Daily Archives: September 28, 2016

‘A New Beginning’ by Ilsa Tariq

Standard

“Are you nervous?” she looks in my eyes. I furrow my eyebrows and shake my head. What difference would it make if I were nervous? What’s done has been done.

I spot an enthusiastic Johanna in the distance; her face is lit with a radiant smile. “You guys have no freakin’ idea what just happened!” she squeals with excitement.

“Did you win the marathon again?” I ask her, concerned.

“No!” she screams loud enough for the librarian to give us her signature glare.

“You… um…” I trail off, not knowing what to guess.

“I got accepted into Stanford!” her voice echoes loud enough for the librarian to shoot us her ‘warning glare’.

“Wow. You came all the way here to share such crappy news with us? Don’t you see this face in front of me?” Chelsea points at me, “she’s already dreading her acceptance….”

“CHECK YOURS!” Johanna pulls me out of my seat while the librarian strides over to us and tells us to leave in a quiet, menacing voice.

Moments later, we stand under the hot, blazing sun outside the library building. Chelsea folds her arms, “Thanks a lot, Jo.”

After escaping overly-excited Johanna, wheedling me to check my acceptance online, I leave early without informing anyone and doze off to sleep. Stress and anxiety clouds my mind, preventing it to think beyond the horizon, reaching over to various other possibilities— the contrast of not getting accepted anywhere. I shut my eyes and try to think. I think of two outcomes. I visualize

a shade engulfing something bright and beautiful. Could this be a negative sign? Not sure. After all, I am taking a huge turn into

a fresh new chapter of my life. It better serve me well.

“For how long will you contemplate about usefulness?” my elder brother, William, stands on my bedside, arms folded. Oh, no.

It sure is time now. Escaping Johanna does not mean that I can escape him. He silently places the laptop on my lap, “C’mon now.”

I gulp and ignore chills running down my spine. I log in and type my password with quivering fingertips. The application starts to

load… I look away. I abhor exasperation. William has his eyes glued to the screen, “One percent remaining.”

My heart races. I steal a look at the screen. The application pops open. “No way…” William gasps and looks at me with dilated fawn

eyes.

“W-what?” I stutter. I gather up the courage to look in the screen. Mom and Dad barge in my room unexpectedly with a questioning

look plastered on their faces. What perfect timing. Dad peeks in. Relied spreads all over my body. “Princeton…?” his eyes glimmer.

Its unbelievable. “My daughter has been accepted into Princeton!” Mum hugs me, tight.

“Session starts from the day after tomorrow. That is no time. Pack your bags, darling.” Dad lands a kiss on my forehead.

Two days pass by in a blur. I stand in front of a huge monument-like structure with Dad, Mom, William, Chelsea and Johanna

behind me. They all smile; some at the verge of breaking down. They all wave. A tear or two trickles down my cheek.

William shouts, “See you soon, sister!” This very moment is priceless. The moment when you depart from your blood and enter a phase

where you develop yourself for the cycle that will repeat many times in the future. Its a new beginning. This new beginning is priceless.

I take a deep breath and make my way to the main hall. My new beginning starts here, right now.

‘Lost’ by Ilsa Tariq

Standard

“I hate you people!” I stomp my foot and slam the door behind my family. Enough is enough. I am tired of sharing the same roof with them. I can’t handle their muttering or grunts anymore; I am leaving.

I barge in the living room and stride across everyone and reach the main door. Everyone looks at me with daggers in their eyes. A second before I shut the door, mom jumps out of the couch, “Wait–”

I sigh and think over my decision one more time: Am I serving them right? What if I am being too hard or cruel? My mind then reaches out to the day when Amy took advantage of mom’s absence and started bossing me around. I also remember the time when father completely dismissed me when I failed one test for the first time and mom grounded me for two weeks. Was not that all that cruel too? I nod. They sure deserve this.

The cold breeze brushes my soft skin while I hear leaves crunching beneath my feet. I tuck my hands in my pockets. Three pathways appear in front of me. I choose my right and spot a sign board which reads, ‘Lost Meadows’. I furrow my eyebrows and shrug. I guess this was the place my fate had already planned me to take.

