The Confines (a short story)

The ground stopped shaking. It would do that every so often and unpredictability so. It started off as a tremor and everything would shift out of focus, almost like a camera or whenever I had a little bit too much to drink. Other times it came like torrents of waves, like the very ground had been pulled from right underneath my feet. Strangely enough, that was not the most frightening part. No, my fear was founded in the most unlikeliest of places. The stillness. At first I let myself be deceived by it and allowed myself to stand again, for waves do not rage on forever and there’s only enough sleep and painkillers you can take to sober yourself up, I told myself. But it’s frequent occurrence made me anticipate it, just like you would the very first cries of a newborn. Your ears waiting with baited breath for that guttural sound to let loose from those small lungs and declare to the world their presence. It was that wait, that long excruciating wait that was most unnerving.

If only it had ended there. Not only was the ground ever moving but the room itself in which I was trapped in possessed a type of kinetic energy, one that was directionless and where the walls would try to come together like the closing of a finished book. ‘Would this be the ending of me?’  I wondered to myself as burgeoning tears threatened to spill and cling to the stubble spattered across my chin. As the room tightened so did my throat, forbidding anything from so much as a quiver from escaping.  Despite the pervading darkness that rolled in like clouds of perfume I close my eyes.

Everything is still again, and when I allow myself to open one eye I see the walls of this room, this confine, staring right at me, mocking me as it lies an inch away from brushing against my hairline. Then in one quick whoosh all four walls rush back to their place as if they’re done conspiring against me today and are giving me a chance to catch my breath. ‘How gracious of them,’ I think to myself as I keel over.

The only sound I can hear is my ragged breathing. My heart that would usually be pounding beyond incomprehensible measure lay dormant and was replaced by a dull throbbing, not quite a stubbing of the toe or a punch to the gut type of the pain, but the aftermath of it. The stubborn part of pain that clings like moss hidden in the deep crevices of myself.

My whole body curls inside itself. I wish for escape from this confine but I do not know how. In front of me are bars like prison cells and as I wrap my hands around them they sear like the metal has been forged from the inner depths of hell. Instinctually I let go of my hand and cradle it with the other as I place it close to my lips.  Though I’m not bound by shackles the air is so palpable I feel it weighing me down. Is this some sort of purgatory? Despite my complete ignorance of this wretched place I was certain I wasn’t dead.

Just as I thought I couldn’t be gifted with anymore surprises there was a quick and hurried sound of approaching footsteps that slapped against the cold floor. I forced myself out of the hunched posture I was in and braced myself for whatever was about to come. Perhaps it was the Angel of Death here to transport me to my next destination. Where that was, I could not stomach to fathom.

Stood before me was not an angel though, not in the literal sense anyway. It was a girl. As I edged forward and allowed my eyes to adjust to the brightness that streamed from her torchlight I realised it wasn’t just any girl. It was her.

‘Sienna?’ I tried to say but my voice refused to speak.

The pool of hazel in her eyes were rimmed with a redness that screamed of insomnia and her brown hair that once cascaded down her back like a waterfall now like choppy waters that barely reached her shoulders. She looked small, contained. Like she was about to combust at any moment. She was trapped here too.

‘Sienna?’ I will myself to say again and this time her name comes out as a croak. Her eyes lock with mine and in them they hold a bitter sadness, something far deeper than indignation. I try to reach her through the metal bars but when my fingers brush her arm a flicker of intense heat rushes through me and as I see her wince I have no choice but to pull away.

For the longest time it is quiet and I wonder like me if this place has drained her voice as well as the will to live. But then she begins to speak and her voice is so cold that I forget the heat that seared my hand just moments ago. “You have no idea where we are, do you?”

I blink in surprise at her questioning. I shake my head, unsure of what to say. Was I supposed to know where I am? Seeing Sienna here does give it a sense of familiarity, as though I’ve been here before. But how could I have been?

