Review: One Hundred Years of Solitude

By Gabriel García MárquezGregory Rabassa (Translator)

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“Lost in the solitude of his immense power, he began to lose direction.”
― Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

I was browsing for books in an old-books shop when this title caught my attention. ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ felt like something I’d love to read. I picked it up and skimmed through the first few pages, deciding then and there that I’ve got to read this. That’s how I ended up reading this book even though I hadn’t heard of this author before. It was only later that I found out how big of a deal he is in literature. (Hmm how did I missed that?)

My Thoughts

I loved it and I didn’t. I’ve mixed feelings about it. Let’s dissect them and see what I loved and what didn’t work for me.

When I was reading it I thought of it as a fantasy masquerading as contemporary fiction. There is a name for such books, it’s magical realism. Yes, it’s magical and yes, it’s told in a very realistic way. It’s like when you have a dream. It’s very much real to you as you’re dreaming, but once you wake up you realize how unrealistic it was. This is that story. The one told in a matter-of-fact tone. As if the author is not writing about something farfetched, completely out of the ordinary, rather he is simply writing about everyday occurrences. Things that are so normal that you can’t help but believe them. It’s a very interesting way of writing fiction. I loved that about it.

The story basically is all about the need for solitude combined with a desire to be loved. Even though the events of this book are hilariously exaggerated, the characters are, in fact, very believable… Very human. They’re full of contradictions, they’re perfectly imperfect and beautiful with all their flaws and fantastical dispositions. That’s another thing which is amazing about it. I think my favorite character is Remedios the Beauty. She is a woman who is so beautiful that men go crazy after seeing her but she has no clue and she lives in her own clueless bubble.

The story is set in a town called Macondo. Through one family’s experiences, the author has told us about the rise and fall if this fictional town. And what an incredible family it is! After reading it, I must say that the ending is the strongest part of this book. I enjoyed reading about how it all began but the way it ended left me speechless and I literally had tears in my eyes.

**I give it four out of five stars**

Now, the things that didn’t work for me and why in my opinion, it’s not five stars read. One, names! Seriously, there are about twenty-four main characters, six generations and yet, four or five names that are repeated again and again. After the second generation, it became impossible for me to keep track of who is who. I had to keep looking at the family chart (helpfully provided at the beginning of the book) to keep track of them. It was kind of annoying. Even though it’s understandable because one of the themes of this book is to show how history repeats itself. Thus, the Buendia family has a very limited selection of names. Everyone is just named after their parents or grandparents. Not just names, each generation inherits a lot of different personality traits from their ancestors as well.

Which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from the book… “Children inherit their parents’ madness.”

Basically, the family is locked into a cycle of repetition which is to be expected. Still, it did get boring after the fourth generation or so.

In author’s own words, “…time was not passing…it was turning in a circle…”

On the same lines, I have to say that ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ is a little too long for my taste. I’m an impatient reader and I hate it when things take too much time to unfold or re-fold. As I neared the end, I started skipping things. I feel that this book is truly for those people who like to take their time while reading. To me, some parts felt dragged and I didn’t like that at all.

Overall, I enjoyed reading it and I think this is a powerful piece of literature. There were definitely moments in it that made me pause, re-read, and soak in the wisdom behind them. It’s not for everyone though. If you’re someone who appreciates magical realism and doesn’t mind reading books that seem to go on forever, then you should definitely give it a try.

Favorite Quotes

One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of the most quotable books I’ve read in a long, long time. I have shared only a few of my favorite ones here.

“She had the rare virtue of never existing completely except at the opportune moment.”

“He soon acquired the forlorn look that one sees in vegetarians.”

“He really had been through death, but he had returned because he could not bear the solitude.”

“The air was so damp that fish could have come in through the doors and swum out the windows.”

“He was unable to bear in his soul the crushing weight of so much past.”

“It’s enough for me to be sure that you and I exist at this moment.”

“A person doesn’t die when he should but when he can.”

“It’s enough for me to be sure that you and I exist at this moment.”

“There is always something left to love.”

“Then he made one last effort to search in his heart for the place where his affection had rotted away, and he could not find it.”


P.S. If you’ve read it then I’d love to know your thoughts about it. Did you think it’s the great piece of fiction that it claims to be or do you think that it’s an overrated book?

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Friday Fiction: One Weird Night

It was a dark and dreary October night and it had been raining for hours. The night was chilly and I was trying to ignore the scary booming sound of the thunderstorm.

