All That We Know (Part One)

Almost all girls dream about their happily ever after. It is something that everyone knows they do. Sara was no different. Since the day she met Zain she had been dreaming of a future with him, a future full of hope and love. Zain, however, didn’t even know she existed. He was aloof and self-absorbed. For him the only person worth loving was himself. Poor Sara, she was in a world of trouble. But that would turn out to be the least of her worries. Life is so tricky at times, don’t you agree?


Sara

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“I had a dream once, a dream where I was happy and loved,” Sara told her friends, “I never thought I would end up in a relationship that would suck all my energy, leaving me broken and battered.”

“At least you are free now,” her friend said, “there is still life ahead of you. You can start over and maybe this time you will find your happily ever after.”

The only problem was that Sara no longer believed in the love or happy endings. She was sad and all she needed was someplace secluded where she could live the rest of her life in peace. She had suffered enough and was not ready to let people in. People only brought trouble, they were good for nothing and she planned to stay away from them, as far away as possible.


Shan

I don’t know how it is for others, but my brain catalogs things as unimportant and then buries them underneath all the things it perceives to be important. That’s why I don’t always remember everything. I have very limited long-term memory. I don’t remember much and rarely things that I won’t use in life anyway. Also, the funny thing is that the few things I do remember don’t make much sense. They shape my present. I know they are important but they don’t let me connect with people. Sometimes I wonder if these memories are real or just manifestation of my own demons. I don’t know much and it is quite annoying when you think about it. Most days my brain is a mush and I hate it. I’ve learned to live with it though. I’m one of those people who accept their reality quickly rather than keep trying to change it, which is almost always futile.

This is my life and it’s not perfect by any means, but I’m happy. As happy as anyone on this planet can be. I live alone. I’ve my books to keep me company. Don’t get me wrong though, I have a family and friends I am close to. They visit me often and sometimes I visit them. That’s how I met Sara. She is my sister’s best friend. Lately, she has been invited to every family gathering I’ve been to. I wonder what is my sister up to. Nothing good, if I know her well, which I think I do.

“Hi,” Sara said, “it’s good to see you again.”

“Is it?” Shan replied, “I thought you hated me.”

“What? Why would you think that?”

“Well, probably because of your frown? Every time we talk you’ve got this annoyed look on your face.”

“I do?”

It was as if that came as a surprise to her. Didn’t she know that she has never smiled at me? Not even once, in all these times we’ve met. Sometimes I wonder what her story is then I decide it’s none of my damned business.

“I’m sorry I never noticed that,” she was blushing with embarrassment, “It’s not that I dislike you or talking to you. I’m just not comfortable around men in general.”

“Good to know,” he said, “I was beginning to think you hate me.”

“What are you two talking about?” Hania entered the kitchen just then.

“Oh, nothing important,” Sara said hastily, “let’s go out. I want to enjoy the bone fire.”

Sara took my sister’s hand and dragged her out. Just before leaving Hania gave me a weird look. I know what she is trying to do and I do like Sara but she is too serious, too stuffy, and also, I’m not interested in having a relationship at the moment. Maybe never. I need to sort out my life first. There are secrets in my past that even I don’t know about.


Hania

I love them both, my friend and my brother, but they are such idiots. I know how much they love each other. What I don’t understand is why can’t they see what’s right in front of them. People can be so silly at times. I guess this is how life is, we made up lies in our heads and they don’t let us see the truth. Take Sara, for example, she says she doesn’t believe in love anymore. I don’t believe it for a second. She is hurt that much is obvious, but she is healing too and I know for a fact that she loves my brother. My brother, on the other hand, thinks that he doesn’t need anyone other than his books, ridiculous! What am I going to do with these two idiots?

Me? Well, I’m the kind of person who lives in the moment. I am not someone who makes up lies in her head instead I let the world show me everything it wants me to see. I don’t know what I want from life but I do know that I want to be happy. The only two things that are important to me are happiness and love. I also think that they go hand in hand. That’s why I am bent upon making my brother see sense. Then he can convince Sara to give up on the notion of a loveless life. Why would anyone want that? My heart breaks to see my friend so sad. She needs someone in her life and I’d make sure that she finds him.

They are perfect for each other and I will make sure that they realize it before it’s too late.

“Hania, I need your help,” someone shouted from the other room. It must be one of my roommates. They always want something from me. I am thinking of moving out of this dump soon. Sharing a place with three self-absorbed divas is no fun, I tell you.

