Category Archives: Narrative

Q. Write a story, true or imaginary, based on the lines, ‘This friendship proved to be an important one’. By Huda Fatima

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Like all great blockbuster films and novels, it started with a heist. 

Seven years ago, Luc Kraig, a convict and a mafia don, Bella Hofstader, a spy known as the Wraith, and Franz Flahey, a sharpshooter with a bit of an addiction, came together to break into the parliament to retrieve a man of great importance, a man who could change it all. 

“For those who are just joining us, a man named Shu Ketter Hofstader is in the hands of the Maycomb parliament. A man of great accomplishments, Mr.Ketter is the founder and owner of the world renowned Shu Laboratories in several states of Maycomb…” The reporters voiced subdued as Luc turned the television off with a tumultuous sigh. 

“I know you’re here Wraith” said Luc tentatively. 

“Of course I am, where else would I be during a time of such great complexity?” replied Bella in a whisper, choking back tears with great difficulty. A big, fat dewdrop rolled down her lean, structured face. 

Luc felt a pang in his heart, but since he had to maintain his bad-boy reputation, he cleared his throat and said with great solemnity, “I really don’t know why you’re here, Hofstader. Your dad, a dangerous criminal, is in Maycomb prison, it must be hard for you, but there’s nothing I can or want to do for you. Good day.” He took his leave, or at least tried to, because Bella’s small hands which rested gently on his shoulders, stopped him in his tracks.

“Please” she said softly, tears glistening in her brown eyes, which looked like a deep pool of melted dark chocolate in the warm summer sunlight, which seeped shyly through the apartment window. She continued hurriedly, “You know what’ll happen to us, all of us will be erased from the world – you, Franz. None of us are strong enough to sustain the power of Pharis Clam-” 

“Gather all the information you can.” interrupted Luc, his voice thick with doubt. “Send Franz to me. We have absolutely no time to waste, it’s a man we have to kidnap after all.” With that he took his leave, without giving Bella the chance to show her gratitude. 

Bella smiled from ear to ear. “Thank you.” she said contentedly to the empty space where Luc had been mere seconds ago. A faint light of hope started to flicker in her heart. With steps as light as the feathers, she took her exeunt. 

Here’s everything you need to know of the heist crew: Luc was a criminal. A seventeen year old, downtown Maycomb mafia don – who couldn’t vote, for he was still a minor, but could easily break into the parliament house, and unleash hell upon those in power. Ironic, right? 

Bella was called the Wraith. Abandoned by her parents as a child, she found her way to downtown Maycomb, and took refuge under the wing of Luc. For him she gathered all kinds of information he needed. She was a phantom. An extraordinary spy with the gift of climbing on rooftops and never getting caught, hence she earned the name of Wraith.

Franz Flahey was playing cards – as always – at the Brick’n’Brick Club, a safe haven for all those whose sole purpose in life is to gamble their way into extraordinary riches of the world. His revolvers hung loosely on his overalls. He lived for two things: gambling and shooting. His revolvers, bought with gambled money, meant more to him than anything in the world. 

 Bella, creeped up silently beside Franz. “Flahey.” She whispered in his ear. 

Franz, without a hint of surprise, asked, “what?” without removing his eyes from the cards. 

“Luc has a job for you.” Franz’s eyes glimmered and a faint smile showed on his lips. He still didn’t look up. “We are breaking into the Parliament House.” This apparently was news worthy of his attention, for his face snapped towards her direction. 

“We are?” he grinned like a cheshire cat. 

 The annual WinterWonder Week ball was taking place at the parliament house. Bella dressed up in the most extravagant flowy gown she could steal, Luc looked handsome in a crispy white shirt, paired with a black coat and black pants, Franz looked decent, for he finally showered after seven days. 

They entered the Parliament House, people were standing in groups left and right, with tall glasses of wine in their hands. The trio sneaked into the Prison sector of the Parliament House. After scouring through the cells, they finally found Shu Ketter Hofstader. 

“Father.” whispered Bella, tears rolling down her cheeks. 

The man whom Bella called father was Dr. Shu Ketter Hofstader. He was the owner of Shu laboratories, the biggest research labs of Maycomb. Mr. Ketter was a big believer of getting rid of waste. He came up with the idea of getting the earth cleansed of all those organisms who weren’t helpful or useful. He abandoned his six year old daughter for she showed no extraordinary skills in any branch of life. He then started his work to make his abstract beliefs concrete. Thus, Pharis Clam Powderay was brought to existence. It was the child of Dr. Shu’s hard work. It cost him many days and nights. 

If any human inhales, ingests, or comes in physical contact with Pharis Clam Powderay, he will perish right that instance. His body will disintegrate into little particles of dust. The particles of dust will be highly efficient, for they’ll be used as fertilizers for agriculture. So, at least after death that person will be useful. 

Shu opened his eyes. “Bella” he chuckled. “You willingly walked towards your own death.” 

Before Bella had time to decipher what her father meant, she entered a state of darkness. Her pulse stopped. Bella Hofstader was dead. 

As Bella’s slim body disintegrated into thin particles of dust, Luc walked in, wearing a hazmat suit, holding Pharis Clam Powederay.  

“When should I expect my money?” asked Luc with lack of enthusiasm. 

Shu took out a thick envelope from his breast pocket. “Here’s the full amount, give the other boy his share. I always knew Bella would be a threat to my dreams. Should’ve killed her when she was in her equally useless mother’s womb.” 