I was in my lab working on my latest project. Storms never scared me anyway. For some reason, I found it easier to work at night. So, there I was, in my own scientific bubble when I heard the rumbling.

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I looked out the window, wondering what was making that odd noise.

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I saw a little man. He was standing on my driveway smiling like a fool. It was dark and it was cold. I stared and he kept staring back at me.

I was thinking about what to do. Should I invite him in or should I ignore him and go back to my work? I was still debating when I saw a car coming towards him. It stopped right beside him and two people stepped out of it.

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“Oh, great! More strangers,” I muttered, wondering why anyone would leave their house on a night like this and why would they end up in my driveway? Did I mention that I hate people? I had lived alone for so long and I really didn’t like to socialize. I’ve found that most people were judgmental hypocrites and I didn’t want anything to do with them. So, why tonight? Why now? Those were the thoughts in my head.

Soon they were joined by my silly neighbors. My neighbors were good people but they didn’t understand science. That’s why we never got along well. Now they just came running and joined the crowd outside my window.

As if that wasn’t enough, now there was a cat too. Unlike any cats though it looked intelligent. It came and stood beside the man with the weird smile. Oddly, the cat had that same smile. Things were definitely getting interesting by the minute.

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A young man also joined the crowd. I felt that he might be the owner of the cat. They both did seem to have a connection. So, now, a crowd of odd people and animals was gathered in my driveway. I guessed it was time for me to join them and find out what was happening.

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I took my latest potion with me just in case. As I joined them, they all started talking at once. It was hard to make out what anyone was saying. Still, I tried to and discovered that they were all invited here by an unknown person.

And then that person came but he was no mere human being. He was the ghost of one famous captain at sea. It turned out that no one was shocked to see a ghost. After all, on a cold and scary October night what else would you see?

The ghost came with his boat. A flying boat that hovered in the sky near us. He invited us to come aboard and we did. Somehow that was the most natural thing to do. We didn’t care about the cold or the rain or the darkness, we all wanted to see the world from above so on we went.

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Just as I was leaning from the side of the boat, I dropped my flask y mistake. Soon, a dinosaur was standing in its place.

“Ops!” I said, for what else was I going to say?

Now we had no option but to run away.

© 2019, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

Monday Musings: September is Here!

Oh, wow! It’s Spetember already. Where did the year go? Is it just me or is the time flying away? So, how was your year. Mind was kind of boring and also fun. I read a lot, I wrote a lot, and I procrastinated even more than both. But let’s not forget, there are still four months to go. I always thought that October, November, and December are the best months of the year. Weather is good and I usually feel much better during these three months. So, I can’t wait for September to be over.

It’s still hot here. We still have a lot of time before weather will start turning cold. Seriously, in Lahore summer lasts forever! All thanks to climate change and global warming. Things were so different in the olden golden days. We used to wear sweters in Spetember. Now, we don’t wear them until late Novemeber or early December. I hate it but let’s not talk about depressing weather.

So, what else is new with everyone? School, college, or job? How are things in your life? I do hope that all is well. Enjoy the rest of your year because I plan to do the same. And maybe you’ll see more of me once again. Stay tuned and don’t forget to let me know what you think of my latest work, both stories and poetry.

Happy Spetember!

Happy Autumn/Fall!

Happy rest of the year!

Friday Fiction: The Angel I Love

Note: To fully understand and enjoy this story read ‘The God I Pray To‘ and ‘The Devil I Fear‘ before reading it.

***

I had always believed that there was only one God. We might know Him by different names or worship Him in different ways, ultimately it was the same God we all prayed to. That’s right, I did believe that the universe had only one true religion. I always thought how odd it was that no one had figured this out. It was probably because people tended to focus on the differences rather than the similarities of things. If they ever bothered to focus on the parallels of various religions, they would realize that they converged to one point, to one God. Then what were we really fighting for?

Sofia read aloud and then said, “you know I even found a picture of her. My mother was such a beautiful woman. She lived here, in this very cottage.”

“I’m glad that you found the truth about your mother.”

“Are you really? Doesn’t this scare you?”

“How many times must I say this? I’m not afraid of you, Sofia. I know you. We’ve lived in the same orphanage for most of our lives. I know who you are and nothing will change my opinion about you.”

“I’m so happy that you came to find me. I wasn’t ready to tell anyone about my past. Being a witch is not something I could accept easily.”

“I have to say though, you are learning very quickly. The way you levitated right in front of my eyes, it almost gave me a heart attack.” He chuckled.

“Don’t be absurd. I know how strong your heart it. It wasn’t going to fail that easily.” She also smiled. It was the first genuine smile she had given anyone in a long time.

