Side Story (1): Part 5/5

Side Story (1): Part 5/5

A Chapter by YouoweYoupay

Why was she bleeding?


Repentance, Forgiveness, Acceptance


Part 5/5





Why were there three people standing around me in a dangerous triangle as I struggled for the last crumbs of air, every time my chest lifted to breath it tweaked the bleeding cut in my lower back where I lay? All three of these people with beautiful yet entirely dissimilarly impure eyes, nothing about them made any sense, exceeding the boundaries of surreal, but her eyes were the most terrifying. I glimpsed Shaitaun (Satan) in their shade of neon-green. He did not seem merely sinister. He seemed disturbed. Unnecessarily trespassed.





"Move out of the way, please." I shifted to the right trying to walk past him, but the pace of his feet moved faster.


"Wait, wait, so soon?" his friendly tone was sheer plastic, "You guys heard that just now, didn't you?" My stomach jumped at his hand that rested on my right shoulder.


"Nader, go home. You're not forced to listen to them." her dry low tone had a different kind of dryness from the three boys here. She was concerned.


"Sudden intrusion, without any greetings or permission." he said in disappointment, "This is not appropriate. Bring her closer to me." two of his fingers curled, motioning the blonde's direction and the two boys approached and seized her arms.


"Leave her alone." I snapped, "Why are you doing this?"


"If you know what's good for her," Khalid said, "You'll do what I say. Do you see that bike over there? Get on the bike. And don't even think about using any of your stupid magic tricks. You'll regret it."


"No, don't!" The words raced out of her mouth, as if she had a few moments before the knife muted her throat, the rapid rise and fall of her chest ruining the unafraid act, "Nader, don't let their eyes scare you. They wouldn't dare do anything they make you think they would."


Khalid's footsteps followed close behind me and as I mounted the bike saddle I felt a strong grip holding down the back of the seat. His hands drove the bike forward, setting it free at the pothole right before the ramp.


"Beautiful shot!" my body lay like a wreck facing away from the gate up the street but his voice rung in my ears.


 I did not remember feeling the natural ache my body attained as it rolled, scraped and peeled the skin against the pebbly ground, but I did remember her pretty green staring down at me and her tender pale left hand reached down to stroke the upper frame of my face. Her fingers felt above my right eye.


There was a small black crescent moon painted across the visible artery of her wrist. I hadn't noticed it before.


"Hey," I heard Khalid's voice very close to me, "you see what Shams did just now? She broke the rules. She used magic. That's not how we agreed to settle things." You broke the rules first, I thought, you should have set her free once I did what you asked me to do. He was upset about something. It took me moments to realize my fingers had involuntarily curled and started flames in his clothing, "D****t. D****t!" He groaned as he unzipped the jacket and tossed it away, "I know the only person able to teach you two a lesson of respecting my rules." And those were the last words I heard before my eyes shut down.



--- --- ---


My mind was still in a stationary trance and only the sounds of water dripping and two males casually murmuring made their way uninvited to my ears. My eyelids shot up upon hearing her shriek. It was brief and not very loud followed by a sequel of shivering whimpers, as if she was striving to even slightly restrain the force piercing her delicate skin.


In between the whimpers, the two male voices seemed to have grown in contrast, one delighted, and the other dropping to a troubled and objective tone. The conversation was still vague and I could not make of the latter persistent voice until my eardrums were alerted by a sharp repetition, "Hey, that's enough."


There was a ricochet in the space, like the one generated in a washroom or shower cubicle. The colors of the vast, cold tile I sat on was grey spotted in charcoal and soot and the walls across were musty and lined with various apparatus, bookshelves, unwanted school desks and a few large decorated cardboards, all which I could not clearly perceive at first glance because of the buzzing unstably flashing white neon bulb in the ceiling on my right. A school basement?


To my left, there was another bookshelf parallel to my direction and it blocked the other region from my sight, but not completely. There was a gap between the wall where I leant and the horizontal bookshelf. The gap was not perfectly perpendicular, whereas the angle of it looked like an upside down triangle, narrowing downwards, and before I could think of anything further, my brain was constantly elbowed by the desperate craving of straightening the space between the wall and the bookshelf.


"Enough I told you." the latter voice warned again.


"Alright, alright." The first voice said in disappointment, "Tss…You only come here to offer me fun and then you just snatch it halfway." There was a brief sound of metal clicking, clanging and a zipper.