Luc was not interested in anything Shu had to say anymore, for he had gotten his money, and Luc loved nothing more than money. He had made this deal with the governors of the Parliament House and Shu Ketter, for four million euros. Every government official was aware of the threat Bella imposed to the Pharis Mission, so getting rid of her was vital. The whole kidnapping of Shu was set up, in an attempt to lure Bella into saving her father, and eventually walking into a trap which resulted in her death. The plan was executed to perfection. Bella was dead. Pharis Clam Powederay was the future. Luc and Franz were no longer useless, so they’d be saved from the fate of Bella.

Luc exited the cell. He handed Franz his share of money. 

“Well, friendship with Bella proved to be an important one.” said Franz, without any hint of remorse, as he breathed in the scent of new, crisp banknotes. 

‘Last night I dreamt…’ By Raasia Khan

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Last night I dreamt, well – a confusing nightmare, and less a dream. A simple, plain, empty pathway; a road, with the snow melting, and weeping willow trees slowly returning from a sublime white to a lush green. Not much happening that I could see, almost silent with small scuffles here and there; seemed like this would be one peaceful dream. But obviously, that had to change, Raasia can’t ever have even one good dream; I should’ve known.

 Unexpectedly – and annoyingly – I was jerked into another dimension, and so quickly that I almost fell back due to the inertia. Televisions, all around, news reporters, different languages and dialects, and the TV’s in all sizes and graphics, but all of them seemingly discussing the same thing. Flu? Well, flu wasn’t much of a serious issue anymore, so why were they still broadcasting clips of people hospitalised and on oxygen? Maybe I was seeing the past. But wait – pandemic, and I heard 2021? Influenza was a major issue back in the 1900s, so this couldn’t possibly be that. I turned my head toward a TV displaying what looked like a virus; the reporter called it the novel coronavirus? Looking around toward other screens; maybe some were broadcasting something I actually understood. But just as my eyes landed on a TV screen where the news reporter was shouting something in Urdu, there was another jerk, and instead of TV’s, there were fires. 

Deers running around, kangaroos – Australia? Why was it burning? I could see trees collapsing, sounds of animals in agony. I was so intrigued by the flaming red, and grasped by the scene around me, I forgot to watch out for myself and before I knew it, a huge bark, with its coarse wood on fire, was about to crash onto me. I froze in shock, my nerves not being able to react, but it somehow fell right through me. I was in this false reality but I was simply (and thankfully) in something of a viewing mode. Smoke going up, bushes ablaze, broken legs of limping marsupials and all I could do was watch. The grass beneath me lit up and burnt as I fell through into another scene.

Ah, people. People, but not society as I knew it.

 A lockdown. Shutters and blinds being shut, everyone with a mask on and those who weren’t, being fined by those who were. Everyone afraid of even a mere cough. As I walked along the pathway, I saw people hiding in rooms, isolating themselves. And as I was about to approach one of the open windows to discern what the situation was, I heard the blinds shut and suddenly, a new place. Again. 

Few people outside, no longer wearing masks, but still being tortured. Guns being fired, stones being thrown, even at women and children. People ordering others to get in their house right away, others begging. This was hard to see. 

I walked along, still seeing women being tortured, children reaching out for their mothers, and I flinched as they continued being hurt without mercy. 

All of a sudden, I’m in a room, a high ceiling, a desk, with the Afghan flag and some documents. A man, in a coat, at the desk, his eyebrows furrowed. Another man at the front of the desk. The man in the coat began speaking, 

‘I’m leaving. I have to resign. I’m done.’ He was making short anxious statements. ‘Taliban. They’re going to hurt us. Don’t believe a thing they say. I am leaving.’ 

Before I could hear what the other man had to say, I was in another place, and there’s now a car, with a person of colour being beaten by a white policeman. He was asking for mercy but received none. Racism. At least I knew what this was. 

It was like my head didn’t want to see what this was for longer. So, here we were, a different surrounding. Signs held up, people protesting, boards with a common hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Many different diversities, ethnicities, accents, but all with the same goal, which as far as I could see, was getting justice for Floyd. As I shuffled along by the protest, the signs changed into ‘Freedom for Palestine’ or ‘Hands off Jerusalem.’ 

In the blink of an eye, silence. 

It was dark now, just an empty void. A few seconds of this and I began hearing some noises, my sisters singing, and my mom, my name. My eyes flicked open and as the wheels in my head started turning, I realised what I thought was simply a nightmare is actually reality. The world is in a bad place. 

Q) Write a story entitled‘The Right Choice’ By Shamel Mujtaba

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He had to figure out what had to be done. He was out of time. The great black cloud of hopelessness was nearly upon him, threatening to rain despair and regret over his overworked excuse of a brain. The brain whose arrogance had summoned that very cloud.

 Every single day he would think to himself that he could just return it tomorrow, and that it was no big deal at all!

Now he had just landed in the quicksand-like pool of consequences.

And he was getting swallowed up at an impossibly fast rate. Consequences surely were the most ravenous beast.

He stretched his hand out towards the light as his head disappeared under the quicksand of consequence, groping for a rope of salvation and forgiveness that was not there.

“I’m Doomed!”

“Calm down, It’s just an overdue Library book!”

Just?Just! He stared at his ignorant misunderstanding friend in disbelief. He had only shouted the counter for that claim a dozen times! Was this fool even listening?
“No!” He declared, shouting into his friends face, spitting up a monsoon in the process. If he returns this book late – he would be forever branded with the mark of eternal shame, forced to reside with the wretched evil souls of the school in the darkest bowel of hopelessness – The detention room! He would be stuck like a cat in a bullpen – all the muscly hercules wannabes were going to send him catapulting to the edges of the known universe! And that’s not the worst part. After failure to comply with the martial law of the school, his radiant perfect record will be shattered with a black mark of shame, and all his A’s will be reduced to nothing! he would be forced to clean toilets for the rest of his sorry life!

