Category Archives: Short Stories

The slit of a wrist

I slide against the door, sitting on the cold floor with my knees pressed against my chest. The back of my head is leaning on the wooden door, next to the doorknob. A pounding headache is wrapping its arms around my temples. I can’t think straight. The voices in the back of my head that I’m trying to ignore are getting louder and louder. They’re buzzing through my mind like bees do when they’re making honey. But the thoughts pulsing inside my head aren’t sweet, they’re as bitter as blood.

“You’re so useless,” a soft echo screeches in my mind.
“Maybe you should just die.” Another argues. “God doesn’t make mistakes, but look He made you.” I find myself nodding, silently agreeing with those greedy voices. Maybe they’re right. Maybe I am useless-

“No,” a softer voice cajoles. “Don’t say that, love.”
“Yeah. You’re amazing.”

The war I’m trying to avoid is taking place within me. I’m tired of begging to a God who has no intentions of listening to me. I’m done fighting a war that only leaves behind scars no one can see. I’m scared of embracing a future I can’t fully comprehend. I’m terrified of looking into a past I can’t understand.

My chest is bleeding, but there’s no blood. My wounds are so raw, yet they can’t be healed. I’m losing, falling, failing, and I’m okay with that. The tunnel that’s supposed to be filled with light, is drenched in darkness.

In my hand, I’m holding a blade that’s an inch long but it’s as sharp as a knife. I twirl it in between my fingers and wait for the voices in my head to subside. Tears as thick as raindrops leak through my lashes and roll down my cheeks, disappearing somewhere in my clothes. The saltiness stings my eyes, making me blink twice as fast. The blue bathroom tiles seem so blurry and the fishes on the curtains, hiding the bathtub from view, seem so alive; I’m convinced I’m underwater. Maybe that’s why I can’t breathe. My lungs are imploding, and I can’t seem to inhale or exhale.

The anxiety kicks in first and then the panic attack. Anxiety slowly slithers into the pit of my stomach as it nestles in my chest. The panic attack creeps up behind me, and I find myself begging for it to leave me alone as a helpless child does to a kidnapper. The voices in my head become sharper and the anxiety is starting to take a hold of my limbs, draining all the energy in me.

For a split second, I numb out the voices and focus on that blade in my hand. It doesn’t seem sharp anymore and for some odd reason, I want it to be sharper. I place it against my arm; the cold metal tingles my flesh as I slide it down, putting more force towards the end. Blood pours down my skin, paralyzing all those voices screeching in my brain. I watch the drops trickle down my arm as they drip on the pink tiled floor. I move the blade and jab it back into my skin, putting in more force then I did before. The sting freezes all the emotional pain, and all I feel is the ache in my arms spreading through my shoulder, palm, and fingers. It’s the kind of pain that brings joy. The one that makes you feel alive when every cell in your body is aching to die. It’s the kind of ache that sidetracks you from pain. The kind of euphoria that comes in the form of a burn. More blood drips down, forming a puddle that’s mixed with my tears.

I take the blade again and this time with rage mash it into my wrist with as much force as I can, pouring all my resentment and anger in that tiny metal. The blood rushes out like a gushing river, and I am so dazed by the red hue that all the pain just vanishes. The white wooden door, my clothes, the tiles, everything is draped in red.

Like a murder scene.

The soft voice whispers in my ear with such ease that I smile. I lie down on the cold floor, on the pool of my own blood.

It’s okay, child. It’ll all get better.

I close my eyes listening to that alluring voice as it wraps me around in its thick arms. I feel an odd darkness take a hold of me.

Photo by it’s me neosiam from Pexels

The Ant and the kingdom

In the forest of Halacin lived a little ant who had to work hard to store food for the winter. He would leave his little sand castle built beneath the tree leaves, go out into the forest and scavenge for food, but he was always scared because he was small. He was afraid someone would unconsciously step on him. One day he saw a falcon flying in the sky and he said to himself, “I wish I was that falcon. I would never come down, and I would never be crushed beneath these Halacin animals.”