To be continued…

© 2018, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved

TBR: Books I’ve Been Dying To Read

My to-be-read (TBR) list is so long that it is practically impossible for me to read all those books. Does that stop me from adding more books to the pile? No, absolutely not. There are simply so many books out there and I want to read as many of them as possible. However, there are definitely some books that I want to read more than the others. I’ve compiled a list of books/series I want to read, hopefully, before this year ends and I thought I’d share them with you all.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Amazon Link

I already got all the four books and plan to read it very soon. Now only if I can find time for this. The problem is that I am a very impatient reader. I know that if I read the first book I’d want to keep reading and for that I need time. That’s why I have been waiting to start it. Let’s hope I get that chance soon. Sometimes other books distract me and I don’t get to read as I plan.


I have only heard good things about this series and I’m really looking forward to reading it soon.


Night World Series by L.J. Smith

Amazon Link

This is another series I planned to read, unfortunately, I just realized that I might never get around to it. As I was researching online I found out that not only is this an incomplete series, but also the last book in the series might never be published. I think it would be pointless to start it because then I’d just feel annoyed at not being able to complete the series. I pity the people who have been waiting for the final installment for over 20 years, just imagine!

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I have read the Vampire Diaries series by the same author. I all honesty, it was a little disappointing. The series had started good but then it took a turn for the worst. I really didn’t like how that one had ended. Still, I wanted to give the author another chance. I have read some great review about Night world series and many readers claimed that it is much better than Vampire Diaries. That’s how it ended up on my TBR list and I even bought the book. Only to realize later that tenth and final book has yet to be published.

I am undecided actually, on one hand, I do want to read the series, but also I fear that in the end I’ll just be disappointed. As I said earlier, I am a very impatient reader and never ever willingly start a series unless it is already complete.


All the Lives We Never Lived: A Novel by Anuradha Roy

Amazon Link

All the Lives We Never Lived

It’s a historical fiction set in India and Dutch-held Bali. The story is about a woman who chooses her freedom over parenthood, told by her son. I feel that this might be something I’d want to read although I don’t have really high hopes for this book. Mostly, because it is set in the turbulent time of war and I rarely like such books. Still, it is supposedly a bestseller this year so I thought why not give it a chance?


The Crazy Rich Davenports by Shannyn Leah and Kelly Moore

Amazon Link

Dare to Enter (The Crazy Rich Davenports #1)

So, I have actually read the first two books of this series and they are great. It’s funny, mysterious, and so crazy that I couldn’t help but fall in love with these books. The story is told from different POVs and each character brings their own kind of craziness into the mix. A heartbroken widow, who tries to avoid all her problems by drinking and having sex with anyone and everyone. A lunatic mother who does her best to keep her daughter and grandchildren safe in a way she knows best. Two grandchildren who are sick and tired of their mother’s indifference and their grandmother’s craziness. Littles, kids who don’t know any better and their Nanny who is even crazier than all the Davenports put together. Each book ends on a cliffhanger. This is another series which is ongoing but I think the authors of CRD series are not going to let their readers down. I am looking forward to reading the next books. I hope that it continues to amuse me the way first two books have.

You can check out my review of book one here Books Eater


The Siren by Kiera Cass

Amazon Link

The Siren

This is another book that has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time now. It’s a YA fantasy novel and I’m really looking forward to reading it. Mostly, because I love fantasy novels but also because I have really high hopes for this one. The story is about a siren who falls in love with a human and that put them both in danger.

These are few of many books that I have been dying to read. Some of them I am sure I will read soon while there will be those I might never get around to read after all. That is how it is, you just keep finding new books to read and then you forget about the ones you were planning to read before them. let’s just hope that I get to read all of these and more.


P.S. I’d love to hear what’s at the top of your TBR pile, so do share. Happy reading, readers!

P.P.S. So, how many of these books have you read and what are your thoughts? Were they worth reading or didn’t live up to their hype?

A Story Worth Telling (Part Three)

Some stories were not easy to tell because they made your heart bleed. This was one of them. It was the story of a daughter who one day learned that the life her father gave her was a lie. Her very existence was a lie and there was no one she could trust, least of all her own father.

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“I am sorry,” Sahir was saying, “I didn’t mean for you to suffer, but your father needed to be held accountable for what he had done.”

“I don’t blame you,” I said, my voice was hoarse from crying so much. After all, it was not his fault. He was only doing what was right and I agreed with him; my father needed to pay for his crimes.

“Zara,” he sounded concerned, “you don’t have to help me if you don’t want to.”

“No,” I whipped my tears, “I am determined to help you and everyone who has been suffering because of papa. I’d do anything.”

“Then we will see this through,” he said, as determined as I was, maybe even more.