The tawny lights fade in the atmosphere behind me as I draw deep into a torment of dark green trees. I sense different hisses. I stop… was death written in my fate? Death by snakes? My heart races.

Out of no where, I hear something unexpected. “Are you lost?” A squeaky voice hisses around me. Chills run down my spine.

I take a deep breath and clear my throat, “No.” Pin-drop silence falls in the atmosphere.

“Hmm… Are you sure?” People who are lost usually come here.” The hiss grows deeper.

“I know my way back, alright?” I take a step or two behind.

“Oh, of course you do.” I hear scoffing hisses.

“I just came here because, um… I am just–”

“LOST.” The hiss encircles around me and pins me down to the ground while I yelp. I feel a weight over my chest while I shout at the top of my lungs for help while in constant pain. Dark edges form around the outline of my eyes and I lose consciousness, little by little.

I wake up heavy-eyed. Three heads look down at me. “She’s awake, she’s awake!” I hear a familiar, feminine voice. A worried woman frantically bends down at me and whimpers, “How could you… how could you, honey?”

My voice cracks, “Mom?” she nods and hugs me tight, “You were so lost… and then you left without even informing us properly…” she lays a cold kiss on my cheek and continues, “…we found you in the Lost Meadows….” Realization dawns on me.

A voice hisses in my head, “Co-incidence? I think not.”

‘A New Beginning’ by Safa Aman

Standard

“Watch where you’re going, slag!”

It was not the first time I had been labelled that. School corridors, on my way home, in the restroom – it was all too familiar by this point. But did it hurt less each time? Probably not.

My parents were relatively religious despite living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The thought of the American culture influencing us to the extent where we dismiss our Muslim roots almost always ate away at them. Due to this nagging idea, five times prayers was enforced more than usual and sometimes, just sometimes, was the only topic discussed at home.

My two older brothers, Tabraiz and Sohraab, were total opposites of one another. Tabraiz, twenty-four, was a carbon copy of my extremist of a mother and agreed with anything that escaped her lips. As for Sohraab, twenty-one, he was more like me. We often huddled in corners of our bedrooms for quick venting sessions before we were called to do one chore or the other. We eased each other’s burden in this manner. He was undoubtedly my partner in crime.

Sohraab was doing his second year in university; however, being as popular as he was, still had junior friends who would report back to him — mainly, regarding me.

“Nashua, from what I heard, you were screwing around with not one, not two, but THREE different boys — in one week! Unbelievable!”

As close as we were, he was my older brother at the end of the day and was obliged to talk sense into me. His brief, but powerful lectures were fed to me almost every other day and hardly ever had any kind of effect on me. But later that night, I felt a change in my mindset and attitude — almost as if it were a divine or holy revelation. The entire concept made me ponder for hours at a stretch. I finally knew what to do. “Baby steps,” I whispered to myself. “Baby steps.”

“Nashua, you’re running late for school. The bus is gonna be here any minute!”

Hearing my mother croon from the kitchen downstairs, I excitedly dashed down the stairs in order for a reaction.

“Oh, my Lord has answered our prayers! When did this happen? How –”

“Don’t be silly, mother,” I interrupted, “We all knew it was going to happen one day.”

I witnessed my mother taking every inch and angle in of the scarf wrapped firmly around my head. She was in utter awe and shock — but for once, in the most pleasant way possible.

From the bus ride to school, the classes I took and the cafeteria I roamed till two in the afternoon when I had to walk back home, not a single insult was thrown my way. The day went smooth for a change even if everyone did ignore me. I could definitely be getting used to this whole veil thing.

Saturday night called for another party. Without having to sneak out or persuading much, my mother instantly permitted me to attend the function, trusting that I had turned over a new leaf. Who would have thought that one simple decision would allow one to get away with so many things? Certainly not me — not until now.

My head was stripped free of its accessory and my hair hung loose as I swayed to the beat of the music with an older guy I had just met. Lights flickered, shots were taken and everything after that became a distant, horrifying memory.