He broke down sobbing like his mother had just died. “Why?” He shouted between sobs several times.

“Dude,” his interrupting friend interrupted, “you are just going to get a tardy slip!”

“Just?” He stood up in a burst of uncontrolled fury, “Do you understand the incredible power a tardy slip has over the destiny of a perfect student like myself? It will shatter all my dreams and -”

His interrupting friend cut him off, “Please don’t start.”

No, there was no more starting for him. He had reached the end of the road. The final frontier. The edge of the forsaken cliff. All that was left to do was fall into the endless void of failure.

“Tell you what,” The interrupting friend said, pulling the brakes on the train of doomed thoughts,”If you are too scared to turn it in, we could -”

“Could what?” The other exclaimed, “Tell me!” He begged, shaking his friend with the excitement of a raging sea on a dingy.

“Let me talk then!”

Pause. 

The ocean clamned.

The dingy shook his head to restore some very much needed balance.

“We could – well – break into school at night, put the book back on its shelf and destroy the record of you borrowing it so there is no evidence!”

Wait what? So the only solution was an anti-heist? Is that even a thing? In the unlikely event that it was, failure and capture would certainly mean infinite imprisonment in the fiery bowels of Tartarus for all eternity. But such were the consequences of the alternate passage.

“Excellent! Seeing as we have no other choice we should start preparing right now!”

“Wait really? I was just kidd-”

But the genius had already begun his master plan, inspired by the most recent daring thought-to-be-impossible steal ever attempted by man that had been masterminded by the one-and-only George Clooney himself.

“It’s showtime.” Clooney’s apprentice declared with a sinister smile.

“This is too tight.”, The interrupting friend wheezed out of his new matt-black removable skin.

“Just deal with it.”

Getting into the school was going to be tricky. The two desperados halted outside, forced to stop by the most famous anti-spy device in history – The one-and-only wire mesh fence. Clooney’s apprentice thrust out an equally famous shiny mini-wire cutter and began smacking his lips with the delicious thought of cutting fences, with the loudness of the largest foghorn. He was drooling like a toddler birthday boy as he cut the cake. Except this process was much slower. The toddler may have been a toddler sloth. 

Wiggle, wiggle, clip. Wiggle, wiggle, clip. Wiggle, wiggle, clip. 

“Will you quiet down?” The interrupting friend interrupted in a whispery-spy voice

Clooney’s apprentice scowled in an uncaring manner.

And they’re in! Finally.

Clooney’s apprentice skillfully dived down into a nearby bush, expertly lifted himself with his new camouflage in the unmistakable Tom-and-Jerry style, and tip-fingered to another bush before diving in it and doing the same several times before reaching the closed front entrance, completely undetected by even the most advanced IR technology.

Superb. Unparalleled. Unnecessarily complicated.

The interrupting friend rolled his eyes and waddled the entire way, squeaking up a chorus on the way.

“What are you doing?” The other exclaimed in a hushed whisper, “You could have busted operation anti-doomsday!” 

“What are you talking about, there is nobody here!”

The interrupting friend stretched his arms out as if he was absorbing the love and acclamation of a cheering crowd, because he was their beloved rock-star.

Proof of the claim? The entire courtyard was indeed abandoned and purged of any other soul.

“Umm, there are snipers on the roof.”

Now there was the issue of opening a locked door. The pesky door chuckled and giggled like an over-excited child, fully aware of the consequences of delaying the anti-heist. And its intentions were – 

“Hey, it’s open.”

Nevermind.

The professional black figure rolled, somersaulted, crawled, compressed himself and walked back-facing the corridor’s walls. The other performed a maneuver that appeared to be a stroll-waddle hybrid, accompanied by an inconspicuous squeaking band.

Yes, the squeaking happened in a tune.

Finally! They had reached the doors that lead to salvation. The heavenly doors to the library! Clooney’s apprentice threw the door open and leaped in, landing with the ultimate spy battle-pose. The other failed to change his own locomotive strategy.

“I’ve been expecting you.”

What?

The chair of the main desk had been facing away from our heros, until now.

The librarian turned to face them in an unmistakable ‘The Godfather’ way.

The ‘Oh-no! A bad guy!’ tune played all around them.

Pum-pum-paaaaaa!

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t lose my record, The book was late and I had lots of work and-”

The librarian halted the rapping with a subtle raise of his hand.

“You could have just come clean. I would have forgiven you.”

Clooney’s apprentice gave an apologetic smile that would lead him nowhere, and approached the desk with the mischievous book in hands.

“And you just got dragged into this?” The librarian asked the other through his half-moon spectacles.

The other nodded.

“Fair enough.”

He opened and stamped the book.

“However, you are still going to get in trouble for breaking into school.” the librarian rushed to change the subject.

Clooney’s apprentice’s shoulders fell, and he dropped to his knees, giving the librarian clenched hands and the most professional puppy-dog eyes he had ever given.

“Sorry, but this time you did not make the right choice. Detention!”

And Clooney’s apprentice fainted upon hearing the name of the terrible destiny that he had wanted to avoid so badly. He could hear the pits of tartarus calling his name. The hercules wannabes cracking their knuckles. The sound of all happiness being sucked into the void he was about to fall in. 

