Monthly Archives: December 2015

‘Once Bitten, Twice Shy’ by Muhaddisa Ali


Sara had always been a wary person. Having watched the typical films where the main character gets betrayed by someone they trusted too easily, and also having gone through the similar experience of having her best friends “betray” her, it only seemed like the natural thing to do.

She thought that she had learnt her lesson, because she had thought that the lesson had been to not keep your heart – or, in this case, your trust – on your sleeve. And she never once thought that that was not just it. She never thought there was more to it.

It was when she finally faced by the truth that she was able to look at the whole picture.

Sara was fairly popular. She was good at making friends. However, soon she found out how hard it would be to keep them.

To her friends, Sara was a person who would help them. She was a safe of their otherwise unspoken secrets. She was a shoulder to cry on. They trusted her. But did Sara trust them?

Despite having gone through a good amount of experiences together, she was still not sure if she could trust them. However, she discarded the querying thought, giving it no more importance than a trivial disturbance. Things were going well. She did not need to worry about such a thought. At least, that is what she seemed to think.

But, boy, had she been wrong. Her friends did not share this opinion of hers. They confronted her. They told her that they trusted her with their lives (cliché, she thought), and that they did not feel like the feeling was mutual. They told her that they were hurt, and that they were not sure if it was possible for their friendship to prosper if she really could not trust.

Before that moment, Sara had never doubted whether she was actually right in being distant ad distrustful. Whether playing the safe cards had been the better way to go about things in reality, or not.

But after that moment, she understood. While she had been so focused on not getting too coiled up, and end up getting betrayed, she lost sight of where it was actually okay to open up. She forgot to give people a first chance, if not seconds. She turned a blind eye to the importance of occasionally taking risks.

Sara knew, now. She needed to come to terms with this flaw of hers. She needed to grow out of her suspicious nature and distant attitude, and learn where it was okay to trust. All this, too, at the same time as also not exposing herself in situations where her being trusting could be taken advantage of. She needed to find balance.


“I turned to my parents, but they pretended not to hear…” by Manal Makhdum

Anxiety had started to build up in the pit of my stomach. Stress had begun to overpower my mind, making me think irrationally. Beads of sweat dotted down my face and the tension revealed itself through my disturbed appearance. I was in deep, deep, deep trouble.

High school tends to be an extremely competitive year in one’s life. Peer pressure and bullying becomes an obstacle in focusing on academics. This scenario was no different to me. A freshman is a deer in the headlights where every predator aims for it to be it's kill. The school was stranger to me; that city was a stranger to me. I felt alienated.

She strides along the hallway with her silky hair fluttering behind her as her heels click on the floor. Her elegance and grace catches the eyes of many, ogling at her in awe. Her flawless skin glows in the sunlight and her devilishly green, sharp eyes twinkle at the sight of me. She had found her prey.

Gradually, as the time went by, I cruised through high school year along with Miss Popular. Life was a bliss. A freshman gaining popularity? An achievement, nonetheless. Trouble, however, was just around the corner ready to pounce. Expect the unexpected, no?

“Darling, we’ve been friends for so long now – nearly two months. Doesn’t happen often. Feel honoured. Though I feel we haven’t shared our moment yet,” purred Miss Popular. (I would rather not mention the name to avoid memories from flowing in) with an air of pride.
“Well, what would you propose?”
"How about, meet me tonight. And I’ll show you what real fun feels like."
Although an excited 'yes' escaped my lips, her smile sent a chill down my spine.

“I don’t want this!” My yelling could be heard from a mile away. However, the sirens blazing from the end of the street were even more nerve wracking, as the noise pounded in my head.

Her boyfriend kicked me in the chest, making me sink at the spot and shoved a few packets of white powder down my throat. A few scattered around me. Why was she doing this? My head, heavy from all the kicks, and exhaustion creeping over, was fiercely in pain. I began to loose vision, but my last sight was of them running past the fence while two officers huddled around me, unaware of the fiends escaping. The last four words echoed in my head, “You are under arrest.”

 “Mom, dad please try to understand. You're my parents! I don’t care if you’ll have to sacrifice your career or your reputation. You have to help me, now!” 
“This is your problem. You get this upon yourself. Fix it. Your decisions make you, “my father silently responded.

 My everything depended on this. They had to solve this; I needed them. They were lawyers for God’s sake! I turned to my parents, but they pretended not to hear me.

‘I turned to my parents but they pretended not to hear me’ by Mehreen Tariq


I turned to my parents but they pretended not to hear. I sobbed wildly, I screamed and thrashed. Couldn’t they see? Everything was a lie, a colourful, elaborate lie. This was hell, I yelled till my throat was. I was still screaming when the doctors dragged me away. My parents never looked back.

The hot, glaring sun had turned its sweltering gaze on me. We, my parents and I, stood outside the National Scientific Institute, a great mass of marble and stone. My parents chatted excitedly as they pulled me inside. I desperately wished we had gone to see a movie. I allowed myself to be dragged away and mentally prepared myself for hours for hours of pure boredom.

I scanned the tables set with the latest mechanical inventions, a sea of colourful bodies hustled around everywhere. I could see my parents from the corner of my eye, conversing with a professor of some sorts. My parents were great science fanatics and they were always disappointed that I never inherited their weird fetish. Fantasy always charmed me more than cold science. “Hello there,” I whipped around at the voice; a pristinely dressed young man stood smiling at me. “Don’t find anything here interesting?” I shook my head. “Do you want to hear an interesting theory?” I eyed him warily but beckoned for him to go on. “Did you know there are different planes of existence; you only perceive reality as your eyes allow you to. There could be something standing next to you, but you’d never know, because it exists on a different plane of reality, separate from yours.” His voice took a sinister tone, ”everything is a lie.”

With that he disappeared, leaving me utterly confused. I shrugged my shoulders and continued on my way. The bright sunlight from the window caught on a shiny surface, flashing it in my eyes blindingly. For one second, the world around me warped and distorted. It was no longer bright. A miasma of grisly colours swarmed my vision, eyes- there were strange eyes everywhere blinking at me. Humans with animal heads; black ichor dripping from the walls; a mouth with glimmering fangs; shrieking laughter, screeching wails, moans; ghastly phantoms, creatures clawing towards me; greedy to touch me. I heard a distant bloodcurdling scream, before I realized it was mine, ripping from within my throat.

Schizophrenia, hallucinations etc. That’s what the doctors said I had, that I needed help, treatment. They said I was sick. But they cannot see it; the other horrible reality. My parents did not believe me, they cried when they visited me, they hardly spoke to me. The doctors tell me the walls of my room are white. They’re wrong. It’s red.