A brief hello

Hello my dears! By now you have figured out that I’m a horrible liar but there will be an Aneksi installment in the new future. But I’m not here to talk about that and in fact this is more of an official hiatus. I am writing this рost in the airport as I wait for a flight to Germany. I am leaving the country for my wedding in Tajikistan! So there will be blogs in the future but they might have more to do with my trip.

I’ve never been out of the US before, except briefly in Mexico back when you didn’t need a рassрort, so I’m excited and nervous. Most of you are aware that I am legally married but I never had an official wedding. I’ve been waiting for this day for the last three years and I’m hoping everything goes well. 

So I will have рlenty of рictures and stories for you all when I return, but for now I must bid you adieu. 

Star of Рersia 

No Excuses

Ramadan Mubarak to my fellow Muslims, or happy Sunday to everyone else. It has been a long time since I’ve sit down and wrote a blog and it feels good to be back. My title for this post isn’t just because I’ve run out of reasons for not posting regularly, but also because now I don’t have any reason to write on my blog.

The last four months was my final semester at my university and I can officially say that I have a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies, i.e Humanities, with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. It was a lot of hard work and I was sick through finals week and my commencement ceremony, but nearly getting pneumonia was worth it. Now is the scary part. It hasn’t hit me that I am done with school, for now. Maybe it’s because it’s the summer and once the autumn comes reality will come crashing down. Because now it’s time to be an adult, whatever that means.

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My wedding finally has a date that is set in stone. It will be in August and that realization is very evident. Of course,  you all know I have been married for 2 and a half years now, but something about this wedding seems very permanent. Like now it’s actually real. Silly I know but that’s how I’ve been feeling.

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I know that for a lot of graduates, at least in the US, finding a job afterwards is very difficult. But you all don’t have to worry about me because I have a job. I work in a daycare. Yes, yes I have a college degree and I work at a daycare, part time. But this was intentional. Well, I would have loved to find a part time job that pertained more to my major, but I’ve worked with children for most of my life and I really enjoy it. Working part time was intentional though. It’s a good way to save for graduate school, and because it benefits me and you in that I get to focus on my writing. I really need to sit down and get to the keyboard, which is a bit hard for a procrastinator like me, but I’m excited to develop my Aneksi story even further. I have other stories that I want to work on too, so InshAllah I can share those with you guys as well (and look this soulful doing it).

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Although it might not seem like it, I really love writing on my blog. It’s spontaneous and accessible and I feel safe writing to you all. So besides working on my stories, I am also going to try blogging more. Add to that I want to read more, but I think that could help with my blogposts and I can share and get your guys’ feedback. I’m almost at a hundred followers, hopefully I’ll get there before my two year anniversary. I promise I won’t be long.

Star of Persia

 

Over the river and into the darkness

Here you are my lovelies. The next installment of Aneksi is finally available. Forgive me if it’s a bit short, but I must leave you all with some suspense that makes you want to come back. This part was a little hard for me because I feel that I’m going too quickly. Feel free to leave any feedback in the comments. Enjoy!

The Journey Beyond: Part II (cont.)

 

Drip. Drop. Drip. Drop. Soft raindrops trickle down Aneksi’s dusty body. They fall in a soft pattering, that turns into a shower. The coolness of the rain extinguishes her despair. Aneksi pulls herself to a crouch. The water streams through her hair and down every patch of skin. All the sand that clings to her falls away, leaving her clean and pure. Her spirit rises to greet the rain and sings with joy. Aneksi brings herself to her full height. She looks up into the sky and allows the water to renew her. A calmness comes over her that fills her entire being. Aneksi sways in the monsoon, allowing it to permeate every part of her.

