Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Scroll by Nada Adel Sobhi - Short story

Fingers trembling, she slowly unrolled the ancient document. The parchment was as fragile as it was old. A light scent of antiqueness mixed with the earth infiltrated her nostrils. Maya savoured the scent as a million thoughts and fears raced in her head.
Rumours of her family’s roots had been the hot topic of late. Though it scared her which bits of what people said were true and which weren’t, she desperately needed to uncover the truth.
She took a deep breath and exhaled, breathing out some of the fear and trembling from her body.
She gulped and opened the ancient document before her.
سترين النور يوماً
ستعرفين من تكونين
ومن نكون جميعاً!
سنكون قد رحلنا
وسِرُنا بين يديكي.
اغلقي عينيكي
وانتظري النور

The words were written in breath-taking calligraphy. Artistically entrancing in their own way, Maya thought.
The language was foreign but somehow it had suddenly passed down from generations and relations she had never met, seen or even heard of.
She closed her eyes as the words replayed themselves in her mind.
‘You will see the light one day,
You will know who you are;
Who we all are.
We will have gone,
By then.
Our secret will be in your hands.
Close your eyes
And wait for the light.’

Maya did close her eyes. From an endless stream of blackness, a rainbow-coloured light flowed into her sight. She inhaled as she saw her parents, grandparents and many generations before them. They smiled; then they began to move away from one another. Their forms began to change.
Each took a form that Maya, and anyone else, would have thought was a mere myth. A white light flooded each person as they transformed into otherworldly beings.  
There was some speech in the distance but Maya couldn’t tell who was speaking. When she gave in to the attempt, she realised that the speech was coming from the stream of white that swept over every member of her long-gone family.
“Embrace us child,
Open your heart and mind,
Let them run free and wild.
We have always been there;
We are a family of creatures of air.
Rise child, as a tree rises from the earth!
Rise and spread the wings
You’ve carried since your birth.”

She watched the creatures take shape. When the last was done, in one voice that echoed in her mind, they said “Rise! And come to us!”

Maya opened her eyes. Tears had involuntarily left them, sliding down her cheeks. Her surroundings were dark but she saw that there was a light ahead, one she never noticed before; an opening leading directly to the night sky.
“Rise!” They had said.
She took a deep breath; she didn’t know what form she was meant to take. But somehow her body knew what to do. Inhaling again, she felt wings emerging from her back. Her body twitched, a white light bathed her and she took off into the night.
A lizard of old, a mighty dragon to behold.

Image found online. Author unknown - well scribbled but can't see it

This piece was written for the Finish that Thought no. 31 by Alissa Leonard contest. The challenge is to start with a given line and write a story in a maximum of 500 words. My story is exactly 500 words and I had to cut a couple of sentences to fit the word limit. This week's special challenge required a sentence in a foreign language.

Honest comments are highly appreciated.

My piece won the Judge's Challenge Champion: Rebekah Postupak said: You included not just one line, but an entire poem in Arabic! The lovely lines were at the story's heart, with its knowing caution to "wait for the light." -- And I assure you all skeptics that the final sentence, as glorious as it is, did not bias this award. :D

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