"Halfway! Are you--" the other retorted. His voice was unpleasantly familiar, he cut off with a small sigh steadying his tone, "Man, you went too far. I should have listened to Abed."


"You mean that black b*****d and his friend who just left you here to pick the mess while they sit back and get paid?" he laughed sarcastically, "I'm telling you, she has light colored eyes and hair. The b***h might even be from that disgusting Kima clan (1). Now be honest to yourself, Khalid. I taught the her a lesson. And she needed it." I could see the pleased grin in his tone. There was a silent pause before he commented, "Hey, blond, you're not so bad for a virgin. You might--"


"Snap out of it! I bet she won't be able to walk for the next few hours now. And if someone suddenly barges in here, it's gonna be ugly. How are you going to deal with that, huh?"


"Relax. What would anyone want to do in a Goddamn cellar anyway?"


"That's not how I wanted to settle things, habeeby (my love). You were the only Guardian I accepted as an exception." His sympathetic tone was not genuine like he was trying it out for the first time and it failed as a debut, "and you were not the person I was after right now. But I hope you understand now that you cannot hurt people and break up with them and then get away with it. Alright, Shams?" the response was the buzzing neon light and dimmed continuous whimpering that was had not been interrupted by the boys' conversation.


Shams! My eyelids jumped up and I instantly suppressed a gasp, the flashes decompressing my memory as a stomach-churning summary. It was as if my limbs regained senses as soon as I remembered. I tried to move but my wrists were seized up in a pair of rusty metal that had a stench painful to my already battered sense of smell. My elbows and knees started to burn again. I tried to move again but the fixed metal only clanked.


"I just heard something." The first boy said, "The brat you dragged in here must have come to." My danger alarm quickly reacted a second after hearing shoe steps approach from behind the shelf on my left. I closed my eyes and limply tilted my head downwards, "…No, he's still out cold." Khalid neutrally said.


"Alright, I'll go out for a piss until you figure out something."


"Why do you need to go out? Just do it right here for f**k's sake."


"Man, it doesn't look right. I mean, after we had a moment just now, doing it in front of her is kinda…you know."


"…Just go. F**k." Khalid muttered a few curse words under his breath as he paced back and forth, behind the bookshelves.


As soon as the first boy's footsteps faded further, the shade of her figure rose from the floor through the gap between the wall and the bookshelves. She sat curled, her nose scrunched between her folded bare knees. My vision was not at its best without the glasses, much less in a dimmed room, but I knew she had been crying, even when she tried hard to swallow it all down into sickening silence. The whimpers she begged to be muted crawled in between breathless small pants out of her throat. They translated pain of a freshly slit wound. What happened?


I stared firmly through the gap. It was risky sending a whisper, so I waited for her eyes to communicate with mine. She was not tied up like I was. I recalled the day we met when I helped her up before morning assembly, and when we shook hands minutes later. Shams had warm but firm hands and I wondered why she hadn't used any defense spells. What have they done to you?


The white neon continued buzzing and flashing on and off as I made an effort to remember the simplest hex to break out of the metal. Success! My wrists quietly slipped out of the fractured rings and I made another effort to pull my aching body up, my anger leaping out of leash as soon as my sight perceived Khalid behind the bookshelves, his feet pausing in an instantly vanishing surprise upon seeing me out of the chained corner, his light metallic grey eyes coldly curving in a contemptuous smile as if he had been expecting me to magically break out of it any minute.


"Staring at me with a frown like that." he broke the silence with a snigger, "Do you think it makes you look any stronger?" The entertained shade of grey in his eyes seemed as if whatever vengeance plans he had in mind were simply put away and forgotten, because the bitter scowl on my face was rather priceless, "Do you see that, Shams? Your little hero might actually get in my way to save you." my head turned to the spot on the left, where she sat in a corner with bare legs and a face buried in folded arms, her visible underclothes between her thighs were soiled with fresh smudges of red. Back then, I did not understand. But I was more aware now of the violation that had occurred.


"Shams, what happened?" she did not look up at me, "Why did you let them hurt you?"  


"Kid," his amused grin shifted between the light and the dark as the neon bulb buzzed and flickered, "She did not resist. She accepted her fate. You should do the same…In a few minutes, you're dead. It is over."