“Bummer,” His now uncaring friend chimed in, “Let’s go home now, I’m hungry.”

Q. Write a story, true or imaginary, entitled, ‘What a strange day!’ By Noor Liza Rashid

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 Mr. Smith went to work one day to reimburse his loans. He didn’t bother greeting any of the co-workers or the guard that day which was very rare when it came to Mr.Smith. He jogged over to the coffee machine and even the ‘bleep, bleep’ he heard made him anxious and annoyed both at the same time. Carrying his scorching yet bitter coffee, he began to march towards his desk. He almost tripped twice on his way to the desk. He knew something was off as he had no obstacles in his way and his shoe laces were most perfectly tied. He sat on his chair, leaned back and sighed excessively. He rested his head on the chair while gazing at the newly painted office ceiling. His eyes ached and teared up from the strong scent of new paint but he was not at all bothered nor did he care.

He had no thought. His mind was like a good ol fashioned white canvas waiting to be stroked upon by paint. The day went by, emptiness still ruled over his brain. Each ticking moment felt like a thousand years. Everytime a coworker came by he felt quite frightened and jumpy. Something was askew;something unfitting. Everything in his work routine felt the same, yet it was not the same.He didn’t like what he felt that day, like his place in this world was melting away. He stared at the people passing by who seemed normal and the way they moved, the way they talked, even how they coughed was normal. He couldn’t understand what was happening to him.It was time to go home. He forced his feet to go,with a strange emptiness in his head,unable to shake off the foreboding feeling. As he walked along the pavement, strangeness followed his every step. Strangeness lurked around every corner waiting for the perfect moment to ambush Mr.Smith. The pavement overflowed with the crowd, yet he felt so alone. The air was filled with lively chatter and laughter but all Mr. Smith could hear were the eerie whooshes. He was surprised that no one heard or felt the same way he did. Did they have no feelings? Was it just an act? Questions wandered around Mr .Smith but he was unable to answer them. He finally reached home after his long yet dreadful walk.

He opened the main door, coldness and emptiness was all he felt. The house echoed from the high-pitched sounds of the jangling keys. The sun had set and it was almost night time. He went over to the parlour curtains and stared at the outside world. He felt that the shadows were uncanny and darker than before. The shadows were approaching him, he was frightened. He jumped back and tripped over to the sofa. His heart sank. He dared not to look out of the window again. He pondered over the harm shadows could cause to which his answer was, “ Shadows are just shadows and that there is no need to be afraid. Perhaps it’s the loneliness that’s making me afraid.” Night came by. He tucked himself into the bed. He wept under the sheets and thought what would become of his life. This was not his only sorrow but the fact he didn’t know what lurked in his tomorrow. He quickly fell asleep to his feelings of sorrow and desolation.

Morning came along. With the rising sun, the shadows disappeared. The flowers bloomed and Mr.Smith’s house smelled of pleasant fragrances. He felt freshness and hope for the new day as he got ready for work. Making an omelette had never felt so fun and easy. An aura of happiness surrounded him on the pavement. Listening to strangers’ chatters had never felt so enthralling and fascinating. His day at work was fulfilling. He completed all his tasks before time and was ready to go home. He enjoyed the cold breeze and colorful sky on his walk back. Unlocking the door to his house had never felt so relaxing yet comforting. He freshened up and sat on the sofa facing the window.

He thought about how dreadful the previous day had been and how the world felt normal again on the present day. He never knew what to say as he tried to flush his memories away. But deep inside he knew with dismay that he would never forget that very strange day.   

Q. Write a story, true or imaginary, entitled, ‘What a strange day!’ By Unzila Mati

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The Bulgaria Chef

He heard the sounds of claps, haunting him in his dreams. The same slow, hard claps that had lived in his mind for the past two weeks. He had not known why, so ignored the fact. He remained unbothered by the same dream that would get louder by the minute and lower in the next second like a seismic activity happening in the Alps that goes high and low. It would occur again and again, the exact thing until the next day he repeated his routine. This time leading him into a restaurant, unconscious, while he dreamt. As he got closer, he felt the isolation, the eeriness, the dullness that dwelled alongside the restaurant. For he did not know that the place was owned by a Bulgarian chef two hundred years ago. The owner, who was the most important element of the city at the time. People from every corner would come to dine. The main reason wasn’t the food itself, in fact it was known because of the chef. It was known for his generosity towards the homeless. He would serve the needy five days a week and the rest of the then-town on weekends. That would be why people waited eagerly. One day, he left for a task in Italy. He didn’t come back. No one knows why and how. People went to search for him but all that was left of him was the restaurant itself. Eventually, they stopped browsing for him. The town thrived but the memories remain. 

Suddenly, the sounds of dish clattering woke him up. He rose up to an abandoned dining room but with the smell of fresh food. He would’ve ran but his curiosity and his hunger would drive him nuts. He gathered a tablecloth and a pan from the kitchen. His nose did not lie, for indeed it was the smell of boiled vegetables, open in the air. Bizarrely, there were even a set of blankets, pillows and sleeping bags. ‘Is anyone there?’ He shouted. But all he received was the voice of silence. Then somewhere from the depth of the kitchen he saw a man lying down. 

‘Excuse me, sir but who are you?’ 

‘What?’ The man replied with a fatiguing tone.

‘I said who are you. Are you all right? What are you doing here?’

‘He says to get out.’

‘Who?’

‘Him. The owner of this eatery. The one who supplies us with food. The one who went but didn’t return.’