Ribbit. Ribbit. Aneksi wrinkles her nose. Ribbit. She opens her eyes. There is still nothing around her. Ribbit, ribbit. She looks at the ground. There breaking through the sand are marble like frogs. They glisten in emeralds, sapphires, and every shade of blue and green color in between. The frogs are scrambling to the surface. The frogs form themselves into a path that leads to Aneksi’s right. She looks up to the heavens. Whether it was the will of the gods or not, she didn’t have any other options. Aneksi follows after the frogs. They create a blue green river that snakes through the desert. It winds lazily through the sand,  scarring the face of the desert. The current of frogs goes up and down the hills of the desert, but eventually they become a downward spiral. With the distraction of the downpour and paying attention to following the frogs. Aneksi no longer notices the ache in her muscles or the emptiness of her stomach. All she cares about it pushing forward in the hope of finding something at the end of the river of frogs. Or maybe someone.

After crossing a low hill, the frogs at last taper off and lead to the entrance of a pit. Aneksi stands beside the rim. She cannot see the bottom and light fails to illuminate its features. She glances behind her. The frogs are beginning to dissipate and burrow into the damp earth. Sighing, Aneksi reaches her foot forward with trepidation. She finds a step and begins to inch her way into the pit. The slap of her soles echo as she continues downwards. The moonlight from above begins to dissipate and the shadows of the cavern slowly surround her. Aneksi reaches the last step. She peers into the darkness and tries to find any source of light. The smell of wet soil fills her nose. The only sound is the faint drops of rain above Aneksi.

Something itches its way across her foot. Aneksi screeches and swipes at both her feet. In the blackness, a glint of light appears. Craning her neck down, Aneksi finds a scarab beetle, but it’s not like the ones she is used to. It glows a warm amber. She reaches out a finger and it skitters away from her. Trying not to squish it, Aneksi follows the beetle. More of the scarabs begin to pop up forming an outline of a path. They blink back at Aneksi warming the chill of the cavern. She follows the glowing beetles as they appear with more and more frequency. The light they create reminds Aneksi of Nour and a pang of sorrow sounds in her heart. What she would give to see his golden eyes or feel his soft fur. But Aneksi pushes those thoughts away as she focuses on the scarabs guiding her. She can’t begin to think of the others or else the sadness underneath her surface might drown her again.

Ahead of her, Aneksi sees a faint light. But as she wanders closer to it, the scarab beetles begin to disappear. The soft rays emanating ahead help Aneksi to see the path in front of her. She blinks her tired eyes. Her stomach moans and her feet echo their sentiments. But then the whisper of voices make Aneksi come to a halt. She strains her ears. Yes, there is definitely the sound of people. Even maybe a lyre? Aneksi begins to run. The smack of her feet reverberates through the tunnel. The light becomes brighter and more blinding until Aneksi can’t see anything in front of her. But the possibility of seeing another person makes her fearless. The light engulfs Aneksi forcing her to stop. She blinks until her eyes until they adjust.

Checking in

Hello my lovelies! I know I shouldn’t have to apologize every time that I take a long break from blogging, but I feel guilty. Also this is not another Aneksi post, but keep your eyes open. My last semester of college is officially underway! It doesn’t feel like it is and this is simply another cycle of studying and stress, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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So class update. I am taking six classes this semester. One of which is Spanish. This is my fourth semester and I have yet another new professor. I am growing more confident in the knowledge that I do have, but less so in my ability to master this language. Kudos to all you multilingual people out there. I don’t know how you do it.

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I am taking two women and gender studies classes. One of which I’m not actually physically attending. But I still have to all the work. The other one is a capstone and is a requirement for my WGSS minor. While it seems fun, this will be the fourth week and we haven’t even done anything. This is because the students in the class get to decide what materials we will read. Basically we have a million right now, but I think they all will be fascinating. I am focusing more on global feminism and multicultural feminism, so I’m sure I will post something about what I’m reading.

My fourth class is called East and West, which really it should be India and the West. We are comparing literature from Western civilization to Indian texts. Right now we are focusing on the Greeks, Bible, and Hindu religious readings. It’s incredibly interesting, especially because I know so little about Hinduism. I like learning about what other people think, believe, and what influenced this.