The falcon flying in the air was a soldier of the kingdom. She had to protect everyone and in case of danger, she had to warn the animals of the kingdom. She was tired of flying and she wanted to kiss the land. One day while she went on her daily round she saw the lion and said to herself, “if I was that lion I would be scary and fierce, and everyone would run away from me. I would never leave the ground.”

The lion was the most dangerous animal, and everyone feared him, but he had no friends and he wanted to be loved. He wished the animals would see him for his personality, not the rumors everyone had spread around him. One day the lion was going home, and he saw the big-grey elephant, who was surrounded by so many people. He was jealous, and he said, “I wish I was that elephant then everyone would like me.”

The elephant who was the most liked animal in the kingdom was tired of all the animals around him. He wanted to be alone. He needed time to think for himself, but the animals would surround him and never let him go. One day he saw a tiny ant carrying food on his back. The ant was so small that he disappeared somewhere beneath the leaves. The elephant gaped at the disappearing ant and said, “I wish I was that ant. I would be so small that I could easily disappear.”

Photo by Nandhu Kumar from Pexels

Comfort of a ghost

I’m sitting on the wooden benches, in Astoria Blvd, waiting for the Manhattan-bound N train. It’s so cold outside that vapor comes out of my mouth every time I take a breath. The tips of my fingers are frozen, and I blow into them every five minutes to keep them warm.

It’s snowing and raining at the same time. My shoes are wet, and I can feel my cold socks cling to my skin, but I can’t feel my toes. The coldness rattles up to my ankles and it’s slowly clawing up to my calf.

For a moment I stare at the rusty, old tracks and there’s a voice in the back of my head, telling me to jump on them as soon as the train comes, but the voice fades away beneath the stress of tomorrow.

I try to focus on the long walk home. It’s getting dark and because of the slippery roads, the buses will take forever. I’ll get home faster if I jog. I don’t have an umbrella, maybe I can buy one on the way, but I don’t have cash; I forgot my wallet at home. The thought makes me curse myself, and the harsh voice in my head scolds me for being careless.

I lean back and divert my attention to the Tri-borough bridge. The cars passing beneath the train station, with their colorful red and white lights, vanish in the fog and reappear close to the blue bridge; but all I can see are blurry outlines and flickering lights.

The day didn’t go well; not like the other days are any different. But today it felt like someone was suffocating me. Like someone had lowered the pressure of the oxygen in the air. Like something heavy was sitting on my chest. Nothing went well. I failed two of my classes, and I won’t be graduating on time. The thought doesn’t bother me, what bothers me is having to explain all this to my dad. What will I tell him? His hopes are bounded to me and my siblings, and my failing is like stabbing him in the chest. Things at home aren’t well either. My parents have issues of their own. It’s like I’m forced into these two wars and ironically, I’m losing both of them. I’m at that point, where everything feels like a burden. No matter how much effort I put into something, I always fail, and I’m tired of failing. I’m tired of trying. Tired of just existing.

I’m in pain, and it’s the type of pain that can’t be explained. That can’t be put into words; no matter what language I use.

The train comes after half an hour, and the walk home isn’t as long as I imagine it to be. Maybe because I run half the way, splashing water all over my clothes.

At home, no one asks me any questions, and I am grateful. Everyone is too occupied with their own issues, that my little problem seems like a minor inconvenience. My blotchy cheeks and stuffy nose are the result of the rain- that’s what everyone thinks, and I don’t correct them. I could easily break down but besides “get over it”, “have faith,” or “I’ve been through worse,” I won’t get any other form of comfort.

I change my clothes and go straight to bed. I have an English paper and a lab report due, but I don’t care. Nothing seems important. My mind is messed up, and I’ll probably break down crying. I just want to sleep. But as soon as I close my eyes, tears as big as raindrops cascade down my cheeks. Searing pain is ripping through my chest and it hurts so bad that I can’t put it into words. I’m wheezing, and I can’t seem to breathe. I want to yank my heart out of my chest and squeeze it until it explodes. A throbbing headache spills through my skull, and I find myself questioning God.