He looked side by side, up the horizon but there wasn’t anyone. However, soon he realised the fresh food. ‘Wait didn’t you make the food?’ 

‘He did’ replied the man, pointing up his head.

‘Who?’

‘Him. But you must quickly go! Run! He isn’t keen on visitors except those whose bellies are empty. Him: Roofus!’

‘Roofus?’ For he did not know who Roofus was until he saw a welcome poster that said ‘Welcome to Roofus’. Everyone is welcome. Serving the finest spices and puddings.’

 He got his response, for Roofus is the Bulagarian chef that the region came to see.

‘Tell me more about him, I can help.’

‘My dear boy, he circles the restaurant, looking out for imposters. Those who come in, he brings savouries to fill up their stomachs. This restaurant is very dear to him. I tried leaving but he still served and threatened if I left. He won’t rest until someone fixes it.’

It seemed that ever since Roofus left, the people took advantage of it. Breaking in, stealing food. He was back.

He thought about what he could do. Suddenly, the plates started floating, the utensils launched to swirl, the tables would jump continuously. 

‘Run!’ The man shouted. However, he didn’t listen. He knew he had to do something or else the place would be relentlessly haunted. He started hunting for anything that could prove useful. He found a drawer full of paints, brushes, new fabric and dishes. He started setting everything, painted the walls and did everything his thew could do.

After all that chaos, coloured appeared, everything calmed down. The cutlery and the furniture stood still. The food was gone. 

The man was free. Now the chef is better, in harmony.

He went back home, to his bed and thought to himself what a strange day it was. The clapping stopped and he slept soundly. 

Bob’s Your Uncle. By Unzila Mati

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When was the last time Wile E Coyote, also known as the coyote in The Looney Toons get pranked? Somewhere in the 60’s, I believe?  Well…….. I got pranked, really hard, yesterday and it’s hard to believe how.

Brrrring! Went the school bell, time to go home. It was Math class when the school bell rang, however, I sat in the principle’s office thanks to Robert and Nick, my two good old friends from the first grade. They are real tricksters, for example, one time they deceived our Science teacher, into thinking that it was a holiday and that there was no need to come to school. Did it work? Sure did. Then, they pranked our school’s lunch lady into making spaghetti instead of a fruit salad and today they claimed they were magicians and cracked open an egg on our substitute teacher. Of course, they didn’t mind. But what did I do? Nothing. But the teacher sent me just because I was their friend. ‘Wasn’t that comic gold?’ asked Nick. ‘What are you talking about?’ I replied. ‘You know when we cracked open-.‘ ‘I know what you mean. How could you do that?’ I furiously questioned. ‘Chill’ exclaimed Nick. ‘It’s not that we got extra homework or did a hundred pushups or anything? ‘Oh, yeah, yeah, your right, there is nothing to be afraid of except being sent to the principle’s office while there is a risk she’ll call our parents and we might get to spend additional hours in school’ I sarcastically explained. ‘Come on Sally don’t be a sourpuss.’ 

‘I’m sorry, it’s just that I’m really stressed about my uncle. My parents aren’t home, they had to leave for a business trip to Budapest and now I’m the only one to take care of all the situation back home. I haven’t seen him for years, in fact, I don’t even know what he looks like. There isn’t anything I know about him. I was just 3 when I met him. However, I remember that when I got close to him, I felt this sense of safety and calmness and optimism.’ 

‘It’s okay Sally, we’re here for you. We are just one floor away from you. Anything you need, just call us and we’ll be right there.’ ‘Thanks guys, I don’t know what I’ll do without you. Oh! And sorry for yelling at you.’ 

‘No prob dude.’  

As we reached our flats and parked our bicycles, we would be greeted by the lovely staff and the fragrance of that 24 hour buffet. Things and people, like these would rid my mind of the hard days I endured. However, there was one dweller next door: My neighbor, who is a completely inimical, grumpy, mysterious figure who would seem to haunt the hotel. I don’t know his name though, in fact no one does, weird cause he has lived next to my parents for eight years. People just see him as Frankenstein: They don’t know what he is saying, is expressionless, just demands for one item, in this case his magazines and if he doesn’t get them then boy,  people are up for a big ride. Meanwhile, I made myself some lunch: mash potatoes and some vegan nuggets. Delicious! Did I mention I was a great a chef. Anyway……..

When I finished eating, I took out the rubbish into the dumpster. While I was there, I noticed something quite peculiar. Robert and Nick were by the dumpster, chatting to a silhouette. I shouted hello but they ran off as they heard me. That’s odd. I got confused and just tried to get rid of that image in my mind, so I went back, when I did, I met Robert and Nick again, this time entering Mr. Frankenstein’s unit. I was surprised because even they thought that he was creepy, then why all of a sudden? Quite suspicious if I’m not wrong. I went on a search to find out the truth.  I traced back my steps to the dumpster, where the guys were standing. I went back and found a clue: a purple pom pom that looked as if  it came from a boater. Strangely, I swore I saw this kind of pom pom before and I did! This was Mr. Frankenstein’s. My hypothesis was that the silhouette was Mr. Frankenstein’s. This pom pom could have fallen out of his boater. I continued to find out what was going on. I went towards Mr. Frankenstein and found a notebook and a pen under his mat that belonged to Robert. This time I had no idea what was going on. I knocked on the door, calling out for Nick and Robert. I was knocking when Mr. Frankenstein opened the door and I fell on his belly. ‘Sorry Mr. Frankenstein- I mean- Sir but is Nick and Robert here?’ 