“I still don’t understand though. What happened between you and the head priest? How did you end up in this cottage?”

“You know, I have always felt like an outsider. I had felt it in my very soul. I knew I wasn’t like everyone else and there was something missing from my life. I wanted to find my birth parents and hoped that it would bring my soul the peace it desired. Anyway, I had been making inquiries, very discretely I might add, unfortunately, no one knew much. All I could find out was that the head priest had brought me to the village when I was a child and left me at the orphanage. The old man Ji, only knew that my parents had died in some kind of accident and the priest had found me somehow.”

“So, no one knows who they were?” It was a little strange to be sure. They lived in a small community where everyone knew everyone so how come no one knew her parents.

“No, no one I talked to at least. Every clue led me to the head priest. I didn’t want to ask him. I hate that man and always have.”

“He makes me uncomfortable too but he is not a bad person. He cares about the villagers. He loves us all and only wants to help save our souls.”

“I can’t believe that you still think that, Nadir. I’ve told you so much and you can’t seem to understand one thing.” She was a little annoyed at him. After all, she had shown him her mother’s grimoire and read him passages from her diary, yet he was sticking to his belief that the priest wasn’t a crook. She knew that man was the devil incarnate.

“Look, I know that he is not God. He is also a man like us. Maybe he didn’t know anything about your mother. He must have misunderstood your intentions.”

“You’re so naïve if you actually think that. He knows everything. He knew that my mother was a witch and that I might be too. He hid it from me and from everyone else. I don’t know what his end game is but he isn’t who he says he is.”

The more Nadir listened the more he questioned everything. This was not something he could accept without doubt. “Ok, then what happened?”

“In the end, I had no choice but to ask the priest. He told me about this cottage and how it belonged to my mother. I asked him if I could come here. He didn’t say anything and the next thing I knew I was being accused of faithlessness and was banished to the woods. I didn’t know what else to do or say so, I just left quietly to find out the truth.”

“That’s it?” Nadir was shocked by her revelation. To be fair, it sounded a little absurd. He had been so worried thinking she was all alone in these dangerous woods, while all along she was safe in her mother’s home and the head priest knew that. Why would he deceive everyone like this though? His mind was churning with questions that only the priest could answer.

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“My lord, Nadir never came for work. It has been three days now. I went by his house and he isn’t there either.”

“That is unfortunate, I feared he would go after Sofia. That child has a heart of pure gold,” the head priest said with a sigh.

“What should we do?”

“Nothing. I’m afraid he won’t be coming back. The day I dreaded is upon us. We must prepare.” The head priest looked sad.

“I don’t understand.”

“I know, I know. It is time, to tell the truth. I wish things had gone differently. I did try.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Gather everyone, I want to say something,” the pries said after a long pause.

“Yes, sire. I will gather everyone at once.”

The whole village was abuzz. This was the first time they had been gathered like this. Everyone was wondering what the head priest had to say and also, afraid to find out.

“Good people of Rayet, I must warn you of the evil that exists among us.” Everyone was listening aptly. “Sofia, that child has the devil in her. I had known this for a while now. I had hoped that in her exile she would find peace but Nadir’s disappearance has made me think otherwise. She is beyond redemption and we must do something about it before it’s too late.”

His words were met with silence. No one said anything and waited for their priest to continue. The priest wiped his tears. It was obvious that he was saddened by whatever that had happened. Witnessing tears in their priest’s eyes had impressed upon them the direness of the situation. They would do anything to make things right.

“She is a witch and must be burnt.”

After this unexpected declaration, everyone started talking at once. “A witch?” “Magic?” “What is the priest talking about?” “There is no such thing as magic or witches.”

“Silence!” The priest shouted in his most authoritative voice. Silence once again reigned supreme. No one dared utter another word.

“I know that I have hidden the truth from you but it was for everyone’s own good. I had hoped that Sofia was different than her ancestors. I had hoped that she hadn’t inherited her mother’s magic but I was wrong. She must be stopped before she hurt someone else. It’s our duty to protect the world from her evil. She was one of us, we brought her up, we cared for her, we gave her a home in our village and now we are accountable for her actions. God forbids magic. It is written in the books and all witches must be burnt as this is the only way to destroy their magic.”

“If I may be allowed to speak, my lord?” Someone asked fearfully.

“Yes, speak up.”

“But how did you know that Sofia is a witch or that she had done something to Nadir?”

