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This is a story I wrote some time ago while in High School. It was very controversial, so much so, that I was barred by my vice-principal from publishing it while in school, due to the fact that it might create trouble for both the student and administration (i.e. myself and the VP). Now that I am a hight school graduate, I felt its acceptable to share it now, for I am a non-hypocritical, mass-exempted individual. Enjoy!

‘How did it end up like this? I feel so weak right now. I don’t know if I can do it or not. Please God give me the strength.’

With these thoughts I got out of my car and started to make my way towards my destination. The sun seems to be tracing a path for me on this barren earth. There is no wind, none at all as if the clouds themselves know not to come near this place. The absence of the dogs has not gone unnoticed by me, though I must say that their presence will sit well with today’s’ events. I pause, not out of fear, but out of caution as women crosses my path, her child in the stroller. Her child. Just like all the children here. The children of my enemies surround me here. Upon its face I see smile. It’s an innocent smile now, but I know what it’s capable of doing and what it will do. And again, as she moves, I continue on my path to my destination.

Today even the trees seem to deprive us of their cool shades. Bent, breaking, leafless, they seem to be dying, as if anticipating the future. Shaking my head I look up. What is that? A bird, I think, but what kind? A pigeon? A sparrow? An eagle? No, I know it’s hard to believe, but that may be a vulture. A vulture. Even the thought of it is preposterous, but yet it makes sense because there is only one reason a vulture may be here, or anywhere: To feed on the dead. Will it get a chance to satisfy its hunger, I don’t know.

I have never seen a vulture up close. Growing up in Kabul, it was a rare bird. Times were hard for my family and for our whole country, but not enough for these birds to come pay us a visit. And the Taliban always helped us out when we needed them. My uncle Rasheed was one of their captains, so we were always looked after. My mother was always proud of my uncle, her brother, for his merits, but my father was never grateful or satisfied with them. He longed to get away from what he called ‘imprisonment in his own land’. Then one day he told me that our family was moving. I asked where, to which he replied ‘Washington D.C.’. He told me America was land of opportunity, liberty, education and most importantly to live a secured life. He said we had been given a ‘free pas’ to the U.S. something I later came to learn was a ‘Refugee Visa’. Though my father came to bless America, my uncle Rasheed on the other hand called it a ‘devil worshipper, a curse and a corrupt land. He would never let his son, my cousin Omar go there. But in the end it was my father’s decision so we did end up moving.

In the US I lived a good life and came to accept the ‘American Dream’ and the lifestyle. I did well in school, had good friends and completed my under-grad from University of District of Columbia. My parents had always been proud of me and expected a lot from me since I was their only child. Sadly, 2 days after my graduation, they died in a car accident. And so I grew up an orphan, learning to rely on no one. But I never felt complete from inside. Something always seemed to be missing. In order to fill that void I decided to return to the land of my birth. I was 12 when I left. At 26 I was having my ‘homecoming’.

Back in Kabul, things seemed to have quieted down. The Taliban were gone in a political sense, but in a community sense, they were always there. In the city the lifestyle I remembered had remained so. I kept running into people from my past and when I told them about my life in America, they either gave me a look of envy or left shaking their heads. One day I was in a mosque praying, when a man around my age, came and sat beside me. We were soon engage in conversation and he seemed familiar to e. We talked bout the old and new Afghanistan and when he asked me about my father, by name, I immediately recognized hi: He was my cousin Omar. He invited me to stay at his house and I gladly accepted.

We soon bonded. He was still a bachelor, living alone and happy. When I asked him about his father, he informed me that my uncle Rasheed, of whom I have many fond memories, had been killed in an American air force bombing in the city where he was posted. He greatly saddened me, because after my parent’s death, I had hoped that my uncle would become my guardian and fill the hole in my heart. I told Omar so and he old me that knew how to help me. That night, in dead silence and secrecy, he took me to a building in the outskirts of the city. That’s where I met them for the first time: About 30 fellows, form young and old, all with long beards and turbans with whom I was to live for a week. In that time, I discovered them all to be pious, religious men who treated me like a brother and were always kind. Living with them, I discovered how important religion was for us and how it would help me in my life. With them I felt the void in my heart disappear. At the end of the week, when Omar returned and asked me how I felt about them, all I could reply was with praises. Omar then told me that these men were famous; a part of a brotherhood called Al-Qaeda. Of course I had heard of Al-Qaeda in America, it was hard not. But these men were not the cold murderers the American media projected. Instead they were kind men who treated even me, an Afghanistani-American, like family. That night Omar asked me to join the brotherhood and I accepted.

Life in the brotherhood was hard but it felt rewarding. These men were my family and I knew I was theirs. I was soon a part of the elite, a group involved in attacking America, a country I had now come to hate. My brothers had shown me the truth about this devil. This nation killed my fellow Muslims, worshipped money & power and then destroy our lands. Slowly one by one, my brothers would eave to fulfill their mission and if successful, they would never return and we were asked to pray for them and bless their souls. Then the destined day came when I was reading the holy Book and Omar came to talk to me., He was no the Field Operations’ leader and he informed me that it was my turn to accomplish my mission. I was a very valuable asset to them, he told me, because of my American citizenship and only I could do it for my brothers were depending on me. Somehow I knew what he was going to say before he said it. We looked at each other.  To say that we were at a loss for words would be completely false. We both had many sentences to speak, for me to thank and acknowledge him and Omar to be proud of me. So we just embraced and bid farewell. Next morning I took the flight to New York.

So here I am, on the sidewalk at Times Square. Smuggling in the package into the country wasn’t hard. Omar’s connections made it very easy and considering that I was member of the brotherhood they were extremely accommodating. So now, as I walk among the crowd of sinners, I finally reach my destination; the middle of the Square. I close my eyes and pray to God to help me reach heaven safely and accept my sacrifice. I hear the ticking and I count the last seconds, ‘3, 2, 1—.’

  1. Ray Kumar
    December 18, 2009 at 6:49 AM

    Hey I think this is a great short story. It just needs a little work on some punctuation and spelling errors, but other than that it is fabulous. Extremely controversial, but just fabulous all the same. Keep up the good work Mase!

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