No one decides what will happen to me in the few next minutes. No one decides an unhappy ending when I've been blessed with many things, my eyes glanced at Shams, turning back to lock with the pair of metallic grey, this gift, my good family and…my new friend, I internally counted to three…taking a deep breath before dashing towards him, my right hand coiled in a raw fist aiming at his stomach. He easily dodged to the right, wrenching me from the back of my neck as my reckless feet crossed the spot where he first stood. This was my chance! I spun around to face him while he firmly caught the cloth from behind, my weak coiled hand blocked by his rock-hard skin. He didn't even flinch! My eyes were distracted to glance up at his facial reaction, the breath left in my cavity breaking out and I cried as his fist passed under mine, pounding my lower abdomen in a heartbeat. My legs bent and I limply dropped on the tiled floor, my eyes squeezed in pain as I clutched my stomach rolling to one side. If only my distorted brain could remember another spell. I felt weak and stupid, and all these nights learning Shawada (2) seemed like a waste.


"Does it feel nice, you snobbish nerd?" he said, "having your face mopped by the dust on this f*****g filthy floor?"


Dust! My memories and past efforts recollected. That was it. His feet proudly planted near my head, I hissed in pain, lying on my left side, my arm still suppressing my stomach, my free hand weakly crawling against the accumulated sheets of dirt, "Aynak…(your eye)" I whispered in between the groans, trying to ignore the feeling of having my insides flattened. I drew a memorized trail in the dust with an index finger, "…La Tara. (cannot see)"  


"Hey, what are you hallucinating about…? Is that all you've got…? Get up and--" he snarled, recoiling and stumbling two steps backwards, posting two shielding arms before his eyes when it was too late. A churn of dust had already gushed into his sight. I pressed my palms against the tiled floor with all the force I had jammed in between the painful currents shooting in my stomach.


"What the f**k did you do!?"


Shams remained curled in by the bookcase, her newly-cut, pale fringes of hair like curtains over her half lowered face, I gimped towards her, my sideways glancing at Khalid who was violently rubbing his eyes. I yelled at Shams to stand up, but it seemed like a dream. Everything did. She did not respond to my yelling, and my body would not move as I ordered it to.


My knees half bent closer to her and grip directly landed around her arms, "Shams, get up, get up!"


"Hey!" he retorted in between the groans his eyes still blinded by the dust, "Don't do anything you might regret, you…Just wait until I open my eyes!"


The blood rushed too rapidly in my veins. It was unsettling and distracting, "Shams!" and the feeling that this was the end of the world was beginning to overwhelm me, "Shams, look at me! Look at me!" my tone turned frantic. Desperate. I shook her upper arms and I tried to drag her up but her face was still buried between her knees. This was not supposed to happen. We had to get out of here.


"Bilal is coming back any second!" he said in response to my indifference to his threats, "I wouldn't act stupid if I were you!"


Bilal must have been the other boy. The one who helped Khalid do horrible things to the person whose fragile smile grew dear to me in the back of my mind over the years, the person whom I failed to protect.


Why was she bleeding? What happened? "Shams, what did they do to you?" I half whined, begging her to raise her head and show me her beautiful tear-smudged face, "Why did you let them hurt you!?" Even dreams did not seem so illusory. I was afraid. She would not budge from her miserly spot. Khalid stumbled behind me like a zombie as his eyes continued burning until God knew when. His partner would return soon and they would both end our lives here where no one might ever even find our bodies for a decent burial, "Why didn't you use your gift?" I weakly continued asking, losing hope of the slightest responses, "Why didn't you protect yourself?"


"I couldn't." she hissed, mumbling another sentence as she grasped more air to aid the traumatized tone of voice.


"…I can't hear you."


"I couldn't protect myself." She raised her head and her awfully diffused forest green eyes met mine, "My research…"


"…What are you.. t-talking about !" I frowned, my eyes that were now blurred with panic strived to bring back some sense into her.


"My research would be unfinished."  


Research…? I squeezed her shoulders begging her to stand up again.


A shoe step. Then another. Very close behind me. I severely shuddered under my skin, each end of my limbs slowly freezing and my hand remained around her shoulders. There was someone behind me. Move, body, move! Her green eyes glanced at the body behind me, returning her gaze at mine, "You should have turned back when you had the chance" her last sentence contained no stammering, or hissing or whimpering, or any trace of fear, as if another person spoke from inside her. My eyes shot open and a million grunts froze halfway in my chest, every bit of my flesh strained. Petrified. God's Hellfire would probably feel similar to the pain that screamed as the slender sharp edge broke through my lower back. I could hear my insides shredding open as the metal edge was roughly pulled out, but I did not dare turn around, falling backwards as Shams rose to her feet, my eyes trying to stay fixed into the only color that might have been even slightly logical.