My most favorite class is about Native American beliefs. Although this counts for a religion class, this class is more about philosophy and their beliefs are more about their way of life. I have always been interested in Native Americans. This is such a general term but there are thousands of different tribes and they have different heritages. When I was little, my grandmother gave me a doll of a girl who was supposed to be a Nez Perce indian. They are nomadic and lived in teepees that most people imagine.But where I lived in Arizona were the Navajo, the Apache, the Hopi, etc. But the Navajo were semi-Nomadic and lived in dried mud houses , the Apache were nomads and lived in many styles of houses, the Hopi were sedentary lived in stone villages often carved into mountain sides. But my point is there is a lot to learn. Right now we are learning about the Lakota Indians who were also plains indians.

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Lastly, I’m taking my creative writing class. So I haven’t been focusing on Aneksi because I’ve been writing other stories. It can get difficult to write when you have so many different ideas going on in your head. But I will try to add some more Aneksi posts. I am at a crossroads because it feels like it’s ending but I don’t know how exactly to get there. But you all can help me to figure that out.

Surprisingly, my last semester is a lot less stressful than the last one. So I will do my best to post more regularly.

Star of Persia

I survived

Greetings dear readers. Friday was my last final and I made it. I feel so light and beautiful and now I can devote myself more to my blog. All my troubles and stress has evaporated. It’s funny to think I only have to take finals one more time, and then I’ll be a college graduate! I will be a degree holding woman and at least did one thing notable in my life.

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This past semester was difficult. It challenged me in every way imaginable. But I feel like I also developed more. In my creative writing class, I had to write new stories and present them to the class. This was strange because before the only story I wrote was about Aneksi. So now my mind is going off in different directions with new stories and characters. I think all of these stories have potential, but I need to finish one first. I promise that I will get back to Aneksi, because she still has a long way to go.

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I just finished my third semester of Spanish. Having said that I don’t feel any more confident. My ability to read and write in Spanish are probably the strongest.Which is not helpful in communicating, unless I carry around a notepad. I think my difficulties in speaking Spanish are two fold. One, I don’t speak a lot in general. Especially in class. So I really need to motivate myself to talk. Two, my mind works much slower speaking Spanish. I could write you a comprehensible paragraph, but ask me to say exactly what I wrote, without looking, and it takes me a while. I have great respect for people who speak multiple languages. I wish that here in the US we had that same value. Unfortunately we don’t and I am struggling with only my second language 😦

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If I haven’t already stated this, I am not only getting a bachelors in Humanities, but I am also minoring in women and gender studies. For those of you who are new, you might be asking why I chose this minor. Well dear readers I think A LOT of my posts have discussed either classes I took that focused on women, or have been about ideas concerning women. This semester confirmed this because most of my final papers also discussed women in some aspect. I am just naturally drawn to studying women and how we have been represented in the past and now. I think this is important for all women because it helps us see role models, our capabilities, and learn more about each other.

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These next few weeks are going to be busy for me. I’m going to see my parents for Christmas, my friend is visiting from Saudi Arabia, and I might be going on my own vacation. Nothing is set in stone so I’ll let you know where I might be going. I promise to post pictures of my destination as well. Xerxes will also be travelling with us to my parent’s house, which should be interesting. I also have a dog at home, so we shall see how they react to each other. I’m very optimistic of this upcoming year, and I hope to sustain that enthusiasm.

Star of Persia

 

Read all about it

Hello my dear readers! This is my final gasp of freedom before finals week threatens to consume me. It’s odd to think that this is the second to last time I will have to deal with finals, but that doesn’t make them any easier. Also, if you hadn’t noticed, which I’m not sure you would, I now have an official domain! No longer am I starofpersia.wordpress, but I’m starofpersia.blog. It was an early christmas present from my husband, so I’ll keep him around :p

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Well my last interactive post was a bust because apparently you all are not willing to offer advice to me. But no matter. This post is somewhat interactive but mostly me telling you my perspective on things. My creative writing class is coming to an end and we often recommend books to each other. I tried to think of ten books I would recommend that all people should read, which is a lot easier than I thought it would be. In actuality I came up with 12, so here are thirteen books I think everyone should read and why.