I awoke the next morning in my bedroom, wearing the dress from last night. My breath wreaked of alcohol; the scarf was nowhere to be seen. I was almost too afraid to go downstairs and face my family. That problem was solved within a matter of minutes, though.

My bedroom door flung open and in marched my two brothers and mother. Sohraab, being my favourite, did not even bother to glance my way. Tabraiz searched my room noiselessly for anything ‘suspicious’. My mother glared at me in silence and finally broke the ice.

“The amount of disgust and disappointment I have felt this time is irreparable. You have brought nothing, but shame to this family through this pretentious act. So much for new beginnings.” And with that, she closed the door behind her. Little did she realize that with ‘that’ one dialogue, she shut a whole chapter in my life, too.

Purity and piety is not attained through  a simple piece of clothing. It comes from within. Until one is cleansed internally of corruption and filth, a mere scarf cannot make a difference. I had, needless to say, learnt it the hard way. Nonetheless, better late than never.

‘Sometimes lies can have serious consequences’ by Farah Saboohi

Standard

“I’m fine.”, I said as I swallowed my guilt. I didn’t like lying, but to not make my best friend worry about me was more important then. The truth is, I wasn’t fine. I was an emotional wreck that sucked away other people’s happiness with my misery. I was toxic. Meredith, my best friend, was, and still is, the most caring, and down to earth person I have ever crossed paths with. It still confuses me as to why she puts up with me, because the fact is, I don’t deserve all the unconditional love and support she blesses me with.

 

“Are you sure? I can stay for a while longer if you want me to.”

She said in her soothing voice. But I lied again. The words “I’m fine” just poured out of my mouth because I had said it enough times for it to become an instinct. She then gave me a big, warm hug, sighed with relief and left, closing the door behind her. As I walked across the lounge to my room, I lost it. Tears streamed down my cheeks and my eyes swoll up. I was breaking down. I was glad she left because I couldn’t have her worry about me anymore. I felt like a burden, and with me around, Meredith could never display her happiness, she just put it aside and worried about me.

 

I didn’t know what was happening to me. I could feel my lungs not getting enough air and the chills i felt down my spine now burned. I was losing control over my limbs and now my reddening, puffy eyes couldn’t stay open for much longer. I knew exactly what I had to do – pull out my inhaler from my back pocket and take a few dozes of prescribed medicine that was right next to me.

“I’m fine.” I lied again, but this time to myself, and threw my inhaler against the wall. Slowly, I watched as my vision blacked out and I lost consciousness.

 

I remember waking up, hours later, to see Meredith crying and panicked than I would’ve ever imagined her being. I could see the disappointment in her eyes when they met with mine. She wasn’t worried this time, she was downright angry. She told me that she’d never felt more betrayed, because I lied to her, and that even though I thought that I was only hurting myself by being so foolish, I actually pained her more. “God knows you would’ve been dead if I hadn’t come to check up on you.” Her saying that, did something to me. I felt those words pierce my chest – if that makes sense. But as angry as she was, she was just as forgiving and bemt down to give me a hug.

 

The most impactful thing about the entire incident was that I learnt that by lying, not only did I almost reach my deathbed, but I hurt the person that mattered the most to me, and if that isn’t the worst thing you can do to someone, I don’t know what is. Also, I learnt that lying to yourself can have very detrimental consequences.

‘A New Beginning’ by Wishka Syed

Standard

The world was painted with hues of starlight shimmering over the beautiful valley and reflecting off the brook. It was still too early for the birds and so a serene silence lay over Lockwood manor.

Sansa was deep in her thoughts about having a picnic one day with her family near the brook. A basket filled with apple pie tarts and sandwiches would be a great idea. Dawn time was always Sansa’s beloved time of the day. The world naturally seemed at peace with its bright colours as the sun awoke from its slumber.

Sansa’s thoughts of any picnic scattered as a wet liquid, slimy in texture trailed down between her legs. A wave of panic took over her. Her water had broken and now she was leaking along with shivering for she was not ready for this. It was too early for her.