At that moment I was glad that my mother was not alive or this would’ve broken her heart. She was the kindest person I knew, I wondered how she ended up with a crook like my father. It’s not that I didn’t love him anymore, I still did, he was my father and I’d always love him no matter what. But I’d never be able to respect him ever again. I thought that was the worst thing that could happen to a child; losing respect for a parent. It was truly heartbreaking.

“I’ve waited for so long,” Sahir was talking again, “it was the only thing that kept me motivated, revenge, to make that person pay… all the lives that were lost, and all the souls that have mourned, I just want them to have their peace. It is the only thing I can do for them.”

I gave him a small, sad, smile. He was a good man. He had faced such hardships at such a young age which I couldn’t even begin to imagine, and he had come out a hero. Today was the day he would get his revenge, his justice, and my father would spend the rest of his days in jail. I was sad for my father but I was happy for all the people he had used and discarded without a second thought.

The day came and the day went. I had collected enough evidence that no court in the world was going to rule in favor of Mr. Wasayah. I knew it and he knew it as well. At the end that’s exactly what happened, he went to jail, and all his wealth was ceased by the court. I felt sorry for his daughter. Zara didn’t deserve a father like him, but there was nothing I could do to ease her pain.


When I first seek her out, I didn’t think she would actually help me, but she did. She worked hard with me and we did it together. We had apprehended the most corrupt man in our country. It was not easy. I spent many years to do it, I was resilient, I weathered every storm that came my way, there was only one thing I wanted in life and at last, I had it. He was behind bars where he deserved to be. However, now my life was without purpose once again.

“Mr. Sahir,” someone was calling my name. I looked up and there she was, Zara, just the woman I was thinking about.

“If you don’t mind, may I join you?”

“Sure,” I got up and offered her a seat.

“I was just having my evening tea,” I said, “What can I get you?”

“Tea is fine,” this time her smile was not sad like the last time I saw her.

“Very well then.”

Soon, we were chatting away like old friends and that’s when my life got a new purpose; Zara. She was like hope, bright and filled with joy. I decided then and there to spend the rest of my life with this woman. I just prayed that she felt the same way.

“I plan to continue what we started,” she was saying, “we don’t have to stop here. With your legal expertise and my connections, we can keep helping people in any way possible. What do you think?”

“I think nothing sounds better than that,” I smiled, “a life lived for others is a life worth living, after all.”

“Yes, let’s live for others for as long as we can.”

It seemed that we had both found our purpose in life. And what a worthy life it was going to be!

The End

Read Part One Here

Read Part Two Here

© 2018, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved

My Favorite Bookish Quotes That Clicked

Do you ever come across a line that is so well written that it takes your breath away? Some books are just so quotable. You can read them many times and still won’t get tired of what they have to say. I’ve read some books that were so brilliantly written that to this day quotes from them haunt me. I love that!

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I wanted to share some of my most favorite quotes, from my favorite books in this post. These are the quotes I have read and re-read many times just to soak in their meaning. Some are very relatable, some not so much, yet they convey a message that resonates with me. Some I love simply because they’re so bookish.

  1. “… a mine needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” ~George R. R. Martin, A Game to Thrones
  2. “The Person, be it a gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” ~Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
  3. “There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It is like falling in love.” ~Christopher Morley, Pipeful
  4. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  5. “You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts.” ~Khalil Gibran, The Prophet
  6. “I solemnly swear I am up to no good.” ~J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  7. “Life is an awful, ugly place to not have a best friend.” ~Sarah Dessen, Someone Like You
  8. “Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart.” ~Foyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment
  9. “She had become accustomed to being lonely. She was used to walking alone and to being considered ‘different.’ She did not suffer too much.” ~Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  10. “A truth that’s told with bad intent

Beats all the lies you can invent.” ~William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

Have you noticed how some books are very quotable while others not so much? I want to share the most quotable books that I remember reading. These are some of my most favorite reads and I definitely recommend them.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

The Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

“Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I can not live without my life! I can not live without my soul!” 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl

“A lot of people lacked that gift: knowing when to fuck off.” 
“People love talking, and I have never been a huge talker. I carry on an inner monologue, but the words often don't reach my lips.” 

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

“Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” 
“Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle.” 
“If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.” 
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don't much care where -' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
'- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an explanation.
'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough.” 

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

“In a word, I was too cowardly to do what I knew to be right, as I had been too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew to be wrong.” 

It wasn’t easy for me to choose just a few quotes from these books, but I had to. Otherwise, this post will become a never-ending one. Of course, this list only includes the books that I’ve read. I’m sure there are many quotable books out there which I have yet to discover.


P.S. Do share your favorite quotes, I’d love to see what make you stop and take a deep breath while you’re reading a book.