“I have always known that Sofia is a witch because I knew her mother. Her mother was burnt too. She was an evil woman who did unspeakable things. I brought Sofia to the orphanage. As I said, I had hoped she was different than her mother. Alas, I was wrong but to be human is to err. I made a grave mistake in bringing her to our peaceful village.”

“But what about Nadir?” Someone else said.

“He has a kind soul, the kindest that I know. Unfortunately, he was bewitched and chose to follow Sofia into the darkness. I am not sure if we will ever find the truth as to what happened to him. But I suspect he followed her willingly and we might not be able to get his soul back from the clutches of that witch.”

There were murmurs all around. The people were equal parts shocked and equal parts astounded. A witch had been living among them and no one had known. Nadir, poor soul. He was well-liked and everyone would feel the loss. The real question, however, was whether they could find and burn the witch or not. When they had banished her to the woods, they had prayed for her, they had wanted God to protect her and bring her back to them. Now, there was no hope left and the dreadful task of bringing justice was heaved upon their shoulders.

“Does anyone oppose this?”

No one said anything. They were taught to follow the head priest’s orders without question. They believed in him and knew that he would not lead them astray. He was the man of God after all. Who better to guide them than him? If they started doubting him now then what else would they have left? He had saved them from the evils of the world many a time and he would do the same now. If Sofia must die, burnt alive, then so be it. If they were unable to save Nadir that is something they would have to live with. It was better to sacrifice one soul to save many. Thus, Sofia’s fate was decided and villagers were ready to enter the woods they had always feared and stayed cleared off. No one bothered to ask why the woods were dangerous or why it was suddenly okay to enter?

#

There was a proverb often repeated by my mentor, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. She was such an intelligent child, unfortunately, she did not fear God. She saw more than she should have and understood more than she needed to, but wasn’t good at taking instructions. Sofia, was an exceptional young woman, no doubt in that, and it wasn’t that I hated her or anything of the sort, rather I despised the thought of what she could become. She had no idea who she was but I knew and I had always been afraid that one day she would find out the truth. I was probably the only one in the village who knew the whole truth. People thought of me as their savior. I never wanted this position but they had insisted on making me their head priest. I was trying to be the best leader I could but there were things in this world, scary things that people didn’t need to know about.

Our small village wasn’t always as isolated as it was now. There was a time, long before me, when it was very much a part of the world. People were happier and things were better. Unfortunately, darkness arose that engulfed this quaint village from nowhere. A witch was born and later destroyed everything. She shook the beliefs of people and made them question their reality. It was the first time anyone had encountered such evil. She said God was a myth. She said religions were all a lie. She used the very earth people treaded on against them. She killed people in the name of mindless rituals. Some feared her while others worshipped her. For a long time, she had ruled this part of the world. Until the day she was defeated by the grace of God. She perished but the fear lingered and there was no better way to control people than to use this fear.

That was around the time when I came to this village and decided to stay. All I wanted was to help these people save their souls and be rid of the evil running through their veins. The witch was gone but her magic remained, in the form of Sofia. So, who better to take responsibility for these people than me? After all, I knew the truth and I had been trained for this very thing. I became their head priest and I taught these people how to worship God and earn their place in heaven.

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I was living in the bliss of ignorance and then she came along and decided to shatter my illusion and show me the truth. There were things in this world that we were better off not knowing. Sometimes even when our eyes were wide open, we still couldn’t see the truth until we opened our minds too. It was one of those things and I wish I could go back, unfortunately, once seen these things could not be unseen. It wasn’t death that scared me, it was the thought of living without purpose, without reason. In the end, the choice was taken from me and change became inevitable.

“Did you hear that?” I said brought out of my deep thoughts by the noise outside.

Sofia was sitting in one corner and going through her mother’s things. “It sounds like people, but who would come to these parts of the woods?” She said.

“Do you think people have finally come to find us?”

“I don’t know.”

“Let’s find out then.”

We both stood up at the same time and went outside to investigate. It had been a few days since I came here to find Sofia. Perhaps, others had decided to follow us. The sight that greeted us wasn’t a welcoming one though. Sure, people had followed us and even the head priest was there with them. It was obvious that their intentions were nothing good. They were caring canes, hammers, torches, and all kind of weapons.

“Nadir, you are safe then. Thank God! Come join us,” the priest said as if relieved to see me alive, “the witch must atone for her sins.”

“And what sins might that be?” I asked as calmly as possible. I was beginning to think that this man is really the devil Sophia believes him to be.

“You don’t understand my child,” he said, “the witch must be dealt with before her magic destroys us all.”