Oh, God…I was dying. There was a slash in my back on which I lay limply, and a blood stream escaped in a pool around me, where on my right a pair of shoes approached, a boy with angry swollen gray eyes which had just regained sight after being blinded by dust, "The blond is right," another voice came from the left, "You should have left when you had the chance." where another pair of shoes stood, my sight rose up to the hand with a razor, and above yet another pair of small, but beautiful dark framed eyes tainted with frightening darkness, similar to the blotches Khalid had in his gray, only his partner's was a bit more sadistic. Shams' forest green differed from the shades of the boys'. My sight shifted to her eyes straight ahead of me, her feet and legs loosely draped in a sheet of mist, her head rising as she glanced at them, her lenses abruptly igniting an uncanny neon-green. First, a session of insulting jokes about how the blond could get up shortly again after having been 'screwed', about how she stood there, her shaky feet now firmly planted in the dark cement tiles, the sniggers of Khalid and his partner falling into silence, swapped with alarmed remarks about the light in her eyes. I glimpsed Shaitaun (Satan) in their shade of neon-green. He did not seem plainly sinister. He seemed disturbed. Unnecessarily trespassed.


"What is this magic? We trusted you out of your leashes, b***h. Is this how you reward us?" Khalid asked his sarcastic tone making the scene look less significant, "Tie her up." He ordered Bilal without turning his gaze away from her robotic neon-green. "I said tie her up!"


"I can't move, d****t!" Bilal replied. He was afraid. And his partner was just as afraid, "She must have done something!"


"What do you mean you--" The ripples of mist rose from her bare soiled legs to the sleeves on her shoulders, like summoned phantoms. Her neon-green ascended in the frames of her sight and as they did, the boys' feet ascended as well, departing the tiled cement in the same second. I lay drifting into an isolated cold ambiance, too strained from the throbbing in my back to fret about the flashing glow of her eyes shifting from dark to light as the light bulb above buzzed. The boys' voices turned anxious as they tried to escape her spell, my sight only focused on hers. I didn’t want to look at my sides. I didn’t know what I would see. It was the first time my mind harshly alarmed me about my dangerous curiosity. I heard Bilal scream. His scream was long, pathetic as it cut off and it hurt my ears, his razor clinking against the floor as it fell from his hand. There was no blood or shreds of flesh smacking the walls in a disgusting squash. His motionless body simply fell, his head tilted away from me in an impossible angle. I wondered how many people she broke this easily. I heard hysterical whimpers in the air on my right. Khalid was still alive. Shams' neon-green flashed to the next target, her pose perfectly still, with hands on her sides like a doll standing straight in a decorated container on a shelf.


I wanted to tell her to stop. I wanted to tell her to look into my eyes, but the motion of my body parts was beyond my control, as if every limb protesting and resisting, angry at me for being a coward and simply allowing direct damage.


No, Shams. I did not say it out loud but she heard me, glancing at me as I hissed and panted in pain. It was working. I could reach her without having to yell or shout.


Don't kill him. Now her attention was directed at me. I was not sure she was still in her mind. What if I just ended up dead and broken like the boy on my left? It was a bone-chilling thought, but I did not want to be a coward anymore. I spoke again softly to her eyes. I know they hurt you but if you kill Khalid, you'll be no different from the monster he is.


The glow in her eyes died above the cheeks trailed with half-dried tears.  Khalid was unlocked from her spell, dropping on the floor with a groan, whimpering and frantically retreating backwards on his rear, boosting his shaky feet up and scampering out towards the cellar entry in a blink.


It was only me and the yellow-haired still doll now. Reading her mind or moves was impossible. I did not know who she was. The girl leaning close to the budding green tea leaves with a half-hearted smile and a purple hat seemed a million years further now. Her feet slowly stepped towards me, bending so that she could pick up Bilal's stained razor in one hand. I was not sure she was even human anymore. She dropped next to me and lightly turned her half curled hand so that I can see razor slit the black crescent moon on the back of her wrist. A few of her fingers of the same hand reached to stroke my face. What was she doing? The drops of crimson trickling from her wrist felt warm against my icy cheeks. The chill under my skin was so agonizing I dreamt of a jacket or a thick mantle. Maybe I was dying…Her touch brought a roar from underground and white rays of daylight that smeared the scene. I was certainly dying.