But as soon as I close my eyes. Hands as soft as feathers touch my forehead, and I feel an odd, unexplainable warmth spread through my body. Like someone has wrapped me around in a nice tepid blanket. Like all the negative thoughts in my mind are caged behind bars of tranquility.

“It’ll all be okay,” a voice as warm as the sun whispers into my earlobe and I can feel the warmth of someone’s breath. The voice reverberates in my mind, and I find myself repeating those same words.

For a moment there’s comfort. A one I’ve never felt before, but as soon as I open my eyes there’s no one around me, but I feel like I’m being watched. Like someone, invisible is hovering over my head. I’m too tired to think. Too tired to comprehend.

I close my eyes, and I feel someone massaging my scalp. Someone is sitting next to me on the bed and is whispering “everything is going to be okay.” And for some odd reason, I believe that voice. I feel an odd ecstasy take a hold of my body, easing every cell rushing through my veins. It doesn’t take long for me to fall into a deep, dreamless slumber.

Photo by Syed Hasan Mehdi from Pexels

A page from my diary…

Because I find myself thinking about you in the oddest of all times. You’ve left your mark on me, and its embedded so deep that sometimes I can feel it tug at my lips. I smile at the thought of you like a salve placed on a burning wound I didn’t know I had. You’re like a cure to a poison that tends to swallow people with just a few words. Your voice is like a melody, and I hear it calming me down in the back of my head whenever I’m stressed. You listen not because you’re obligated to but because you want to understand, and that’s all that matters. I’m surrounded by people who hear but don’t comprehend.

I miss talking to you. I miss waiting for you to call. I miss being sidetracked from a fight I know I won’t ever win. I miss worrying about things I have no say in. I miss knowing that I had a safety-net waiting to catch me if I ever fell. I miss being happy. I miss the feeling of comfort when I talked to you. I don’t know that the home I was seeking was in you. But life is a gamble and I choose to play it safe. The endless outcomes, the probabilities, the possibilities all scare me. I’m terrified of being broken and terrified of breaking. So I will wrap you and seal you somewhere in the back of my mind and I will lock that door for it to never open again. But I know like a thorn you will sting, and you will hurt.

I’m a snake, and I will poison you the first chance I get. I will bite you and then blame you for what I’ve done. You don’t understand that you are the breeze of heaven and I am the wrecks of hell. You’re like a lighthouse illuminating the dark sky, and I am the ruthless ocean.

I am unstable and like a radioisotope, I will change forms to gain stability, but in my reaction, you’ll decay. In my degeneracy, you’ll lose your orbit. I will explode, and you’ll fall in my destruction. In my reforming, you’ll break.

I’m terrified of commitment because I am an eagle and eagles never touch the ground. I’m scared of loyalty, of love, of everything I’m not. But I will let you go, even though you’ve carved your name somewhere in my heart. I will clench my teeth, bite my tongue, cry but I will let you go. I will release you.

Photo by Min An from Pexels

The kiss of failure!

Isn’t it weird how sometimes you work so hard on something, just to be kissed by failure at the end? And it’s not the soft, subtle kiss you find in those happy ever afters. It’s one of those kisses that makes your heart sink somewhere near your kidneys. The one that makes you doubt your very existence. It’s the kind of kiss that haunts you for the rest of your life.

The kiss of failure never comes alone. It comes with self-hatred, doubt, desperation, and despair. It slowly creeps on you from the back and jumps on you when you least expect it. But you fall so hard that the earth stops rotating on its axis and I’m sure the sound is so loud that the angels up in heaven can hear it too. I’m sure they’ve gotten used to it by now.

Failure isn’t the only thing that bothers me. The after effects are just as worse; like an earthquake. When it comes it rips and tears everything apart and the after-shocks are just as worse. They break what’s already broken.

