I don’t have much time, my sentencing is in a few days, so I will cut to the chase. I am sorry for not speaking to you or Benjamin throughout all of this. I have sent him a separate note… But now that I’ve had some time to think, I want to tell you about recent events from my point of view; from the way I have experienced things; in contrast to the secondary tales from social media (like The Net- I have much to say about them later).
As you know, your son, my older brother, has been spreading the news that I was attacked by a wolf and that I may never return. The wolf of insanity. He has told you all that he tried to help me, but I was dragged away by this fiend.
Adam and Hira had just turned twenty, when they realised, they were in prison. Now they could see four monumental walls topped with barbed wire to the north, south, east and west. Now they could make out the prison officer uniforms on men and women they had not noticed before. Now they could see other prisoners around them, looking and behaving much like themselves. Fear and anguish grew chains around their hands and ankles; the couple struggled to move as the realisation took hold of them; their breaths quickened and sweat trickled on their heads. How on earth did they not realise this before? Why were they prisoners? What had they done wrong? As far as they knew, they had lived an average life in an average town, following the law of the land, most of the time, and keeping out of trouble. Yet now they found themselves languishing behind towering walls and barbed wire.
In Islamabad arrivals, a great hullabaloo arose, like a volcano erupting. Hundreds of tired and disgruntled travellers crowded the luggage belts, struggling to catch sight of their possessions, like a flock of herons, frantically searching the water for fish. Faces scowled; babies wailed; ladies sat back, fanning themselves with their scarves. It had been two hours; their luggage had failed to arrive and, to make matters worse, the luggage of the next arrivals was beginning to appear instead.
“What the hell is this!” yelled a large, moustachioed fellow, in a rich, white salwar qameez. The officials, in blue uniforms, continued to play dumb, expressing platitudes: “we have some technical difficulties… One of the computers has malfunctioned, but it will be fixed, and your luggage will be here soon.”
Becalmed, the wide rubber raft floated aimlessly on the choppy waters, far from any sort of assistance. Huddled and shivering, refugees and migrants from a plethora of regions rubbed their hands and bodies. Mothers swaddled their children around their own meagre coats, while the irascible captain yelled and cursed at the steaming motor at the back. Holding his walkie-talkie close to his heart like a keepsake, he barked at his accomplices back in their base, demanding to know why his rescue boat had not arrived. Crackling voices responded, urging him to stay calm and wait.
“Hey, Mr Syria!” Yelled a young man, with deep dark skin like a killer whale and piercing eyes; the whiteness shone like the moon in the night. “We have some time. And we hear you can tell some stories….”
There once were two men: Abdul Razzaq and Abdul Ghani.
Abdul Razzaq was a faithful man, who was very resourceful, with a talent for acquiring wealth. By the age of forty, he had paid off the mortgages of three properties, rented them out and his portfolio continued to grow promisingly.
I was roaming outside on the vast fields under the tearful sky searching for my beloved one.
I lost her the previous night, while I slept, while I drifted through the valleys of discontentment in my dreams. When I awoke, she was gone… And realising my folly, I rushed out of my house searching desperately for her. Searching up trees, walking into caves, scaling the solitary hills of woe. I had not found her and I was becoming a nervous wreck of a soul. Before I left, I rang my teacher and asked him what I should do.
“What is she looking at?”
Lucy’s friends glanced at her and then at the figure on the other side of the street, who stood watching them, while they sat around the chic table outside a prestigious city wine bar.
“She’s been staring at us, or rather at me, for a long time,” remarked Lucy, flicking back her gorgeous, auburn hair, taking a long drag of her sleek cigarette nonchalantly like Greta Garbo.
“I don’t think she’s looking at you my dear,” remarked Lucy’s confidante, Roxanne, “she’s probably senile.”
“A bit creepy though,” chimed in their friend Saba. “That’s not right the way she’s just looking at us.”
“Don’t stare back!” insisted Lucy. “She might come up to us!”
Roxanne interrupted: “Just ignore her. Pretend she’s not even there.”
Mullah Khan, the irrepressible zealot and his sons, had been forced to attend the first ever de-radicalization programme, sanctioned and championed by none other than the British Prime Minister himself, Davis Cameroon. Khan and his sons were deemed social menaces with their firebrand Islamism, their desperation for Britain to become an Islamic state, their adoration for the self-styled caliph of ISIS, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, and also for their failed mission to blow up a pig farm in Dudley with an explosive that they named “Kufr-Killer”.
“All things hang like a drop of dew
Upon a blade of grass”. W B Yeats
A lush and fertile patch of grass shivered in the breeze, sighing blissfully. Fully exposed to the benevolent sun and enriched by the timely monsoons, the grass grew to a staggering height, accommodating countless creatures great and small. Nothing, so it seemed, could curtail its life-force; nothing could obstruct the sun or the rain replenishing it. The grass was suffused with a rich and deep shade of green, so much so that just to look upon it brought relief to hearts, just to hear its whispers in the wind brought tranquility to troubled minds.
Novid Shaid’s short stories are now available for purchase on Amazon.
These short stories explore Islamic and Sufic themes, presenting characters and situations that resonate with contemporary culture and Muslims.
AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.
Novid Shaid Short Stories: Volume One