The witch is standing right here, father,” Sofia said shocking us all.

The priest didn’t look so shocked though. “So, you know,” he said and smile wickedly, “I suppose the ruse is over then, daughter.”

“What are you two talking about,” I said, bewildered. Every villager’s eyes were filled with the same question.

“I found it in my mother’s things,” Sophia was holding a diary and a few photos, “she has written about a man who charmed her with his words and she fell in love with him. The very man who then turned people against her and planned to destroy her very soul.”

“Come now, Sophia,” the priest said, “I am not all that bad. Your mother was the one killing innocent people for her rituals. I only saved them.”

“Was she really?” Sophia challenged him, “or was it you all along?”

“Don’t be absurd. Why would I kill anyone? I am a religious man who fears God above all.”

“You can’t fool me, father,” she was angry that much was obvious, “I know your true face. You fear what you don’t understand. Only if you had tried to understand her powers you would’ve realized that they were not dangerous at all. Instead of killing people and framing her you should have helped her.”

“Witch must be burnt,” apparently the priest didn’t want to hear more and ordered people to charge at us.

“My mother loved you and that is the only reason you got away with it,” Sophia said, eyes blazing with the fire of her hatred, “I won’t be defeated so easily.”

I am not sure how she did it but every torch help by the villagers extinguished. Suddenly, it got cold and we were all frozen into statues. We could see what was happening but we could not interfere. She killed the priest and then released us from her magic. People were too shocked to do anything.

“You killed him,” I said astounded. I never thought she would do something like that. Even though I believed it when she said that her father was evil.

“It needed to be done,” she said matter-of-factly, “people needed to be set free of his magic.”

“His magic?”

“Yes, Nadir,” she gave me a soulful smile, “he was a wizard too.”

#

Sophia was right and the priest was indeed a wizard. It turned out that he had used his magic to fool people and as soon as he died, they began to see the truth of things. It took them a while but they did forgive Sophia and welcomed her back into the village. Since then she had been using her magic for the good of everyone. No one fears the woods anymore, people venture out into the world without anything holding them back. The village of Rayet was once again a prosperous place and a home of happy people. We had a witch to protect us. These days people tended to ask more questions, they didn’t believe things without doubt anymore, they were curious and became used to finding their own answers rather than taking things on face value. Our small, quaint village was now far ahead of the rest of the world when it came to new discoveries and inventions. We had learned a hard lesson and we had come to cherish our past while working towards a better future. To me, she was an angel and I loved her.

The End.

© 2019, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

Fiction Friday: The Devil I Fear

Note: To fully understand and enjoy this story read ‘The God I Pray To‘ before reading it.

***

They said it’s not easy to break a relationship even if it was a toxic one. I had had a long relationship with the darkness in me, then how could I let go of it? Good memories might last long but unfortunately, bad ones lasted longer. It might have started with an innocent question but it didn’t end with an easy answer. I had no idea that something as simple as seeking the truth about myself would change the course of my entire life.

Honestly, I had never realized what it was that I was seeking until the day I found it. That’s when I decided never to return to the life of ignorance. There was no reason for me to go back anyway. I had found my purpose and for the first time in my life, I was happy. Unfortunately, happiness had a tendency of being fleeting. Mine lasted until that man decided to interfere. Oh, how I wished I had never met him. He would be the death of me, but I didn’t plan to die, not now that I was more alive than ever before.

#

Then

“How is everything today?” The head priest asked Nana. Everyone at the orphanage called her Nana. I didn’t think that anyone even knew her name.

“Very well, these children are so well-behaved. I have no trouble with them.”

“Good, good. I hope you are keeping an eye on Sofia. That child has the devil in her.”

“Oh? I haven’t noticed anything untoward but she does seem a little odd.”

“I am sure that there is no need to worry. Still, be careful and let me know if there is any sign of trouble.”

I was listening to them, wondering why anyone would consider me odd or a troublemaker. To be honest, I thought these people were all crazy. They were the odd ones, not me. In my ten years of living here, I had never liked this place much. I wanted to go back home but I didn’t know where the home was anymore. I hated the head priest more than anyone else. I didn’t know what his name was either. I had seen people bowing down to him. He had told me once that I’d have to live by the rules or I would be punished severely. I couldn’t do anything because I was only a child. So, I had decided to do as I was told at least until I was old enough to do something.