A Story Worth Telling (Part Two)

The city was everything we had hoped for, and it was everything we had dreaded. We were relocated to the slums of the city. Most families were given residence in the same area so, at least, they were still together. After that the stranger left, never to be seen again, for a long, long time.

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Life in the city was horrible, that’s the only word that came to my mind while describing it. Soon all the money we were given was gone. Then came the question of finding jobs. It was not easy at all. There wasn’t much that any of us could do. Some found work but most of us remained unemployed. Everything was so expensive in the city. There was no barter system. If you wanted to buy something you had to pay in cash. We didn’t know people there and they didn’t know us. No one would sell to us on credit. It didn’t happen at once, but gradually life became more and more difficult.

The worst thing that happened was people getting sick all the time. There was so much pollution. We had water but it was hardly drinkable. We had homes but they were hardly livable. We were in the city, but hardly anyone had a job. To say that we were unhappy would be the understatement of the century.

We had lost the freedom of wilderness, the purity of air, the security of a simple living, in short, we had lost more than we would ever gain. A lot of people were lost to sickness, some succumbed to starvation. Some scattered all over the city, one by one, leaving in hopes of finding something better. I don’t know how many of them found that better, I never saw them again.

Mulana Sahib and I were living in a small mosque not much different than our village’s. We were content in our lives but worried about our fellow humans, who were forced to live in deplorable conditions.

I had been learning to read. I found a job in a local bookshop as a shopkeeper. Books fascinated me. They gave me hope that I had lost when I lost my home. One day I saw the stranger’s picture in a newspaper. I couldn’t read it but I ascertained it had something to do with how rich he had become when he found oil in some remote desert area. I asked one of my customers to read it to me and that’s how I found out the truth about our benefactor, the person we had trusted blindly and had followed to this wretched city.

His name was Rabi Wasayah. He was a rich industrialist who had found oil in a desert. In our village to be specific. He bought that land paying less than half the price it was worth and found the villagers homes in the slums of the city, which were government owned and were actually free for the poor anyway. After that, he made millions from that land, maybe even more. Villagers never got a single penny of that profit. Poor naïve people believed everything they were told while they were actually being conned.


By all accounts, I was a very successful person. I was rich, I had my own business that thrived with time, and I had everything that I could ever want in life, yet there was something missing.

“Come in,” I said as someone knocked.

“Sir,” my secretary said, “someone is here to see you.”

“Who is it Danish?” I asked, “you know I don’t like to be disturbed during lunch hour.”

“I apologize,” he said, “but this person says it’s of utmost importance that he sees you.”

“What’s his name?”

“I am sorry Sir, but he didn’t give it, he says you won’t know it anyway.”

“Ok, just send him in,” I said since I wasn’t in the mood to have lunch.

The young man who strode in was no older than thirty-five years, he executed confidence and was very well dressed.

“How may I help you?” I asked while gesturing him to have a seat.

“I am not here to ask for your help. I think you have helped people enough,” he said with a smirk.

“Excuse me?” I was taken aback.

“You may not remember me Mr. Wasayah,” he said, “but once upon a time because of you, my world turned upside down. Although, in all honesty, I can’t say it was an entirely a bad thing.”

“Have we met before?” There was indeed something familiar about him but I really couldn’t place him from anywhere.

“Indeed, we have,” he continued, “however, I am not here to renew our acquaintance. I only came to give you a warning; your days as a successful businessman and philanthropist are over.”

He didn’t stay after that, he stood up, handed me his card, gave me a coy smile, and walked out of the room just as he had walked in. Leaving me baffled and as confused as anyone could be at such an encounter. That’s when I read his card, it said Advocate Sahir Danial. I wasn’t familiar with the name, but what about his cryptic warning?

My secretary came in just then and handed me a thick envelope which the young man had left with him. When I opened it, my life turned upside down and I realized at that moment how it felt to be left with nothing but your misery to spend your nights with. All the things I had done wrong, all the people I had conned, all the skeletons in my closet were about to come tumbling down on me and I had a feeling there wouldn’t be anything I’d be able to do about it. My life as I knew it was about to be over and it was all my own fault.


I only had one dream in life; to make that person pay for destroying our little bit of heaven on earth. My name was Sahir Danial and I was an orphan. My village was gone, people I had once called family were gone too, and I had witnessed the cruelty of this world first hand. One man’s greed became the bane of so many lives. People who were living very simple but happy life were suddenly forced to live a very complicated and unhappy one. Not many of them survived, they were not able to do so. They were used to breathing in clean air, drinking clean water, eating healthy food, and living a safe life, albeit an uncertain one. But uncertainty is simply a part of everyone’s life. How were they going to survive the slums of an overpopulated and a very polluted city?