‘They must be home.’ He replied. 

‘But I saw them come in your flat.’ 

‘Were you spying on me?’ He yelled. 

‘Spying? I just want to see if they’re here.’ 

‘Go home kid.’ It was at that moment I got my next clue. How did he know who they were. They barely came near my place, plus he’ll always be inside when they did come. Things are getting fishier by the moment. Speaking of fish, I had  to make dinner. It was 8 at night. I was eating my meal when I heard Nick and Robert. I was glad they were here. They were acting quite surreal. ‘Hi.’ 

‘Hi guys. May I know why you ran when I said hello.’ 

‘Forget about that, we have a surprise for you.’ 

‘A surprise? Really?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Okay……..well don’t mind if I do. So, where is it’ I said after 10 seconds of awkward silence and sharing a smile to each other 

‘Oh, yeah right sorry. Jack, we have to tell you something.’ 

‘What’s wrong?’ I started getting worried. 

‘Jack Bob’s your uncle’ said Nick. ‘Bob’s my uncle?’ ‘Yeah.’ 

Then with a dramatic pause, entered Mr. Frankenstein. ‘Wait, is Mr. Frankenstein my uncle?’ I asked myself. ‘Hey nephew’ said Mr. Frankenstein with a sympathetic tone. ‘Could it be?’ Out of the blue, I started crying because of a motive I didn’t know about until I realised that he lived with my parents for eight years, they didn’t tell me anything about it. Suddenly, everybody started laughing even Mr. Frankenstein. ‘You have been pranked!’ screamed Nick. I was embarrassed from head to toe. ‘Are you serious?’ I shouted with anger. They wouldn’t stop laughing. Slowly, Mr. Frankenstein came towards me. I was kind of scared if he would mock me or yell at me again except he just grinned and said that he was a prankster himself and that he left pranking a few years ago, he didn’t tell why. He said that he lost happiness when he lost pranking and eventually found it again when he tricked me. I felt really bad for him. I guess he wasn’t a freak after all. Oh, and the clues? Well the pom pom did belong to Bob also known as Mr. Frankenstein, same with the notebook and pen, they belonged to Robert to jot down his ideas to prank me but it wasn’t needed so he just put it under the mat for some reason, even though he could’ve taken it inside. I mean Robert is kind of silly and careless. It was at that epoch I lost my mind. 

‘But friends don’t do that’ I said. 

‘See Sally Nick replied ‘that’s the thing. We are more than just friends: You’re the pasta, Robert’s the cheese and I’m the sauce. The cheese and the sauce need to add some spice to the pasta or it will taste dull. You need to relax and be easy.’ 

I chuckled and I need to be careful now. 

Q. Recall a time when you find yourself in a perilous situation. Tell the story how you got into the situation and how you survived. By Fasih-ul-Hassan Taqvi.

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Assef watched with repulse and sorrow as a man, lined against a wall, was yanked by his hair into an eerie looking alleyway. The strict, mullah regime had started a brutal, vicious crackdown on anything deemed not fit to mullah law. This frail individual had been caught in the clandestine act of consuming alcohol. He yelped a phrase in the crude local tongue, raising his hands in a plea for mercy.

The Mullah army officers snickered to each other and one proceeded to land a kick in the petite man’s gut. It was like he hadn’t anticipated it at all. His face appeared to have all air sucked out of it. He collapsed, groaning and grimacing in agonizing discomfort. His humiliating condition was deemed comical by the officers watching him. He seemed to raise his hand to protect himself from another assault, but conveniently was punched right on the nose. Plum coloured blood spurted all over his mouth and cracked lips. Assef tried to cover his mouth, to silence his grief for the man, as he knew what fate lay for him. 

Collectively each army officer standing delivered a ferocious storm of kicks, slaps to the man. He lay limp, motionless. His cries and whimpers of torment that resonate through the concrete jungle in Lambuksh now had fallen silent. Despite his overwhelmed state, the officers continued their attack until one of the officers raised his hand. His peers complied, fixing a wrought-iron whip in his palm. 

“They’re going to kill him”, Assef simmered and mumbled to himself. The Mullah regime had formulated a barbaric tool of torture, a whip that would transform your back into a heap of squirming tissue and flesh. 

“I have to stop them” he irritably whispered. 

In the midst of all the tyranny, he had an idea. Assef couldn’t sit in the shadow, always engulfed by fright and perturbation. His friends and family had been killed and tortured in front of his very eyes. Assef could not see another individual, punished for their ethos and varying morals, be robbed of their existence. He could do nothing then, but on this occasion, he was adamant that an end to this injustice be brought. Though his heart had crawled up to his neck, his arms twitching and shivering in horror, he mustered the audacity to bellow 

“Bas stop”.

The wild pack of jeering officers slowly turned towards him. Assef knew what he said was daunting. Perilous. Perilous enough for him to be killed. Yet he stood firm. The previous months of indignation, anger, that had steadily bottled up like magma in a volcano, let loose. Like a tiger in a cage of lambs. He shuffled through his waist coast, pulled out his pistol and began a wild west duel. With the flick and motion of his wrists, six bullets flew towards the 5 army officers. For good measure, Assef blasted three more rounds. The small battalion stood perplex, unknown to what struck them. The sky darkened, birds fluttered away in panic and the dogs barked in distress.

They crumpled within seconds, like a domino effect. Their faces screamed bewitchment and confusion. How could have they pre-empted, after endless years of harassing others and dominating them, could some un-portentous man like Assef finish them. Assef, the boy who routinely was hassled with whips and at the receiving end of their mockery. Assef, who urinated himself when he neared their pet lions. The boy whose family they finished. 