Life didn’t get better as I grew up though. Soon, I realized that children weren’t the only ones who got punished here. The head priest would punish anyone for anything he didn’t approve of. “It is the word of god,” he would say. They all trusted their priest, some even thought that he talked to god himself. Preposterous! Villagers listened to him and respected him. No one seemed to fear him the way I did. When he punished them, they welcomed it, “it is for our own good,” they would say, “it’s to purge us of the devil within us.”

This was the life in our remote village of Rayet, hidden among the mountains, cut-off from the rest of the world. We all lived quaintly and everyone followed the same religion. Our religion was our law. It was the ultimate truth that people accepted without question. It was the only thing that governed our lives or so people had always believed. Not me though, I had always felt that there was something off about this place and the priest. I knew there was a world outside of it. We weren’t supposed to talk about it. The woods were dangerous and the river was deadly. Anyone who even considered leaving the valley would die a very slow and painful death. At least, that was what people were led to believe. To be fair, no one who decided to leave ever came back. That wasn’t proof of anything, maybe they simply decided to stay away because they found a better place.

No one knew for sure, few outsiders came and even less would leave. It was a strange place indeed. Somehow, untouched by the flow time. The villagers lived a certain way. The head priest ruled like a King and treated people as if he himself was their god. What bothered me the most was the fact that women weren’t allowed to do much. All they did was take care of men and children. I couldn’t live like that. That life wasn’t for me. When I had volunteered to work at the compound, my only purpose was to find a way out of the valley. I never thought I would find so much more than that.

He thought I had forgotten the past. He thought I didn’t remember anything but I did know that I wasn’t from the village. I needed to know more and ended up making the mistake of asking the wrong person. The head priest accused me of being faithless and people believed him. They said I must be punished. So, I was banished to the woods. The woods, we had all feared and no one ever dared to venture into.

#

Now

“Sofia, what is wrong with you?” Nadir was shocked, to say the least. Did he think I’d be dead by now? After all who could survive in the woods, alone for days.

“Do you think that I’m possessed by the devil? Do you agree with your priest like everyone else?” I asked mocking him.

“You’ve always been different…” His voice trailed off as he looked up at me. I was levitating and he must be having second thoughts about trusting me.

“So, now you believe him.”

“No, but it would be nice if you explain this,” he gestured at me.

“You won’t believe me even if I told you.” He wasn’t a mindless follower as rest of the villagers were. Like me, he also wanted to see the world beyond these mountains. Yet, I was reluctant to reveal everything.

“Tell me, show me, make me believe.” Did he care that much about the truth, maybe even about me? “I’ve talked to the head priest. If you show remorse, you can come back.” Hope was evident in his eyes.

“Remorse? For what?”

“You doubted god.”

“Ha! Is that what he told everyone? I only wanted to know about my parents. I asked where they were from?”

“What?” His voice was laced with shock.

“Being banished was no tragedy though and I’ve found the answers I craved, here in this remote cabin,” I said proudly.

“You have?” He asked, doubtful.

“Yes, between the pages of a book I found an answer. This grimoire belonged to my mother. The earth provides me with the nourishment, protect me from harm. I have no fear now. After embracing my witch-self, I am free at last. I don’t want your mythical god’s forgiveness. I’ve found my true home and here I will stay.” I was determined to make the best of my new-found powers.

To be continued…

© 2019, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

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Fiction Friday: The God I Pray To

To some people, praying comes easily. They raise their hands and they ask God for all the things they want in life. For me, that doesn’t seem to work. Even when I try hard to form the words in my mind, I can’t. There is only one thought that dominates, “if God is real, doesn’t he already know whatever it is that I wish to ask him for?” I wonder why it’s so important to say the words. That’s why I can never pray. My faith is not strong enough. Do I even believe in God? Should I even doubt his existence? There is so much angst and I find so hard to deal with it. But there is nothing I can do about it. This is the life given to me and this is the life I must live. However miserable it gets and no matter how much I despise it, I must keep on living, one day at a time.

She closed the book and turned off the lamp. It was a moonless night and she was forced to spend it alone in this wilderness. Good thing she didn’t fear the dark, truth was that she craved it. Because when you wanted to hide from the world darkness was the only thing that would blanket you. She knew that and she was thankful for it. But loneliness scared her, it was the only thing she hated in this world. She hated that she was forced to be alone and wondered how long her exile would last. She hoped someone would come and find her. Then she wouldn’t have to be alone like this. For now, she was alone with her thoughts to keep her company.

#

“Do you think she’s still alive?” I asked fearing the answer.

“Of course, why wouldn’t she be? Unless it’s her time to go.” The answer was curt and to the point.

“But we left her there. How will she survive?”