I fought out though, I had always been a fighter. Since the day I was born, I had to survive, for me, for Mulana Sahib and for all those kindhearted souls who were affected by a complete stranger’s greed and falsehood. I knew that no one forced us to leave our homes. We did that on our own. But what did a person to do when he wanted a better life? And was there anyone in the world who didn’t? We were promised a better life, a life of luxury, a life of freedom, a life without distress and woes. Instead, what did we get? Lies! All lies, that’s what we got and I never forgave the evil stranger who did this to us. I waited and I planned. Now it was time for Mr. Wasayah to pay for his crimes, and there were many crimes to pay for.

The more I learned about him, the more I hated the man. He was a vulture who prayed on the innocence of others. He was the worst kind of human being because he gave people hope and then crushed them. He didn’t deserve to be happy and I was going to make sure that he got exactly what he deserved, even if it was the last thing I did on this planet.

To be continued…

Read Part One Here

© 2018, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved

Cats and Books: What’s this obsession?

There is no doubt that cats rule the internet. They are indeed the most fun pets you can have. Most of the videos and photos that end up going viral on the internet have something to do with cats.

 

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Cat-Peeking with curiosity

 

I have observed that most book lovers are obsessed with cats aka they’re the cat people. Or maybe it’s the other way around, I’m not quite sure.

 

A group of cats is called a ‘clowder’

 

Almost every day I see a post that has ‘cats and books’ involved. There are some very interesting youtube videos starring cats and books. I personally know readers who own a cat or two and are fond of them. They would tell you the funniest pet stories you’ll ever hear.

After seeing so many posts about cats and books had me thinking, why are the bookish people so obsessed with cats? Or do you think it’s the cats who are obsessed with books and people just love cats? They say that cat people are 11% more likely to be introverts. Maybe that explains why so many readers love them, as they tend to be introverts too. I’ve never had any pets, but I think the reason why so many people love cats (it’s most common house pet in many countries) is that they’re easier to keep. Or maybe there simply are more cats in the world than other house pets? Any thoughts on that pet owners?

 

Cats & Books

 

 

Cats love books

 

Personally, I am not a cat person but then I’m also not a dog person or any other animal person. I am a book lover and I think cats are cute. I enjoy seeing cat-related posts, pictures, gifs, and videos. They can be really fun and often make me smile. Have you ever noticed how cats are indifferent and just happy doing their own thing? They don’t seem to have a care in the world. They would mind their own business unless they want you to feed them or crave affection. I think most cat owners will agree that they can be a demanding pet. But the good thing is that cats sleep a lot. They sleep almost 70% of their lives. (Maybe I am a cat too because I definitely love to sleep)

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.” Robert A. Heinlein

That’s what I find very interesting about cats and also the fact that they seem to like books too. So, basically, they’re my favorite animal even if I don’t want them as pets. Cats are soft and adorable. Everything aside they have the cutest expressions and sweet smiles.

I have compiled a little collection of my favorite ‘bookish’ and ‘cat-ish’ photos and gifs. I hope you enjoy them. You’re welcome to share your favorite ones.

“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.” Mark Twain

Some more interesting facts about cats;

  1. Cats brains are very similar to human brains, about 90% similar actually. The same regions of brains are responsible for emotions. (Oh, no wonder cats are a moody animal).
  2. Cats can hear ultrasonic sounds and they have exceptionally good vision.
  3. Cats can drink sea water.
  4. Cats can jump from really high places, there are cats who have survived 32 stories’ fall.
  5. Cats cannot taste the sweetness.
  6. In ancient Egypt, slaying a cat was illegal. In many parts of the world a black cat is considered unlucky but in England and Australia, it is considered lucky.
  7. Fear of cats is called Ailurophobia.

“What greater gift than the love of a cat.” Charles Dickens


P.S. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Are you a cat owner? A book lover? Perhaps even both? Let’s get to know each other.

A Story Worth Telling (Part One)

It was neither a great tragedy nor an epic romance, in fact, my story wasn’t anything worth talking about. However, it needed to be told because words were my only solace. If I didn’t tell it soon, I knew I would go insane.

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It all started with one man. A man I regret ever meeting. They say your eyes are windows to your soul, and his only revealed deceit and cruelty. Even today I have difficulty forgetting the evil I saw in them. At that time many would’ve said my opinion of him was unprecedented. He was a beloved, to not just one person, but to many. He was their savior, the man who was going to end their despair. Oh, how well he played that role! At one point, even I was convinced that he would really save us all. We were all wrong though. He didn’t save us, he completely obliterated us.