It’s like your mind becomes your greatest enemy and the world transforms into a very dark place. The beautiful masks people wear come dripping off and you get to see their real faces and they’re not pretty. You understand your fall but along with that, you understand what value people around you have. You understand that the mountain you were climbing had faults of its own. I’m not saying that failure is a bad thing, but it isn’t something that gives you comfort. If there’s one thing I’ve learned that is- the mountains you want to climb won’t get smaller. The paths you want to voyage won’t get prettier. The journeys you want to travel won’t get easier. And the fall definitely won’t hurt less. But the real question is how badly do you want it? How badly are you willing to fail? To fall? To crash? To burn? And then to reform? If your will to reach the peak empowers all other wills, then even failure will bow down to you.

It’s hard, very hard to swim in an ocean that’s pulling you down, and yet here you are, trying to climb a mountain you can’t even see. But if you give in, the waves will drown you. If you fight, then maybe, just maybe the waves will give up and they’ll push you to the shore.

There was once a man in Halacin who wanted to become an artist, but his parents forced him to become a doctor because according to them an artist had no value. “Artists don’t get paid much. How will you live? How will you ever be happy?” the parents argued. The man wanted to please his parents, so he left his passion and went to med school. There he studied hard, but no matter how much effort he put into his work, he would always fail. His joy vanished, and his heart did not align with his head. Every second that passed by pulled him toward art, but the man did not give in.

Because the man was doing so poorly in med-school, he was kicked out. Having no other option, the man burned his books and set sail to begin his journey as an artist. His parents disowned him and because of that the man had to take odd jobs to support himself. He worked as a mechanic, a dishwasher, a servant, but he did not complain. He was happy because for the first time he was listening to that voice in the back of his head.

The man wandered for years, but he couldn’t find a destination. Every journey he would travel would lead him to more turns. The man, tired of being on the road for so long, and aimlessly walking around, became tired and decided to give up and go back to his parents.

His parents were willing to accept him on one condition; that he follow the journey they had chosen for him. The man did as he was told, but he was unhappy, and he failed miserably. He did not understand what life had in store for him, but he knew one thing that failing while dreaming didn’t hurt as bad as failing without any dreams. The man, even with failure constantly kissing him, understood one thing, that failure was inevitable and so was suffering. No matter what journey he chose he was bound to fail, but he could choose what type of failure he was willing to endure. And in that instance when he did not know which journey to choose, he understood that he was willing to fail again and again, on a journey that made him happy. He was willing to suffer on a journey without a destination because it made him value himself. It taught him that failure is just as important as success.

He told his parents that he was willing to suffer, but of his own accord. His parents, furious with him, kicked him out again. The journey his parents had seen for him was easy, but it didn’t make him happy. Yes, he had a clean bed and warm food, but he lacked the ambition to move forward. He lacked the desire to do something.

The man left his parents and aimlessly voyaged again. He faced many setbacks and there were times when he wanted to give up, but he always remembered the reason why he held on for so long. When the man finally climbed the mountain of despair and hopelessness, he saw victory, wearing a blue cape, waiting for him on the peak of the mountain.

“Took you long enough,” victory scowled. The man was baffled. He was mad, angry, and annoyed. He was furious at victory. He couldn’t hold in his tears anymore, so he wailed like a small child.

“Why?” The man cried. “I spent years searching for you. Did you not pity me at all?”

Victory smiled at the man and said, “Every time you took a step toward me, I took two steps toward you and every time you stopped, I stopped with you. Every time you doubted me I doubted you. We’re linked. Don’t you understand that you’ve made it here on the back of failure? It was your perseverance that bought me here, to you.”

I’m not saying that your path will be easy. It won’t. But comparing your journey to someone else’s won’t make things better. Failure is a part of life. Maybe instead of fighting it, we should learn to embrace it. Kiss it back with such passion that victory gets jealous. Learn, and move on. But remember, every fall of yours is bringing victory closer to you.