  1. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi- This book is actually in the style of a comic book, but deals with a girl growing up during the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Because it’s a comic book, this softens the seriousness of the events and makes it more accessible. She also has a sequel to this book, which I also recommend.
  2. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher- This story is very intense and emotional. It’s about a girl telling the thirteen reasons that lead to her committing suicide. I think it is important to show us the consequences of our actions and to raise more awareness about suicide.
  3. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan- This was my all time favorite book when I was in middleschool. Ancient Greek Mythology comes to life in the modern world and is reinvented. The whole series is great and all of Rick Riordan’s series, except the latest because I haven’t read it, I would recommend.
  4. Dreams of Trespass by Fatima Mernissi- You probably have heard me recommend this before, but that is because it is excellent. Islamic feminist Fatima Mernissi gives a autobiography of her childhood growing up in Morocco in the 1940’s.While not a feminist theory book, topics about meshing the traditional and modernity come up as well as the role of women in society.
  5. Hurt go Happy by Ginny Rorby- The story follows a deaf girl who learns sign language because of her interactions with a chimpanzee and his owner. Deals with both topics of disabilities, but also of animal rights as well. Another emotional read but so worth it.
  6. Kaleidoscope Eyes by Jen Bryant- Another author who I would recommend reading more of. This story is about an American girl during the 1960’s(?) who is obsessed with solving a mystery left to her by her grandfather. Yes I recommend a lot of juvenile fiction, but just because they are intended for kids doesn’t mean that we adults can’t read them.
  7. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie- This book is one of the most hilarious ones I’ve ever read. Which is disarming because a lot of the topics focus on the struggles of Native Americans. It also takes you into the mind of teenage boys, which I’m not sure is a place where you want to go.
  8. Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee- I really enjoyed this story about two cousins growing up in India and the way in which their lives unfold. I felt I learned more about Indian culture, and also the difficulties of assimilating into American culture.
  9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte- Now if you were not forced to read this in highschool, you missed out. The story focus on Jane’s life and how she raises herself from humble origins in Victorian England. This is one of the most praised of British Literature and I feel it deserves that recognition.
  10. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens- Yes I know I’m presenting two old, British novels, but I’m a fan of Dickens and this is my absolute favorite. The two cities are London and Paris and this story focuses on a family caught in the middle of these cities and the chaos of the French Revolution. Incredibly romantic in a non-typical way.
  11. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak- One of my ultimate favorite books. This tells the story of Liesel, a little girl growing up in Germany as the third Reich comes into power. It’s funny, informative, and show another perspective on a familiar topic.
  12. Sinan and Leyla- This is a shout out to my fellow blogger tamtam01blog.wordpress.com. She has accomplished what I, and I’m sure loads of bloggers, hope for which is to publish a book. It’s on Amazon right now for free, but I’ll pay for it when it’s available, and the story is about a Leyla who is navigating her way through an arranged marriage, cultural expectations, and what she actually wants. I couldn’t put this down and she did a fabulous job. Tam Tam blends humor, severity, and romance in a way that isn’t as easy as it seems. I also loved learning more about South Asian Culture. Cheers!

Well I’m sure I could think of more books but this post is rather long. I would LOVE if you all would comment on what books you recommend, but I won’t the bar too high.

Star of Persia

The Undead

It has been a while dear readers. But Aneksi has returned! I was too busy to bother checking where I had left off on my Aneksi installment. Luckily I still have enough left from my past inspiration to give you another sample.

The Journey Beyond: Part II (cont.)