“Matt! Matt!” Sansa shouted for her husband who came running within no time.
Matt rushed to his wife; his eyes wide, rimmed with heavy dark circles and hair dishevelled. Matt sat his wife down while he rushed for his car keys in their bedroom. Sansa waited, pain gradually taking over her body, her legs, arms, spine and abdomen aching with terror like she had never felt before. She shouted for Matt to hurry up.

Everything manuvered in a blur, the road now teeming with cars as people rushed to their perspective routines. The hospital was nearby but time passed with excruciating slowness. The life inside Sansa throbbed against her abdomen, fighting to come out.

Seconds stretched to minutes as minutes
stretched to hours and after what felt like eternity Matt pulled into the parking of the hospital. No sooner than a minute nurses clad in white uniform swarmed around Sansa, shifting her on a stretcher and bolting her through the hospital doors.

Dr, Montague a broad shouldered man with Stalin’s moustache appeared in the operation room. He grumbled his orders to the nurses while Sansa lay, now changed into a hospital robe, clawing at Matt’s shirt with force he did not know she was capable off.

Dr, Montague placed himself at the foot of Sansa’s bed throwing commands at her to open her legs wide. Sansa did not hear she was to drowning in pain.She withered and thrashed against the bed, her head shaking wildly from one side to another. Her teeth clenched and she felt the life inside her trying to plunge out from inside her. Voices blurred around her and so did her vision with tears. Sansa could not hear her guttural screams over the blood pounding in her ears.

“Push! Sansa,Push!” Sansa could not tell if it was Dr, Montague commanding her to push or Matt. Maybe it was one of the nurses. Drenched in sweat and hurting everywhere she listened. Sansa pushed and pushed until she ran out of breath, until she felt her lungs tear out. And all of a sudden it was over, a calm took over her as the pain faded away.

She closed her eyes and called for Matt to make sure she had not died. She felt his hand slide into hers and whispering near her ear, “It’s a girl.”
Sansa knew he was smiling and involuntarily she did too. Along with her daughter she was bestowed a new life. A new beginning.

‘LOST’ by Abdullah Shahzad

Standard

A DAY BEFORE, I was hunting for some good, scary creepy pastas on the internet to satisfy the horror fanatic inside of me. Now, creepy pastas are imaginary urban legends made by anonymous users on the internet. They are mostly written to spread false rumors about supernatural and for the most part; a good scare. I eventually stumbled upon a creepy pasta entitled, “Slenderman”. It was a story about a thin, tall, human-like figure with unusually long arms and a blank face, omitted from all human, facial features. It also has large tentacles penetrating from its back and it appeared to wear a suit and a tie.

After giving the creepy pasta a good read, I fell asleep on the computer desk, as it was 1:00am in the morning. Suddenly, a cold wave of wing struck my face and I immediately sprang out of my chair. The window on the corner of my room was wide open. I walked towards it and as I peered out of the window, I felt my heart sink into the bottom of my chest. There I saw a tall, dark figure standing in the porch, looking at me expressionless, as if I was being watched by a being from hell. Fear overshadowed me and my body went numb. I was losing consciousness, and after a while, I finally gave in and collapsed.

After finally gaining consciousness, my eyes burst open and the first thing lire of sight were the trees smacking against each other, and all I could hear were the rustling of the leaves. The wind was howling malevolently and the hooting of the owls echoed across the forest. It was then when I saw that inhuman entity glaring at me from the distance like an owl stalking its prey at night.

I immediately got up and ran as fast as a cheetah, not caring about anything coming in my way. When I had run a good distance, I looked back and felt relieved. I had lost sight of it. This gave me a moment to ponder about my situation; I was lost in an unknown forest in the eerie darkness of the night with a supernatural being stalking me. Something struck my memory and I remembered what I had read about in the slenderman creepy pasta. It was said to abduct people, mostly children, by first stalking them in their homes and then abducting them.