I was born in a remote village, somewhere, in the middle of nowhere. Our village didn’t even have a name. People there were all illiterate, extremely poor, and trying their best to survive in a harsh desert environment. There was no school, college, or hospital within miles of that small village. People were used to going without food for days, during the summer months even water would become scarce, but there was one thing we had and that was each other. You would not find such a close knitted society anywhere else in the world, I am sure of that. We were one big family. We couldn’t rely on anyone else, not even on nature, so we had learned to rely on each other.

My father had died of some unknown illness even before I was born. My mother died in childbirth, there were no other blood relatives, so the moment I came into this world I was completely alone. Villagers brought me up. They fed me, they clothed me, and they let me live in a small mosque that we had. That mosque was our salvation. It was the only building in the village that was made of bricks and stones rather than dirt. Villagers would gather there five times a day to pray and to share stories. Everyone would share their problems and their joys in that small reprieve. I grew up there so for me it was everything.

Then one day he came, a man like none we had seen before. He came from the sky, with a group of people. Some thought he was God himself, but I thought if anything, he could only be the devil. He told us that he would change our lives. He wanted us to sell our homes to him in exchange for better ones. He told us many things. Many, many, things. Some of us were convinced as we had seen the grandeur of his attire, the way he talked, the way he walked, he must have been some king or prince at the very least. But there were those who opposed the change, they were set in their ways, they knew life was never easy, at least, in this village they had some semblance of belonging. What would they do in a strange place, where they wouldn’t even know anyone?

The man left with the promise of returning again. And after that debate started. Everyone had an opinion as to what we should all do. He wanted the entire village or nothing at all. So, people started convincing each other to their point of views. But how could humans think alike? There were around twenty families in that small village and every one of them had a different opinion. Women didn’t care, it was not for them to decide, children were happy any way they had no worries in the world. So, it was for the men to decide the fate of this small community.

Personally, I didn’t trust that man. Although I could not pinpoint the exact reason, instinctively I knew that he was bad news. I tried to warn people. But they were not listening, they said I was too young to know anything. Most of them wanted a better life and he had given them hope. Hope, in a way it’s a cruel thing, however, many times hope is all men got. Now that the seed of hope was planted it was difficult to talk sense into these men. They were not safe, they were not happy, they were not all well, they had so much to gain and nothing to lose. At least, that’s what everyone thought. And hence against all odds, it was decided. They would sell their land and they would follow the man who had promised them the world itself. I had nothing to sell. I wondered what my place would be in this new world he talked about? In the end, I waited, time would tell everything, I thought.

A month went by and the stranger returned. Everyone was gathered in the courtyard of the mosque. After lunch, people began discussing the logistics of leaving their village.

“I promise that you’d receive a fair price for your land,” he said, “not only that every family would be allotted a house in the city. It is a much better place than to live here, in the wilderness. You will not regret this.”

“We’ve agreed to accept your offer,” Maulana Sahib told him, “but I have a question for you. Samad here–pointing towards me–doesn’t own any land, he has lived in the mosque all his life. What about him?”

“He can keep living with one of you,” he said, “If not then there are many madrasas and mosques in the city, we shall find a home for him too.”

I don’t know why but for some reason I hated his smile. He was a crook, I was sure of that. We were all going to leave our beloved village in the hopes of finding our Utopia, I was the only one who was skeptical. It was all too good to be true. However, I had no say in the matter, being an orphan and without any property, it just wasn’t my decision.

After people signed papers, they were all paid in cash. Then the stranger left with the promise of sending cars that would take us away from the only home we had ever known. Some of the villagers were too excited, especially the youngsters. Some were scared, afraid of the change, while others were just sad. After all, it was not an easy decision. This was the only life we had ever known, with all our hardships, we also had so much to celebrate and cherish. Now, it would all be gone and we would be starting anew. I was going to stay with Maulana Sahib. He, like me, had no other family.

To be continued…


Disclaimer: This is a work of pure fiction. Any resemblance to a place or person is unintentional.

© 2018, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved

Reading Is So Much More Than Just A Hobby!

Reading is not just a hobby for me, it’s my way of life. I’m sure it’s true for most of us, book lovers. We don’t read when we’re free, we make time for it. Don’t we? I love reading more than anything else in the world. It’s very rare for me to go without reading, even when I’m busy with studies or work. I read every day, usually before going to bed. It’s just who I am. I eat and breathe books. I like to contemplate about all the things written on pages. There is nothing more beautiful than knowing that you’re not alone in the world, books give us that.

What kind of a reader are you?

In addition to reading a lot, I also read everything, except non-fiction. I love novels, novelettes, novellas, short stories, and flash fictions. I love all kinds of books, paranormal, romance, historical, contemporary, psychological thrillers, murder mysteries, romantic comedies, cozy mysteries, chick-lits, steampunk, science fiction, young adult, new adult, adult, and everything in between. Usually, I switch between genres to keep things interesting. Which is your favorite genre to read or write in?