Aneksi feels as if her nightmares have come to life. She watches paralyzed as Lord Abasi and Asmina are plucked from their sleeping mats and whisked out of sight. Nour digs his claws into the ground, which betrays him and he too is seized by the wind. Aneksi screams but sand extinguishes it at the source. She surges through the air, her black hair plastered to her skull. All she sees is darkness, as if her eyes are still closed. Grit and gust beat at her and fill her nostrils. Tears rain from her eyes and then are also snatched away. Aneksi is choking, and she feels like she is being buried alive all over again. In one last attempt, she screams with all the strength she can muster. Briefly a pocket of clean air form but then the sandstorm strikes it down and Aneksi goes rigid and dances erratically in the air, with no sense of direction.

Aneksi’s second burial, feels much worse than the last one. The other one seems almost loving. She was lain down and wrapped so carefully, without the intention of worsening her condition. But now she feels broken and used. Sand covers her carelessly. Every limb feels like it was dislocated. A whimper escapes her chapped lips. She opens her eyes and blinks painfully. In front of her is sand. Behind her is sand. She is alone. Aneksi’s whimpers turn to sobs that wrack her entire body. Her bestial howls fill the silence of the air. “Why are you doing this to me?!” she screams at the gods. “Is my life simply a game for you to amuse yourself with me?!” Aneksi clambers to her feet like a newborn foal taking its first steps. “My entire life I have served people and now I must do so even in death.” She throws her arms in the air. “Then what is the point of this?! You have taken everything from me! Is it possible to die again? If so, then just kill me. I’m finished, there is nothing left for me!” Aneksi falls to her knees. Tears cascade down her face like rain in the monsoon season. She lifts her eyes to the domineering sun. “What tricks are you playing on me Lord Ra?” she whispers. The sun throbs down at her but remains silent.

Aneksi trips along through the sand. She feels like the living dead that she is. And yet she also feels nothing. She has been completely emptied. Her heart beats dully against her rib cage and the sound echoes almost eternally. Even worry has left her. All thoughts have been carried away with the wind. The only thing Aneksi is aware of is that she is walking. She doesn’t know she is headed, yet she continues walking. Only the sun hangs above her for company. Only the sweat on her brow and the flicker of her eyes, give any sign that this moving skeleton is alive.

Time passes in blurs. Breathing is the only source of time that Aneksi knows. On she goes. Forward and forward, or is she going backwards? But all the while fatigue gnaws at her gradually. She isn’t even conscious of it until she collapses. Aneksi tries to move but can’t. She grunts pitifully and writhes in the sand. Finally, she rests her head down. Then all her thoughts flood back to her. Lord Abasi, her stubborn and bad-tempered master. But his presence soothed her and she felt safe with his strength to protect her. Nour, her golden savior. With his expression filled eyes and unwavering loyalty. He managed to make her laugh even in the most terrifying of situations. Asmina. How Aneksi wishes she could hear her voice again. The sweet melody that poured endlessly out of her. For some reason Camilla also came to mind. She always made sure that Aneksi was taken care of. Tears leak from her eyes. She didn’t have the strength to stop or diminish them. They kiss her face and then fell lifelessly to the earth. Aneksi lies with her sadness threatening to drown her. She closes her eyes and hopes to find herself somewhere else when she opens them.

Oh the places I might go..

Salutations my lovely readers! I am taking advantage of my break and trying to blog as much as I can, just in case I take another long hiatus. This post is different than my usual ones because it is interactive *oohs and aahs* I always try to engage with my readers but some of you are a little stubborn so here I am again, reaching for you..

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Anyways, if I haven’t already stated so, I always wanted to travel around the world. I don’t know why but in the US traveling abroad isn’t as mainstream as in Europe, Asia, and I have no idea but maybe Africa. This and the fact that I didn’t have a passport limited my traveling to only the US and Mexico once for like an hour, back when you didn’t need a passport to visit. While there are many countries I would like to visit, most of them I don’t have particular places to sightsee.

And that’s where you come in! You have several options and I hope this will be fun for you and me. I am going to put down a list of countries that I have always wanted to go to and you guys tell me what I should see there. Or, for my international readers, tell me what I should see in your country and why. Lastly, if you just have a suggestion of a country or two to visit, please comment below.