“Don’t worry, you’re not the only unfortunate one here. We’ve all had to experience the trials” she speaks soberly, so matter of fact about everything. It’s almost jarring.

“W-what are you talking about? Where the hell are we?”

A ghost of a smile appears on her face, it’s a sad smile. One I’d see her plaster to stop  tears from forming. It never worked really. “Don’t you get it? You brought yourself here. Heck, we all brought ourselves here. Down here to this fucking nightmare!” She’s filled with incandescent rage that’s only just rising to the surface, yet her voice is so weak, so brittle.

“Sienna,” I feel my own voice break as I say her name. “Why? Why are we here?”

With her eyes prickled with tears she looks at me, looks at me so intently as if it’s the last time she’ll ever see me. We can’t leave like this. Not again. “We all caused pain. Deep pain. So as consequence we’re here… Trapped inside the aftermath of the pain we inflicted.”

Then everything hits me like a gush of wind and I can feel a wisp of smoke seep into room and wrap itself around my throat. I can hear my voice tickling my ear, taunting me with all of my empty words. My gaze lands on Sienna’s sad eyes once more and the realisation dawns on me that she’s right. I and I alone brought myself here.

And it is her pain which I’m trapped in.

         

                                                                  

                                                                        The End

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Confessions Of A Brown Girl (a poem/rant)

Confessions Of A Brown Girl

From the age of  I can’t quite remember 

There were times where I wish I could scrub off my colour

Hoped my brown skin would flake and fall to the ground like sawdust

Would trade in my salwar kameez for short dresses and skinny jeans

Because nothing screams assimilation like conformity and goose pimples

Maybe we seldom hear brown girl’s voices because they’re too busy being drowned out by the megaphone that white society holds

Tell me, how are we weak?

When our brown mothers are secret weightlifters

On her back she carries her family

She holds a silent strength

She may sometimes be quiet but her stare is loud enough to make brown sons quake in their boots

Yet all her efforts are buried beneath the earth

Concealed from unknowing eyes

But she is the root that allows her children to grow

I’m sure if Lady Liberty could talk she’d say freedom is ripping hijabs off Muslim women’s head

Random security checks at the airport

Viewing Pakistani men as predators

Whilst erasing from your mind all the Harvey Weinsteins and the Jimmy Saviles

If Lady Liberty could talk would she expect us to fly after stripping us of our wings?

As you can tell this brown girl isn’t going to be quiet anytime soon.

~u.h

 

Whilst writing this poem I was feeling really indignant at the way Muslim women and brown women in general are perceived as victims and this assumption that we’re meek. This poem is me giving a big middle finger to all of that.

Writing Challenge

So I’ve seen this writing challenge floating about online where you have to write a story in ten words or under. One of the most famous six word story is attributed to Earnest Hemmingway.

”For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

I thought this concept was so clever and did really well in conveying emotions and the fact that you can only use a  limited amount of words makes the story striking despite it’s seeming simplicity.  I even made some of my own:

‘My pockets aren’t big enough to carry both our pains.’

‘Death’s hand shook mine. “O heavy soul, release your shackles.”

So I wanted to pose this challenge of writing a story in ten words or under to you guys. You can make it as hard hitting, witty or absolutely ridiculous as you want it to be. You can post your story in the comments section and yeah, I’m excited with what you guys come up with 🙂

Get creative ♥️

A Quick Update

Hey guys!

I know I haven’t been posting as regularly as I used to and I’m planning on trying to change that. What I want to do with the blog is add slightly more variety, such as more book reviews, short stories, posting a poem a month and also just any little thoughts and ramblings I have in my head. I find writing therapeutic so I definitely want to start doing more of that. And speaking of writing I am currently writing a novel, it’s a YA fantasy novel and yep, that’s all I’ll say for now 😅 though I will try and do some writing updates from time to time as well.