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of short stories and flash fiction available online. And as you might know, I write them too, mostly short stories, sometimes poetry.


If you read online then what are your favorite sites? Mines are the Wattpad and the Commaful. I’ve discovered some of my best reads through these sites so, I don’t underestimate them at all. I like how different these sites are from each other but they suit me, as a reader and a writer both. Although, in my experience, I’ve found that Commaful has a more engaging audience than Wattpad. So from a writer’s perspective, I find it much better especially if you’re looking for constructive criticism/feedback. I sometimes read at Storybird too, however, that one is really for kids. You won’t find mature stuff there. I also follow a few blogs and publications at medium, they’re also fun to read and learn from. Actually, that’s where I got the idea of sharing my own short stories online. I found that I enjoy reading them and I also like to write them. Do you know of any other sites like these, where readers and writers can share their love for books? If so then do share.  
Do you read multiple books at a time?   This is something I started doing fairly recently. I start more than one book at a time and then read them simultaneously. It helps me not to get bored when stories slow down. I read so much that for one book to hold my attention is just not possible unless it’s a quick read and I can finish it within a few hours.
How much time do you actually spend reading vs online sharing book love? books-1680953_1280.jpg I must confess, at times, I’m known to post about books on social media more than actually reading a book. It happens, I can’t help it. I follow a lot of authors and fellow readers and they post the most amazing book related stuff, it’s bound to get distract you from your reading. But, let’s face it, talking about books is a different kind of fun. Don’t you agree?
How about book therapy? Have you ever noticed how reading makes you feel better? When I feel gloomy I pick up a romantic comedy and all my worries are forgotten. When I feel depressed I go out and shop for books and just like that, I’m a happy person once again. When I feel lonely I rearrange my bookshelves and time flies away. There is so much of my happiness that depends on books. I wonder if it’s a healthy thing or not? Then I decide, who really cares? As long as I have books to read I’m happy and time me, that is all that matters. Books for life!
P.S. So, what kind of a reader are you? Do share your thoughts and experiences.

Her Nightmare: One Cold Night

It was the coldest October’s night. There was no way anyone was going out when it had been snowing for three days in a row. All the roads were blocked and it was a weekend. On a night like this, everyone wanted to stay in. People would sit by the fireplace and drink hot chocolate. No one would dare go out when even the moon was scared to show itself. Yet five friends planned to attend a party. It was Halloween after all. They wanted to dress up and have fun.

Some things weren’t meant to happen though. There was no way anyone could venture out when a storm was brewing. In the end they had to cancel their party plans, instead, they decided to stay in and watch something that would make their hearts beat a little faster.

“I love that we live on the same street and can get together anytime we like,” Anna said with a smile.

“Wait till you see the movie I selected for today,” Daniel chimed.

“I don’t understand why you guys want to watch a horror movie. Can’t we watch something more relaxing?” Sameen complained.

“Don’t be a party pooper. Tonight is perfect for this kind of movies,” Sam said.

“After all we’re dressed up as zombies and ex-murderers for a reason,” Tom smiled.

“I hate you guys!” It was obvious that Sameen didn’t want to feel scared this night or any other night, for that matter. Unfortunately for her, her friends were all thrill seekers. As they couldn’t go out to the party, they had decided to watch horror movies in the spirit of Halloween. She hoped to survive the night without having a heart attack. “Ok, but we’re not turning off the lights,” she said. This was one thing she wasn’t going to compromise on.

“ok, sure,” Anna smiled at her friend, “we can keep the lights on. Don’t worry we’re all here with you. It’s not like you’re alone or anything.” They knew Sameen was not like them and indulged their friend.

“You’re forgetting that I know Daniel. I can only imagine the kind of film he must have selected,” Sameen looked miserable, “this is going to be a long night.” They all laughed at her theatrics. She could be so dramatic at times.


Her hands were cold from fear and she was having a hard time not screaming at the top of her lungs. This was her worst nightmare coming to life. She was holding Daniel’s hand in a death grip while trying to hug Anna too. Sitting between the two of them, she was trying her best not to freak out.

“Do you mind loosening your grip on my hand,” he finally said with a smile, “don’t worry I’m not going anywhere.”

“I hate this so much,” she was miserable, “you are all evil.”

“Awe,” Anna cooed, “we have a chicken in our midst.”

“Shh,” Tom chastised them, “this is the good part. Someone is going to die soon.”

“I’ll have nightmares for the rest of my life.” Sameen couldn’t believe she was watching a horror movie with her friends. She didn’t say anything after that because she had closed her eyes and was trying to focus on her breathing.