“Why are you worried about such pointless things? She deserved it and you know that.”

“Do I?”

“Don’t you?”

It wasn’t good to question things. That’s what had started this whole trouble in the first place. That woman should never have been allowed to talk. She asked too many questions and wrong ones at that. They said she needed to be disciplined. I feared that was code for “exterminated” because no one had seen her since then. We left her in the wilderness, away from civilized society. That’s where she belonged. But for how long? I had been restless for a week now. I was worried that she might never come back. Was she even supposed to return? This place had its mysteries and no one was allowed to unravel them.

“Why do you look so troubled, my child?” At the sound of the head priest, I turned.

“Greetings,” Samee and I said in unison.

“He was worried about Sofia,” Samee explained before I could say anything.

“Don’t worry. God protects us all. He will take care of her. This is for her own good and you know that.” It was said lightly but there was no doubt that any further inquiries of the kind would be dealt with punishment. God protects us all, that’s what you were told before you were thrown into a fire pit or left unarmed with the beast or in Sofia’s case left alone in the wilderness.

“Yes, of course,” I said quickly. The seed of doubt had been planted in my heart. It was partially Sofia’s fault with all her questions. There was nothing to be done though. My faith in this place and in god had been shaken. Wasn’t god supposed to be merciful? A woman alone in the wilderness, without any means of protection, how long could she possibly survive? I couldn’t stand by and do nothing. I had to find her and help her. Her only sin was her curiosity and as far as I knew that wasn’t so unforgivable.

“She will reflect on her mistakes and be assured that she will find her own way back. I do not doubt it then why do you?”

“You’re right, I don’t know why I worry needlessly. It won’t happen again,” I said. Truth be told, I was a little scared. The head priest wasn’t a man you could trifle with. I had watched too many people disappear into the night, to not be wary of this place.

#

123

Someone was outside, she felt a presence but it didn’t scare her. She was sure that whoever it was, he couldn’t do her any harm. It had been fifteen days since she left the compound and made this small cabin her home. She knew that she could never go back to that place. She wouldn’t be welcomed and might even be killed at sight. And she had no idea where else to go so, here she stayed.

She was born in these mountains and this was the only home she had ever known. Unfortunately, she was too clever for her own good. She noticed things that made her uncomfortable and lead her to question the ways of the world. By the time she realized what was happening it was already too late. The head priest had found out that she was causing trouble in the village and before she knew it, she was led into the woods and left there. At first, she had hoped that it was temporary. Soon, someone from the village would come and get her but now all hope was lost.

She had found the answers she was looking for and it wasn’t what she had expected. After knowing the truth, there was no way she would ever be able to return tome and live happily there.

“Sofia,” someone called from the outside. The voice sounded familiar. Had someone come to find her after all?

“Who is it?” She called out.

“It’s me, Nadir.”

She opened the door and invited him in. “You came,” she was shocked to see him.

“I wasn’t supposed to but I felt bad and wanted to see if you were okay.”

“You must go back and don’t ever think of returning again. I’m fine, as you can see. The woods are not as dangerous as we’re led to believe. There is plenty of food to be found and this cabin provides me with adequate shelter.”

“I wasn’t sure what I’d find when I decided to come looking but I’m glad that you are well.”

“You should go back before anyone realized what you have done. If anyone found out you’d be punished for going against the head priest’s orders. He wouldn’t let it pass. He is an evil man.”

“Why do you say that? I’m sure he is not as unreasonable as I thought because he was right.”

“Right? About what?”

“About the fact that God will protect you. He has.”

“God is not real. The head priest is a liar. He manipulates innocent people to make sure that they follow his orders.”

“Don’t be like that, Sofia. I know that you have a curious mind and you ask all sorts of questions. I admit that I have also been doubting everything lately. But you’re going too far. I’m trying to convince everyone that you should be given another chance. How will that happen if you keep talking nonsense?”

“It’s not nonsense. I have found all the answers I craved. I now know the truth and there is no reason for me to go back. Not after knowing because there is no way I’d be able to stand quietly while that so-called priest blatantly lied to everyone. God is just a myth.”

“No, that can’t be. It would mean that we have been living a lie. No, no, I think being alone has made you lose your mind.”

“You’re scared, I can understand that. I will not ask you to trust me. That’s why I am asking you to leave. Live your life the way you always have. Live by the rules of another man if that’s what you want but that life is not for me. I have found my purpose here, in the wilderness. There was a time when I feared being alone, now I revel in my solitude.”