Then, I saw it again, camouflaged in the trees and its tall, slender body looming over the trees. However, this time, I had the numbing feeling from before, but this time he dashed forward and ran towards my direction. The next thing I remember is waking up alongside the roadside filled with vehicles racing across it.

I stopped a taxi and told him to drop me home. To this day, I haven’t told anyone about this, however I feel like I should. This thing is not just a creepy pasta, it’s a real entity. I don’t know what it is or what its purpose is, or why did it spare me. But heed my warning:-

DON’T READ OR SEARCH THIS CREEPY PASTA.

Write a story (true or imaginary) entitled ‘A New Beginning’ by Faryal Shuja

Standard

“Good luck out there,” the guard says to me as he closes the gate behind me. I turn back at the daunting grey building. The words “Manhattan’s State Penitentiary” are written in big block letters in the front. I shudder and begin to walk. This is it. There is no going back.

It all felt rather anti-climatic. I was being released from prison. I was supposed to have a family awaiting my return. There were to be tears of joy and tight hugs all around – I was to go home. And yet, here I was, alone with no home to go to. All I had was forty dollars, a bus ticket, and a pat on the back. I felt like a child who had been in timeout for too long. I had missed recess and was blacklisted; I didn’t know how to act around my peers anymore.

I walk around in a haze. What now? This was supposed to be me new beginning, a good life, one without fear, and the constant need to be on the run. But now that it is here I do not know what to do. It is as if the word “thief” is plastered on my forehead, and everyone is judging me. The five years I spent in prison is all I will ever be known for. A common thief is all I will ever be.

With these thoughts swirling in my brain, I walk. I tell myself there is no destination but part of me knows exactly where I am going. I find myself looking up at the rundown apartment complex, my hand in my pocket, gripping what little money I have. To say this was a bad part of town was an understatement. This is where I lived, no – survived before prison. It was me along with three other girls in a dingy two bedroom apartment. We were part of a large pick pocketing circle. I was a pickpocket. As I stare up at it my finger itch. I could go back. Our leader, known “John” (a lame name, I know) would take me back.

No. No I cannot do this. If I go back none of it will ever change. I will be stuck in a vicious cycle. I begin to walk away and it is like a war wages in my mind. To go – or to stay. I walk furiously, not really aware of where I am going. Suddenly, my heart skips a beat. I hear footsteps behind me I snap back into reality and glance over my shoulder as I walk and see a shadow behind me. My heart begins to beat so hard I fear the shadow will hear it. How could this happen? I’m a pickpocket – I was a pickpocket. I should be aware of my surroundings. And yet, I walked into a back alleyway in the dark. Should I scream? No, what if he has a gun? I take a deep breath. Maybe I’m overreacting, maybe he is just walking to.

I pick up my pace and hear the footsteps quicken as well. I continue to walk faster and begin to see car lights in the distance. Maybe if I run for it, I can make it onto the main street. As I begin to sprint, so does the shadow. I’ve only taken two steps before I’m jerked back and I feel something cold against the back of my head. A gun. I feel like I am on fire. I begin to shake. I can feel the adrenalin coursing through my veins.

“Scream and you die. Make no sudden movements,” I hear a deep voice say behind me.

“I have no money! I swear! I just got out of prison-” I begin to blubber but I am cut off.

“Shut up and empty your pockets!” he screams and I do as he says. My hands shake as I take out all I have.

He begins to use profanity once he realises what little I have. Suddenly I am pushed forwards and I fall to the floor, my elbows saving me from going head first. Then he bangs my head against the pavement. My eyesight blurs but I see a fuzzy figure run towards the light. Everything hurts. I slowly get up. My nose is bleeding, and I have cuts all along my elbows and hands, as well as my face. So much for a new beginning. I cry but I continue to walk, it’s dark and I have to get to a main road.