Now that boy had become a man and stood right before them, bending over their dead corpses. Snickering and cursing their name as the army handcuffed him.

Q) Write a story about a Perilous Experience By Hafsah Nauman

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A pouncing pariah, pacing the parameters of Prague. Poor Piotr, once a pioneer that provided a plethora of pertinence, practicality plus, persistence- pushed over precious land by a perilous plot, painted by Piotr’s perfidious protege. Painfully, the past prodigy, putative prays passively, preparing patiently for the punitive Patryck to become penitent.

“Pray thee, pay a penny to hear of the perilous ploy of Patryck Padlo Penzik the peevish of Prague?”

A pied-piper’s song played past plateaus, during pre-harvest time. The people of Prague were puzzled and proceeded to ponder all possibilities, for you see a pied-pepper’s melody portrayed possible petrifying problems. Paranoid people created a proxysm. Panacea procedures had to be proposed, pronounced and performed publicly and proudly; putting pressure on Piotr.

Pacing around, putting the pains and paranoia of the people on his pronounced shoulders. Purposefully, Prague pointed their attention to passe pioneer, passed out from paramount indulgence in his pen work. Piotr payed for the pied-piper’s play and began to point himself to the produce. Pre-harvest made people patiently plant and produce peppers, particularly, pickled peppers. At which point people cried, perplexed, “ If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?”

The poor peasants perished, planting and planting led to the provocation of pain. Prague placed an prosecution and put Peter Piper on trial. Paid off by Patryck and preventing himself from going to prison. Poisoning the legacy of Piotr, Peter Piper proclaimed, “Priotr Penccilin Pointer has the perfume of pickled peppers protruding from him!”

Patryck placed pickled peppers in his pocket and sat peculiarly close to Priotr, painting him as a pickle pepper thief. The prosecutor proclaimed for his pen-work to perish and burn and for him to only walk across the perimeter of Prague.

What peril the poor old pouncing pariah, who was once a pioneer faced. Painstakingly, waiting for Patryk to become penitent.


The Gypsy By Shamel Mujtaba

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I knocked on the door of the fortune-tellers hut. I had waited a long time to come here – many good and great things have been told about this fortune teller, he was never wrong, and always brought good fortune to the lucky individual who discovered him. Barely able to contain my overwhelming excitement I hammered at the rickety door. The building absolutely fulfilled my expectations – it seemed mysterious, yet had a warm air of comfort around it.

No answer.

I frowned and hammered the door again.

And again, no answer.

The cycle repeated at least three times before I got one.

“Ok!” an annoyed voice called out, “I’m coming…” finishing the sentence with a curse word I am not comfortable with writing.

I heard some shuffling, a bang, more shuffling and some moaning before the mysterious door opened to reveal the gypsy. He was six feet tall, had unwashed hair that threw itself in all directions, sleepy eyes that were open and closed at the same time, wore a long dirty mickey-mouse bathrobe and a pair of fluffy bunny slippers – had he just got out of bed? It was four in the afternoon!

“Huh, Wadya want?”

“I come seeking help from the great fortune teller who resides here.”

“He got a name?

“Umm, I was not told but …”

“Cant help ya bye” the drunkard began to close the door on me, but given my predicament I was desperate, so I stopped it with my foot, “please.” I said as I handed him a roll of money. He glared at it curiously and then at me. His hand shot out and snatched the roll out of mine – the slammed the door shut. “And my fortune!” No answer. Not again. The door opened suddenly and he stood there with a bottle of – something. “Ya comin comin, hiccup” ,he said, beckoning me in with a limp wrist, Who says hiccup as they hiccup? He waddled inside, and I reluctantly followed.

We walked through what should have been his living room, there was an old TV that you would see at your grandmother’s covered in socks parallel to a couch that took it upon itself to replace the bed, the wardrobe and the dining table – it was covered in pillows, bed sheets, unwashed clothes and open pizza boxes with half eaten pizzas.

The floor was no different to be honest. We passed into a small corridor with windy – and rather foreboding – greasy curtains. I sincerely hoped I was not about to get mugged by a drunk.

The room we entered was as messy as the first, with an added bonus of cobwebs and dust. In its center was a lopsided round table with a stool on one end and a rickety rocking chair on the other – in its center was a lonely crystal ball.

The drunk crashed down on the rocking chair – remaining still on the absolute edge of falling over on the crescent of the rocking chair. For him it was just a chair. I stood blankly on the opposite side –waiting for something remotely mystical to take place.

“Well?” the drunkard spat, and with a limp wave of his hand he beckoned me to sit.

Not knowing what else to do, I complied.

He began waving and limply throwing his right hand over the crystal ball in a way that the community of gypsies would find despicable.

“what I see, what I see, you’re here to *Yawn* see yer future, you are suffering, but you get a raise and fall in love and get rich then the reckoning comes – yadda, yadda – all of that standard stuff.”

He then moved his arm to the right – stretching it to reach a worn out hat that was just as tired as he was. The threw the hat over his head and eyes and mumbled, “You can leave now.” Then he fell asleep. In literally one second!

I just sat on the decaying stool in shock – did I just waste a month of my life to reach a silly drunkard who gave me a prediction as accurate as a three year old would (if not less)?

Thinking that it was pointless to argue, I got up and began my way out of the room in disappointment. Suddenly I heard a voice behind me, “And Adam!”