“You think you are safe here. You think you can live in these woods and be content. But you are wrong. What will you do when the winter comes?”

“Winter will do me no harm.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Didn’t I tell you that I have unraveled this place’s mystery? I have found my answer. God isn’t the one who protects us. We protect ourselves. The universe protects itself. There is magic all around us. Oh, only if you could see,” She cackled and started floating in the air. Her eyes were full of mischief.

“Bu…but how?” She had shocked him to the core.

“I now know how to use the earth’s power. I don’t need anyone anymore.”

To be continued…

© 2019, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

Flash Fiction Friday: Undercurrent

“You did that on purpose,” Bree said sounding shocked even though she should’ve been expecting this kind of behavior from him.

“No, I didn’t,” Asher said feigning indignance, “why would I?”

“Why indeed,” she said giving him the death glare. If he was a lesser man, he would’ve dropped dead right then and there.

“Look,” he tried to change tactic, “why don’t you take a seat and then I can explain everything.”

“No, thanks,” she was too furious to even listen to his side of the story, “I’ve no intention of listening to you try to wiggle your way out of this one. I have all the proof I need and I’m warning you…”

“Wait a second,” he said, cutting off her tirade, “what proof are you talking about? Your womanly instincts?”

“Are you kidding me right now?” That last comment did it. Bree was furious now and nothing other than his blood would appease her. “First, you tried to go behind my back and now, you’re trying to make me look like an incompetent woman. I’m so sick and tired of your antics. It has become clear to me that we can’t work together. Since I don’t plan to leave, you’re the one who must go.”

“Oh, come on,” he looked at her as if she had lost her mind, “don’t be like that. It was a harmless prank. Can’t you overlook something as trivial as that?”

“You think it was harmless? Men!” She looked at him incredulously. “What you did was dangerous.”

“Don’t be overdramatic,” Asher said, “I know you’re a good swimmer.”

“You do?” She was a little taken aback.

“Of course, I do.” He looked smug.

“Still…” That’s when he kissed her, surprising them both.

“I like you,” he said.

“I like you too,” she replied.

© 2019, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.


P.S. Sorry for the long silence. I will try to post as much as possible, but I will not be as regular with my posts as I have been in the past. I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying your summer. Have a nice day and stay in touch. I love hearing from my followers even if I’m not always able to respond at once. Take care!

Monday Musings: It’s So Hot!

Hello Everyone,

I hope everyone is doing well in this hot weather. Honestly, I am not. I hate Summers, especially July and August because these two months are not only hot they are also very humid, in my corner of the world. Sometimes it gets really difficult for me to breathe and I try to stay in and stay out of the sun. Not always a possibility but I try my best. Unfortunately, this hot weather is also messing up with my creativity and I haven’t written anything new in a while. I apologize for missing Fiction Friday posts and also not sharing any poetry with you all. I hope I will start writing again soon. Until then you’ll have to excuse me.

This post is just me letting you know that I might not be as punctual with my posts as I have been since I started this blog a year ago. It has been really fun. I enjoy writing but don’t have the patience or the will to go through rejections to get it published. So, posting on my blog is the next best option for me. I love when someone read my work and let me know if they enjoyed it or not. So, yes, it has been a pleasure for me. I do wish to keep doing this but just not as religiously as before.

Enjoy you Summer if you’re the kind of person who does. I will never be that person so I just hope to make it out alive. I’d love to hear some of the fun activities that you do when you can’t go out. For me, I just read. It keeps my mind of things and sometimes I come across something really good and that makes me genuinely happy.

Yours truly,

Fizza #iambookseater

Flash Fiction Friday: PURE BLISS

Lazy summer nights are the best when you’ve no school in the mornings. You can just lie in your bed and read to your heart’s content. It’s the best feeling in the world and if you have a cat to keep you company that’s even better.

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You can have as many imaginary friends as you like and they will always be there between the pages of your favorite books. In between reading books you also have many other options to spend your free time. Summer is the most relaxing time of the year.

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That’s how I spend my Summer days and nights. I also love to share my favorite books with my friends. Reading together is even more fun than reading alone.

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And when I run out of books to read, I take my cat for a bicycle ride. More often than not, we end up in the library. Life is good, as long as you have books, friends, family, and cats to keep you company.
© 2019, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

Note: ALL THE PICTURES ARE TAKEN FROM UNSPLASH STOCK PHOTOS


P.S. I wrote this cute flash fiction a while ago and wanted to share with everyone.  Growing up, Summer was indeed my favorite time of the year. It is only now that I have started hating the sun so much.