje ostat' čitav dan, već je tri sata."

"Ja neću, hajte vi."

Iz pogleda sam im vidio da su odustali od nagovaranja da krenem s njima. Bilo je očito da mi se strah već u kosti uvukao. Klimnuli su glavama i istrčali ispod podvožnjaka. Vidio sam Namira kako uskače i pali auto, a onda se Cole okrenuo i viknuo:

"Ako ne stigneš do mraka kući, vratit' ćemo se po tebe."

"Ali, ali... Halo! Pa kako ćete me nać'?"

"Neka ti, ne brini, tražit ćemo te ako bude trebalo."

Tješilo  me je to da sam bio među ljudima. Molio sam se da prestanu granatirati i da se uspijem izvući nekako.  Ali nisu prestali. Polako, jedno po jedno je izlazilo ispod podvožnjaka, brojalo do deset, dočekivalo period između  dva udara granate i trčalo. 




četiri, eksplozija, bum, 




sedam, eksplozija, 





Jedno po jedno sve dok nisam ostao sam.

Kao da su skrenuli s uma, svi su trčali niz cestu a meni je nešto govorilo, ''Neka te Eno, prestat' će pa ćeš stići kući, ne žuri ti se nigdje.'' I ostao sam, sam. Sam sa ovom bukom i udaljenom vriskom ljudi koji su trčali do svojih kuća. Mogao sam im zamisliti lica iskrivljena u vapaj i oči pune nade za obližnjim skloništem. Od straha više nisam ni mogao brojati. Nedostajalo mi je zraka. Ionako nisam imao nikakve koristi od brojanja. Šta mi je broj značio, ako nisam znao kada će prestati? 

Iz buke me probudio trenutak tišine. Čuo sam sebe kako teško i duboko dišem. Zar je bilo moguće da su prestali? Ustao sam i osjetio bol u grudnom košu od ležanja na asfaltu. Brojao sam do deset i istrčao van. Morao sam se kretati ponovo prema Visokom  iako sam bio na samom izlazu. Zvuk detonacija me upozoravao  da ne idem prema Brezi. Jedino što sam mogao  je bilo da idem uz rijeku gdje su mi visoka stabla  pružala zaklon. Barem do sljedećeg mosta. Nije bilo vremena da se lijepo spustim do rijeke. Skočio sam i klizio niz travu. Samo što sam ustao vidio sam kako je granata pala u blizini i izbila asfalt na sve strane. Osjetio sam kako mi je tijelo probio znoj. Počeo sam trčati a zvuk  granata me je pratio. Nikoga nije bilo, samo žubor rijeke i detonacije.




a u meni  je govorilo: "Ne broji nego trči vidiš da ne prestaju."

U meni se pokrenuo i posljednji atom snage kad sam ugledao most na ulazu u Visoko. Odjednom ni čizme nisu bile teške, niti sam se bojao. Moje korake je  diktirao gromoglasan prasak granate pri udaru u asfalt. 









nisam osjećao noge,

sedam i osam i devet i eksplozija. 

Bacio sam se u zaklon ispod mosta.

Sjedio sam na  mokroj zemlji i hvatao zrak. Razmišljao sam o tome kako se ipak isplati brojati i trčati. Na meni je bilo da se popnem i izađem na cestu. Dok sam trčao vidio sam da je ona automehaničarska radnja u koju smo se jučer sakrili kad smo krenuli prema Zenici još uvijek bila na svom mjestu. Bila je savršeno skrovište za mene. Borio sam se sa mislima da ću možda poginuti baš na ovom mostu. Pred očima mi je sijevala slika moje kćerke kako mi maše i govori, ''Čekat' ćemo te da dođeš po nas u petak.'' To mi je dalo snagu da nastavim bježati. Izbrojao sam do dvadeset. Ništa se nije čulo.

Odlučio sam da krenem. Korak po korak. Još uvijek je vladala tišina. Tračak nade u meni je skakao kao dijete kad u ratu vidi čokoladu. ''Samo da pređem cestu i biću dobro''- pomislio sam. Kad sam se popeo i zakoračio na cestu imao sam osjećaj da sam jedini ja ostao u ovom gradu. Oči sam uperio u automehaničarsku radnju čiji su prozori bili porazbijani od detonacija. Pretrčao sam cestu i ušao. Na prvi pogled je bila prazna. Prašina je škripala pod mojih čizmama. Ugledao sam kanal koji je služio za popravku autobusa. Mislio sam da sam se spasio i da tu mogu provesti noć ako se Cole i Namir ne vrate po mene. Na korak od kanala sam ustuknuo nakon što me glas opomenuo.

"Ne možeš ovdje, nema mjesta da staneš."


Približio sam se kanalu i vidio sam uplašena lica ljudi koji su se sklupčali unutra. Na prvi pogled su izgledali kao da ih je neko nagurao u taj uski kanal i kao da i ne dišu. Počeli su vikati.