“That wasn’t so bad,” Anna said.

“Is it over?” Sameen asked.

“Almost,” Daniel replied.

As the credits started rolling the lights went out. Someone slammed the front door shut and then they heard nothing over Sameen’s screams.

“What happened?” Tom asked.

“Let me check,” Daniel left to see what was the commotion all about.

It seemed like the whole town had blacked out. The front door was wide open now, but there was no one there. It had stopped snowing, there was no wind, and all was silent. He wondered who slammed the door when the five of them had been in the launch glued to the TV screen.

“What is it?” Sam had followed him.

“I don’t know there is no one here,” Daniel sounded baffled.


“Where is Tom?” Anna asked Daniel as he returned with Sam in tow.

“How would I know? I went to check on the front door.”

“But he followed you two. He wanted to check on the electrical outlet.”

“Oh, that’s in the basement. He must have gone there.”

“Why would he go there alone?” Sameen’s eyes were about to pop out, she was shaking with fear.

“Don’t be like that, Sameen. We’re at Daniel’s house, there are five of us here, what are you scared of? What can happen here?” Sam was a little annoyed with her. He didn’t want to show it, but Sameen was scaring him too.

After ten minutes the lights were back on. Tom didn’t return though so they decided to go check on him. They checked every room, even checked outside and found no sign of him. Daniel tried calling his cell phone and got no response. That worried them a little but it was no big deal he could’ve gone home without letting them know. At least, they hoped that was the case. Because anything else was unthinkable.

They were no longer in the mood to party. Sam left too. Anna and Sameen decided to sleep over because it was convenient. Both of them decided to share the guest room and said goodnight to Daniel.

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Sameen woke up sometime in the middle of the night. She had had a nightmare and was drenched in perspiration. She felt thirsty and decided to get some water. When she switched on the lamp she noticed that Anna was not in her bed.

“Anna?” She called out to her friend but there was no reply. She checked the washroom and it was empty. She went to check on Daniel and found him missing too. Now she was really scared. First Tom and now Anna and Daniel were both missing from the house. Where could they be? She tried calling each of her friends one by one, no one answered her calls. Her fear rendering her witless. It was her worst nightmare to wake-up and found everyone had gone missing.

It was a little after three pm. She wondered if she should call the police or something. Maybe she was over-reacting. They could’ve gone out to party after all. Wasn’t there one at Sara’s place? She remembered seeing a flyer somewhere. In any case, there was no way she would be able to go back to sleep now. She was wide awake and worried for her friends’ safety. Bad things happened on nights like these. How many horror stories had she read about such incidents? Quite a few, and all of those scenarios were running through her mind. She was wallowing in her misery when she heard a noise, someone was definitely in the house. She heard a door opening and then closing again. There was no way she could go upstairs to investigate the noise. She stayed put.

“Anna, is that you?” She tried calling out, “Daniel? Where are you guys? If it is some ploy to scare me, you can stop now. I am scared enough already.” She tried pleading with her friends to come out from where ever they were hiding. There was no answer though. Once again everything was quiet.

Then she heard footsteps again. This time they were close. She turned around and that’s when she saw it. The mime from the movie they were watching earlier. He had the same scarily cunning smile. She screamed and then everything went black.


Sameen woke up with a start. Everything was brighter. She looked out and realized that it was morning. She hoped that last night was nothing but a nightmare. Her hope was soon quenched when she couldn’t find anyone in the house. Her friends had all vanished into the thin air. Even Sam never made it home. She checked with their families and other friends, but no one knew anything.

Three days had gone by. Everyone was frantic at the incident. Four youngsters had vanished on the Halloween night, they were gone and no one had any answers, least of all Sameen.

She hadn’t told anyone about the mime. She wasn’t sure if that was real or her imagination. They had been watching a movie about a scary mime who he abducted people. She didn’t know exactly what happened in the movie though, as she wasn’t paying much attention. She had kept her eyes closed most of the time and now she was regretting it. Maybe if she knew what happened in the movie she would know what to do now.

On the fifth day after her friends’ disappearance, she found a note in her dresser. The writing was unrecognizable.

Watch that movie to find me before its too late for your friends.

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It has been ten years now, yet Sameen tries to watch the movie every night. She has never been able to watch more than a few minutes of it. As soon as the mime appears on the screen she closes her eyes. She is not a brave person. She fears what she would discover if she ever went looking for the mime. Her fear of mimes won’t let her take a leap of faith and because of her cowardice, it might be too late for her friends anyway.

© 2018, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved


P.S. How was your Halloween? Did you encounter anything scary this year? Share a story if you have any. I love a good story!