“At Dawn, from Death”

By Sayma Ahmed (Shanta)

The wailing crows screeched with soulless, dry eyes as the hidden sun burned into breaking waves of sweat. Among an as the hidden sun burned into breaking waves of sweat.Among a sandy, the humid floor of short grass and withering leaves rushed colonies of blinded venomous ants. Abrupt moisture from the rains left puddles of stale water The abrupt moisture from the rains left puddles of stale water., spreading a tasteless vile stench which hazed my scarce, quivering faith. The naive, innocent winds hurled up my hair as the pure scent of forgiveness seeped into my soul. As the faithful hands of my mother stood up in prayer, a familiar manner of hands mimicked, with a hasty altruism evoked by the endearing fear of criticism, whilst longing the proud acceptance of an audience, composed of self-validation.


“Am I doing it right?” thought my yearning self-esteem.


The icy silence of my mind melted as I heard myself. My shifty widened eyes breathed heavily among the landscape, as the reminiscent cries of dawn awakened the dead. My heavily sleep-deprived eyes anticipated the astronomical twilight which flushed into my iris, beaming onto a dreamy adventure, dispersing into pastel waves of coastal blues vanishing at the end of each cloud.


A fierce sudden thought expired at the flinch of an eye and my lively heart rested again. Gloomily whirling on my face, two small beads glistened on the calm stream of my eyes, which were slowly covered by petals, as I peacefully regained the words to the prayer. Consecutively, the malevolent restlessness in my veins simmered down. The hollow silence came shuddering in like a snake, it maliciously grabbed onto my skin, sending a chill to my tongue. From which a muffling vocal toy played as I cleared my throat, and slyly hissed that I was to speak in a desert as if a hushed bird would whisper. The words fell out of my mouth and vanished into thin air, as the awakened city swept the breeze. In fast remembrance, earnestly spoken in the topos of Arabic, my tone was devoted. As the scarcity of words I dropped in my open fists increased, my spirit became shy of failure. This ardent faith held my teeth as rigid as an anchor. Before my mother input her last whispers, I sped up the repetition which took off in my head. It was a mental race for me, sincerely trying to remember the tediously intricate wording of the last religious message.


Alas! Like a shiver down a spine, adrenaline rushed into my head as my timid hands scuffled in pleased restlessness, to present the findings. The wording of the precious, important surah* suddenly waved at me like a long lost forgotten friend, met after years.


“What should I do?” asked my naive brain.


I fell into a hole, with nowhere to run, no one to see. Everywhere I looked, nothing looked back at me. My distracted mind didn’t know to laugh or cry, it felt heavily grateful to thank almighty. Thus those clammy fiddling fingers stood back up, my hardening arched back unfolded and my vulnerable itchy feet rested from shooing away insects once again. However, on my skin, the vicious injection of mosquitos increased the unbearableness to withstand. There was little time and much to say.


As the considerable thoughts of the devils and angels battled in my shifty mind, the song of the ayat* flew in like a flock of birds emerging like the sun from the cloudy shallows. A visible nearby voice recited the religious text as my sharp cognition reminded me the melodic music. The soulful sound danced better than poetry in my head, it devoured the demons and voices that shrilled at me with monotonous cries. Alas, I resisted the red ants, the long flying creatures, the vengeful insects of hell. Unworldly were their presences, unkempt were the images.


I’ve stood still in the wuthering decay of this mountain, looking over the shallow yet unprecedented horizon, the glistening sun, my shivering skin, a few months ago, my grandma, my last, the shiny white hair, her soft feeble touch, reminds me a great deal of my grandparent’s pass. Back into memory, when she last met me, my face, in front of her but her aged mind couldn’t find me, she easily remembered her daughter, my mother she was when I asked her she replied aghast. My observant heart was content, very excited at last that she knew of my presence, not an unknown outcast. Death is inevitable, is what I’ve found out at last, so long should we live, that is unsurpassed.


This mortifying mountain with melancholic thoughts, ridiculed me with zealous greed to nab away my beloved family from me. Such debilitating events, before this at least my mind was at peace! At the end of a prayer, the austere goodbye to my grandma met a familiar whispering within the rustling of leaves, my secretive mother talked of some hellish graveyard land with her brother. My pierced heart had already lost my grandma miles away, now I didn’t want my mum to be buried here. Even thinking of this evocational idea my heart throbbed irregularly. The last thing I would need now or in the gloomy future is to tediously visit this distressing graveyard again. The underlying fear of villainous death ,coagulates my veins, it dries my pale thirsty throat, my red glaring eyes and my frozen white tongue. None of me can speak, nor even run.


Enraged, I clenched my fists, but my broken sharp nails grinded into my thick skin ironically. My mind fell prey to an undying anger. It’s the one which cannot be tamed, but the one that never fails to confront. It is my enemy as much as it considers me friend. Nonetheless, I’ve been taken aback at my mother’s intimidating gaze. Seemingly she figured my raspy discomfort at her speech, as a result of mumbling in an unlikely manner. Consciously thinking, it is not her fault, she is to decide where she may last rest. Afterall, death is the end, afterwards, nothing brings a soul back, once summoned, forever it must rest.


ayat* – Verse from the Holy Quran (Religious Text of Islam)

surah* –  Chapter of the Holy Quran (Religious Text of Islam)

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