Anyway, I hope you all have a lovely week 🥰

~u.h

Lost (a poem)

Tolkien once said ‘Not all those who wander are lost” 

Well he forgot to mention that those who are lost 

are either always wandering or wondering

Wondering how on earth they wandered off so far 

to be lost in the first place

But also trying to wander back to that place of not being lost

And wondering what that ever felt like 

You see, the most terrifying thing isn’t being lost

It’s being shoved in the back of the lost and found box

Buried underneath stacks of coats and worn out shoes

And wondering when you’ll ever be found again

If you’ll ever be found again 

Hide with no seek gets kind of lonely after a while 

The counting soon stops

And the footsteps disappear,

They’ve given up looking

Not that I blame them

I too have forgotten where I am 

Or how I got here

I am lost unto myself

Wondering if I’ll ever find me again 

~u.h

i’m sorry (a poem)

i’m sorry for my painful quietness

that echoes my discomfort of not knowing what to say

i’m sorry for my not-so-joke jokes

it’s the only way i know how to fill in the empty spaces

i’m sorry for being so effortlessly clumsy

for lacking that magnetic energy that draws people in

i’m sorry this poem doesn’t rhyme the way it’s supposed to

and that i feel too intensely

 

i’m sorry i‘m not enough for you

the truth is, i find it hard being enough even for myself

and i know we can all feel that there’s this big party we haven’t been invited to

or instead of the earth carrying us

we are carrying the earth on our shoulder planes

just praying it doesn’t crush us with its weight

but i can’t help but feel utterly alone

being stuck in a dark room

where the lights refuse to come on

and nothing is all i see

 

 

i’m sorry if this truth was too bitter to hear

~u.h

January Reads 📚

Hullo! I know I haven’t posted for a few weeks (sorry) but I’m back and ready to share the books that I’ve been reading this month (spoiler; not that many) 🙃

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One would think that a book like this would be aimed at children (whose parent’s probably told them to read to learn a lesson or two) but there was a lot of benefit in reading it as an adult as we are all somebody’s children and because of that we can sometimes fall into the trap of behaving in that selfish child like manner of being ungrateful or worse, indifferent, when it comes to our parents because we have the arrogant assumption that ‘its their job’, which I suppose you can say is true to some extent but this book about parents from the islamic perspective will definitely humble a lot of people as I know it did me.

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I kept mentioning this on my goodreads and I’m going to reiterate it again; as i progress through each book this series keeps on getting better and better!!! I’ll try not to be insensitive and spoil anything but there are definitely a lot of plot twists regarding where certain characters fall on the spectrum of good and bad. Okay, I’ve already said too much 🤐 On to the next book!

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Natives is a book that I’m currently reading by rapper, poet, journalist and political activist, Akala. In this book Akala explores the themes of class and particularly race in Britain, through a personal and historical lense of imperialism and empire that help explain tragedies such as Grenfell, what Rudyard Kipling termed as ‘the white man’s burden’, and how Britain as a country deals with issues of race with ‘polite denial, quiet amusement or outright outrage that one could dare to suggest that the mother of liberty is not a total meritocracy after all.’

The book deals with heavy and what can often be uncomfortable topics that requires nuance as it’s impossible to be seen as a black and white issue (pardon the pun). From what I’ve read so far Akala does this in such an effective and eloquent way that even a simpleton such as myself could understand what he was conveying. For anyone who is interested in subjects such as race and class (particularly in terms of Britain and it’s former empire) then I highly recommend you listen to some Akala’s talks and interviews. Here is just on example (starting from 1:35);

 

I would do a ‘what I’ll be reading next section’ but I’m pretty spontaneous when it comes to choosing what to read. At the moment I’m feeling inclined to also start reading ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ by Jenny Han because after Natives I figure I’m going to need something a bit more lighter and well, fluffier 😂 I’ve also refused to watch the Netflix movie until after I finish the book so hopefully I’ll have that to look forward to as well 😊

That wraps everything nicely. Hope you all have a lovely week ♥️