So here is the list:

Mexico (Farther than Tijuana)                                                     United Arab Emirates

Spain                                                                                                     Egypt

Morocco                                                                                              Australia

Kenya                                                                                                 Jamaica

South Africa                                                                                   Greece

Germany                                                                                          Ireland

Turkey                                                                                               Iran

Scotland                                                                                            Bolivia

Canada                                                                                               Costa Rica

Norway                                                                                               Austria

Iceland                                                                                         Switzerland

 

 

Please leave in the comments your travel suggestions!

Star of Persia

 

Long time, no see

Hello my darling readers! When I think that it has been two months since I last blogged, I get very sad and guilty. I apologize for my unexpected hiatus. For those of you who follow me pretty regularly, you know that I am a college student. This is, inshAllah, my last year and this semester has been one of my most challenging. I have to write papers at least once a week and I don’t have as much free time as I’m used to. Actually the semester is almost over, and I’m freaking out a little bit. But I’m not going to focus on that. Instead, I will try to sum up in this post what has happened in the last two months in my life.

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September seems so long ago. Of course there was Eid, which was wonderful. I guess I did hangout with my friends a lot, and I still am. I have trouble finding people to be friends with and maintaining a relationship with them. So it’s nice to have spend time with people who also value me as their friends. They are both Muslim women as well, which I think is helpful because otherwise I have to explain a lot of parts of my life to non-Muslims. One of the downsides to spending time with friends is that we go shopping a lot, which means I spend more money than I should :p But my husband got a new job working at the airport, Alhamdulillah, so we do have more money to spend

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As I mentioned above, a lot of my classes are writing. I prefer these types of classes to ones where you take quizzes and exams, but they require a lot of preparation. My Rosario Castellanos class is very intense and we have read everything from poetry, to short stories, to plays. But she is a very interesting lady. My Salman Rushdie class is less strenuous than my Castellanos class, but we have to read novels instead of shorter works. So far we have read Midnight’s Children, The Satanic Verses, and Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Rushdie is a very acclaimed author, but my favorite is Haroun, which is a children’s book. I think that says a lot about me 😛 Satanic Verses I also liked but in his adult novels, Rushdie’s convention of writing can be a bit hard to follow. But I encourage you to check out both authors to see for yourself.

October.. October. Well there was Halloween. Halloween honestly sucks as you get older because it is geared more towards children. But I did dress up as Cruella Da Ville and I think I looked pretty cool. There was midterms, which was very stressful. I also filled out my graduation application!! So inshAllah everything is all set for me to graduate. I haven’t heard anything about my application lately, which makes me nervous, but it has only been a month and I’m one of the thousands graduating. So I try not to worry.

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November is here, which of course you are aware of. I’m not going to go into the US election, because I’m still in shock. This was my first time voting in the presidential election, which was kinda disappointing. But this month has been much more relaxed because we have a lot of holidays. Like Memorial day, we got Election day off, and tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so we get a 5 day break. Thanksgiving also is less fun when you are an adult, especially if you are in charge of cooking. I’m not going home to visit my family, so I have to cook. However, I am not making a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, because I barely decided Saturday to make anything at all. Usually we eat turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, etc. I am making steak, hummus, estamboli polow, which is rice and potatoes in a tomato sauce, salad, and sweet potatoes, which is the only thanksgiving type food I am making.

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Oh I forgot to mention Xerxes. He is now about 8 months old. I think in October he was neutered. I thought that after the surgery he would be much calmer and bite less, but that didn’t happen. He is still the same ol Xerxes and adorable as ever. I’ll leave a few pictures of him here for your enjoyment.

Sorry for the short post. I don’t know when I will post next, but probably sooner than 2 months. I also don’t know when my next Aneksi installment will come out because I’m working on other stories for my creative writing class. But I’ll do my best! Until then..

