The land of the glass flowers
By Sumaita Kabir
The sky was darker that night than any other night. Of course at other times it was expressionless, heavily clouded with the by-products of industries. But that night was visibly different. The heavy drops of rain yearned to be felt, yet forcefully went unnoticed by the inner eye. I sat by the windowpane grimacing at the fact that my life couldn't have been more normal. I played the role of the obvious teenager indulging in the obvious romantic effect of a continuous downpour, occasionally sighing and feigning an air of wilful melancholy. The streets were a blur, eerily glowing in unfocused sodium light and almost completely wet. A little brown boy walked along the street carrying a younger one his back, both singing a song at the top of their lungs, which to me was only slightly audible.
Somehow I watched them as if in a trance, wondering how it must have looked to God witnessing these personals from two different world separated only by a block of glass. The elder urchin suddenly let his sibling fall into the waiting arms of the brown mud. As an act of revenge the younger songster threw a handful of mud at the original culprit. They started chasing each other exuberantly screaming, shouting and celebrating the joy of rain. It could have been a fraction of a second, maybe less of a difference between the time the smaller child was smiling and the time when he became part of a totally different world. Three things happened at once. The truck rushed past; I gave a tiny gasp of horror and froze and the elder brother shrieked, a wildly excruciating scream expressing a shock deeper than all the limits of how's and why's. Then the whole scenario was engulfed by a disturbingly loud silence. I could think no more.
The following morning I started my day the usual way. I did so, everyday till that date. I led my life holding a glass flower in my heart - enchanting in its transparent sardonic beauty, yet the fragrance of life goes uncalled for, illustrated only by a cold icy wave of nothingness. Since that day I knew I had wordlessly made my entrance to the land of glass flowers.
By Yosra Suzanne Rahman
The drowsy evening heat finally gave her enough reason to buy the only orange pop they were selling. This time there wasn't a nagging voice telling her it was too late for her to be drinking something cold. She smiled tenderly, though the sad thought of not hearing that voice for almost a year without the ruffle of the telephone entered her mind. The owner of that voice always quoted orange pop as "The Sweet Elixir of the Gods" whereas she always found it too sweet and artificial for her taste.
Everybody including their family found it more strange than sweet that they were so close despite their prominent age difference. The question wasn't helped by the fact that they were almost entirely two different personalities. Only the sisters knew how in sync their souls were ever since the first time Maria picked up little Isabella for a clear view of her tiny face. Izzy liked the idea of being a tomboy better despite Maria's numerous attempts to make her girlier. She tried taking her shopping every now and then and tried to make her love it along with the oh-so-horrible orange pop. She bought her pretty dresses and fluttery frocks despite their father's many remonstrations and the knowledge that they will end up in the corner of Izzy's closet, doomed to never see the light of day again. Izzy didn't care about the clothes but all she looked forward to was a few hours of sis'n'sis alone time. Right before she left, she told Izzy that the huge wardrobe was now hers and made her promise she would use it for the sake of the "treasures" inside. Izzy just nodded a response to hold back the tears because she knew if Maria saw her break down, she would never leave.
She tried to concentrate on flipping open the stupid can instead of messing up her already uneven mascara. Oh, what would Maria do to make Izzy use just a light frosting of lipgloss although Izzy would ultimately just lick away whatever there was of that icky but yummy "blueberry goo". Maria always reassured herself that Izzy would eventually warm up to makeup at the right age. Too bad Maria wasn't here to see how Izzy finally started her journey to womanhood. It seemed she was going to miss it all, the giggling and the constant attempts to annoy her about her first obsession with a boy, her first date and finally comforting her about her first heartbreak. It was inevitable that now, slowly, Maria not being there was becoming more and more normal in Izzy's life.
Finally the cheap can flipped open. The fizzy liquid tasted slightly better while chilled. Too bad the nagging voice was too worried about "little" Isabella catching a cold.
It's the end of the month and again we have a Beta Writers bonanza consisting of the good entries that didn't quite make it. We save the good ones every month and once in a while we will publish them besides the ones we publish regularly. More incentive guys.
By Tasfia Fairuz
She ran so fast, that soon she outran the sound of those green, biped monsters chasing her. Though she couldn't hear their booted footsteps chasing her, she felt far from relieved. After all, these breaths were so foreign to her, the sensation of her lower limbs, her “feet” touching the cold, marbled floor so alien. She didn't know how she was doing this, nor what it was that guided her. She didn't question it.
Instinctively, she felt that she needed to go deeper, and so took the next staircase, stumbling down as she went. The lone door at the bottom felt like an opening to some sort of salvation from the stupid things she did. From that day they captured her as she admired their pretty boats, the same boats they brought her here by…..
She wrenched open the door, slammed it shut behind her and sank to the floor. Parched from being deprived of moisture for so long and terrified at the doom she, and the tribe she condemned by her foolishness, faced, the words her wise father, the King, had told her washed over her: We are the miracles of the great Syrian providence and as such we have to face the wrath of the worldly and godforsaken Landarians. My child, stop your nonsensical interest in these horrific monsters for they have wicked means to unlock our secrets even Time itself had helped us to protect. Please child, take heed to my words….
Shame, burning, nauseating shame pulsed throughout her as she lay there on the floor of a strange room bathed in orange, flickering light. Through the shroud of her long flaming hair she finally looked up at the source of the light. And there, she saw the path of redemption, clearly indicated by the Gods Themselves, the exit to this freakish horror.. Elated beyond measure, she dove in to embrace the sun….
“WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN ITS DEAD?! “
“Sir we didn't know it could run, how could we? We kept E096 in the hydro-capsule like you instructed. But while we were making preparations in the anatomical dissection department, it tipped the capsule off-balance (and we didn't know how it woke, I sedated it myself), broke it, transformed and ran!”
“Ran?! Ran?? You're telling me that fish can RUN?”
“This one did, sir, the moment it broke through. Sir, we didn't know it could do that, we had no way…this was the first mermaid we had ever
“Prepare for GOB-026. Go. NOW.”
Still red-faced and furious, he glared at space as the door clicked shut. He was frustrated, to say the very least, not only at the amount of cash that had slipped away, but also as a world-renowned “Folklorist” (military of course), his greatest breakthrough had committed suicide by frying itself in a furnace. So crude. Scowling, he grabbed his lab coat and made was to the Anatomy Dept. once again. Nothing cheered him up more that dissecting those funny little goblins. And he had the liberty to use them as he pleased. After all they had plenty to spare. Plenty.