In the white light, the buzzing of the neon bulb in the basement faded into the soft bird chirping. I could smell herbal tea nearby. I saw Shams gracefully approach in a white gown and bare feet, her palms surrounding a white-floral antique looking cup of tea on a saucer. She had long hair and violet hat, but her half-hearted smile was missing. She lightly raised the teacup in my direction.


"Would you like some?" I shook my head in response to the polite offer. This made no sense. She was drowned in tears and mist and filth just a second ago.


"Am I dying?" I asked.




I did not let this serene trance make me forget the razor she held near my face a minute ago. "Are you going to kill me like you killed Bilal?"


"Why would I kill you? You didn't hurt me. " she laughed,


"I don’t know…I don't know what you're thinking right now."


 "And I was not the one who ended Bilal's life. He was rotten and he earned a penalty." Now I was seriously starting to wonder how many could she have killed before him, "I am simply a Black Guardian performing my duty."


"You're a Black Guardian..?" I exclaimed, "Since when?"


"Since my fate carved a wound across that crescent moon."


She must have been talking the symbol on her wrist. I said nothing further. Infact, it was the last thing I said right before she talked to me through a ghostly echo, reminding me of her mother's unfair death and her father's unkindness and how she always had these dreams of the three of them having dinner as a family around a small round table in the small wood furnished kitchen.


"Back at home," she said, her bare feet pacing closer to me. "I was an ill-spirited, cold girl whom other children in the district feared and whom adults cursed. Ever since my mother died I've wanted to resume her footsteps. I always thought she was right, that humans did not deserve the right to freely think and act since they stampede on everything they build and everyone they disapprove of. They had to be imprisoned. Like animals." Her palms surrounded my cheeks and her shade of green slowly died in a sad glimmer of tears at the lower frame of her eyes, "but when I met your kindness I decided maybe I should give humans a last chance. So I continued being the timid, pitiable girl at school."


It was all an act, I thought, the half-hearted smile and the short time of peace we spent together. It was all just a glass mask she dropped as soon as her neon-green eyes and bleeding crescent moon brought a roar from underground, making everything around me shake, the dusty books, the bulletin boards and iron poles and desks and the buzzing white bulb above blast leaving only me alone back on the concrete tiles, my eyes locked with a pair of teary neon-green, her palms around my cheeks, my senses nauseated by the strong stench of blood beneath me and on my face dripping from her wrist, my skin head to toe reaching the extreme of cold, "But, my experiment was a failure. " she sniffed in a breath wiping under her eye with the edge of her palm, "I let those rotten boys capture me and-and...I watched what would happen if I did not defend myself by harming them…and I could not prove there was any good left in humans." Her lips quivered in a smile as the walls and the roof of the basement tore down and her eyes slightly curved, freeing drips of tears, "but it's okay, you shouldn't be sad…I was already dead before you met me."


I wanted to talk but I couldn't. Not just because I could barely breath, but because even if I could talk, I would not know what to answer her.


I could see a dark night sky as the roof broke in chunks everywhere but on us. Did that scar on her wrist trigger all this?…It brought in a haunted aura. Literally. Beautiful nearly identical vampire-pale women ascended in half a circle around Shams and me. Like a crescent moon. They wore black shawls loose around their long dark hair, plain robes jagged from the sleeves and openings. They had bead black eyes, blood-red lips and unpredictable doll-like expressions. They glanced at me and slowly turned their heads to the blond sitting beside me in the centre. Two of them slipped their arms underneath Shams' each from one side and they all harmonically levelling up and beginning their journey into the sky, "I will be burdened with the obligation of purifying this earth from humans' reach and destruction," she said, her bruised body lifting up and the last touch of her palm departing my cheek, "but I still want to have a beautiful sweet smelling garden someday….will you come and visit me there?"


She left even when I didn't have the chance to tell her not to go. I did not know why these young pale women appeared and where they'd taken her.



