Islamic Fiction Contest Winner - 2012
Youth Category - 1st Place
A World Of Darkness
by: Ayesha Ellahi
Dark shadows leap up at me, grabbing me, trying to pull me down. But I just keep running. I don’t know where I’m running to, I just know I’m running away from those shadows. Wait, …but I’m also leaving the warmth of that fancy streetlamp which also happens to be the only source of light in this…..darkness. Drats! But the shadows are still behind me. I can feel them sucking out all the warmth from me. So I run faster and faster until I start panting and my chest heaves from the exertion.
I stop, bend over, and try to calm my rapidly beating heart and soothe the cramps in my stomach. But I can’t because I’m scared and…. a little confused? Where am I? What were those shadows? I remember seeing a fancy street lamp, probably form the Victorian age, in the middle of…. the street? No, that wasn’t a street. It was anything but a street. Everything was pitch black. There was no sky, no earth, no walls…nothing. I just remember standing next to the street lamp with my arms crossed, gazing at it with peace and with a mind as empty of thoughts as a slate empty of words.
All I felt was warmth coursing through my body, until I started feeling anxious for no plausible reason. I felt coldness creeping down my spine and I started to pace back and forth. I began to worry because I’ve only paced in anxiousness twice in my life, and both times, something terrible was happening. Suddenly, on a strange impulse I take a few steps away from the street lamp, and I trip. As I begin to wonder what I could’ve possibly tripped over, seeing that this place was absolutely empty, I turned my head around and the being that I saw was terrifying. Not because it was ugly, it had no features I could make out, but mostly because I had never seen a creature like the one that was staring back at me.
It looked like a shadow with a vague figure if looked closely at, but a passerby wouldn’t have even noticed the being was something other than a shadow if they didn’t bother giving it a second look. As soon as I saw it and it’s other companions, I took off. This was no time for friendly exchanges and introductions. I knew that the minute it tricked me out of the security of that streetlamp, I was in big trouble. Wait, it tricked me? Yeah, it did…sort of. I mean I actually had felt the temptation to step out of the streetlamp’s light for curiosity’s sake. But then I’d feel the soothing warmth of the streetlamp and I’d forget it. However, when I’d started pacing back and forth, the temptation had become stronger. Within a few moments I had begun to distance myself from the streetlamp and I fall into the shadow’s trap.
Just. Like. That. All it took was tempting my mind and here I am running for my dear life. Ever heard of the saying: “Curiosity kills the cat.” Well, I think I’ve just understood its meaning…the hard way. Well, it’s nice to know that even in the last few moments of my life, I can still learn something in English, right? (or is it poetry? Whatever. I’m about to get killed by a shadow for pity’s sake.)
Suddenly, I remember I should be reciting the Shahaadah and praying to Allah that I die with as little pain as possible. As I begin to say the first few words of the Shahaadah, something clicks in my mind: this can’t be real! Shadows, are going to kill me? How does that make sense? And suddenly I become aware of things slowing down. The hazy details and unnatural circumstances of my surroundings all support the realization that has finally decided to squeeze its way though my brain. IM DREAMING. Everything that just happened wasn’t real. Slowly, I awaken. First my surroundings fade from black, to gray, and then to white. I begin to feel the softness of my bed, the warmth of my comforter, and the stiffness of my back. I hear the ticking of my clock, and as I open my eyes, I finally get to see the colors, the shapes, and the light. Oh the beautiful streams of golden light, breaking through my curtains! I stretch, taking it all in. I absorb the warmth and soak myself in it.
The dream was so vivid. I decided I needed to write my feelings in my journal. I gave a brief summary of my dream and continued my journal with the following words:
I was only dreaming! I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am. You see, I’m not blind! The gift of sight has never been more valuable to me before. Only yesterday I was reading an article on a young girl who had just turned blind at the age of twenty-four. She had gone through so many struggles. The dream I had just woke up from was, for a time, her living nightmare. At least these sensations for me stayed in the dream world, but as she noted in her article, “ I couldn’t help but feel that the world was a place of endless darkness”. Once I had finished reading the article I had dismissed the young woman as too sensitive and thought that with the technology today, blindness can’t be that bad. It’s true that blindness is not as difficult of a problem to deal with as it might have been a hundred years ago, but a person would take sight over blindness any day! The article told the author’s story of self-denial and depression, and exactly how every waking moment of her life tormented her. Somehow, she thought blindness was like death creeping up on her every time she stumbled. I guess her strong story got into my head because not only did I have that horrible, vivid dream, but also, the next morning I didn’t complain once about having to wear contacts. I’m sure my mom was saying “Alhumdullilah” a million times in her head. I don’t think I am ever going to underestimate a blessing. Not even the ones that are hardly even close to looking like blessings!
With Sincere Love,
Next time you try to trick me, just know that I know what the saying, “ Curiosity kills the cat” means. Plus, I ain’t afraid of no shadows! Haha….beat that!
With Absolutely No Kindness,