Once I am there I examine my cuts and bruises. The pain I can handle, but the hollowness in my chest seems fatal. There are no new beginnings for people like me. I begin to observe people as they walk by. Who would be easy to take from? I see a girl with her wallet peeking out, and I stand, stifling my sobs. I walk briskly by her and sigh as my hand goes for it. I stop. I cannot do this. I feel sick as I sit back down. I have nowhere to go. No food, no shelter. Nothing. I don’t even cry anymore. I simply sit on the sidewalk, propped up against a wall, face in my hands.

Then I hear a small, sweet voice say “Honey? Are you alright?”. I immediately look up startled, too unsure to surprise.

“What happened?” she tries again. She is a middle aged woman with slightly grey hair, and bright, kind blue eyes.

“I- I was mugged”, I stutter. It felt strange saying it aloud.

“Well, let’s see those cuts,” she squats down beside me and examines my mind. “Where are you from?”

“Nowhere,” I say and then swallow the lump in my throat “I was just released from prison”. Surprisingly she smiles at me and says “Well today is your lucky day”.

I almost laugh. Is this what she calls lucky?

“Lucy,” I reply,

“Well, Lucy, my name is Alexa. I run a small bakery for past inmates. There are a few spots open.” I feel my heart swell as she continues “There is a small homeless shelter not too far away, you can stay there overnight. Tomorrow, I’ll come get you, and you can check out the bakery. How does that sound?” I nod and almost begin to cry once again.

“Come on dear, let’s get you up.” she helps me up and begins to tell me about her bakery. I walk with her towards the homeless shelter in a haze- but a good one. It all felt so unreal. I think back to the girl I was about to steal from. I am so glad I did not. Maybe Alexa and the bakery were my new beginning. And maybe new beginnings did exist.

‘Sometimes lies can have serious consequences. Describe a time when a lie had a major consequence for you’ by Zoraiz Syed

Standard

“Lies are the new truth,” my friend told me. I was telling him about how I had lied on my resume for a job and had stated that I was an ‘experienced computer engineer.’ Now I had got a call for an interview and did not know what to do. My interview was in an hour so I had called up a friend to give me some advice. I learned a valuable lesson from this: never take advice from your friends! My friend told me to play it cool and just keep lying if I wanted the job. Being a recent university graduate, I was in a tough situation at the time and was in desperate need of a job. So I set out for my interview, which would later lead to a frenzy of lies.

“Take a seat,” the interviewer ordered. I sat down and tried to control my shivering. The interviewer first asked my name, age and all the basics. I did not lie there. She then asked about my previous occupations. I lied there. Further, she asked my experience and where I learned my computing skills from. I lied there too. I must have been a pretty good liar because at the end of the interview, the interviewer seemed pretty impressed. She said she would check up with my previous bosses and then contact me. I was fine by this because, well, I had lied!

By the time I reached home, I summarized what I had said in my interview. According to me, I was a software engineer who had had schooling from MIT. I finished at the top of my class and was immediately recruited by NASA to design a software for one of their space missions. After I got ‘bored’ at NASA, I joined the UN and became a software engineer for them. When my contract with the UN finished, I started working for a private Chinese firm by the name of ‘Apple’ which was owned by a Pakistani millionaire. Now I was looking to explore new options.

Since I had lied about my jobs, I had lied about the contact information too! Therefore, all day long I was receiving calls, asking to talk to the Director of missions at NASA or the head of the UN’s software department and even the CEO of Apple. The day passed with me singing praises about myself and before it was over I had got the call from my interviewer, telling me that I started my new job the following day.

Early morning the next day, I was suited and booted to start my first real job and fourth fantasy job. But when I got to the office, it was a totally different scenario.

I saw all the office management standing outside, including the interviewer. At first, I thought they were all standing there to welcome me. But when I saw the police around, I knew something was wrong. A series of events followed which virtually destroyed my life. First, two cops approached me and handcuffed me. They said I was ‘under arrest for fraud.’ Then my interviewer came up to me and slapped me right across the cheek. It turns out that she was friends with the director of NASA, the head of the UN and even the CEO of Apple. She knew I was lying from the start and just wanted to see how it went.

Now, I am spending twenty years in jail for being an excellent liar. After this incident I never lied again. But then again, I am a known liar….