"Nema mjesta, rekli smo ti, jedino da mi na glavu sjedneš, hajde idi, vidjet' će te neko pa će nam i ovo sklonište propast'."

Strah me sve više obuzimao. Izašao sam iz automehaničarske radnje i počeo trčati cestom koja je vodila do obližnjeg naselja. Molio sam Boga samo da me noge ne izdaju. U daljini sam opet čuo detonacije. Morao sam prijeći još jedan mostić do slijedećeg zaklona. Ugledao sam most i zastao da dođem do daha. Granate su padale kao da me neko drži na nišanu i kaže, ''Gledaj ovog, hajde da se malo zabavimo.'' Pratile su svaki moj korak. Ili mi se od straha samo tako činilo. Iz razmišljanja me trznuo jak prasak. Ugledao sam napuštenu kuću i ušao. Srce mi je bilo u petama. Detonacija od granate koja je pala u blizini je sasula sve prozore na kući. Nisam više sumnjao, neko me je sigurno posmatrao. Nisam imao kud  nego da trčim kroz naselje. Imao sam plan, iako nisam ni sanjao da čovjek koji spašava živu glavu u tim trenucima može razmišljati. Trčao sam a kuće su mi poslužile kao zaklon. Čuo sam ljude kako me dozivaju da se sklonim u njihove kuće ali ja više nisam smio nigdje da se sakrijem, jer bi me i tu granate pronašle. Nisam se ni okrenuo na njihove povike. Ostavio sam ih za sobom kao i topot svojih koraka. U glavi mi je odzvanjao Coletov glas i obećanje da će me tražiti. Pitao sam se da li su stigli kući.


Morao sam stići do rijeke. Bosna me je zvala sebi. S obje strane rijeke rasle su vrbe i tu sam se mogao sakriti. Imao sam zaklon. Mogao sam se i baciti u nju ako bude potrebe. Ionako nije bila duboka. Detonacije su se udaljavale dok sam sjedio na obali rijeke. Tijelo više nisam osjećao. U ušima mi je tutnjalo i mutio mi se vid. Trudio sam se da smirim tremor u rukama. Fokusirao sam se na žubor rijeke i na trenutak odlutao. Trenutke mira je prekinula užasna pomisao da se neću odavde izvući prije mraka, da ću se onesvijestiti i da neću održati obećanje koje sam dao kćerki. Da ću se vratiti.

Nakon svih detonacija i trčanja tresao sam se od panike. Spustio sam pogled i prvi put primijetio da mi je odjeća prekrivena blatom. Na desnoj nogavici je bila rupa. Iz nje je virilo moje zguljeno koljeno od prvog pada pod mostom. Sjetio sam se da imam još dvije cigare. Izvukao sam jednu i zapalio. Mislio sam o tome kako ću nastaviti duž rijeke, pa preko pruge i valjda stići kući do jutra. 

Stigao sam do pruge kad se počelo smrkavati. U tom trenutku sam shvatio da sam proveo dan u bijegu od sve sigurnije smrti. Sve više me je bilo strah.

"Neka ti… tražit' ćemo te" - odzvanjale su Coletove riječi.

Preko brda do Breze nisam mogao, zbog  mina, a na cesti nisam imao zaklona. Morao sam odlučiti da li prijeći prugu i uputiti se preko brda kući ili otići preko mosta i cestom nastaviti dalje. Znao sam ako se uputim preko brda da ću ili od straha obijeliti u trideset i nekoj godini ili poginuti. Pokreti njene male bijele ruke su mi titrali pred očima. Nisam htio da to bude naš zadnji trenutak. Morao sam se spasiti pod svaku cijenu.

Ponovne detonacije su najavljivale noćnu turu granatiranja. Prešao sam preko mosta i sakrio se kod napuštene trafike. Iz džepa košulje sam izvadio posljednju cigaru. Spustio sam pogled i zapalio. Shvatio sam da sam gladan. Od cigare mi se samo povraćalo. Čuo sam zvuk auta kako se približavao. Na tren sam mislio da haluciniram od onolikog trčanja. 

Prestravljenih lica, Namir i Cole su mi mahali da uđem u auto. Nisam mogao vjerovati da su se vratili po mene.

"Eno, Eno!"

"Hej Cole našli smo ga! Hajde uskači."

Potrčao sam i ušao u auto. 

"Pa gdje si bio? Šta si radio? Mi te tražili k'o ludi? Nismo ni otišli kući..."

Pogledao sam ih i rekao: "Brojao."

"Šta?!" - rekli su isti tren.

U tom trenutku je granata udarila u trafiku gdje sam stao da zapalim. Stari golf je zastenjao a Namir je sjeo na gas da žive glave izvućemo. 

Pokoja psovka i osmjeh na Namirovom licu kao da je govorio: "Drž' se  Eno, izvući ćemo se."

"Hoćemo, aha,



bum, tras, dum, 



šta kažeš?