___ ___ ___



After being possessed by a current of shivers and the deep sting in my back, I realized I did not die. I had been found by Omar Hurania, the smartest red-haired classmate of mine, and Mrs. Maureen. It turned out the bike slanted against the wall outside the school in which I was pushed and terrorized with belonged to Omar, he would leave in some days after practicing more math problems alone in class, and Mrs. Maureen usually stayed in school for overtime duty every Wednesday. I wondered why neither of them hadn't heard or even sensed a brutal battle occupying the school cellar until it had been turned into a literal shipwreck. Maybe Shams stopped time right there, in that dreamlike hour of agony, dust and humiliation.  Later, I would question anything in my cluttered state of mind except the fact that this was not from my imagination. It did happen. And I was even more convinced it was real once the slit in my back wrenched my insides in pain as I tried to shift in my bed. Omar gave me an authentic friendly smile before he left shortly after I came to. And Mrs. Maureen stayed by my bed, kindly serving me and walking me to the washroom until my uncle finally arrived in that same afternoon. She was funny, young at heart, and informally scolded me whenever I moved or ate too fast. She would make a good mother.


Uncle Waleed slowly stepped into my room, as if he didn't want to be there right then, but he was forced to, his eyebrows were burdened with a complex expression he tried to neutralize but failed. He greeted and I nodded assuring him I was alright and that it was an occasional fight with an aggressive upper grade student. I asked him about Mayada and how she honestly reacted once she found out I was at the hospital, waiting for Uncle Waleed to imitate her tone in a sarcastic scene like he would sometimes, but he quietly sat next to me, consuming a whole minute of awkward silence before he stuttered half words in a low voice, scooted closer to me, and took a deep breath, "You already know your mother has been terminally ill for the past two years. Don't you"


Was this an indirect way to tell me she had died? It was impossible. I thought. I did know Mayada was ill, but the doctor told us she still had at least three years before she had reached final stages. I looked up at the sky one rainy day after the doctor visit with Mayada and I considered it as a promise from God to give me an extended time with my foster mother before she also vanished like Shams did, and my parents in the past.


But even God might forget to commit to promises. I would think of it as 'forgetting' because I believed He is too merciful and kind-hearted to actually ignore or break a promise.


Uncle Waleed weakly embraced me in a hug in which I could feel his deep well of sadness for the departure of a beloved sister, "I'm sorry, Nader."  He then left because he had nothing else to say and Mrs. Maureen was still in the room, having listened to the dreadful news, she too infected by the revolting awkward silence of bad news. I hated that silence, so I just talked about anything but myself the whole time Mrs. Maureen was there. The shock of being imprisoned in a cellar, hearing a friend of mine get raped and abused, watching a human being die in a scream, and Mayada's sudden death all accumulated as an abnormal trauma in me. For the next coming week, I resumed the routine of the nerdy, slowly recovering patient who enjoyed the company of his new friend Omar and Mrs. Maureen who both dropped by sometimes, and I spoke and ate and nodded to humorous comments as if nothing went wrong. As if this pit of hollow dark did not exist.


As soon as I was allowed to leave the hospital, I stayed in Uncle's tiny apartment, heading to the graveyard in the suburbs in the next cold late autumn morning, where I broke down and cried upon realizing it was actually the lively, loud but sweetly obsessed cook and mother who was resting in heartbreaking silence under that mound of soil. My grief sucked my energy for days like what would happen to normally, sad people who recently lost their someones,


"Why don't you once act like a normal kid, kid?" my uncle used to tell me sometimes. He worked for long hours and received a modest income, feeling guilty to have 'locked' me in his uncomfortable cheap apartment downtown, so he offered Mrs. Maureen, after I told him about her condition, a chance to adopt me. Now, she received the child she'd always waned, and I was introduced to a new family of three; Mrs. Maureen, her absent-minded husband, Mr. Farooq, and her Pilipino housemaid, Rehma who was dedicated to cleaning and shared a relationship close to friendship with her Mistress, and since Omar and I were her favorite students in class, she would often choose us to work in activity and project groups, so he and I became good friends throughout the years.


She was a strict, unpredictable teacher at school, making no exception that I was her adopted child. At home, Mrs. Maureen was a kind unpracticed mother who'd get over-excited about special events like my birthdays and progress in other classes, she tried to make sure I was happy, warm, and safe and that I got everything that I wished for as long as it was not harmful or dangerous… the basement she cleared for a new Shawada lab for me was an utter exclusion. I became obsessed with mixing charmed colors, discovering new potions. Mrs. Maureen and her husband did not mind even though the upper floors, furniture; lamps and glass ornaments would vibrate, a deadly stench would fill the air -reach the neighbors' kitchen sometimes- as I faltered in more than a few of my experiments. Rehma would help me clean up cursing in Filipino under her breath, but there were no grudges. She would let it pass, especially since the day I accidentally invented a wondrous clothes-washing potion which Rehma and I named: Miracle. With the potion's help, the maid was happy to know that laundry, ironing, and folding clothes would take less time now.