Star of Persia

Endless Terror

See readers? I kept my promise, for the first time in my life :p The last excerpt and the following ones I’m very proud of. Since I’ve stopped posting my already prepared material, it’s hard to gauge if what I’m writing is good or not. But I feel confident about this new material, and maybe if you guys commented more that would help. Anyways.. enjoy!

The Journey Beyond: Part II (cont.)

 

“Enough!” Lord Abasi bellows. Aneksi feels like she is waking from a dream. One that she wishes she could stay in forever. Reality comes back with a series of throbs. Every part of her aches. Even her soul seemed heavy within her. She looks up at Asmina. Whatever tricks her mind was playing on her, were gone. Asmina looked like her usual self. A thought was tapping at the back of her mind fearfully. Every hair on Noor’s body was upright. Aneksi steals her gaze from Asmina and looks towards Lord Abasi. His face looks as if it was chiseled from marble and is just as cold. But his eyes seem to comprehend what Aneksi feels. Opening her mouth seems extra difficult but she asks, “Should we stop here for now?

Lord Abasi surveys his surroundings. “I think it’s best to leave this forest behind us. There’s no telling what its hiding from us.” His eyes flick towards Asmina, and then back to Aneksi, who nods in agreement. Aneksi looks down at Noor. He bonks his head against her leg as if to say Let’s go!

The forest seems to be mocking the group. Every turn seems to lead only to another so that they are forever winding around the haughty trees that refuse to allow more than a meager amount of light through. Aneksi cannot tell if her surroundings are new or simply a repeat. But she follows Lord Abasi as he blazes ahead slashing at stray vines that come into their path. Nour likewise doesn’t seem perturbed. His tail stands tall with just the tip of it flicking back and forth. Asmina trails behind. Aneksi looks back at her. With poise and grace, she weaves along the haphazard trail. The dimness of the forest makes it difficult to distinguish her facial expression. But her multi colored eyes sparkle in the gloom. Aneksi makes a great effort to appear casual as she turns her head back. The last encounter she had with Asmina constantly comes to mind. She can’t remember everything that had occurred, but the fact that Asmina was able to disable her with only her eyes and her voice, left a dark feeling in her stomach.

At last, the light of the sun greets the group and the forest grudgingly sinks away. Immediately, the dismal heir that had surrounded them vanishes. Aneksi feels as light as the wispy clouds that seldom pass through the Egyptian skies. Lord Abasi stretches his arms and back, and then cracks his neck. Following suit, Nour extends his lean body as long as possible, unsheathing his claws as well. Aneksi looks before them. In front of them is more of the sand that never seems to cease. Some of the negativity reunites with her. If Aneksi would invent an afterlife, she would make it with less monsters and sand. Lord Abasi stands alongside her. “Well, I guess this is as good a place as any to make camp.”

That night no one took watch. Everyone was too exhausted from the battle with the baboons. Lord Abasi lay straight as a board with snores erupting from his mouth. Asmina reclines on her side with her head on her arm. She sleeps so perfectly, it looks like she isn’t even breathing. Nour curls beside Aneksi’s feet. He is wound tightly in a ball with his tail twitching occasionally. Aneksi has not yet fallen asleep. She no longer feels confident asking Asmina for help sleeping. So she lies on her back and wonders what will meet her when she closes her eyes, and will it be more terrifying than the reality she finds herself in.

Sleep descends on the group and clings to them lovingly. But in the distance, there is a stirring. Whispers of it cause the sand to scatter nervously. Clouds congregate grumpily until they cover the stars and moon. The wind paces back and forth, whipping the tent flaps as it does. But still sleep remains thickly in the air. It is so powerful that it prevents the gentle rumblings from reaching the slumberers’ ears. Even Nour’s. So they are oblivious to the growing wail of the wind. Or the indignation of the sand that raises itself and lashes at the ground. Until all the elements churn themselves into a funnel of rage and might. And all this power descends upon the group, ripping away the dear sleep and waking them to the terrors of the desert.