I turned around, confused as I had never told the gypsy my name, the sleepy drunk looked me right in the eye and said, “Good luck.” Before lowering his hat and resuming his nap.

Q – Describe a peaceful place. By Shamel Mujtaba

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Q. Describe a peaceful place.

Ans. The blades of the grassy meadow were softer than the finest silk. The singing of young birds was so well orchestrated that they may have been led by the professional ear of the greatest conductor. The wind breeze provided a cool and relaxing feel as it kissed your cheeks. The trees rustled gently in this very breeze, and the long, green grass formed a slow, melodic wave as it carried the wind, gently touching and tickling your body as you lay in the heavenly bed. The sun shone down upon you, with the exact brightness and warmth it should have. The scene was so incredibly serene and peaceful it could not be real – such a place was the perfect example of a peaceful scene that existed in everyone’s mind.

But, what you call peaceful I call boring.

A peaceful place like the one above would allow your mind to flow freely, and hence fall prey to all the stresses and worries of today. And if your mind is not at peace how could you be?

You need something to keep you busy.

Something with more than one colour.

Something that requires utmost participation of the mind, yet not enough to make it a burden.

Fortunately for you, I have just the thing.

Let me show you.

I held my large and foreboding heavy assault rifle in my hands, and yet – I did not feel worry for myself despite its warning of what was to come next.

It’s a feeling I simply cannot explain.

Interrupting my moment with the rifle, a horrifyingly huge alien foe landed in front of me. He held a large gun – the one and only grenade-launcher. This was no ordinary grenade launcher. I boasted a thick and thirsty curved blade at its rear, specially made foe slicing and dicing an unlucky enemy.  The horrible brute of an enemy stared right into my soul with piercing yellow eyes and murderous intent. I could hear him smacking his leathery lips as he dreamt of the taste of my feeble human flesh in his toothed-chasm of a mouth as the long white hair on his reptilian skin stood erect as his adrenaline flowed through his muscle. He was ready to pounce and tear me to shreds.

But for some reason I did not feel scared. For some reason I was looking forward to his attack, because was ready for him.

He charged at me, bending down so as to hit me headfirst. Considering his boulder of a head this would have been very painful. But I was too good for him. I shrugged and confidently leapt to the side as he charged past me and formed a crater in the opposite wall with a bang. I raised my trusty helper and shouted, “Say hello to my little friend!” and let it rip. The loud, repetitive ‘ratatatatat’ of the rifle was one of the most soothing melodies I have ever heard.

He halted – and the mammoth opponent started shaking as if he were a rag doll with a vibrator inside of him. His torso violently shook side-to-side and his limp arms followed in suit – wagging faster than the tail of an exited puppy. His head rolled and spun and jerked here and there, like he was a teeny-tiny Einstein-bobblehead on the dashboard of a helicopter that was spiraling out of control. His jaw opened and wobbled unnaturally, allowing his surprisingly long tongue to fly out and slap both of his cheeks in turns. His legs merely vibrated in their places, no more active than the atoms of the hardest solid.

His dance must have been the most comical thing I have ever seen.

Finally – the never ending 64 bullet clip on my rifle ended. The award winning dance ended and he stopped wobbling. He just stood there, tongue hanging out of his incredibly wide open mouth. His shoulders dropped and his eyes rolled to the top of his head. His head slowly bent

Downwards and he dropped to his knees with a bang – then fell on his belly with a louder bang. Interestingly, drool still dripped from his mouth despite being dead. Was this because his forked tongue still stuck out a record-breaking 5-inches?

Ignoring that mystery I calmly betrayed my assault rifle for his mean, bladed grenade-launcher. I held it like a flamethrower and departed as if I had just finished a Yoga or Tai-Chi session. I strolled to a large nearby metal door. It looked like it was embedded into the hundred-meter thick concrete wall it pierced. A small crushed and sparking control panel uselessly laid into the wall besides it – Its guts spilt all over the floor. Exposed wires cracked and hissed like undead witches, convinced that I had no way across without aiding them first. Their taunts were just as significant as a flea breathing.

“Hmm…”

No point in wasting brain cells here.

Taking advantage of the super cool and nearly indestructible sky-blue combat armor I wore, I simply kicked it open. The feeble toothpick of the door flew open with a characteristic metal-to-metal clang. It tore parts of the wall besides it, creating a mystical off-whit fog. It landed and wobbled like a fifty-cent coin.

The wires immediately stopped crackling in shock.

I leapt forward out of the ghost mist and proclaimed, “Here’s Johnny!”

Cute little alien foes jumped in shock as I appeared. They appeared to be wearing futuristic glowing gas-masks, with little light slits in the eye region. Their arms were too long for their tiny inverted-cone bodies. Their hands had large gloves that made them bigger than their oval heads. Their tiny brown frog-legs were barely able to support their disproportionate body. To top all this they wore an incredibly large, unimaginative cone-shaped backpack that somehow did not set them off-balance.

The difference between them and my previous foe was that these pigeons were terrified of the spinx cat that stood before them. I was going to exploit their fear like a professional businessman.

“Boo.”

They immediately jumped and ran faster than the hyper-active particles of a gas, screaming and crying on the floor like new-borns. They bounced off walls and each other in perfect projectile motion. I sighed. Turning on, “The Voices of Spring Waltz.” In my helmet, I sent them flying in every direction in spot-on harmony with the music.

And to me, where their limp, confused bodies formed trails of fire as they bounced around like over-cooked popcorn while screaming like hundreds of whistling tea-pots – was indeed a very peaceful place.

I love my Xbox.