As I grew up, I developed a slightly neurotic attitude towards my lab and other things, and my impulsive compulsive disorder became worse. When I turned twenty-two, Uncle Waleed received an offer to travel many realms through the sea and he asked me to join him on this journey. It was long, full of details, wonder and knowledge all that built who I was. And through that time I never again saw the forest green half-hearted smiling eyes of hers, but the picture remained. I would hear about the many malicious situations rotten unjust people where put in and mysterious disappearing of wanted criminals, bandits, and troublemakers, both humans and Guardians all attributed to her efforts. And as the years went by, the stories would get darker and less rational. I would hear stories of her floral tea-cups and false smile, how she looked like with pineapple-yellow hair, gorgeous neon-green eyes, invisible arms that would instantly crush the person getting in her way. I would reminisce the minute before she departed into the shadows in tears perhaps bidding the last bits of her common sense, kindness and me goodbye. Myths about her were many, but her whereabouts where indefinite. I would feel guilty and empty and start to blame myself for maybe I could have changed this, maybe she would have turned into a different person if I could move from that concrete tiled floor and speak to her.


However, I once sat to the lesson of a wise old man in Medina who taught us not to loose hope of finding Utopia amidst this fractured, unblessed land of sins where good is rare, and selfishness is easier to the soul. He told us that the essence of this Utopia is forgiveness. And it begins by inner self forgiveness.


Standing before a reflecting glass and talking to oneself is not insane. Because, you see, this 'oneself' is another, sovereign human shaping you. And repenting for the times you've neglected this one self's voice is a part of accepting them and accepting the deviant turn and painful memories lingering in the past. Forgiveness is the response of the reflection in the glass. A hint of a smile. Maybe some comforting hope in it, that if I could not save a soul that had lost its way in a tangled forest of revenge, I still had the chance to teach the young and benefit them from what I've witnessed.


Even if this sapling is weak and compliant to the hissing wind and cloudy poorly lit sky, it would eventually take the courage I wished I had in me and shoot up aiming for the better…a bit of Utopia amidst this wasteland.


© 2011 YouoweYoupay

Author's Note

(1) [Return to chapter 5 of the story for more details] The Kima Kabeela, loosely translated (The Mountain Peak Clan) was the most offended minority cluster known in the fictional town of Ivory, were said to have been strong, tall warriors with fast-growing snow-white hair, distinguished, intense baby-blue eyes that defied the bitterness of the mountain winter, fearsome battle and supernatural tactics.

(2) Shawada: The use of magic [Arabic]'s finally done. *pants*....I hope you're happy, person who suggested a side-story that took forever to finish...*randomly glares at people* but it's all over...I can finally go back to writing the main story now.. WOOT! :D Comments and Reviews are greatly appreciated. And OMG it's really long! Thank you for reading.

My Review

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Excellently written, simply excellent

Posted 9 Years Ago

Brilliant. I was pulled through so many emotions in this addition that I am spinning like a top. Shams...sigh. There is a part of me that cares so very much for her, a part that is heartbroken over her shift back into darkness. Khalid and Bilal, those complete b******s! And Nader...gosh poor Nader. All at once his world came crashing down. There were parts in this where I was stunned into gaped-mouth silence. The magic was superb, the rage, the injustice and inner suffering. Made humorous and carefree with Mrs. Maureen. But this was closed so smoothly, like a memoir of Nader's experience with Shams. So wonderfully written, Wella.

Posted 9 Years Ago

"Even if this sapling is weak and compliant to the hissing wind and cloudy poorly lit sky, it would eventually take the courage I wished I had in me and shoot up aiming for the better…a bit of Utopia amidst this wasteland."

There is faith, hope and love in the world, haggard as it is.

Posted 9 Years Ago

Nice ending.

Posted 9 Years Ago

Oh gosh! I can't say a word! Wow! Friend, this is so fantastic! It kept me reading till the end. What more can I say, it's perfect! Wow!

This is excellent! You got my heart pounding as I was reading the lines :)) good job!

Posted 9 Years Ago

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5 Reviews
Added on March 9, 2011
Last Updated on April 3, 2011
Tags: magic, story, drama, mystery, love, hate, hope, human, racism



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